Shio-Mgvime monastery is located in a beautiful forest place on the left bank of the river Kura in Georgia. The road follows a narrow limestone canyon from the main square in the town Mtskheta. The medieval monastery consists by several buildings from different periods: The oldest one is the Monastery of St. John the Baptist (dated 560-580) - the simple cruciform building with octagonal dome; The Upper Church Theotokos (12th c) was a domed church destroyed by invasion and in 1678 was restored as Basilica; Refectory (12th -17th cc); the Cave of St. Shio (6th c ) and a small chapel (12th c) adorned with medieval murals stands separately on a nearby hill.
In 1937, an archaeological expedition revealed, a 2 km long aqueduct supplying the monastic communities from the nearby village of Skhaltba, and chronicled in 1202 as being constructed by Bishop Anton of Chkondidi, a minister at Queen Thamar’s court.
The story of establishment of the Shio-Mgvime monastery goes back to the 6th century when the one of the Thirteen Syrian Fathers, monk Shio, chose to live in a dark isolated cave near a 6th century church North-West of the ancient city of Mtskheta. It is where the name derives from: Mgvime in Georgian language means Grotto, Cave. His grave is still visible there today. In 11th century, a church was built over Shio's tomb. Another church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was erected by King David the builder.