The small organization that Zaza heads does what it can to save the more precious frescos. "They are falling off," he explains grimly. "Last year we saved Gareja's oldest 9th century fresco just before it collapsed." Indeed, immediately in front of us a huge chunk of sandstone lies face down on the ground, its fresco of saints smashed. And up on the wall many of them now have hideous lines of graffiti carved across their faces.
The vulnerability of the monument is painful, but the spell fabulous. None of us want to leave. Then to confirm nature's complicity, a magnificent white-headed eagle suddenly launches itself from a nearby ledge, gliding out into space, its wings spread like a living angel. All I can think as we walk away is, how on earth can we protect this fabulous, silent, and so delicate corner of our shrinking planet?