Religious sites in Georgia

New Athos Monastery

New Athos Monastery is a monastery in Akhali Atoni (New Athos), in a breakaway republic of Abkhazia, founded in 1875 by monks who came from the St. Panteleimon Monastery in Mount Athos. They founded the church of St. Panteleimon on Mount Iveria, on the territory of present New Athos. Construction works of the monastery were carried out in 1883-1896 as well. In the centre of the west building bell-tower 50 metres hi ...
Founded: 1875 | Location: Akhali Atoni, Georgia

Kintsvisi Monastery

The Kintsvisi Monastery complex consists of three churches, of uncertain origin. The central (main) central church dedicated to St Nicholas is thought to date to the early 13th century, in what is generally regarded as the Georgian Golden Age. A very small chapel standing next to it is dedicated to St George, and dates from around the same time. The oldest church, dedicated to St Mary dates from the 10-11th centurie ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Georgia, Georgia

Vanis Kvabebi Cave Monastery

Vanis Kvabebi is a cave monastery in Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia near Aspindza town and the more famous cave city of Vardzia. The complex dates from 8th century and consists of a defensive wall built in 1204 and a maze of tunnels running on several levels in the side of the mountain. There are also two churches in the complex. A newer stone church that is in quite good shape stands near the top of the w ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Aspindza, Georgia

Betania Monastery

The Betania Monastery of the Nativity of the Mother of God is a remarkable piece of architecture of the 'Golden Age' of the Kingdom of Georgia, at the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries, and is notable for its wall paintings which include a group portrait of the contemporary Georgian monarchs. The history of the monastery is poorly recorded in Georgian historical tradition. It was a familial abbey of the Ho ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tbilisi, Georgia

Lurji Monastery

The Lurji Monastery is a 12th-century Georgian Orthodox church built in the name of Saint Andrew in the Vere neighborhood of Tbilisi. The popular historical name lurji ('blue') is derived from its roof, adorned with glazed blue tile. The original edifice of the Lurji Monastery was built in the 1180s, in the reign of Queen Tamar. It was a domed cross-in-square design, with a pair of dome-bearing colum ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tbilisi, Georgia

Shio-Mgvime Monastery

According to a historic tradition, the first monastic community at this place was founded by the 6th-century monk Shio, one of the Thirteen Assyrian Fathers who came to Georgia as Christian missionaries. St. Shio is said to have spent his last years as a hermit in a deep cave near Mtskheta subsequently named Shiomghvime ('the Cave of Shio') after him. The earliest building – the Monastery of St. John the ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Mtskheta, Georgia

Kvetera Church

Kvetera Church is a Georgian Orthodox church in a historic fortified town of Kvetera in Kakheti. Kvetera Church was built in the early part of the 10th century. It is a relatively small church and resembles the Georgian cross-dome style of architecture. The dome rests on a round tympanum and rises over the central square pace. The Projections end in an apse, which have niches between them. The facade of the church i ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Akhmeta, Georgia

Manglisi Cathedral

Manglisi Cathedral is a Georgian Orthodox cathedral near the town of Manglisi. The first church was built in 4th century. The current cathedral was constructed in 6th-7th century. The cathedral went through a huge restoration in 1002.
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Manglisi, Georgia

Bolnisi Sioni Cathedral

Bolnisi Sioni Cathedral is a Georgian Orthodox basilica was built in 478–493. It is the oldest extant church building in Georgia. Bolnisi Sioni Cathedral is known for its Georgian Bolnisi inscriptions. These are one of the oldest historical documents of the Georgian alphabet.
Founded: 478-493 AD | Location: Bolnisi, Georgia

Ubisa Monastery

Ubisa is a small village and a medieval monastic complex in Georgia. It comprises a 9th-century St. George’s Monastery founded by St. Gregory of Khandzta, a 4-floor tower (AD 1141), fragments of a 12th-century defensive wall and several other buildings and structures. The monastery houses a unique cycle of murals from the late 14th century made by Damiane apparently influenced by art from the Byzantine Palaiolo ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Ubisa, Georgia

Church of St. Simeon the Canaanite

The Church of St. Simeon the Canaanite is located near the town of Akhali Atoni in Abkhazia/Georgia, dating from the 9th or 10th century. The church is dedicated to St. Simon the Canaanite, who, according to the 11th-century Georgian Chronicles, preached Christianity in Abkhazia and Egrisi and died and was buried at the town of Nicopsia, to the north of Abkhazia. A nearby grotto is associated by popular legends wi ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Akhali Atoni, Georgia

Poti Cathedral

Poti Cathedral is an imitation of Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, and it was built in 1906-07 with the great contribution of Niko Nikoladze, the mayor of Poti. Notably, Niko Nikoladze chose the location of the cathedral in the center of the town to make it viewable from every side of Poti. A. Zelenko and M. Marfeld were the architects of this Neo-Byzantine cathedral and the capacity of the church is 2,000 people. The orna ...
Founded: 1906-1907 | Location: Poti, Georgia

Pitsunda Cathedral

The Pitsunda or Bichvinta Cathedral is a Georgian Orthodox Cathedral located in Pitsunda, in the Gagra district of the de facto independent Republic of Abkhazia, internationally recognised as constituting a part of Georgia. The cathedral is currently used by the Abkhazian Orthodox Church and serves as that body"s seat, although this usage is disputed by the Republic of Georgia and is considered irregular ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Pitsunda, Georgia

Katskhi Monastery

The Katskhi Monastery of Nativity of the Savior was built at the behest of the Baguashi family in the period of 988–1014. The church building is noted for a hexagonal design and rich ornamentation. Closed down by the Soviet government in 1924, the monastery was revived in 1990 and is now operated by the Eparchy of Sachkhere and Chiatura of the Georgian Orthodox Church. The Katskhi monastery is a octagonal build ...
Founded: 988-1014 AD | Location: Katskhi, Georgia

Ateni Sioni Church

The Ateni Sioni Church is an early 7th-century Georgian Orthodox church in the village of Ateni, some 10 km south of the city of Gori, Georgia. It stands in a setting of the Tana River valley known not only for its historical monuments but also for its picturesque landscapes and wine. The name 'Sioni' derives from Mount Zion at Jerusalem. Sioni is an early example of a 'four-apse church with four ...
Founded: 7th century AD | Location: Ateni, Georgia

Achi Monastery

The Achi monastery is a single-nave hall church, built of hewn stone. Constructed at the end of the 13th century or in the early 14th, it was later reroofed, renovated and surrounded by a defensive wall. The whole interior is frescoed. Some murals, stylistically dated to the late 13th century and betraying affinities with the Palaeologan art, are iconographic rarities, such as those depicting the life of Saint George. ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Achi, Georgia

Nikortsminda Cathedral

Nikortsminda Cathedral was built in 1010-1014 during the reign of Bagrat III of Georgia and was repaired in 1634 by the King Bagrat III of Imereti. Three-storied bell-tower next to the Cathedral was built in the second half of the 19th century. Frescoes inside the Cathedral date from the 17th century. Nikortsminda has a massive dome and has unbroken arcatures as its twelve windows, which are decorated with ornamente ...
Founded: 1010-1014 | Location: Nikortsminda, Georgia

Timotesubani Monastery

Timotesubani is a medieval Georgian Orthodox Christian monastic complex located at the eponymous village in the Borjomi Gorge. The complex consists of a series of structures built between the 11th and 18th centuries, of which the Church of the Dormition is the largest and artistically most exquisite edifice constructed during the 'Golden Age' of medieval Georgia under Queen Tamar (r. 1184-1213). A conte ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Tsaghveri, Georgia

Shavnabada Monastery

Shavnabada Monastery is a medieval Georgian Orthodox monastic complex that is located upon Shavnabada Mountain. It was named in honor of St. George who, according to a local legend, wore a black cloak (shavi nabadi, hence the mountain’s name) while leading the army of the king of Georgia in one of the victorious battles of the time. The monastery of Shavnabada is known for a rare variety of wine, also called Sh ...
Founded: 19th century | Location: Kvemo Teleti, Georgia

Gagra Church

The Gagra Church, also known as Abaata, is an early medieval Christian church at Gagra in Abkhazia, Georgia. One of the oldest churches in Abkhazia, it is a simple three-nave basilica built in the 6th century and reconstructed in 1902. The Gagra church stands in the territory of the contemporaneous fortress known as Abaata, now completely in ruins. It is built of blocks of rough ashlar stone. The main entrance i ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Gagra, Georgia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Saint Sophia Cathedral

The St Sophia's Cathedral was built between 1045-1050 inside the Novgorod Kremlin (fortress). It is one of the earliest stone structures of northern Russia. Its height is 38 m. Originally it was taller, for during the past nine centuries the lower part of the building became concealed by the two-metre thick cultural layer. The cathedral was built by Prince Vladimir, the son of Yaroslav the Wise, and until the 1130s this principal church of the city also served as the sepulchre of Novgorodian princes. For the Novgorodians, St Sophia became synonymous with their town, the symbol of civic power and independence.

The five-domed church looks simpler but no less impressive than its prototype, the thirteen-domed St Sophia of Kiev. The cathedral exterior is striking in its majesty and epic splendour evoking the memories of Novgorod's glorious past and invincible might. In the 11th century it looked more imposing than now. Its facade represented a gigantic mosaic of huge, coarsely trimmed irregular slabs of flagstone and shell rock. In some places (particularly on the apses), the wall was covered with mortar, smoothly polished, drawn up to imitate courses of brick or of whitestone slabs, and slightly coloured. As a result, the facade was not white, as it is today, but multicoloured. The play of stone, decorative painting and the building materials of various texture enhanced the impression of austere simplicity and introduced a picturesque effect.

The two-storied galleries extend along the building's southern, western and northern sides, with a stair-tower constructed at the north-eastern corner. The cathedral has three entrances - the southern, western and northern, of which the western was the main one intended for ceremonial processions. A gate standing at the entrance is known as the Sigtuna Gate (mid-12th century); according to legend, it was brought from the Swedish town of Sigtuna in 1187. The second name of the gate derives from the town of Magdeburg, where it was made. The two leaves are decorated with biblical and evangelical scenes in cast bronze relief. In the lower left corner there are portraits of the craftsmen who created this superb specimen of medieval Western European bronze-work. An inscription in Latin gives their names, Riquin and Weissmut. The small central figure - judging from an inscription in Slavonic - is a representation of the Russian master craftsman Avraam, who assembled the gate.

There is yet another bronze gate in the cathedral, called the Korsun Gate. Made in the 11th century in Chersonesos, Byzantium, it leads from the southern gallery into the Nativity Side-Chapel. Legend has it that the gate was handed over to Novgorod as a gift of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (c. 978 - 1054).

The interior of the cathedral is as majestic as its exterior. It is divided by huge piers into five aisles, three of which end in altar apses. In the south-western corner, inside the tower, there is a wide spiral in relatively small, modest buildings of the 12th - 16th centuries.