Religious sites in Georgia

Tsughrughasheni Church

Tsughrughasheni is a Georgian Orthodox church in the Bolnisi District, Georgia. It is situated approximately 2 kilometres from Bolnisi Sioni basilica, on the right bank of the Bolnisistsqali River. The church was built in 1212–1222 supposedly by King George IV Lasha of the Bagrationi Dynasty. The Tsughrughasheni church resembles stylistically the other Georgian churches from the 12th–13th centuries – Bet ...
Founded: 1212-1222 | Location: Bolnisi, Georgia

Martvili Monastery

Martvili Monastery sits upon the highest hill in the vicinity and was of strategic importance. The site upon the hill where the monastery stands today was used in ancient times as a pagan cultural center and was a sacred site. There once stood an ancient and enormous oak tree that was worshipped as an idol of fertility and prosperity. Infants were once sacrificed here as well. After the conversion of the native populatio ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Martvili, Georgia

Urbnisi Church

Situated on the Mtkvari river, Urbnisi was an important city in ancient and early medieval Iberia as Georgia was known to the Greeks and Romans. Urbnisi Church is a 6th-7th-century three-nave basilica which was rebuilt twice in the 10th and 17th centuries. Quite a simple and large church, it is based on twelve strong pillars for three naves. There are many inscriptions on the walls of the monastery which are tho ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Urbnisi, Georgia

Kvelatsminda Church

The Gurjaani Kvelatsminda Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God is a Georgian Orthodox church constructed in the 8th or 9th century, during the 'transitional period' in the medieval Georgian architecture. It is located in the town of Gurjaani in Georgia"s easternmost region of Kakheti. The Gurjaani church is the only extant example of a two-dome church design in the territory of Georgia. It ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Gurjaani, Georgia

Zedazeni Monastery

Zedazeni Monastery is a Georgian Orthodox monastery, located on the Zedazeni mountain the hills of Saguramo, northeast to Mtskheta. The monastery was founded in 540s AD by Saint John, one of the Holy Assyrian Fathers of Georgia whose mission was to strengthen Christianity in the region.
Founded: 540s AD | Location: Mtskheta, Georgia

Lykhny Church

The Church of Dormition of Lykhny is a medieval Orthodox Christian church in the village of Lykhny in Abkhazia/Georgia, built in the 10th century. Its 14th-century frescoes are influenced by the contemporary Byzantine art and adorned with more than a dozen of Georgian and Greek inscriptions. The Lykhny church is a domed cross-in-square design, built of straight rows of well-refined ashlar stone. The small dome ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Lykhny, Georgia

Samtavisi Cathedral

Samtavisi is an eleventh-century Georgian Orthodox cathedral 45km from Tbilisi. According to a Georgian tradition, the first monastery on this place was founded by the Assyrian missionary Isidore in 572 and later rebuilt in the 10th century. Neither of these buildings has survived however. The earliest extant structures date to the eleventh century, the main edifice being built in 1030 as revealed by a now lost stone ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Samtavisi, Georgia

Chulevi Monastery

The Chulevi monastery of St. George is a 14th-century Georgian Orthodox monastic church located on the left bank of the Kvabliani river, near the town of Adigeni. The monastery is alternatively known as Chule or Chulebi. The site was home to a monastic community already in the 11th century, but it was in the latter part of the 14th century that the current edifice was constructed to become a major religious and cult ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Adigeni, Georgia

Gudarekhi Monastery

Gudarekhi village is notable for a nearby monastic complex and archaeological site. It is located in the Algeti Valley, some 8 km of the town Tetritsqaro, south of Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. A large-scale archaeological research of the area was carried out in 1938 and 1939. It revealed the remnants of a medieval urban settlement with well-developed pottery production. The complex consists of a ruined palace, living ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tetritsqaro, Georgia

Kvatakhevi Monastery

The Kvatakhevi monastic complex is situated near the village Kavtiskhevi at the end of the gorge cut by a stream in the northern slopes of the Trialeti Range, protected on three sides by the steep mountain slopes. It dates to the 12th-13th century, and resembles the monasteries of Betania, Pitareti, and Timotesubani in its architectural form and decoration, reflecting a contemporary canon of a Georgian domed church a ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kavtiskhevi, Georgia

Largvisi Monastery

The Largvisi Monastery is a medieval Georgian Orthodox monastic foundation in the Ksani river valley in the Akhalgori Municipality. The monastery is documented from the early 14th century. The extant church, a domed cross-in-square design, dates to 1759. It was a familial abbey of the Kvenipneveli dynasty, Dukes of Ksani and one of the leading noble families of the Kingdom of Kartli. History The 15th-century ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Akhalgori, Georgia

Pitareti Monastery

The Pitareti monastery consists of the Theotokos church, a belfry, the ruined wall and several smaller accessory buildings. The main church appears to have been built in the reign of George IV early in the 13th century. Its design conforms to the contemporary canon of a Georgian domed church and shares a series of common features – such as a typical cross-in-square plan and a single lateral porch – with the monast ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Tandzia, Georgia

Shemokmedi Monastery

The Shemokmedi Monastery was founded in the 15th century as a seat of one of the three bishoprics of the Principality of Guria, the other two being Jumati and Khino. At the same time, the monastery served as a burial ground to the Gurieli princely dynasty. The surviving tombs belong to Rostom Gurieli (died 1564) and Mamia III Gurieli (died 1714). After the death of Metropolitan Bishop Ioseb Takaishvili in 1794, th ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Shemokmedi, Georgia

Skhalta Cathedral

Skhalta Cathedral is a Georgian Orthodox monastery and cathedral church in Adjara, Georgia, dating from the mid-13th century. It is a large hall church design, with fragments of the 14th or 15th century Paleologian-style wall painting. Skhalta is the only medieval church in Adjara that survived both the Ottoman and Soviet periods to become functional again in 1990. It currently serves as a seat of the Georgi ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Adjara, Georgia

Dranda Cathedral

Dranda Cathedral is a Georgian Orthodox Cathedral located in Dranda, in the Gulripshi district of the de facto independent Republic of Abkhazia, internationally recognised to constitute a part of Georgia. According to the Roman historian Procopius of Caesarea, in 551 emperor Justinian I built a temple in these environs, this is believed by some to have been what is now the cathedral in Dranda. In the Georgi ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Drandra, Georgia

Bedia Cathedral

Bedia Cathedral is a medieval Georgian Orthodox cathedral located in Bedia, in a disputed region on the Black Sea coast. Bedia Cathedral was originally built at the close of the 10th century and consecrated in 999 on the behest of King Bagrat II of Abkhazians, who would go on to become King of the Georgians as Bagrat III and who was interred at the church after his death. The extant edifices, however, date back ...
Founded: 999 AD | Location: Ochamchire, Georgia

Mokvi Cathedral

Mokvi Cathedral consists of five naves, built in the third quarter of the 10th century, during the reign of king Leon III of Abkhazia. According to a non-extant inscription (found by Patriarch Dositheos II of Jerusalem who visited Mokvi in 1659) the church was painted during the reign of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and David IV of Georgia. In the Catholicate of Abkhazia Mokvi was the seat of a Bishop at least until ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Ochamchire, Georgia

Ertatsminda Cathedral

The Ertatsminda Cathedral of Eustathius of Mtskheta was built in the 13th century. The Ertatsminda cathedral stylistically resembles the other Georgian churches of the 12th-13th centuries.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ertatsminda, Georgia

Kumurdo Cathedral

Kumurdo Cathedral is situated on Javakheti Plateau, 12 km southwest from Akhalkalaki. According to the inscriptions on the walls, written with the ancient Georgian writing of Asomtavruli, the Kumurdo Cathedral was built by Ioane the Bishop during the reign of king of the Abkhazians Leon III in 964. During the Middle Ages, Kumurdo was an important cultural, educational and religious center. The cathedral was restore ...
Founded: 964 AD | Location: Akhalkalaki, Georgia

Tsalenjikha Cathedral

The Tsalenjikha Cathedral Church of the Transfiguration of Savior is a medieval Georgian Orthodox cathedral at the town of Tsalenjikha. It is best known for a unique cycle of murals which exemplifies the direct import of Byzantine Palaeologan style and even artists in Georgia. Built in the 12th-14th centuries, the Tsalenjikha Cathedral is a central cross-domed church with a narthex and three arcaded galleries two ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tsalenjikha, Georgia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Steinvikholm Castle

Steinvikholm Castle is an island fortress built between 1525 to 1532 by Norway's last Catholic archbishop, Olav Engelbrektsson. Steinvikholm castle became the most powerful fortification by the time it was built, and it is the largest construction raised in the Norwegian Middle Ages.

The castle occupies about half of the land on the rocky island. The absence of a spring meant that fresh water had to be brought from the mainland. A wooden bridge served as the only way to the island other than boat. Although the castle design was common across Europe in 1525, its medieval design was becoming obsolete because of the improved siege firepower offered by gunpowder and cannons.

The castle was constructed after Olav Engelbrektsson returned from a meeting with the Pope in Rome, presumably in anticipation of impending military-religious conflict. As Archbishop Engelbrektsson's resistance to the encroachment of Danish rule escalated, first with Frederick I of Denmark and his successor Christian III of Denmark, Steinvikholm Castle and Nidarholm Abbey became the Catholic Church's military strongholds in Norway. In April 1537, the Danish-Norwegian Reformation succeeded in driving the archbishop from the castle into exile in Lier in the Netherlands (now in Belgium), where he died on 7 February 1538. At the castle the archbishop left behind St. Olav's shrine and other treasures from Nidaros Cathedral (Trondheim). The original coffin containing St. Olav's body remained at Steinvikholm until it was returned to Nidaros Cathedral in 1564. Since 1568 St. Olav's grave in Nidaros has been unknown.

From the 17th to 19th century, the island was used as a quarry and some of its masonry was sold and removed from the site. This activity was condoned by the Danish-Norwegian authorities as a way of eliminating a monument to the opposition of the Danish–Norwegian Union.

Steinvikholm fort is owned and operated today by The society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments. The island has been the site of the midnight opera which details the life and struggles of the archbishop. The opera is held in August annually. The opera is organized by Steinvikholm Musikkteater since the beginning in 1993.