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

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.