Jvari Monastery

Mtskheta, Georgia

Jvari is a sixth century Georgian Orthodox monastery near Mtskheta. Along with other historic structures of Mtskheta, it is listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. It stands on the rocky mountaintop at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, overlooking the town of Mtskheta.

According to traditional accounts, on this location in the early 4th century Saint Nino, a female evangelist credited with converting King Mirian III of Iberia to Christianity, erected a large wooden cross on the site of a pagan temple. A small church was erected over the remnants of the wooden cross in circa 545 AD. The present building is generally believed to have been built between 590 and 605 by Erismtavari Stepanoz I. 

The importance of Jvari complex increased over time and attracted many pilgrims. In the late Middle Ages, the complex was fortified by a stone wall and gate, remnants of which still survive. During the Soviet period, the church was preserved as a national monument, but access was rendered difficult by tight security at a nearby military base. After the independence of Georgia, the building was restored to active religious use.

The Jvari church is an early example of a four-apsed church with four niches. Between the four apses are three-quarter cylindrical niches which are open to the central space, and the transition from the square central bay to the base of the dome's drum is effected through three rows of squinches.The Jvari church had a great impact on the further development of Georgian architecture and served as a model for many other churches.

Varied bas-relief sculptures with Hellenistic and Sasanian influences decorate its external façades, some of which are accompanied by explanatory inscriptions in Georgian Asomtavruli script. The entrance tympanumon the southern façade is adorned with a relief of the Glorification of the Cross, the same façade also shows an Ascension of Christ.

Erosion is playing its part to deteriorate the monastery, with its stone blocks being degraded by wind and acidic rain.

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Details

Founded: 590-605 AD
Category: Religious sites in Georgia

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Tim Paris (4 months ago)
We all know that you want to see the view from the top. What are you waiting for ? (Access the place by getting a cab (they usually use a set price), walking there would either make a super long detour or be dangerous)
RuRu Delux (5 months ago)
One of the best places i have ever visited.
manish chhatre (5 months ago)
A peaceful place to worship and pray! Well maintained place for both locals and tourists! Amazing view of the river MtSkheta town!
Robert Martini (6 months ago)
A wonderful mistic place, landscape of the old city, the rivers. The church is Unesco patrimony. To not be missed
Sasama Rodjanaphinun (6 months ago)
It's very challenge to walk up to the hill because it's extremely windy. The ancient chrurch is very remarkable due to its construction, architecture and internal decoration. Tourists from many countries come to visit i.e. European and Asian people.
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