Tbilisi Sioni Cathedral

Tbilisi, Georgia

Following a medieval Georgian tradition of naming churches after particular places in the Holy Land, the Sioni Cathedral bears the name of Mount Zion at Jerusalem. It is commonly known as the 'Tbilisi Sioni' to distinguish it from several other churches across Georgia bearing the name Sioni.

It was initially built in the 6th and 7th centuries. Since then, it has been destroyed by foreign invaders and reconstructed several times. The current church is based on a 13th-century version with some changes from the 17th to 19th centuries. The Sioni Cathedral was the main Georgian Orthodox Cathedral and the seat of Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia until the Holy Trinity Cathedral was consecrated in 2004.

The cathedral's interior took on a different look between 1850 and 1860, when the Russian artist and general Knyaz Grigory Gagarin (1810–1893) composed an interesting series of the murals, though a number of medieval frescoes were lost in the process.

The Sioni Cathedral is a typical example of medieval Georgian church architecture of an inscribed cross design with projecting polygonal apses in the east façade. The yellow tuff from which the cathedral was built comes from Bolnisi, a town southwest of Tbilisi. The facades are simple, with few decorations, although there are bas-relief carvings of a cross and a chained lion on the western side and an angel and saints on the north. All sixteen windows have carved ornamental frames.

North of the cathedral, within the courtyard, is a freestanding three-story bell tower dating from the 1425 reconstruction by King Alexander I. Largely destroyed by the Persians in 1795, it was restored to its present condition in 1939. Across the street stands another three-story bell tower; one of the earliest example of Russian Neoclassical architecture in the region. Complete in 1812, the bell tower was commissioned under Pavel Tsitsianov using money awarded in recognition of his conquest of Ganja for the Russian Empire.

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Details

Founded: 13th century
Category: Religious sites in Georgia

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Aleksandr Khusid (2 years ago)
Amazing place to visit or worship.
Jens Krone (2 years ago)
wonderful place, so well kept, nice architecture and great views.
YJ Koh (2 years ago)
Important landmark in a historic part of Tbilisi
Dimitry Z. (2 years ago)
Beautiful and well-built church, a place where the spirit may rest.
Kee Oon (2 years ago)
Didn't get chance to visit the inside of Cathedral, but we visited the basement bakery shop instead. Definitely worth to try the famous local traditional bakery.
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