Metekhi Church

Tbilisi, Georgia

Metekhi was one of the earliest inhabited areas on the Tbilisi's territory. According to traditional accounts, King Vakhtang I Gorgasali erected here a church and a fort which served also as a king’s residence; hence comes the name Metekhi which dates back to the 12th century and literally means “the area around the palace”. Tradition holds that it was also a site where the 5th-century martyr lady Saint Shushanik was buried. However, none of these structures have survived the Mongol invasion of 1235.

The extant Metekhi Church of Assumption, resting upon the top of the hill, was built by the Georgian king St Demetrius II circa 1278–1284 and is somewhat an unusual example of domed Georgian Orthodox church. It was later damaged and restored several times. King Rostom (r. 1633-1658) fortified the area around the church with a strong citadel garrisoned by some 3,000 soldiers. Under the Russian rule (established in 1801), the church lost its religious purpose and was used as a barracks (R. G. Suny, p. 93). The citadel was demolished in 1819 and replaced by a new building which functioned as the infamous jail down to the Soviet era, and was closed only in 1938.

The Metekhi church is a cross-cupola church. While this style was the most common throughout the Middle Ages, the Metekhi church is somewhat anachronistic with its three projecting apses in the east facade and the four freestanding pillars supporting the cupola within. The church is made of brick and dressed stone. The restoration of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries mostly employed brick. The facade is for the most part smooth, with decorative elements concentrated around the windows of the eastern apses. Horizontal bands below the gables run around all four sides and serve as a unifying element. The north portico of the main entrance is not a later addition but was built at the same time as the rest of the church.



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Founded: c. 1278
Category: Religious sites in Georgia

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User Reviews

Kamyab Abedi (2 years ago)
Metekhi st. Virgin Church is the historical monument of Tbilisi. It’s a crucial part of Georgian history. The church is located on the hill of Metekhi street in the Old part of the city. The structure of the walls is evidence of how the church is built with the mix of the traditional and Georgian architecture. King Vakhtang Gorgasali built the fortress, church, and the palace on that hill in the VI century. Besides, as it’s known from the historical sources, today’s church is associated with king Demetrius II, the Devoted. Demetrius II built the monastery in the XIII century. As time went on the architecture has changed, the place has become an important part of the history and a popular tourist destination.
Hamza Ahmed Khan (2 years ago)
Towering statue of Gorgasali and fine views of the river and old Tbilisi from this church. Worth a visit, easiest place to reach
Gabriel Valdez (3 years ago)
Visiting churches in every country you visited is ONE of the PILLAR in traveling. God exist every where so giving important of this made us realized how religion in every country protected their civilizations and rich history of TRIUMPH.
Chan Komagan (3 years ago)
Always love coming here for a nice scenic view of Tbilisi and Mketi river.
Ajit Jose (3 years ago)
Good location, both tourist attraction and a holy place. With beautiful garden.
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