Kintsvisi Monastery

Georgia, Georgia

The Kintsvisi Monastery complex consists of three churches, of uncertain origin. The central (main) central church dedicated to St Nicholas is thought to date to the early 13th century, in what is generally regarded as the Georgian Golden Age. A very small chapel standing next to it is dedicated to St George, and dates from around the same time. The oldest church, dedicated to St Mary dates from the 10-11th centuries, but is mostly in ruins.

The main church is a large inscribed-cross domed brick building which houses unique examples of medieval mural art from the early 13th century.

In the central position of the cupola is the Hodegetria flanked by the archangels Michael and Gabriel. At the central part of cupola arch is an expressed cross as a medallion. Medallions with the Four Evangelists adorn the pendentives. Images of archangels are repeated on south and west walls of the church. Scenes from the New Testament are presented on north walls, as are portraits of Georgian kings, Giorgi III, Tamar and Giorgi IV Lasha. Particularly remarkable is the figure of a sitting angel (the so-called “Kintsvisi Archangel”) from the Resurrection composition pointing at the open sarcophagus in a gracious manner, represented above the kings' figures, between two windows. These murals date to before 1205 and rank, due to the lavish use of lapis-lazuli to color their backgrounds, among the most beautiful paintings of that period.

These murals were ordered by Anton Gnolistavisdze, a local feudal magnate who served as a royal minister. His fresco with a model of a church in his hand is represented on the lower register of the south wall, along with a severely damaged cycle of images from the life of St Nicholas, and depictions of various Georgian saints.

The murals of the narthex are of a later date, and were painted by the order of a prominent person of the 15th century, Zaza Panaskerteli, whose portrait is represented here as well.

The church of the Virgin Mary also contains an enthroned Hodegetria with a Communion of the Apostles in its ruined apse. The walls of this church were presumably entirely painted in the same manner as the main church, but everything but the apse has collapsed into ruins down the side of the mountain.



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Founded: 10th century
Category: Religious sites in Georgia

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User Reviews

Ana Darchiashvili (6 months ago)
Dmitry Verbichenko (6 months ago)
If you go around the Nikolas Church, you can find a stone wall with a gate. Behind the gate, you can discover a beautiful ravine with biridges, bare tree roots, and a trail.
Someone Plays (10 months ago)
Very beautiful place.
ლიეხიმ ეძიქილემ (10 months ago)
The main church is a large inscribed-cross domed brick building which houses unique examples of medieval mural art from the early 13th century. Made of red brick, the church is harmoniously fit into the surrounding mountainous, forested landscape. This building material was not commonly used for construction in that period, representing exceptional case for the beginning of the 13th century. The dome was also originally covered in three-colored roof tiles. Its tholobate has 12 windows. Though the internal space is cross-shaped, the church is rectangular in general plan. The only altar is flanked by a prothesis and a sacristy. High semicircular arches connect the lateral naves with the western arm. The narthex has two floors, with the lower floor being the portal and the lower the choir. The portal has been later divided into three parts. The church facades originally lack any decorations. They are present only in form of window arches on the dome tholobate, also made of special bricks. Except for the main church the monastery territory contains other buildings of different age and preservation, surrounded by the ruins of the common wall. Among the ruins, the bell tower, included into the northern wall, and two hall churches can be recognized. The smaller St. George's Church, standing close to the western facade, is in rather good condition. From the larger St. Mary's Church, standing in the north-west part of the area, only the apse with frescoes remains
nini phiphia (2 years ago)
Beautiful church. While visiting Shida Kartli it’s a must see sightseeing.
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The exact age of the Church of the Holy Cross is unknown, but it was built to serve as the monastery church of the Rauma Franciscan Friary. The monastery had been established in the early 15th century and a wooden church was built on this location around the year 1420.

The Church of the Holy Cross served the monastery until 1538, when it was abandoned for a hundred years as the Franciscan friary was disbanded in the Swedish Reformation. The church was re-established as a Lutheran church in 1640, when the nearby Church of the Holy Trinity was destroyed by fire.

The choir of the two-aisle grey granite church features medieval murals and frescoes. The white steeple of the church was built in 1816 and has served as a landmark for seafarers.