The Lurji Monastery is a 12th-century Georgian Orthodox church built in the name of Saint Andrew in the Vere neighborhood of Tbilisi. The popular historical name lurji ('blue') is derived from its roof, adorned with glazed blue tile.
The original edifice of the Lurji Monastery was built in the 1180s, in the reign of Queen Tamar. It was a domed cross-in-square design, with a pair of dome-bearing columns and an extended apse. A lengthy inscription in the southern tympanum, in the medieval Georgian asomtavruli script, identifies a sponsor, Basil, the former archbishop of Kartli. The heavily damaged church was restored as a three-nave brick basilica, without a dome, in the 17th century. In the 18th century, the church was in possession of the Gabashvili noble family. In 1873, under the Russian rule, the church was reconstructed, according to Aleksandr Chizhov's project, with new brick walls attached and a new round dome, alien to the Georgian architectural forms, was added. A new church, that of St. John the Theologian, a typical Russian design, was built south to the Lurji Monastery, under the viceroy Grigory Galitzine from 1898 to 1901.
During the Soviet era, the Lurji Monastery building was used as a factory, a warehouse, and finally, as the Museum of Georgian Medicine. In 1990, the Lurji Monastery was restored to the Georgian Orthodox Church and Christian services were resumed. In 1995, the old dome was replaced with a new conical one which was more in line with traditional Georgian design. Of the original 12th-century structure, only an apse with large windows adorned with fretwork framing, lower half of southern wall, and a couple of stone rows of western and northern façades survive.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.