Built during the reign of King Gagik in the late 10th and early 11th centuries AD and intended to be a copy of the cathedral of Zvartnots (in modern day Armenia). The architect of the Ani cathedral was commissioned to build Gagik's church but flaws in its design meant it was very unstable. Attempts to strengthen the church failed and it collapsed not long after. Gagik's famous church was lost until the excavations of Nikolai Marr revealed it's location.
Sadly due to time constraints further investigation and collection of images of this church were not possible during my visit.
Inscriptions on its outer faces give us the origins of the cathedral. Construction work began in 989 AD and after a brief hiatus in work was completed in 1001 AD. The city was captured in 1064 by the Turks who converted the cathedral into a mosque. It was restored to its Christian usage in 1124.
It has been significantly damaged in recent years by the use of explosives at a nearby mine on the Armenian side of the border. As a result significant sections of the Cathedral are now being supported by metal brackets.
Traces of the frescos that covered the Cathedral can still be seen in the whitewashed apse.
The Church of the Ascension in Matskhvarishi village in the community of Latali in Svaneti was built in C10th-C11th and, as with much of Svaneti it was built in a distinct and more archaic form of architecture than that in the Georgian lowlands. As with other older churches, there is a semi-open arcade on the south aisle with an apse but in this case there does not appear to be a corresponding aisle on the north side as well.