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  • Tags: C6th

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Zedazeni is the monastery associated with St. Ioane Zedazneli, who is referred to in Georgian hagiographical sources as the leader of the Thirteen (As)Syrian Fathers. He is believed to have retreated to the mountains of Kvemo Kartli north of Mtskheta with a band of local followers such as Elia Diakoni (Elia the Deacon) and founded a monastery there. A tomb in the north aisle of the small church is believed by the faithful to be his shrine. Although art historians and archaeologists have argued that some elements of the church at the site date back to the sixth century, the evidence for this has yet to be published and it is difficult to make out the chronology of the building which has been heavily restored over the centuries. As with many ancient Christian sites in Georgia, in particular those associated with saintly figures, the foundation has been re-established since the fall of communism and is now home to an ultra-orthodox religious community who are on the fringes of the Georgian Orthodox church. This extremist tendency is illustrated by the fashioning of a giant cross from a disused electricity pylon and the construction of a giant wall of icon reproductions several hundred metres from the monastery compound.

Type: Architecture
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Zerzevan Church

A small partially excavated church in the middle of the hilltop that Zerzevan's fortified enclosure occupies.

Type: Architecture
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Tsikusdziri/Petra Church

A relatively small church, it's small size was probably dictated by the amount of room available on the citadel.

Type: Architecture
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A substantial fortified settlement atop a plateau above the main road from Mardin to Diyarbakir. In recent years archaeological excavation has been undertaken at the site.

Type: Architecture
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Kafar Hawwar

At the time of the visit there were no roads within about 30 minutes walk of this village. The church is largely rubble with only the sides of the apse arch still standing, with the destruction almost certainly caused my earthquakes. The bema was still visible and the site was undisturbed. Tchalenko could not securely date the site through survey and noted both C4th and C6th elements in the church.

Type: Architecture
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Sinkhar is located in a valley between Batuta and Sheikh Sulaiman and, at the time of the site visit, was only accessible by walking for some distance. The C4th church in the village was severely overgrown, meaning that only a well-preserved chapel to the south of the main church, that was added in the C6th, could be accessed and it was impossible to find any trace of the bema and other features recorded by Tchalenko in the 1950s.

Type: Architecture
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Baqirha C6th church

The settlement of Baqirha had two churches. The façade of the C6th church is perfectly preserved, but the rest of the church is obscured by foliage and fallen masonry. The village is on the high plateau facing the Syrian-Turkish border to the west.

Type: Architecture
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Church, Al Bara

This C6th church is unusual for having a nave that is almost transverse. Although this type of floorpan is a known element of churches in the Tur Abdin region of south eastern Turkey, it is very unusual to find this design this far south.

Type: Architecture
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The monastery of St. Simeon Stylites the younger was said to stand on the "miraculous mountain", possibly because it was near Mt. Cassius which was a pagan holy mountain. Even today there is an Alawite shrine further down the mountain from the ruins of the monastery. Simeon the younger was a sixth century imitator of his fifth century namesake, Simeon the elder, and a complex of buildings appears to have sprung up around his pillar even during his lifetime. In his vita there is mention of Georgian followers settling at the site and later on they appear to have run their own monastery-within-a-monastery at the site. The modern name for the ruins translates as "Simeon's mountain."

Type: Architecture
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The Church of Mar Elian, Homs

The Church of Mar Elian is believed to date back to the early fifth century and to have been founded on the site of the saint's martyrdom in 284. Elian was a local physician who was murdered by his father, a Roman officer, for his Christian faith. He is widely venerated in Syria for miracles of healing. The church was built around a late antique marble sarcophagus decorated with crosses and located in a small side apse south of the main sanctuary of the church. In the 1970s fragments of frescoes and mosaics were discovered during a renovation programme in the chamber around the tomb, and some elements of the decoration possibly date back as far as the sixth century, though most of the frescoes are twelfth century. Today the church interior boasts frescoes of the life of Mar Elian and various biblical scenes painted by two Romanian artists.

Type: Architecture
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