At Zegaani in Kakheti there is a complex of three early churches. The fifth-century church of St. Marina is exceptionally small and its nearest comparable building in terms of design seems to be the tiny church of St. Nino in Samtavro, Mtskheta. The interior of the space is richly frescoed with an (unpublished) sixteenth to seventeenth century fresco cycle, that is currently open to the elements given the lack of windows and doors on the church. There is a simple, single naved church dedicated to the Archangels of an inter determinate date and a large three-church basilica dedicated to the Virgin and of an architectural type very similar to the basilica to the north of the valley at Nekresi. Like the Nekresi basilica, this church is believed to date to the sixth to seventh century. This basilica was in the process of being resorted at the time of the visit as the site was being re-established as a working monastery.
The church is small and its flat east end abuts the Qalb Lozeh-Harim road. The bema is in situ, and as at Kimar has notches suggesting that a wooden structure was in place above the stone base of the bema. There are also reliquaries still in place on the altar steps. The church is very small and its unsophisticated plan and execution led Tchalenko to date it to the late C6th-early C7th.
The impressively preserved city walls of Resafa are the subject of some debate when regards to their age and to who's reign their construction can be credited to. Scholars seem to be split as to whether they were constructed in the reigns of the Emperor Anastasius (491-518 AD) or the Emperor Justinian (527-565 AD). Procopius' attributes the first stone wall to the reign of Justinian. However this cannot be wholly accepted as fact as Procopius' accounts are occasionally deliberately misleading and sometimes wholly inaccurate. The most well preserved and impressive of the gates still extant is the Sura Gate on the north side of the city.
Regardless of which reign they were constructed in the defences do seem to be Late Antique. The walls, their covered galleries, the towers and gates were well preserved when I visited in 2010. As a result of the civil war their current condition is hard to ascertain.
Nekresi is a complex of churches in the foothills of the Caucasus near the border with Dagestan. In the valley beneath, archaeologists have found the remains of a sun temple and it is popularly believed that the early Christians appropriated an earlier sacred site, possibly a Zoroastrian high place, in building a church in the C4th at this location. However this belief has been disproved by archaeological excavation which has found no evidence of pre-Christian occupation at the site and has redated the 'C4th' building to the C6th. This structure has entrances on the north, south and east sides and is open to the elements on all sides. It has an undercroft that was used for burials suggesting that this was possibly built as a funerary chapel. The complex also includes a C6th-C7th basilica, known in Georgia as a triple basilica as the narthex opens onto three aisles, but the south aisle does not communicate with the main body of the church and both the north and south aisles are semi-open to the elements with arched arcades to the north and south. There is also an C8th-C9th centrally-planned church that shows a strong Persian influence in its design. The rest of the monastery complex is medieval and a series of early Georgian inscriptions excavated nearby are displayed within them. Nekresi is also associated with one of the Thirteen (As)Syrian Fathers St. Abibos Nekreseli who was reputedly martyred for his resistance to Zoroastrianism.
Tags: (As)Syrian Fathers, Architecture, C4th, C6th-C7th, C8th-C9th, Centrally-Planned, Church, Funerary Chapel, Georgia, Georgian, Georgian Inscription, Inscription, Kakheti, Middle Ages, Nekresi, Thirteen (As)Syrian Fathers, Triple Basilica, Zoroastrian
Jvari means 'cross' in Georgian but the place known as Jvari is the high point above the city of Mtskheta where St.Nino is believed to have raised a cross in the C4th, signifying the arrival of Christianity in Georgia. The centrally-planned church on the site dates to the turn of the C6th-C7th and is the prototype for a genre of vernacular church architecture in Georgia. The sculptures on the east façade represent the Erismtavari Stepanoz I (during whose reign Jvari was constructed) being blessed by Christ, Erismtavari Adarnarse I with his son Kobul-Stepanoz (later Stepanoz II) and Dimitri, brother of Stepanoz I. On the south façade Kobul-Stepanoz (Stepanoz II) is shown with St. Stephen ando over the main entrance is a sculpture depicting the Ascension of the Cross. The south west (women's) entrance has the Ascension of Christ above it. A later chapel added to the north of the main church has been recently renovated, causing damage to the historical integrity of this part of the complex.
Tags: Adarnarse, Architecture, Ascension, C4th, C6th-C7th, Centrally-Planned, Christ, Church, Cross, Dimitri, Erismtavari, Figure, Jvari, Kobul-Stepanoz, Mtskheta, Sculpture, Shida Kartli, St. Nino, St. Stepanos, Stepanoz
Sculpture, C6th-C7th. Found in Urfa, now in Urfa Museum.