This domed basilica stands in the hills north of Shilda on a track that leads ultimately up into the Caucasus mountains and Dagestan. Although the modern border is now difficult to negotiate, in the past there was a steady traffic of traders and animal herders across the mountains making the now abandoned village of Bartsana, on the open area south of the forest where Sarbela church is located, a prosperous local centre up until the nineteenth century. The church itself has horseshoe arches and the support of the dome is difficult to confirm as the dome has collapsed and within the last 30 years a corrugated metal pyramid has been constructed to protect the building. There are traces of medieval frescoes on the north wall and the north wall of the apse. There is a narthex added to the west side and an additional arcade was appended to the south. The apse is flanked by two pastophoria, the southern of which has ceramics embedded to aid the acoustics. The dome was supported by two piers on the west side and this two-pier disposition was reported by Chubinashvili as being a late development - the same arrangement can be seen at the sixteenth century royal church at Gremi. However this appears to be a late antique foundation, suggesting that the use of piers to support a dome may be earlier in Georgia than previously accepted. Two red crosses were found painted beneath the medieval plaster on the west side of the south pier and in the middle of the north wall. There is an extensive open air marani north of the church.
The church of St. Gayane in Echmiadzin (now Vagharshapat) in Armavir Province was built in the seventh century. It is a three-naved domed basilica of the type encountered at Odzun and, as such, is included in the list of churches included in that entry. However, unlike most of the monuments on the list, the prominent location of this church in the Holy See of the Armenian Apostolic Church means that it was renovated in the seventeenth century and has therefore undergone more change than the other buildings of this type.
The church at Odzun in the northern Lori Province of Armenia has been variously dated as between the fifth and seventh centuries, with many sources electing to place it in the sixth century, and was subject to alterations in the eighth century. It has been undergoing a process of renovation since 2012 and these renovations were still ongoing during the site visit in August 2017. The reason for visiting Odzun is that it is a domed basilica of a type that belongs to a small group of monuments recorded in Georgia, Armenia and territories formerly belonging to both nations that now lie in Turkey. Therefore this architectural type is comparable with the church of Tsromi (Georgia), Mren and Bagawan (Turkey) and St. Gayane in Echmiadzin (Armenia). As an aside it also possesses a unique early medieval funerary monument to the north of the church where two stelae are framed by a two-arched arcade in a manner that is reminiscent of some Roman funerary monuments in northwest Syria.
The church of Kvelatsminda (All Saints) in Gurjaani, located in the Kakheti region of east Georgia is an architectural anomaly that does not have any parallel elsewhere in Georgia. The church dates back to the eighth to ninth centuries and uniquely boasts two small domes as well as a gallery level entry at the west end of the building. This first floor gallery leads to passageways that run to the north and south of the main nave and terminate in chambers of indeterminate function. Due to these passages the exterior windows of the church do not communicate with the nave below. Some questions remain as to how the church would have originally looked as it was extensively restored in the seventeenth century and this could have led to some changes in the interior disposition of the building.
Early sources reveal that Constantine’s church of the Holy Sepulchre was sumptuously decorated with fine marbled panels, columns and a coffered ceiling. A cross was set up on the rock of Golgotha to commemorate the exact site of the Crucifixion and was replaced over the following centuries with one decorated with gems, a golden cross and a simple wooden one in the seventh century. Christ’s tomb was in two parts: the first a porch that contained part of the stone that formed the door to the tomb and the second the tomb itself. It had a roof of silver and gold, outer walls made of marble and it was topped with a cross.
The modern church has been significantly modified and little of the Late Antique fabric has survived as much of it was rebuilt in the nineteenth and twentieth century following a fire and an earthquake that caused much damage.
Tags: Architecture, C12th, C19th-C20th, C2nd, C4th, Christ, Christian, Church, Constantine, Cross, Crucifixion, Crusades, Domed Basilica, Golgotha, Holy Sepulchre, Holy Site, Israel, Jerusalem, Joseph of Arimathea, Mosaic, Pilgrimage, Resurrection, St. Helena, Tomb
The first church of the Holy Sepulchre built by the Emperor Constantine was dedicated in the year 328 AD. It was accessed off one of Jerusalem’s main thoroughfares, the Cardo. The entrance led to a narthex, the basilica, an atrium and culminated with the Anastasis (or Resurrection) Rotunda that surrounded the much smaller edifice of Christ’s Tomb. Unfortunately, very little of this church now remains. The Late Antique foundations exist below ground level of the current church and are cut off from public view. Throughout its history, the church has undergone many remodelling and rebuilding programmes, much of which was caused by its turbulent history during the Persian invasion in the seventh century and the Muslim conquest of the city in the eleventh century. Much of the visible external architecture dates to the Crusader period.
Tags: Architecture, C12th, C19th-C20th, C2nd, C4th, Christ, Christian, Church, Constantine, Crucifixion, Crusades, Domed Basilica, Golgotha, Holy Sepulchre, Holy Site, Israel, Jerusalem, Pilgrimage, Resurrection, St. Helena, Tomb
The church at Tsromi has an inscription dating its construction to 626-634 and it is a domed basilica of a type similar to that found in Armenia at Mren and in several other locations.