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  • Tags: Kvemo Kartli

9 Items

The Bolnisi Stela

Stelae and carved stone crosses are a common phenomenon in early Christian Kartli. They are believed to date between the C5th and C10th. One of the earliest and most well-known is the stela from Bolnisi in Kvemo Kartli which has been ascribed a date of the C5th-C6th and which is now housed in the Shalva Amiranashvili State Museum of Art in Tbilisi.

Type: Museum Exhibit
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Zedazeni

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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Martqopi

Martqopi is monastery in the Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia to the north east of Tbilisi. As with several other ancient monasteries, the village named Martqopi is now some kilometres distant from the monastery of that name as the monastery and accompanying settlement have divided over time and the monastery is known as Gvtaeba. The site is named for St. Anton Martqopeli, believed to have been one of the Thirteen (As)Syrian Fathers and who is believed to have brought the Holy Tile of Edessa (the Keramidion) to Georgia. Although the Keramidion is believed to be a miraculous imprint made on a tile by the Mandylion, the miraculous cloth that Christ left an imprint of his face on and therefore a secondary icon after the Mandylion, in Georgia this story has become confused and St. Anton is now often said to have brought the Mandylion itself to Georgia. The saint is often referred to as a 'Stylite' as he repudedly lived alone in a tower above the main monastery for some years. This building is now closed to visitors but is referred to interchageably as a 'koshki' (tower) or 'sveti' (pillar or column). As at Ubisa this dwelling resembles a tower house rather than the Syrian-style column found at Qal'at Seman and Semandağ. There is also a modern tomb at this site reorted to be that of St. Anton, replicating the situation across a number of sites associated with the Thirteen (As)Syrian Fathers where relatively recent shrines have been constructed.

Type: Architecture
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Dmanisi

The C6th basilica in Dmanisi has been substantially altered over time, notably with the addition of a medieval narthex, and is located beside the citadel of the now abandoned city that once stood on this site. Older elements have been reused in buildings surrounding the church and there is an Arabic inscription on one of the gravestones in the vicinity.

Type: Architecture
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Akvaneba

Akvaneba is a small C5th-C6th ruined chapel with an external apse to the south. It stands on a hill to the north of the Bolnisi-Dmanisi road.

Type: Architecture
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Akaurta

The Mother of God church in Akaurta is dated C5th-C6th and is a single-naved, apsed building. It has been recently and unsympathetically renovated by the National Agency for the Cultural Preservation of Georgia.

Type: Architecture
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Bolnisi

Bolnisi Sioni church has the oldest dated inscription in the Georgian language on Georgian soil that states that the church was completed in 493 (the earliest securely dated Georgian inscriptions have been discovered in the Holy Land). The original inscription is now in the National Art Museum in Tbilisi, but a replica has been placed on the church wall. This tells that the building was completed by the end of the C5th and this is particularly notable given the exceptional size of the building. It is referred to as a five-aisled basilica. The central nave is flanked by aisles to the north and south, that end in presbyteries, but in addition doors lead on both the north and south sides to the same kind of semi-open arcades found at Nekresi. The northern aisle terminates in an apse, creating an al fresco chapel and is walled in to the south, east and west, but open to the elements on the north side. To the south, the central element of this arcade is open to the south, but the eastern and western extremities have been closed in to create two chambers at either end of the arcade. In addition there is a C17th belltower in the courtyard of the church. The church has received a new roof and parts of the architecture, particularly on the northern side, have recently been renovated.

Type: Architecture
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Kvemo Bolnisi

The C5th-C6th church at Kvemo Bolnisi has been recently, and sympathetically, restored. The extant building is the central nave of a building that originally had aisles to the north and south. However, these aisles were only accessible through one door to the north and two doors to the south - they were not open to the central nave with a columned arcade or piers. The apse of the south aisle is still extant and to the north, most of the northern aisle stands to shoulder height and above, but lacks a roof.

Type: Architecture
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Manglisi Sioni

Manglisi Sioni church dates back to the C5th and was extended and altered up until the C11th. It was initially centrally planned, but has changed shape significantly over time including the addition of a porch at the west end and another narthex, with a small chapel/shrine open to the elements on one side to the south of the church.

Type: Architecture
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