The ecclesiastical complex at Martvili is considered one of the most important groups of Christian architecture in Georgia and is believed to date back to the seventh century. One element of this group is a 'stylite' dwelling. However, as mentioned elsewhere on this site, in Georgia 'stylites' lived in tower houses rather than standing on exposed columns as in Syria and these houses were often in the vicinity of monasteries or churches.
Katskhi pillar is the most well-known 'stylite' site in Georgia. In fact rather than being a column, as in Syria, in this case the 'pillar' is a pinnacle of rock that houses a chapel and some monastic cells on its summit. Although originally believed to date back to the sixth century, archaeological exploration suggests that it was inhabited no earlier than the ninth century and it has been pointed out that this manner of monasticism is closer to the monasteries of Meteora in Greece than it is to the Stylites of Syria. However, Katskhi remains fixed in Georgian opinion as the home of an ancient Stylite and there has thus far been little discussion as to the exact relationship between these variant interpretations of the practice of Stylitism.
Gremi in Kakheti is best known today for its extremely well-preserved complex of seventeenth century buildings, preserved from the time when the city was the regional capital. However beside the citadel lie the remains of an older city at the site and this includes three adjoining small early churches that have been built abutting each other and clumsily linked physically and given additional elements such as a dome in later periods.
The Anatori burial vaults lie several kilometres north of Shatili below the Georgian-Chechen border post on the other side of the river. The vaults are called akeldama in Georgian and the people of Shatili have a tradition that when a plague came to the town in the middle ages, those affilcted by the disease walked to the akeldama and sat and patiently waited to die in the vaults rather than infect their healthy families and friends.
Shatili is the capital of Khevsureti and lies several kilometres south of the Georgian-Chechen border. The medieval heart of the village is now UNESCO listed meaning that all restoration must be undertaken under rigid guidelines and modern additions such as electricity are forbidden. Partially for this reason the modern inhabitants of the village live in a series of houses around the ancient heart of the settlement that date from the Soviet period onwards. The site was forcibly cleared in the twentieth century because it was used as a Soviet airbase, but the local population has returned since the fall of communism and taken up residence in the well-built houses left behind by the soldiers as well as having adapted items such as abandoned railway carriages and storage containers for use as homes. Khevsur towers are distinct from those of Svaneti and Tusheti by clustering together and interlocking to form one fortified village rather than being divided into distinct family units. This type of village is closer to the architecture of peoples like the Chechens and the Daghestanis to the north, and indeed Chechen-style towers are interspersed with native forms across both Khevsureti and Tusheti. As with the rest of Khevsureti, Shatili is still largely pagan with a number of sacred enclosures and smaller shrines dotted around the settlement, however there is a new church and a small monastery in the village that witness to the growing influence of the Georgian Orthodox Church in even the remoter regions of the country.
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.
The Church of St. Stepane Khirseli is actually located in the modern village of Tibaani, rather than the eponymous Khirsa in Kakheti. This is the easternmost site associated with the Thirteen (As)Syrian Fathers and, as with many other of the sites, has little if any evidence of early Christian occupation with the church dating to the medieval period and having been substantially renovated in the seventeenth century. As with a number of these sites a shrine around the saint's purported grave seems to be a relatively new phenomenon.
Photographs of remains of the older portion of the city and the citadel of Ani. As well as defences the citadel is home to several churches and a palace. The images of the churches can be found in their own separate folders within the "Ani" collection.
Photographs taken of the exterior and interior of Ani's main outer defensive walls. The double walls are very impressive but have been subjected to decades of deliberate abuse and some questionable restorations.
Remains of the church are to be found in the old city on the citadel mound. Church in poor state of repair with much seemingly lost within the last 150 years.