Mutso, like Shatili, has a perfectly preserved complex of medieval tower dwellings. Unlike Shatili the village is not UNESCO listed and so there is more freedom open to the restorers who at the time of this visit were conserving the village. Mutso marks the end of the road - beyond this point there are only trails to other settlements and to the Atsunta Pass into Tusheti. The ancient village is located on a pinnacle of rock overlooking a bend in the river below and the climb to the settlement passes several tomb vaults (akeldama) of the same type found at Anatori on the Shatili-Mutso road.
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.
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.
When the walls and base on which the sarcophagus had been standing were removed, cloth-wrapped metal bands were secured around the objects to keep it together and make sure that the tomb remained stable.
Tags: Archaeological Excavation, Archaeology, Dayr Mar Elian, Dayr Mar Elian Archaeological Project, Mar Elian, Mar Elian esh-Sharqi, Qaryatayn, Sarcophagus, Syria, Syrian Civil War, Tomb
This tomb was cut out of the stone at the base of the hill to the west of the ancient city.
This is one of the best-preserved tomb towers still extant and preserves many elements of its original fresco and sculptural decoration.
The Tomb of the Three Brothers is a well-known frescoed hypogeum to the south of the Valley of the Tombs. The entrance has an extensive Palmyrene inscription over the door detailing the names of those interred inside.
These pictures show some of the tomb towers that populate the 'Valley of the Tombs' the most famous necropolis associated with Palmyra and located south of the ancient city.
These photographs show the valley dotted with tomb towers south of the ruins of Palmyra. The pictures were taken from the hill on which the castle stands.