The church at Urbnisi is an extremely large C6th basilica. Urbnisi had one of the earliest Christian communities in Georgia which could have been linked to the fact that the town also had a significant Jewish population in antiquity.
Ninotsminda means St. Nino and is one of several locations in Georgia named after the evangeliser of Georgia. The church is one of the first four-lobed centrally-planned buildings in Georgia and is seen as part of the evolution of this type of architecture. The church dates from the C6th with alterations continuing up until C10th. The site is now the home to a new religious community who live in a range of buildings around the central church.
Svetiskhoveli is the national cathedral of Georgia and translates as the "Life-giving Pillar". The foundational legend of the church says that a Georgian Jew named Elias bought Christ's cloak from the soldier who had drawn lots for it. On his return to Mtskheta he was met by his sister Sidonia who died on embracing the cloak. She was buried holding the cloak and an oak tree grew out of her grave. When St. Nino evangelised Georgia she had the tree cut down and made into seven columns for a new church but the seventh hovered above the earth and displayed miraculous powers before finally being lowered into its place.
The current cathedral dates from the C11th and is built on the foundations of a series of earlier church buildings. It includes a (stone) pillar associated with the miraculous origins of the church and a medieval replica of the Holy Sepulchre within it.
Tags: Architecture, C11th, Cathedral, Christ, Church, Elias, Fresco, Georgia, Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Jew, Middle Ages, Mtskheta, Sculpture, Shida Kartli, Sidonia, St. Nino, Svetiskhoveli
A view of Jvari from Mkskheta showing the line of sight between the capital and the place where St. Nino raised the Cross.
Samtavro is the place just outside the ancient settlement of Mtskheta where St. Nino is believed to have lived. A small chapel thought to have C4th origins stands beside a bush which Georgians believe to replicate the burning bush witnessed by Moses in the Sinai desert. The C11th church beside the chapel of St. Nino was the place of burial for a number of Georgian kings and queens, most significantly King Mirian I and Queen Nana historically the first Christian rulers of the country. The belltower in the complex is C13th.
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
Bodbe is associated with the grave of St. Nino, the evangeliser of Georgia. Although evidence suggests that the complex (that includes a convent and a sacred spring in the valley beneath it) goes back many centuries, the current site has been extensively renovated by the current religious community meaning that it is difficult to evaluate the age of the extant architecture. The monastic church undoubtably goes back at least until the Middle Ages, but the chapel and bathing pool located by the sacred spring is modern.