Each and every region of Georgia is extremely rich in different churches and monasteries but architecture of Svaneti-the highest inhabited region the the Caucasus-constitutes a separate chapter in the history of Georgian art.

 

The region mainly known for its Medieval defensive towers has many small churches too. Richly decorated with frescoes, these single-nave basilicas are perched on the tops of the Caucasus mountains of Svaneti, some in abandoned villages where locals gather only special church holidays.

Svanetian art reached its summit of development in the Middle ages, during the reign of King David the IV and his descendants. Local manuscripts preserved the names some of the painters whose art still astonish visitors 800 years after-Tevdore,Michael Maglakeli etc.

In the XIV century Svanetian artists reached a different stage of depicting both Biblical and and secular paintings in one building and painted both internal and external walls of churches.

For most of foreign visitors Svaneti is an ideal place for walking/trekking tours but those who appreciate Medieval art, multi-coloured frescoes and UNESCO-protected defensive towers will find Svaneti as Georgia’s one of the art destinations.

 

 

 

 

 

Churches and monasteries count thousands of years history in Georgia and it is not surprising-in world’s one of the first Christian country churches had a very special role of national importance – they had to instill a sense of spirituality, a sense of national identity and a sense of self-identity among the local people and on the other hand, local architects and painters were able to develop their artistic talent through the building of churches, of painting frescoes and laying down mosaics.

Georgian ecclesiastic art went through different stages of its development: Basilicas,  Cross-cupola churches,Cathedrals and they all look very different from one another when you travel in different regions of Georgia.Small,Medieval period basilicas in Svaneti region( North-west part of Georgia) are fully painted inside and out with local mythological scenes while most of the churches in Kakheti region(East Georgia) follow the standard orthodox style.

There are thousands of small and large churches throughout Georgia and it goes without saying that tourists don’t visit all of them (nor do the locals),Standard Georgian travel itineraries generally include visits to Big cathedrals of special national and historic importance such as Svetitskhoveli,Bagrati cathedral,Jvari church,Alaverdi and they are all fabulous but there are lot more churches which “ordinary” tourist never reach as some of them remained in ruins,or they are far away from highways or …people just forgot about them..

I always loved small, abandoned or less visited churches where time stands still and where you can feel dozens of emotions all together -emptiness,sadness,spirituality and vanity,churches with their own life,heartbeat and fading beauty.

I tried to immortalize in pictures some of the old,less visited churches of Kakheti region several years ago when I tailored a cultural expedition in search of old churches for Art specialists from Netherlands.

St.Mary church of Manavi
St.Mary church of Manavi
Holy Trinity church of Melaani Gurjaani municipality Kakheti region
Holy Trinity church of Melaani
Gurjaani municipality
Kakheti region
All saints church of Gurjaani
All saints church of Gurjaani
7th c
St. Saba church of Kardenakhi
St. Saba church of Kardenakhi
All Saints of Zegaani
All Saints of Zegaani
All Saints of Zegaani
All Saints of Zegaani
All Saints of Zegaani
All Saints of Zegaani
All Saints of Zegaani