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.

 

 

 

 

 

While visiting the town of Telavi in Kakheti wine region of Georgia, there is one monumental complex you will see nearly from every corner of the city-centrally located Lord’s palace (or, commonly referred as Erekle’s palace)  with its long, rectangular defensive walls overlooking  Alazani valley and the Caucasus mountains on the horizon’s verge.

Despite its high, stone-built walls which makes the palace look inaccessible, central gate is open for visitors and once you walk in through its arched entrance you immediately become an eye-witness of the whole royal life of Late-Medieval Kakheti kingdom.

Built back in the 60s of the XVII century, the royal complex got refurbished during the reign of king Erekle II in the XVIII century. The rectangular building of the palace with its high ceilings and pointed arches is situated in between various ancient ruins of stables, bath-houses and two royal chapels, adorned with  four open balconies facing a cardinal point  and flanked by corridors and smaller rooms in the corners.

King Erekle II had difficult, troubled and turbulent life. From being granted the kingship by his overlord Nader shah of Persia to becoming the penultimate king of the united kingdoms of Kartli and Kakheti, his reign is regarded as the swan song of the Georgian monarchy .In foreign policy, the king was primarily focused on seeking a reliable protector and ally that would guarantee Georgia’s independence. He chose Russia to Persia not only because it was Orthodox Christian but also because it would serve as a link to Europe. Yet ,his initial cooperation with Russia turned disappointing-he died  in 1798 leaving the thr0ne to his the eldest child out of his 23 children from his three marriages-George XII whose death in 1800 was followed by annexation of Kartli and Kakheti kingdom by Paul I of Romanov of Russia terminating both East Georgia’s independence and a millennium-long rule of the Georgian Bagrationi dynasty