BOLNISI SIONI is one of the oldest Christian churches in Georgia. The three-nave Basilica of the Virgin Mary is located in 5 km from the town of Bolnisi. It is distinguished with its architecture and ornaments. In the cavity of the southern entrance to the Cathedral was applied a construction inscription denoting that cathedral was built in 479-494. This inscription is at the same time the oldest specimen of the Georgian script discovered on the territory of Georgia. The inscription tells us that cathedral was built by the first Bishop of Bolnisi, David, during the reign of the king of Kartli, Vakhtang Gorgasali (457-491). The belfry standing by the cathedral was built in XVII century.

THE TSUGRUGASHENI CATHEDRAL is located in the historical Kvemo Kartli, on the right side of the expanded gorge of river Poladauri, in a couple of kilometers from Bolnisi Sioni, on the right bank of river Bolnisistskali, on the mountain slope. In the inscriptions of the church are mentioned Giorgi IV Lasha (1210-1223) and a builder of the church, Hasan, son of Arseni. Tsugrugasheni was planned like Betania church, but it is smaller with much higher neck of the dome. The outer form of the construction is stretched from east to west and is placed in the form of slightly prolonged square. The interior space is created from four sleeves of the cross of which only eastern sleeve ends with apse. On the both sides of the altar are placed two-story auxiliary premises which in its first floor have table of oblation and a deacon’s closet. From the north the chuch has an annexe presumably added later, a family burial vault. In the construction of the cathedral colour stones were used with extreme subtlety: warm yellowish golden, wine and blue colour stones. The cathedral is lavishly decorated with rich ornaments.

Copyright © 2017. N. Elizbarashvili, B. Kupatadze
Copyright © 2017. “Dani” Publishing

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