Middle Age MONASTERY COMPLEX IN SHEMOKMEDI is located in Guria, on the left bank of river Bzhuzhi, 8 km to the south-west from the town of Ozurgeti, in the hamlet of Shemokmedi.
The complex consists of three monument: XVI century bell tower, which was restored in 1831, and two attached cathedrals – XII century Basilica of Deity and a dome church called Zarzma. The latter was constructed by Vakhtang I Gurieli in 1572 to place there Transfiguration Icon bestowed in XVI century for the purpose of its security. Up to nowadays it is the oldest among the extant Georgian icons and is dated back to 886.
As the legend goes, the icon bestowed from Zarzma in Akhaltsikhe was attached to the bull and, presumably, it was supposed to be placed exactly where a bull would stop. That is how this Icon appeared to get to Shemokmedi monastery. Interior and outer jacket of the church of Our Lord is paved with cut stone and has marble flooring. The church is a three-nave construction without a dome. First it should have been a one-nave building with later annexes of two side naves. At the same time the church was dressed in new jacket and decorated with various color stones in staggered rows. The Shemokmedi monastery was considered the richest monastery and had a rich stock of books. The monastery used to be the burial site of Shemokmedi Bishops and the family of Gurieli.
Copyright © 2017. N. Elizbarashvili, B. Kupatadze
Copyright © 2017. “Dani” Publishing