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CHURCH AND FORTRESS IN ATSKURI

ATSKURI was a political and religious center in the medieval southern Georgia. Today’s hamlet of Atskuri (old name – Sosangeti) is located in 30 km from the town of Borjomi, and in 22 km from Akhaltsikhe. The first cathedral on the territory of the hamlet was allegedly built at the beginning of VII century.

At the beginning of IX century here already existed Episcopacy cathedral. And in XI century in Atskuri was built cathedral of Virgin Mary. It was the biggest cathedral by space in the middle-aged Georgia. In XIII-XIV centuries sovereigns of Samtskhe, atabags from Jakeli family renovated the church. However, earthquakes and invasions of enimies damaged the cathedral considerably. The final destruction happened at the ending of the Ottomans’ domination. A dome, an arch of the dome neck and the walls of the cathedral are demolished. Famous educationalists conducted their activities in Atskuri, such as Giorgi Matskvereli (IX-X cc.), Gabriel Kotai (XI c.), Ioakime and Jeremiah Matskvereli (XVI c.). Near the cathedral is located ATSKURI FORTRESS which is a concomitant of the cathedral of Virgin Mary. This fortified facility guarded Borjomi gorge from the south. From 1579 the fortress was included in the vilayet of Cildir. In 1770 the attempt to conquer it by the army of Georgians and Russians appeared to be abortive. As a result of 1829 Adrianopolis peace accord, the Ottoman empire ceded this fortress along with the region of Samtskhe to the Russian Empire. Atskuri fortress was built on the inaccessible rock that specially increased its ability of defence. Entrance to the fortress was possible through the narrow tunnel cut out in the rock.

 

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

 




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