Jews are the ancient residents of Georgia. Back in VI century BC part of the persecuted Jewish people from Jerusalem arrived and settled in Mtskheta. Jews had their own neighborhoods in almost all big cities of Georgia and they were primarily engaged in trade. Closely settled Jews constructed their house of worship – a SYNAGOGUE. There are many synagogues on the territory of Georgia, including synagogue in Oni, province of Racha, known for its beauty and original architectural forms. There are several synagogues in Tbilisi. Active big synagogue is located on Leselidze street. It was built in 1910. There is also a small synagogue nearby. The third so called Dome Synagogue is on Anton Katalikos street. It is not operating now and there has been set up David Baazov Historical and Ethnographic Museum of Georgian Jews. Nearly 4 centuries (735-1122)
Tbilisi was under Islamic influence. Historical sources tell us that a MOSQUE in Tbilisi has existed from VIII century AD. Thereafter the influence of Islamic culture on the lifestyle and architecture of the city was big. Located in downtown, not far from Botanical garden, the mosque was first built by the king of Kartli, Rostom (1633-1658). In XIX century a minaret of the mosque underwent a reconstruction by an Italian architect Giovanni Scudieri. There was another mosque on the left bank of river Mtkvari, in Rike, which was built in 1522 on the order of Shah of Iran, Ismail. This Shiite mosque was demolished by the communists under the pretext of reconstructing Metekhi bridge. After that both denominations of Islam (Shiites and Sunnis) pray in the Sunni mosque in Abanotubani neighborhood.
The first CATHOLIC CHURCH in Tbilisi was built by Dominican monks back in 1243. During the reign of Giorgi V Brilliant (1318-1346), on the order of the Roman Pope, a diocese was set up in Tbilisi and Catholic Church of Annunciation was built, presumably, at the same venue where it is today (at the gateway of historical Tbilisi, near the gates of Kojori. Today - 4 Abesadze st.). In 1795 Shah of Iran, Agha Mahmad Khan, during his invasion of Tbilisi demolished along with others also Catholic church. In 1804 under initiative of a vicegerent Pavel Tsitsianov a plan of a pseudo-Gothic style new church was designed, construction of which was finished in 1806 (fence was finished in 1825). The Church of Holy Virgin Mary functioned up to 20-ies of the XX century until it was shut down by the Bolsheviks. In 1998-1999 under the auspices of Bishop G. Pezotti the Church was renovated and became operational.
Copyright © 2017. N. Elizbarashvili, B. Kupatadze
Copyright © 2017. “Dani” Publishing