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METEKHI CATHEDRAL AND NARIKALA


METEKHI is the oldest settlement of Tbilisi. It is located in Avlabari, on the rocky height of left bank of river Mtkvari. It included Isani stronghold and its environs. It used to be a Royal residence. The very name of Metekhi derives from this fact. Metekhi in Old Georgian means ‘territory around the palace’. Metekhi was the neighborhood of vendors and artisans. Church of Virgin Mary of Metekhi was located in its center first erected by Vakhnang Gorgasali (V century AD). As the legend goes from old times, at the bottom of Metekhi rock was the venue of martyrdom of the patron saint of Tbilisi, Abo Tbileli (786 AD). Nowadays there is a church named after him. In 1235 the Mongols destroyed Royal palace standing here and church of the Royal court. In 1278-1289 the Church in modern style was restored by the king of Georgia, Demetre II. Today’s Church is an edifice with a central dome and is a replica of the old church layout. In XVII century AD the Wali (potentate) of Kartli, Rostom, circled Metekhi with a fence. In XVII-XVIII centuries cathedral underwent many changes. Persian and Ottoman military were stationed here. During the Russia’s rule (from 1801) the Church was converted into a military barrack. From 1819 ancillary fixtures were attached to Metekhi and until 1938 it used to be a prison. In the 30-ies of the XX century fixtures around the cathedral were demolished and territory was refurbished. The Bolsheviks planned to demolish the cathedral altogether, however they met opposition from the most advanced Georgian intellectuals and reconsidered to carry out this barbarous act. In 1967 in front of the church the monument of the founder of Tbilisi, Vakhtang Gorgasali, was installed (sculptor – E. Amashukeli). From 1988 Metekhi church started service operation.

NARIKALA is a historical citadel and main fortress of Tbilisi. In Georgian sources it is called ‘Mother Fortress’. The term ‘Narikala’ is a Persian word and was used to call the fortress in XVII century. Narikala has the traces of numerous reconstructions conducted in IV-XVIII centuries. The last reconstruction at Narikala was conducted in 2000. The Church of St. Nicholas and a fence were restored, the latter got a complete form. From Narikala fortress one may enjoy the most beautiful views of Old and New Tbilisi.

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


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