Written by Tinatin Bujiashvili
Dmanisi was the largest fortified fortress-town of Lower Kartli. It was one of the most defended towns in Georgia during the middle ages, after Tbilisi. According to historical sources, the town of Dmanisi was the summer residence of Queen Tamar. Inside the fortress there is a three-nave Basilica – Dmanisi Sioni, which dates to VI century. In the XII century it was attached with richly ornamented gates during the reign of Giorgi IV Lasha. There are three other churches in one church-Dmanisi Sioni, St. Petre-Pavle church and John the Baptist Church.
The church used to have frescos, dated to XII-XII centuries. Today they are hardly visible- frescos of Twelve Apostles and St. John Chrysostom in the apse. For years the church wasn’t roofed, so they were washed out. As it is said, it was a shelter of shepherds during the soviet period. Dmanisi cathedral church has a unique fresco of Lasha Giorgi.
The temple is decorated with clear green-turquoise stones. On one wall of the church there is an Armenian cross-Khachkar, which is thought to put in the XX century. The church also has a cross which is called queen Tamar cross.
The church had a hiding place, which was used during the invasion times. Nearly 50 people could hide there.
St. Marine church is attached with the church. There are some evidences that the church was redecorated several times. On the south wall you will see a Georgian inscription: “Isakhar, who brought up Mariam, the daughter of Batonishvili rebuilt the destroyed church of St. Marine”.
Nearby you can see ruins of the church. It is said that it was St.Theodore church. There are some evidences that the church was redecorated several times. There are some carvings disordered put in the church.