By Tika Bujiashvili
Nikortsminda is a domed cathedral which was built in 1010-1014 by King Bagrat III-the first king of unified Georgia. At first there was a monastery, though in the XVI century King of the Imereti principality, also named Bagrat III, restored it and transformed it into a cathedral. The Cathedral is St. Nikola’s. The chapels were added later, but they also were built in the XI century.
Nikortsminda stands out with its exterior stone carvings. Each part of the design is related to the theme of divine greatness of Christ. The interior is decorated with mural paintings which were painted in the XVI-XVIII centuries. The rich and beautiful ornaments can be found everywhere, both inside and outside. Facades and annexes, besides the ornaments, are decorated with the most important relief statues from a historical evolutionary point of view.
Due to the earthquake in 1991, the roof of the Cathedral and the drainage system were damaged. The condition of the church paintings became urgent, especially in the dome neck and the west wing. Restoration works started in 2012 and some unknown murals, painted in the XVI century, were found. According to the inscription, found during the restoration, the painters of the cathedral were Javakhadze and Tsulukidze.
Nikortsminda‘s decoration testifies to the superb skill of the craftsmen and the artistic standards, which make this Cathedral one of the most outstanding examples of Georgian architecture.
Since October 24th 2007 Nikortsminda is included in the test list of UNESCO world heritage.