By Tika Bujiashvili

According to Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani Barakoni means ‘Shining In White’.

Barakoni Church of the Mother of God is located in the village of Tsesi, Ambrolauri Municipality, about 6-7 hours drive from Tbilisi. It is built on a top of a steep cliff and overlooks the River Rioni. Entering the Church yard you will see a note providing tourists with a little historical details about the church.

According to historical records the Church was built in 1753 by the architect Avtandil Shulavreli upon the request of the local lord Rostom of Racha. The name of the architect is commemorated in the inscription of the eastern facade. It is a domed cruciform church and one of the last important monuments in the tradition of medieval Georgian architecture. The church was built of neatly trimmed stable stand stones and richly decorated with patterned stone carving. The facade includes good examples of the XVIII century engravings. High level of craftsmanship is even surprising if you look through the history of Georgia and found out what a dark period of building the church was for the country when Ottoman rule ended.

Another difficult period for the church was Soviet period. The church was closed then. 1991 Racha earthquake gave a little damage to the church though it was quickly repaired.

The temple is well entered in a landscape and perfectly looks from far away. It is at the route and it is easy to reach it. There is Convent of St. anointers today.