Kvemo Kartli

Abelia, Kvemo Kartli

Posted on June 9, 2016. Filed under: Around Georgia, Kvemo Kartli |

By Tika Bujiashvili

Abelia (or today Abeliani) is 5 km away from Tetritskaro municipality, Kvemo Kartli, on the right side of the river Khrami. In the village, at the cemetery, there is a hall church built with Algetian hewn. On the south façade, there is an inscription, which says that the church was built in 1250-1259. Manglel archbishop Arsen Mshvildadze, the author of the inscription, writes how difficult it was to build a church under Mongols domination. He mentions two kings-David Ulu and David Narin, also Tamar-Khatun, a daughter of the queen Rusudan and Giorgi-a son of David Ulu. The inscription was studied by Ekvtime Takaishvili.

source: https://ka.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E1%83%90%E1%83%91%E1%83%94%E1%83%9A%E1%83%98%E1%83%90_(%E1%83%A1%E1%83%9D%E1%83%A4%E1%83%94%E1%83%9A%E1%83%98)

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Posted on June 5, 2016. Filed under: Around Georgia, Kvemo Kartli |

By Tika Bujiashvili

Samshvilde is one of the ancient and historical city-fortress in Kvemo Kartli, Tetri Tskaro municipality. It is about 65 km from Tbilisi to village Samshvilde. From the village you have to walk about 7 km through beautiful valleys and forest.

Today there are only ruins of old history. For the city, the tributary of the rivers Chivcavi and Krami was specially chosen, as there was a naturally fortified cape. Samshvilde fortress was built by eponym Kartlos. The first name of the fortress was Orbi. In historical records the fortress is also called a Mother fortress (Dedatsikhe). As the analysis of the historical sources shows, they must have been built place in the IV-III centuries, AD. Samshvilde is mentioned in the sources which is about Alexander the Great’s invasion of eastern Georgia. According to the Georigian chronicles, queen Sagdukht, Vakhtang Gorgasali’s Mother, built a church there in the V century. Later, in 759-777 Eristavs- Varazbakur and Iovane built Samshvilde Sioni on the place. On the right side of Sioni, there is a Basilica style church built in X-XI centuries. And the third church is about 60m away from Sioni, in the east. You can still see some frescos on the ruins. According to the inscription on the frescos, the church was built in the XII century, during the reign of David the Builder.

The city had a 2.5 km length fence. The city was consisted of three parts: Shida Tsikhe (inside fortress) is an East part. In the middle there was a fortress and in the west there was a city. The city didn’t have a fence. Nearby, near the path, there is an old St. George’s church. Today there are only ruins, though Ekvtime Takaishvili found an inscription on it about 80 years ago. According to inscription, the church was built by Zilipkhan in 1672. She brought up Vakhtang V’s spouse.

Near the fence, there is a Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. You can find Menhir with a cross and Armenian inscription on it. On the side of the river Khrami there is a Teoginda church built in XII-XII centuries.

Source: http://www.dzeglebi.ge/statiebi/istoria/naqalaqari_samshvilde.html

Translated By Tika bujiashvili

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Tseraqvi Monasteri, Kvemo Kartli

Posted on May 8, 2016. Filed under: Around Georgia, Kvemo Kartli |

Written by Tika Bujiashvili, Nana Nadaraia

Tserakvi monastery is situated in the village Tseraqvi, Marneuli municipality,  Kvemo Kartli. The village itself is quiet old and historical. The monastery is located 2.5 km away from the village, on the river Shulaveri (khrami tributary). Mikheil Javakhishvili, one of the top twentieth Georgian writer, was born in Tseraqvi. There is his museum too.

Not far from the Tseraqvi monastery, if you go on walking ahead, at about half hour walk, in the forest you will find st. Nikoloz church.

40-50 m from the church we found ruins of another church. Unfortunately, as this region isn’t studied well, we can’t say anything about the ruins. There you will see mossy stones, which make you think that the place was fenced.

Near the place there is a castle, where, as we were told, Arsena Odzelashvili used to hide. Locals call the castle Arsena’s castle.

And, Tseraqvi monastery is built near the forest. Main building is a hall type church of Virgin Mary. The monastery has a stone fence. There are two other churches in the territory of the monastery- Archangel Michael’s and st.George’s churches. There are also cells, a dining room and a wine cellar.

On the wall of St. Mary’s Church there is Asomtavruli inscription. It dates to XIII century. The inscription says that the church was reconstructed by Panaskerteli. So we can say that the church might be built earlier.


In 2004-2010 restoration works were carried out at the Tserakvi monastery. Some buildings were built there. The monastery belongs to the diocese of Marneuli.

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Tandzia, Kvemo Kartli

Posted on April 14, 2016. Filed under: Around Georgia, Kvemo Kartli |

By Nana Nadaraia

Kvemo Kartli  is rich with Christian architectural monuments – There are more than 250 ruined churches there. One of them is Tandzia.

Tandzia is a village in Kvemo Kartli, Bolnisi municipality, Georgia. Kvemo Kartli is located in the western part of the region, on the right side of the river Khrami, at an altitude of 840 meters. It is 16 kilometers from Bolnisi to Tandzia. Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani, a Georgian writer and diplomat, was born in Tandzia.  There is Sulkhan Saba orbeliani museum there.

There are the ruins of the churches and palace in the village. The church was built in 1670 by Mirza Orbeliani, and the second one- St. Nicholas Church, due to the Synaxarion of the church, was built by Mdivanbeg Vakhtang Orbeliani, Sulkhan-Saba’s father in 1683. It was built with reddish Algetian hewn. On the south wall a solar clock is depicted. You will also see some old inscriptions there: “Saint Nicholas, be a patron of Orbel”.

In the XIV century Kavtar Kajpadze purchased the village Tandzia  and donated to Pitareti St.Virgin Mary Church.

Tandzia is not studied archeologically yet.

P.S. See about Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani here:


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Dmanisi Sioni

Posted on April 4, 2016. Filed under: Around Georgia, Kvemo Kartli |

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”.DSC_05122


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.

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Bolnisi Sioni, Kvemo Kartli

Posted on March 19, 2016. Filed under: Around Georgia, Kvemo Kartli |

Written by Tika Bujiashvili

The south Georgian region of Kvemo Kartli is one of Georgia’s most overlooked treasures. Although much of the region is just a short drive from Tbilisi, and is full of natural beauty and ancient monuments, many travelers ignore it for more famous parts of Georgia. This is a mistake, as the area is a fascinating patchwork of nationalities, climates and topographies. The plains south of Tbilisi are rich agriculturally, and are home to many Azerbaijani communities.

The region is rich with Christian architectural monuments. One of them is Bolnisi Sioni which dates to the V century. The Bolnisi Sioni church is the only remaining three aisled basilicas in Georgia. It was constructed using carved stones, with its primary layer being different from the layer of bricks and river stones. The temple is decorated with clear green-turquoise stones. Decorations of the bases and heads of the pillars are of particular interest. One of them is known as the Bolnisi Cross. This is also the first known monument of Georgian architecture that utilizes relief sculptures related to the pre-Christian period, but adopted by the Christian era as well.

In 1936-39 wide-scale architectural and restoration works were conducted in Bolnisi. The monument was fully cleaned, fixed and fortified. During this period architects discovered a stone with scripts at one of the entrances. All three scripts of Bolnisi Sioni are ancient examples of Georgian writing and language. One of the scripts, belonging to the V century, is located on the eastern wall above the window of the altar. This is the earliest example of writing in Georgian ever found in Georgia. (Earlier inscriptions dating to the early fifth century have been found in the Georgian Monastery in Palestine.) The inscription at Bolnisi is a copy. The original is in the Janashia Museum of Georgia in Tbilisi. An inscription over the north portal gives us the exact period of building the church 478-493. The inscription, the Georgian form of writing known as Asomtavruli, which developed contemporaneously, reads, “With the help of the Holy Trinity, the building of this Church was begun in the 20th year of King Peroz and completed 15 years later. Whosoever bows down here, God will pardon, and whosoever prays here for David, Bishop of the Church, him also will God pardon. Amen.”

Another important page in the history of Bolnisi is 500 Bolneli torture in the XIV century during the invasions of Temur -Leng. John Bolneli, who was a writer and worked at Iveron Athos monastery, is buried in the yard of Sioni.


According to local legend, during the Soviet period, people were taken to the church and tested their belief of God: they had to shoot the icons as proof of their atheism. The icon of the Mother of God, which has been said to perform miracles, is located on the right side of the altar Currently Sioni is an active church.

The bell-tower was built in 1678-1688 by the Bishop of Bolnisi.

Bolnisi Episcopalian is separately allocated since 2004 according to the decision of the Holy Synod December 23, 2006.

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Kveshi Fortress

Posted on March 12, 2016. Filed under: Around Georgia, Kvemo Kartli |

Written by Tika Bujiashvili

Kveshi fortress is located in Bolnisi region, on the left bank of the river Mashavera near the village. It is built on a high cliff.

In the end of XII century Yury Bogolyubsky, known as George the Rus, the spouse of Queen Tamar, had a successful battle near Gandza with Msakhurtukhutsesi (“Lord High Chamberlain”) Vardan Dadian.  After the battle Queen tamar gave Kveshi fortress to Vardan Dadiani and his son, which became his residence. In 1191 Vardan Dadian supported George the Rus and was involved in a rebellion against Tamar the queen.  As a result, Vardan lost the office of Lord High Chamberlain and the fief of Kveshi, which was then conferred upon the queen’s loyal noble Ivane Mkhargrdzeli. In 1468 Bagrat VI bought the fortress from Torelis. The redemption certificate shows the political importance of the fortress by the time. In XVI-XVII cc Kveshi Fortress still was an important fortress of Orbelis. The territory was populated by Georgians. By the end of XVIII kvemo Kartli was devastated. As a result the fortress was abandoned. In XIX Russians ruled the fortress. In 1812 during the rebellion of Aleksandre Batonishvili the army of Tormasov, the Chief of the Caucasus, was fortified in Kveshi fortress.

Georgian scientist L. Muskhelishvili writes about the fortress: “The fortress seems to be repaired several times and I think, there aren’t any survivors from old times, except a 1.50 m wide staircase.”

The Fortress is built with mortared stones. It has only one entrance which is naturally curved in rock. On the top of the entrance door Archetrabs had a Georgian inscription which is now deleted.

There are remains of citadels of the towers and the traces of other facilities. There are small water reservoirs cut in the wall outside of citadel.

Kveshi fortress_resize

In the fortress there is a small church of St. Nikoloz. The church was restored several times so the date of building the church is unknown. The last time the church was restored in the XVIII century.

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Tsurtavi Monastery of Queen St. Ketevan in Kvemo Kartli

Posted on February 27, 2016. Filed under: Around Georgia, Kvemo Kartli |

Written by Tinatin Bujiashvili

Village Tsurtavi is located on the valley between the rivers the Debeda and the Keli. According to Armenian historian Ukhtanes, the town, known as Tsurtavi, was called Gachiani in the X century.  We meet records about Tsurtavi since V century. In the VI century there was a residence of Kartli Pitiaksh Episcopas. Cathedral was founded there too. Tsurtavi was cultural and educational centre too. Georgian and Armenian scholars worked there. Iakob Tsurtaveli, Tsurtavi bishop Moses worked in Tsurtavi.  An Armenian Lazare Parpets studied here too.

According to Vakhushti Bagrationi, after punishing Varsken Pitiaksh, king Bakur took the dead body of Shushanik to Tsurtavi and buried there.

Queen Darejan, the spouse of King Erekle II, built a little St Ketevan church here, where today two nuns, Salome and Natalia, live.

Today Tsurtavi is mostly populated by Armenians. Very few Georgians live there.


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