Gelati Monastery, situated 12 kn from the city of Kutaisi,
used to be the largest centre of philosophy and education in medieval Georgia.
It was built by king David the Builder, the founder of the powerful united
feudal state of Georgia. In addition to the large temple there have been
preserved several churches and ruins of the Academy, where in the XII century
lived and worked outstanding Georgian philosopher and thinker Ioann Petritsi.
In the Gelati Monastery king David created the Academy - Scientific-Educational
Centre, where all famous Georgian figures were collected. In the next centuries
began the process of enlargement of the Monastery Complex. The Gelati Monastery
as a whole represents a genuine treasure house of medieval
Some 30 km. from Dzirula railway station in Western Georgia,
up the picturesque gorge of river Dzirula near the village of Ubisi there
are ruins of an ancient monastery with an old single-nave church and a
tower still surviving and some subsidiary monastic buildings now almost
completely destroyed by time. Next to them there are ruins of a belfry
of a later period. The tower - or the "pillar" - opposite the east facade
of the church, bears an inscription in Georgian on its south wall and dates
the monastery and the tower itself as built in 1141. According to the long
-established local tradition, the vault and the walls are covered with
painting almost down to the floor.The historical and artistic analysis
of the Ubisi paintings and the techniques of their executions points to
the fact that this monument marks a definite stage in the development of
the local artistic traditions as typified by Georgian paintings of the
13th and the early 14th centuries. The auther of the church's internal
paintings was Damiane.
In contradistinction to Byzantium and owing to favourable
social and cultural conditions, "city-states" with their democratic ideas
emerged in Georgia several senturies earlier (11th-13th cent.) than in
Western Europe; this fact, in its turn, favoured the emergence of humanistic
ideals. In the 10th-12th cent. the centralized state power and the democratic
strata of the population had common interests that were in direct opposition
to the disruptive tendencies in the ideology of the great feudal lords.
All this led to a certain new evaluation to the hierarchy of the estates
and was instrumental in bringing to the fore the value of the personality,
and man's liberation from the moral, ethical and aesthetical fetters of
the Middle Ages. There is no doubt that these circumstances could not but
have left a trace, thy could not but activate the humanistic foundations
of art within ecclesiastical dogmaticism itself, they could not but influence
the criteria of evaluation of works of art.
It is in the Qintsvisi
murals that the clash of advanced ideas with mediaeval dogmatism -
a clash so characteristic of the Middle Ages - finds full reflection in
the opposition of ecclesiastical scholasticism to humanistic trends with
their close attention to man.
||Bolnisi Sioni Temple
Bolnisi Sioni Temple was built in 478-493. It is situated
70 km from Tbilisi. It is an outstanding example of the earliest stage
of ecclesiastical Georgian architecture. The inscription preserved inside
the temple represents the oldest specimen of ancient Georgian writing.
The ancient fortress of Narikala in Tbilisi, overlooking
the old city, was erected in the IV century. In the course of centuries
ir was destroyed and rebuilt many times.
||St. David Church
St. David Church, to wering over the old part of Tbilisi,
was built in the XIX century. Adjacent to the church is the Pantheon of
outstanding writers and statesmen.
||The Metekhi Church
The Metekhi Church in Tbilisi is believed to have been
erected in the V century. It was destroyed during the Mongol invasion,
restored in 1278-1289 and in this state has come down to us.
Ananuri, a typical feudal stronghold dating from the
XVII century. Within the walls encircling the stronghold are civil, military
and religious constructions. The Ananuri Stronghold is a witness to many
bloody tragedies which the epoch of feudal strifes abounded in.
||The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral
The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, the ancient
capital of Georgia, is the largest ecclesiastical construction extant in
the country. According to legend, the cathedral rose on the site of Georgia's
first Christian church of the fourty century. Outstanding Georgian architect
Arsukisdze built the cathedral in 1010-1029. The cathedral was badly damaged
at the end of the XIV century during the invasion of Thamerlane. The cupola
was restored in the XV century. The facades are decorated with ornamental
carving and reliefs. Worthy of mention are the fragments remaining of the
original frescoes. The cathedral is the burial place of Georgian kings.
It typifies the high standards of the second heyday of medieval Georgian
architecture which falls on the X-XIII centuries.
||The Samtavro Church
The Samtavro Church in Mtskheta is a typical architectural
creation of the first part of the XI century. Rich ornaments on the south
and north facades are particularly noteworthy.
The Gremi ensemble was erected in 1565. The ensemble
includes a temple and a fortress. Inside the temple is decorated with mural
paintings completed in 1577.