old and new shuamta monasteries

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  • Old and new shuamta monasteries

Two of the most important and most beautiful architectural monuments of Kakheti are the Dzveli (‘Old’) and Akhali (‘New’) Shuamta Monasteries. Both of them stand in a forest of deciduous trees which makes them look even more fascinating.

The architectural ensemble Dzveli Suamta is situated 7km of Telavi. Its consists of a 5th century basilica, one of the most curious examples of Christian Georgian architecture; a 17th century domed church of a type close to the Mtskheta Jvari Church but of a smaller size (with a smaller depth of the apses; an increased significance of the dome drum and a more pronounced design of the tromps); a small 7th century domed church which is also of a cross design in plan, but without corner rooms and with equal axes. The church was built of cobblestones; the corner was faced with hewn stones. In the 16th century Zveli Shuamta Monastery was abandoned. Not far from it a new, Akhali Shuamta Monastery was built by Tinatin Gurieli, the wife of King Levan II (1520-1574). The Church had a dome and was designed in the form of a cross in plan. It was built of brick; the inner walls were decorated with paintings and some of the portraits of the founders have been preserved. The Church was restored by Irakli II. The complex includes also a bell-tower and some minor buildings. A Chavchavadze was buried here.

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