About Attraction

Samtavisi Cathedral

Tentative world heritage site

Samtavisi Cathedral, dating back to the 11th century, stands as a testament to medieval Georgian stone-carving, showcasing intricate Eastern facade decor and ornamentation that served as models for subsequent grand churches.

Situated in the Kartli region along the left bank of the River Lekhura, the monastery was founded by Orthodox monk Isidore Samtaviseli in the 6th century. The cathedral, built in 1003 by Bishop Hilarion, son of Vane Kanchaeli, suffered damage from earthquakes in the 14th-15th centuries. Despite later reconstructions by the Amilakhvari family, who ruled the village until the 19th century, the western wall and dome collapsed.

The exterior boasts a highly artistic five-arched eastern facade with bold ornate cross motifs, influencing subsequent Georgian medieval architecture. A replica of Samtavisi can be found in Tbilisi on Rustaveli Avenue, known as Kashveti Church.

While the interior frescoes mainly date from 16th-17th centuries, fragments from the 11th century are visible beneath the Eastern apse. Unique to Georgian iconography, the Christ Pantocrator is depicted under the dome with six-winged seraphs and evangelists. Traditional depictions, including Deesis, Prophets, and Mary with Jesus, adorn the altar and tholobates.

The Samtavisi complex includes additional structures such as a small church, a free-standing three-storied gate belfry, a brick fence, and a two-storied bishop's residence. Archaeological excavations in the yard reveal two distinct historical layers.

Working: every day 09:00-19:00

Dress core required

To book the tour, please, check private tour below, or contact us here.

Kartli Historical Tour