Mtskheta: what to see in the ancient capital of the kingdom of Georgia

svetitskhoveli cathedral mtskheta georgia
svetitskhoveli cathedral mtskheta georgia

What to see in Mtskheta, attractions and places to visit in the city of Georgia with a great artistic heritage of churches and monuments.

Mtskheta Attractions

Tbilisi is located near Mtskheta, strategically located at the confluence of the rivers Mtkvari and Aragvi. Ancient capital of the kingdom of Georgia between the third century BC to the fifth century AD, Mtskheta is a very significant for the Georgian Orthodox Church, since Christianity became the state religion around 327 right here.

Already in the first century the city boasted a very important relic, brought from Jerusalem by a local jew named Elioz, it would be the tunic of the Lord, buried according to tradition, under the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.

E ‘in this great Church which still play important liturgies of the Georgian Orthodox Church. The land of Mtskheta preserves ruins dating back to before the eleventh century BC, and a wealth of medieval churches of great architectural and religious, set as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among these monuments stands Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.

The current structure was built in the eleventh century on the ruins of the church dating from the fifth century. The name means Svetitskhoveli column that gives life, and originates from the tradition concerning the tunic of the Lord brought to Mtskheta Elioz Jew, who handed it to his sister Sidonia, who after her close to him with great fervor died.

Places to visit in Mtskheta

Sidonia was buried together with the Holy Tunic, but with the passage of time, the location of his grave was forgotten and, when in the fourth century it was decided to build the first church, it was not possible to lift off the ground the column that was to be placed at the center of ‘building.

After the prayers of St. Nino, the Santa who is credited with the conversion to Christianity of Georgia, the column moved alone to the site of the burial of Sidonia and the Robe of the Lord. From this column gushed myrrh, which was used for the healing of many people.

Then in the fifth century was built the stone church, whose meager ruins are located on the left of the Cathedral, restored several times over the centuries. Inside the Cathedral, where once stood the miraculous column, there is the grave of Sidonia, rebuilt in the second half of the seventeenth century. Another significant monument of Mtskheta, is the Orthodox monastery of Jvari, or Monastery of the Cross, situated on top of a mountain near the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi, in a splendid panoramic position.

The current building was erected in the late sixth century, on the site where it went up and a cross. Its architecture, style tretraconco ancient Georgian, was taken as a model for the construction of many churches of Georgia. Near Mtskheta are other ancient witnesses, such as the ruins of the castle of Bebris Tsikhe and, in the Museum of the city, is preserved an interesting collection of archaeological finds in the area.