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Anchiskhati Basilica, Tbilisi

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#7 of 9 in Historic Sites in Tbilisi
Church Tourist Spot
The Anchiskhati Basilica of St Mary is the oldest surviving church in Tbilisi, Georgia. It belongs to the Georgian Orthodox Church and dates from the sixth century.HistoryAccording to the old Georgian annals, the church was built by the King Dachi of Iberia (circa 522-534) who had made Tbilisi his capital. Originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it was renamed Anchiskhati (i.e., icon of Ancha) in 1675 when the treasured icon of the Savior created by the twelfth-century goldsmith Beka Opizari at the Ancha monastery in Klarjeti (in what is now part of northeast Turkey) was moved to Tbilisi so preserve it from an Ottoman invasion. The icon was preserved at the Basilica of St Mary for centuries (it is now on display at the Art Museum of Georgia).The basilica was damaged and rebuilt on several occasions from the 15th through 17th centuries due to wars between Georgia and the Persians and Turks. The brick belfry near the Anchiskhati Basilica was built by Catholicos Domenti in 1675.The look of the structure was drastically changed in the 1870s, when a dome was added. During the Soviet period, all religious ceremonies at Anchiskhati Basilica were halted, and the building transformed into a museum for handicrafts. It was later used as an art studio. From 1958 to 1964 restoration works took place in celebration of the 1500th Jubilee of the founding of Tbilisi, which changed the view of the church back to the seventeenth-century version, however, it was not until 1991, after the independence of Georgia was restored, that the basilica reverted to religious use.
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Where to stay in Tbilisi

Strung out alongside the Mtkvari River, Tbilisi's historical core and bustling city center offers an array of accommodation options. Choose the fortress hill, the more northern residential districts, or a main street in the center of the action. Large international chain hotels offer luxury options, complete with fine dining, air conditioning, and more. However, you can also choose from more economical, mid-level options located around Rustaveli Avenue and Tbilisi's old town. For the lowest cost, consider one of the ubiquitous hostels.
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  • Amazing church located on amazing street !!! The atmosphere is sacred - you feel the real past and Saint spirit !!!  more »
  • Right near the theatre is this church, a quiet place from the hustle of Tbilisi streets. Inside it is dark and serene but nothing too special.  more »
  • This is one of the oldest churches in Tbilisi. It's in the Old Town and it is easy to find it. It looks really fantastic, I would even say that it smells like history :)  more »