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Anchiskhati Basilica, Tbilisi

Categories: Churches, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.7/5 based on 100+ reviews on the web
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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  • This review is quite late. I just came from the Puppet Theatre when I passed by an old church buildoing which turned out to be the Anchiskhati Basilica. The simplicity of the architectural design enha...  read more »
  • This is one of the oldest church in Tbilisi. The interior though not elaborated is charming in its own way. Worth visiting 
  • This is the oldest church in Old Tbilisi. There are far fewer icons in this church than many of the others in Old Tbilisi. This gives it more of a feel of the churches seen in Armenia. It is also diff...  read more »
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