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Anchiskhati Basilica, Tbilisi

(4.7/5 based on 110+ 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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TripAdvisor
  • Our guide told us that this is one of the oldest building in Tbilisi , that it did not have any major renovations over the centuries and that it was still operational . Amazing ! Easy to find , close ...  more »
  • A very old church, built in the 5th century and restored continuously in different centuries! We are lucky we have got acquainted with Abbot, father Okakiem, he held us such a wonderful excursion, all told, and then bless us and let wine! Very good man! Hi him from Siberia!
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  • We visisted this place on our way to Gadauri... Very scenic views around and good place for some photo ops...