Jvari Church

sights / Religious

Jvari Church information

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Lonely Planet review

Visible for miles around on its hilltop overlooking Mtskheta from the east, the Jvari Church is, to many Georgians, the holiest of holies. Jvari stands where King Mirian erected a sacred wooden cross soon after his conversion by St Nino in the 4th century. Between 585 and 604 Stepanoz I, the eristavi (duke) of Kartli, constructed the church over the cross.

Jvari is a beautifully symmetrical little building and a classic of early Georgian tetraconch design. It has a cross-shaped plan with four equal arms, the angles between them being filled in with corner rooms, and the low dome sits on a squat, octagonal drum. The interior is rather bare, but the site provides spectacular views over Mtskheta and the convergence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari Rivers. The road up to the church from Mtskheta takes a highly circuitous route; a taxi costs 20 GEL to 25 GEL return trip, including waiting time. If you’re feeling energetic, you can walk from Mtskheta in about one hour by crossing the footbridge from Teatron Park, walking about 1km down the busy highway, then heading up the hillside to the church.