Bagrati Cathedral

Top choice cathedral in Kutaisi

From the Jachvis Khidi (Chain Bridge), you can walk up cobbled streets to the stately Bagrati Cathedral on Ukimerioni Hill. The cathedral was built in 1003 by Bagrat III, with a tall drum and pointed dome resting on four free-standing pillars. In 1692 a Turkish explosion brought down drum, dome and ceiling to leave the cathedral in a ruined state. It was fully renovated between 2009 and 2012, with a mix of old and new stone and a few steel sections.

The cathedral gained Unesco World Heritage listing in 1994 following intermittent restoration efforts through the 20th century. Ironically the recent renovation has put it on Unesco's World Heritage in Danger list, due to threats to the ‘integrity and authenticity of the site’.

The palace-citadel immediately east of the cathedral dates back to the 6th century. It was wrecked in 1769 during Georgian-Russo-Turkish wars, but you can discern remains of wine cellars and a church.