The biggest symbol of the Georgian Orthodox Church's post-Soviet revival towers on Elia Hill above Avlabari. Tsminda Sameba, unmissable by night and day, was consecrated in 2004 after a decade of building. A massive and lavish expression of traditional Georgian architectural forms in concrete, brick, granite and marble, it rises a staggering 84m to the top of the gold-covered cross above its gold-covered central dome. While largely bare inside, it does, however, contain many of Georgia's most important icons.
The cathedral is five aisles wide, but its emphasis is on verticality, with a result like one single, many-bulwarked tower. The huge dome creates a larger, much brighter central space than you’ll find in most Georgian churches. Designed by Archil Mindiashvili, the building was paid for mostly by donations. Some controversy surrounded its construction on the site of an old Armenian cemetery.