Timotesubani Monastery


The beautiful Timotesubani Monastery, also called the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin, is a cross-cupola church built in the 12th and 13th centuries. Timotesubani is a medieval Georgian Orthodox Christian complex located in the Borjomi Gorge.

The complex consists of a series of structures built between the 11th and 18th centuries, of which the Church of the Dormition is the largest and most artistically exquisite. It was constructed during the “Golden Age” of medieval Georgia under Queen Tamar. A contemporary inscription commemorates the Georgian nobleman Shalva of Akhaltsikhe as a patron of the church.

The church has a domed cross-in-square design built of pink stone, with three apses projecting out on the east side. It’s dome rests upon the two freely standing pillars and ledges of the altar.

The interior was extensively frescoed in no later than the 1220s. The Timotesubani murals are noted for their vivacity and complexity of iconographic programs. These frescoes were cleaned and studied by E. Privalova and colleagues in the 1970s. They underwent emergency treatment and conservation with aid from the World Monuments Fund, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in the 2000s. The interior of the church is decorated with the best examples of Georgian mural painting of the 13th Century. Originally, the church had a blue roof, as the color blue was highly appreciated during the Middle Ages, but now it has been reverted to a stone-coloured hue.

The Monastery has a rich history. As legend says in ancient days it was often visited by warriors including the iconic brothers Shalva and Ivane Toreli who used it to pray before military campaigns. After one of their victories, in gratitude to the Virgin Mariam, the brothers built the Church of the Assumption in the nearby territory.

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