Mtskheta: a UNESCO World Heritage Site

View of Mtskheta, former capital of Georgia, from Jvari Monastery; copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

Susanna and I visited Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Svetitskhoveli Cathedral was built in the 11th Century on the same site as a 4th Century church, which had been constructed on top of the place where Christ’s robe was buried. St. Nino, who had brought Christ’s teaching to Georgia, had advised King Mirian to build a church above Christ’s robe. The large cathedral dominates the small town of Mtskheta, which lies about 12 miles from Tbilisi.

On a hill above Mtskheta, we visited Jvari Monastery, which was built in the 6th Century. King Marian, who had commissioned the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in the 4th Century, also is at least indirectly responsible for Jvari Monastery. Upon conversion to Christianity, King Mirian had erected a tall wooden cross, and a later ruler of Georgia built a small church upon the site. Too many people visited the small church, so an even later ruler built the current, larger church, known as Jvari Monastery. In the middle of this church is a large stone pedestal. King Mirian’s wooden cross, from the 4th Century, had rested upon this same stone pedestal.

View of Jvari Monastery from Mtskheta; copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.

Interior of Jvari Monastery, copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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