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Georgia

Vardzia

The rock-cut monastery city of Vardzia, carved into the Erusheti mountain in southwestern Georgia, near Akhaltsikhe close to the Turkish border, faces southwards onto the Mtkhvari river valley. The most imposing complex was founded on the orders of King George III and enlarged by his daughter Queen Tamar (1184-1213). Organised along the cliffy rock wall on seven levels for a height of 40 metres and a length of about 900 metres, it consists of several hundred rooms with aqueducts, subterranean tunnels and vertical connections between the various storeys. The main church of the monastery city is dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin. Its decoration has been attributed to the painter Master Giorgi and can be dated by royal portraits, among which one of Queen Tamar, from 1184-1186. A Hodegetria is enthroned in the apse, while a cycle of the Great Feasts is depicted on the vault and walls. A Mandylion is situated above the (southern) entrance. The porch vault is adorned with the Last Judgment as well as with the Glorification of the Cross, a purely Georgian iconographic theme. Ananauri monastery is situated some 200-300 metres from Vardzia monastery, and is especially well-known for the funeral chapel of King Lasha Giorgi, the heir of Queen Tamar. The rock-cut chapel is partly adorned with murals executed in the first quarter of the 13th century. In 1283 the Vardzia monastery was damaged by an earthquake; in 1551 it was sacked by the Persians and then again twenty-seven years later by the Turks.


General View of the Monastery (Photo: Dror Maayan)

General View of the Caves (Photo: Dror Maayan)

The Holy Face, fresco by Master Giorgi, 1184/1186, Church of the Dormition, Tympanum of the Southern Portal (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Glorification of the Cross, beginning of the 13th century, Church of the Dormition, Vault of the Southern Porch (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Angel of Apocalypses, beginning of the 13th century, The Church of the Dormition, Vault of the Southern Porch (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Crucifixion, fresco by Master Giorgi, 1184/1186, Church of the Dormition, Southern Wall (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Archangels with the medallion of a Saint, first quarter of the 13th century, Ananauri Monastery, Funeral Chapel of King Lasha Giorgi IV., Atrium (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Ananauri Monastery, Funeral Chapel of King Lasha Giorgi IV.: View on the Western and Southern Wall with Murals from the 15th century (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Crucifixion and Anastasis, 15th century, Ananauri Monastery, Funeral Chapel of King Lasha Giorgi IV., Vault (Photo: Dror Maayan)




© KHI in Florence | 26.09.2020 17:12:42