Kashveti Church

Detailed Information

Kashveti Church is located on the edge of the main street of Tbilisi – Rustaveli Avenue. According to a legend the first church was erected here as early as in VI c. in the times when famous Georgian hermit– St. David Garejeli still was a monk in Tbilisi. It is supposed that the original building had four apses, a plain tetra-conch design with the dome erected in the middle. A temple built here in 1735 by famous political and military figure of XVIII Prince Givi Amilakhvari had exactly the same shape – quite unique and strange for those times, so that it is a broadly accepted idea, that this church simply was a duplicafion of the original one. By the early XX c. the XVIIIc.-church  had turned in a bed repair – it was totally cracked and the current building was built instead. 

 The new church design was prepared by a German architect – citizen of Tbilisi – Leopold Bilfelder. Fretworks were conducted by brothers Agladze, famous craftsmen of those times. According to the will of Georgian Nobility and clergy the XI-century Samtavisi Temple served as a model for the new church. A crypt-like independent prayer space arranged on the basement floor of Kashueti church for the purposes of rescuing of old graves makes the main difference between the original and duplication. There are several minor changes as well – Kashueti windows are larger and cut slightly lower compared to the original, thus interrupting artistic logic of the building to some extent. Construction activities were completed in 1910.

 Shortly after the end of World War II then patriarch of Georgia Kalistrate II have commissioned one of the most celebrated Georgian artists Lado Gudiashvili to adorn the church interior with wall painting. This task was fulfilled only partially, the artist was able to adorn only the sanctuary. After the interruption of Communist regime any further advance towards that aim became impossible. The porch envisaged by Leopold Bilfelder’s initial design has been annexed to the main building from the west in recent years. Several historically important tombs are there in the church. For instance Grigol Orbeliani – on of the most famous XIX c. Georgian poet and public personality is buried here.