Lurji Monastery

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Lurji Monastery (Blue Monastery) is a small church built in the name of  Andrew the First Called. Most likely, the name is of folk origin, directly linked to its roof, finished with tile glazed blue.  It is located in the central part of Tbilisi, between the end part of Kiacheli Street and Vere Square. The current building has undergone repeated reconstructions and contains several construction layers. Built in the end of XII c. the original church was crowned by a dome, had a pair of dome-bearing columns and an extended apse. According to the rather informative inscription on the tympanum the church was built by Archbishop Basily, brother of Abulasan – one of the grandees of those times. Only an apse with large windows adorned with fretwork faming, lower half of southern wall and couple of stone rows of western and northern facades of the original structure are preserved up to now.

  Heavily damaged building was restored in XVII c. as a tree-nave brickwork ba-silica. In the second half of XIX c. a dome was re-constructed without changing the interior – simply the central nave arch was cut and the bottom of the dome barrel was arranged there. In soviet times the church was used for different purposes – once even a factory was arranged here, then a warehouse and finally the Museum of Georgian Medicine. In early nineties of XX c. public services were restored in Lurji Monastery. In 1995 the earlier round dome, rather unnatural for Georgian churches was removed and new, conical one was erected instead.