Ateni Sioni Church

Ateni Sioni Church

Famed for its 11th-century frescoes of the Mother of God, the 7th-century Ateni's Sioni Cathedral is one of the best examples of Georgian monumental art. Standing atop a cliff and overlooking the ancient terrace-shaped vineyards, Ateni's Sioni is also housing some beautiful frescoes that makes it a 100% must-see.
Shida Kartli

Resembling the famous Jvari Church in Mtskheta, Ateni's Sioni itself is made of green-gray sandstone blocks. The church has two entrances to the north and south. At the corners of the roof there are depictions of a sheep’s head and miniature church domes. The walls are adorned with beaded, double capitals and decorated semi-columns.

Ateni Sioni is home to some stirring examples of Christian art. Once you stand in front of the altar and see those colourful frescoes above your head, you feel like the fabric of time is getting thinner. A thousand years passed, hundreds and thousands of malevolent people tried to make those paintings vanish, and guess what - the wannabe-conquerors are gone and the frescoes are still there, weathered, but proud.

There are also inscriptions from the 9th to 11th centuries preserved in the church. Wouldn't you like to decipher the messages from the distant past?

The yard of Ateni's Sioni offers fantastic views of the rocky mountains around. The locals used to grow their vines on the terraces here, trying to maximally use the challenging terrain. Of course, the monastery is no exception, so you can actually purchase a bottle of monastery wine in the souvenir shop together with some other locally made items: a jar of honey or some wooden souvenirs.

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