Standing at 35.7 metres in length and 18 metres in width, the basilica is one of the largest and oldest structures of its type in all of Georgia.
Historians believe that this Christian basilica was destroyed during the 8th century by the Arab general Marwan II, but that its remains were used as a place of prayer for some time afterwards. Rediscovered in 2010 by archaeologists, it is a testament to the enduring craftsmanship of the Georgian people.
The walls of the Dolochopi Basilica are of limestone and mortar, while its corners and arches were sculpted from well-hewn travertine. The outstanding quality of the construction has shaken up the modern-day view of historic construction practices, showing just how skillfully and knowledgeably buildings were constructed in Georgia in ages past.
Ancient catacombs honeycomb the area surrounding the temple, with historians believing those interred within were local dignitaries. This labyrinth of tunnels is part of the basilica’s enduring mystery and charm.
In addition to these catacombs, a huge Qvevri was also found in the middle of the church. How many centuries worth of potable water might have been stored in this massive vessel? It too stands as testament to the richness of the lives lived by those who frequented the basilica.