The Gergeti Trinity Church is located on the outskirts of Stepantsminda, a mountain town that bears exploration and endless panoramas.
Visitors can reach the church either by taking a local cab or by taking the 30-40-minute walk uphill. This is a hike of intermediate difficulty, ending with you standing at a height of 2,200 meters above sea level.
Regardless of how you make the journey, you’ll have your breath taken away by the astounding beauty of the church and its stunning backdrop. The church itself is an outstanding example of Georgian religious architecture, and is made all the more beautiful by its unique location.
Like many Georgian churches, the two-story Gergeti Trinity Church is surrounded by a wall and contains a hidden second floor in which priests and parishioners would have hidden during invasions. During the dangerous years of the Middle Ages, the Cross of Saint Nino was hidden in the church, although it now resides in Tbilisi’s Sioni Church.
Within the church, you’ll find fascinating examples of 16th-century art, including depictions of the Mother of God, the Saviour, John the Baptist, and Saint Nino. You’ll also find two rather unusual icons – Saavdro (meaning “for bad weather”) and Sadaro (meaning “for good weather”).
If you’re lucky enough to be in the area on July 16th, you’ll bear witness to the celebration of Gergetoba, in which the church fills with people to celebrate the arrival of the Icon of the Mother of God from Sioni Church. The service ends with the singing of beautiful hymns and is a fascinating cultural experience.