This amazing cathedral dates back to the 8th century and is located 7 minutes drive from Gurjaani center and 2.5 hours drive from Tbilisi.
The architecture of this magnificent landmark clearly conveys a particular stage of development in Georgian architecture, which began in the 7th century and lasted until the second half of the 10th century. Kvelatsminda is one of the most interesting examples of the creativity that has long characterized Georgian architecture.
The church is a complex architectural structure, with its interior comprising a three-church basilica, a domed roof, and a well-preserved temple.
Gurjaani Kvelatsminda is connected to the legend of the miraculous carved icon of the Mother of God of Iveria, which was kept here for many years.
According to legend, in the fall of 1615, when the army of Shah Abbas invaded Kakheti, a local abbot had a vision of the Mother of God who advised him to hide the icon in the wall of the nearby St. George's Cathedral to protect it from the enemy. Shah Abbas destroyed many villages and monasteries in Kakheti and killed the monks. No one who knew the whereabouts of the icon survived. People began to search for the icon of the Mother of God, but all attempts were unsuccessful. Remarkably, 200 years later, one of the local clerics saw the Mother of God in a dream, who told him the location of the icon. It was duly found and brought back to Kvelatsminda Cathedral.
However, in the 1920s, when the Bolsheviks started looting churches in Georgia, the icon was lost again, and its location is again unknown.
Since 1993, monastic life has been restored at Gurjaani Kvelatsminda.