One of the eleven churches in Georgia named after the holy mountain of Jerusalem – Zion – is located in Manglisi, the Dormition of the Virgin Cathedral Church (Manglisi's Sioni).
According to historical sources, the first stone church was built here in the 430s, right as Christianity was proclaimed the official religion of Georgia.
The current church contains two constructed layers, one from the 5th century and one from the 11th. In the 11th century, during the reign of Giorgi I, Manglisi's Sioni was completely rebuilt, redecorated, and repainted with frescos. This is the place, you must visit in Georgia.
Over the centuries, enemy armies ravaged and pillaged the church many times, but from its strong structure, it has survived for many centuries.
In the 19th century, during the Russian imperialist governance, when a Russian military unit was stationed in Manglisi, the church underwent various works. At that time the inscriptions, decorated stones, and frescos were entirely lost. Now the only remaining artwork is on the dome of the church.
A piece of the Living Cross, a major Christian relic, is kept at Manglisi's Sioni. It also keeps the Manglisi Icon of the Virgin, which has been ascribed miracle-working properties.