St. Nicholas Church, Narikala

St. Nicholas Church, Narikala

Tbilisi has a lot of historical monuments with interesting, sometimes funny and sometimes sad stories behind. St. Nicholas Church in the yard of Narikala Fortress has rather experienced a tragic episode in its long history.

Where is St. Nicholas Church?

St. Nicholas Church is located within the Narikala Fortress sitting on the top of a hill and overlooking the historical center of Tbilisi. Some of the city’s iconic views are opening up from its ancient walls. The conical dome of the church peaking out of the fortress in any photo featuring Old Tbilisi panorama.

The Historical Past of St. Nicholas Church

As we said, St. Nicholas Church has an interesting and a bit sad history.

Built in the 13th century, during the reign of Demetrius II the Self-Sacrificer, it was desecrated and turned into a munitions dump in 1818 by Russian Imperial general Yermolov. Unfortunately, the munitions dump exploded, leading to the near-complete destruction of the church.

During archaeological digs at Narikala in 1966, the remains of the ancient church were found, and in 1997, the current incarnation of the church was built on top of its base and walls. 

The church is built in accordance with the proportions of the old one and with the remains from the 13th century, Georgian bricks, and tufa stones from Bolnisi. It has ornamentation on the outside.

The majority of the icons in the church have been painted recently, although there are also icons from the 17th-19th centuries there too.

A decade ago, a cable car from Rike Park up to Narikala Fortress has been opened, making the journey to visit St. Nicholas Church far easier. Previously, the only way up was by a long ascent.

What Else Will You See at Narikala?

You will find part of the king’s palace in this area. Plans for its reconstruction are being implemented, and the secret tunnels and fortified tower have already been restored.

Archaeologists have also discovered four tombs around the church.


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