Located in Samtavisi Village and built in 1030, this cathedral is one of the most eye-catching ones in Georgia. As you enter the gate and pass underneath the bell tower, a truly remarkable sight will spread out in front of you: a gorgeously ornamented domed cathedral topped with a cross. Its eastern facade has five arches and and two niches bedecked with delicate ornamentation in the shapes of crosses and pomegranates, the ancient symbol of abundance.
Inside the church, beside the altar, you will find the grave of Isodore Samtavneli, one of the thirteen Assyrian holy fathers who helped to spread Christianity to Georgia. At the northern entrance to the church is the grave of one of the men who saved Georgian hymnal music, Philemon Karbelashvili.
To the south of the church, you will find the 18th-century cathedral of St. George. Here, you can also see the foundation of an ancient 6th-century cathedral that lies in ruins. The remains of an episcopal house are also preserved nearby.
You’ll also find traces of an ancient wine cellar in the yard, with Qvevris (clay earthenware used for fermenting and aging wine) dating back to 1050.
For a remarkable view, you can ascend up the stairs of the 18th-century bell tower to look out over the amazing landscapes that surround the cathedral.