Sno Church

Sno Church

You may already be familiar with the village of Sno, located eight kilometers from Stepantsminda, due to the famous monolithic stone heads that Atlas Obscura mentions, but while you’re there, it is also worth visiting the cathedral that was built here in 1987.

The Cultural and Historical Monuments of Sno Village

While the Sno Church was built relatively recently atop the foundations of an older church, it nonetheless has a lot of history behind it. It is named after the 5th-century king, Vakhtang Gorgasali, whose own history is closely tied to this quaint mountain village.

Why is the Village Called Sno?

A story passed down between generations tells us that the village of Sno was founded by the Ghudushauri clan. They named it after their male ancestor, Sno, as a sign of respect. Sno was an acclaimed warrior, and King Vakhtang Gorgasali (who was also the godfather to Sno’s son, Ghudusha) allowed him to build a fortress there. The Georgian surname, Ghudushauri comes from this story.

The Ghudushauri name rose to prominence in the 17th century when the lord of the valley at the time, Shiola Ghudushauri distinguished himself with his courage. In turn, his legacy was the starting point for the Shiolashvili surname.

Sno is also the hometown of Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia, whose birth name is Irakli Ghudushauri-Shiolashvili. The patriarch’s childhood house stands directly in front of Vakhtang Gorgasali Church.

So, while you’re in Sno to marvel at the giant stone heads that put the village on the international radar, why not pay your respects at the church and learn a little about Georgia’s history in the process?


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