Svipi Church of Saint George

Svipi Church of Saint George

Svaneti is home to more than seventy churches built from the 10th to 13th centuries, including the basilica-type Church of St. George (Jgraag) in Svipi, which is famed for its beautiful ancient frescoes. This impressive church was built by the Chkhetiani family at the end of the 9th century - the beginning of the 10th.
Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti

The Frescoes of Svipi Church of Saint George

The majority of paintings on the church’s interior walls are black and white illustrations from the 10th century, while secondary works from the 11th and 12th centuries are already made in colour. The painter of some of these frescoes was a secular figure, Shalva Kirkishliani, whose portrait is also visible on the northern wall of the church.

The ornamented western door of the church is also an exceptional example of Georgian woodcarving. There is an inscription in ancient Georgian Asomtavruli script carved into the wood.

The Icons Kept in Svipi Church of Saint George

The church is also home to unique icons and inscribed crosses from the people who financed the church construction. One notable holy object is the handle of the banner of the Svaneti Valley. This was the standard borne by the Svan army in battles during the time of David the Builder and Queen Tamar.

The golden icon of George, the patron saint of the Pari community, is also kept in the church, and it is said to be able to work miracles. Locals here make important decisions in front of the icon, and it has even been said that those embroiled in a blood feud can be reconciled in its presence. 

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