Tigva Monastery

Last updated
Tigva Monastery
Tigva church. Southern view. Uvarova 1894.jpg
The Tigva church, c.1890
Affiliation Georgian Orthodox Church
Location Tigva, South Ossetia/Shida Kartli, Georgia
Georgia location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Shown within Georgia
Geographic coordinates 42°11′54″N43°45′37″E / 42.198333°N 43.760278°E / 42.198333; 43.760278 Coordinates: 42°11′54″N43°45′37″E / 42.198333°N 43.760278°E / 42.198333; 43.760278
Type cross-in-square church

The Tigva Monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God (Georgian :თიღვის მონასტერი) is a medieval Georgian Orthodox monastic church at the village of Tigva in the Prone river valley in what is now the disputed territory of South Ossetia. The monastery building is a domed cross-in-square design. It was founded by Tamar, daughter of King David IV of Georgia, who is commemorated in a Georgian inscription dated to 1152.



The foundation of the Tigva church is mentioned in the Georgian chronicles [1] and dated by the construction inscription to 1152. Its donor, or ktetor , was Tamar, daughter of the Georgian king David IV "the Builder" and the dowager-queen of Shirvan, who became a nun at Tigva and died there c.1161. [2] By the early 18th-century, a crisis in Georgia had taken its toll on the monastery: Prince Vakhushti, in his Description of the Kingdom of Georgia , described the monastery at Tigva as "domed, elegant, beautifully built", but "without a priest". Several additional buildings surrounding the church, still extant in Vakhushti's times, were found in ruins by Countess Praskovya Uvarova during her visit in 1890. [3] [4] Shortly after Uvarova's visit, the church was repaired through the efforts of the priest Zedginidze, princes Amirejibi, and local peasants in 1890. [5] [6]


The monastery building, built of blocks of hewn reddish stone, is a well-preserved cross-domed church, inscribed in a rectangle, with the dimensions of 15 x 24 m. Noted for ascetic design and paucity of decorations, the church has the altar with an apse and three rectangular transept arms. The prothesis and diaconicon are also apsed. The dome rests upon wall corners of the apse on the east and two free-standing pillars on the west. The characteristic feature is the presence of narthex and choir on the west. The church has three entrances, to the north, south, and west. [7] [8] Mounted above the northern door is a Georgian inscription in the asomtavruli script, first published by Marie-Félicité Brosset in 1851. [9] Its rhymed text mentions Tamar, a donor. The interior was once frescoed, but the murals are now barely discernible.

To the north-west of the main church building was a two-storey palace, built for Tamar. It was directly connected to the church gallery by means of a bridge through a door cut in the western part of the north wall. [10]

Related Research Articles

Vakhushti of Kartli

Vakhushti (1696–1757) was a Georgian royal prince (batonishvili), geographer, historian and cartographer. His principal historical and geographic works, Description of the Kingdom of Georgia and the Geographical Atlas, were inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2013.

Nugzar Bagration-Gruzinsky

Prince Nugzar Petres dze Bagration-Gruzinsky is the head of the deposed royal House of Gruzinsky and represents its claim to the former crown of Georgia.

Erusheti was a medieval Georgian fiefdom, currently part of the Ardahan Province in northeastern Turkey, close to the border with Georgia. The district was centered in the eponymous settlement, at the present-day village Oğuzyolu, which, according to the medieval historical tradition, was one of the earliest centres of Christianity in Georgia. Ruins of Christian churches are found throughout the region. In modern Georgia, the name "Erusheti" is preserved as a designation of a mountainous range along the border with Turkey.

Manglisi Borough in Kvemo Kartli, Georgia

Manglisi is a daba (townlet) in the Tetritsqaro Municipality, Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia. As of the 2014 census, it had the population of 1,441. With a recorded history going back to the 4th century, Manglisi was one of the earliest centers of Christianity in Georgia and is a home to the medieval cathedral of the Mother of God. It also functions as a mountain spa and health resort.

Tamar was a daughter of David IV, King of Georgia, and queen consort of Shirvan as the wife of Shirvanshah Manuchehr III, whom she married c. 1112. She became a nun at the monastery of Tigva in Georgia in widowhood.

The Surameli were a noble family in the medieval Kingdom of Georgia, with notable members from the 12th century to the 14th. At the height of their influence and prestige in the 13th century, the Surameli were hereditary eristavi ("duke") of Kartli and msakhurt-ukhutsesi of Georgia.

Tamar was a Georgian royal princess of the Bagrationi dynasty, a daughter of King Vakhtang VI of Kartli, of the Mukhranian branch, and the second wife of King Teimuraz II, of the Kakhetian branch. The union with Teimuraz made her queen consort of Kakheti. She was queen regnant of Kartli (1744–1746) in her own right under the name Tamar II.

Luarsab was a member of the Bagrationi dynasty of Kartli, a great-grandson of King Luarsab I and relative of the childless King Rostom, who adopted him and made him heir apparent in 1639. Luarsab also married Rostom's niece by whom he had a son. Luarsab was killed while on a hunt. A homicide was immediately suspected. The suspect was tried by single combat and wounded, but acquitted by virtue of being a victor in the duel.

Luarsab was a Georgian prince royal (batonishvili) of the Bagratid House of Mukhrani of Kartli. He was a son of King Vakhtang V of Kartli and spent nearly two decades as a hostage in Iran.

Rusudan of Circassia Queen consort of Kartli

Rusudan was a daughter of a Circassian noble and a wife of Vakhtang VI, Hoseyn-Goli Khan, who ruled the Georgian kingdom of Kartli as a regent from 1703 to 1712 and a king from 1716 to 1724. She followed her husband in his exile to the Russian Empire, where she lived for the rest of her life.

Vere River

The Vere is a river in eastern Georgia, originating in the eastern slopes of the Trialeti Range, near Mount Didgori, and flowing into the Mtkvari (Kura) as its right tributary in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. The Vere river valley from Tbilisi to the townlet of Manglisi is populated by a continuous chain of settlements such as Bagebi, Akhaldaba, Tskneti, Betania, and Tsveri. A portion of the Vere river in Tbilisi flows in a set of corrugated steel tunnels under the Varaziskhevi–Tamarashvili Street motorway constructed from 2009 to 2010.

Shamadavle Dadiani was a member of the House of Dadiani and eristavi ("duke") of Odishi (Mingrelia) in western Georgia from 1470 until his death. He succeeded his father Liparit I Dadiani and continued his predecessors' efforts to garner more autonomy as the united Kingdom of Georgia was approaching to its end.

Lykhny Church

The Church of Dormition of Lykhny is a medieval Orthodox Christian church in the village of Lykhny in Abkhazia/Georgia, built in the 10th century. Its 14th-century frescoes are influenced by the contemporary Byzantine art and adorned with more than a dozen of Georgian and Greek inscriptions.

Largvisi Monastery

The Largvisi Monastery is a medieval Georgian Orthodox monastic foundation at the village of Largvisi in the Ksani river valley in the Akhalgori Municipality, what is now the disputed territory of South Ossetia. The monastery is documented from the early 14th century. The extant church, a domed cross-in-square design, dates to 1759. It was a familial abbey of the Kvenipneveli dynasty, Dukes of Ksani and one of the leading noble families of the Kingdom of Kartli.

Eredvi basilica

The Eredvi basilica of Saint George is an early 10th-century Georgian Orthodox church in the village of Eredvi in the Shida Kartli region, currently in the disputed territory of South Ossetia. It was constructed by the architect Tevdore Taplaisdze, who laid foundation of the church in 906 as related in a Georgian inscription on the building. The church is a three-nave basilica, which, despite later reconstructions, has largely preserved its original architectural features. The church is inscribed on the list of the Immovable Cultural Monuments of National Significance of Georgia. After the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, the Georgians lost access to the church and services there were restricted by the South Ossetian authorities.

Gudarekhi monastery

The Gudarekhi monastery is a 13th-century Georgian Orthodox monastery in the south of Georgia. It is located west of the village of Gudarekhi, Tetritsqaro Municipality, in the Kvemo Kartli region. The monastery complex consists of the main hall church, a free-standing bell-tower, and ruins of various structures such as a palace, cells, chapels, wine-cellar, and stables. The church is adorned with medieval stone-carvings and inscriptions. The complex is inscribed on the list of Immovable Cultural Monuments of National Significance.

Zemo Nikozi church of the Deity

The Zemo Nikozi church of the Deity, also known as Ghvtaeba (ღვთაება), is a medieval Georgian Orthodox cathedral in the Gori Municipality, in Georgia's east-central region of Shida Kartli. It is part of the complex which also includes a bell-tower, an episcopal palace, and a circuit wall. The complex is inscribed on the list of Georgia's Immovable Cultural Monuments of National Significance.

Tiri Monastery

The Tiri monastery is a 13th-century church near Tskhinvali in what is now the disputed territory of South Ossetia. Built as a Georgian Orthodox monastery in a hall church plan, it bears medieval frescoes and Georgian inscriptions. After the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, the Georgians lost access to the monastery. In 2015, the church building was subjected to maintenance works which infringed on authenticity and partially damaged the frescoes, leading to a controversy in Tskhinvali and protests from Georgia. The monastery is inscribed on the list of Georgia's Immovable Cultural Monuments of National Significance.

Bieti Monastery

The Bieti Monastery is a half-ruined medieval Georgian Orthodox monastery in the historical Shida Kartli region, located near the village of Bieti in what is now the disputed territory of South Ossetia. It is built in a hall church plan and partially carved into rock. The church is inscribed on the list of Georgia's Immovable Cultural Monuments of National Significance. There is another medieval Georgian church known as Bieti situated in Samtskhe-Javakheti in southern Georgia.

Shoreti monastery

The Shoreti monastery is a medieval Christian monastery in south Georgia, lying in a rocky valley in the Aspindza Municipality, Samtskhe-Javakheti. It consists of several structures, the main church—dedicated to Saint George—being built in several construction phases between the 6th–7th and 15th centuries. The church, standing in ruins, was completely rebuilt in 2018. It is notable for mosaic adornments and medieval inscriptions. The monastery is inscribed on the list of the Immovable Cultural Monuments of National Significance of Georgia.


  1. Thomson, Robert W. (1996). Rewriting Caucasian history: the medieval Armenian adaptation of the Georgian chronicles; the original Georgian texts and the Armenian adaptation. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 325. ISBN   0198263732.
  2. Hasan, Hadi (1929). Falaki-i-Shirwani: His Times, Life and Works. London: Royal Asiatic Society. p.  14.
  3. Wakhoucht, Tsarévitch (1842). Brosset, Marie-Félicité (ed.). ღეოღრაჶიული აღწერა საქართველოჲსა. Description géographique de la Géorgie [Geographic description of Georgia] (in Georgian and French). S.-Pétersbourg: A la typographie de l'Academie Impériale des Sciences. pp. 264–265.
  4. Uvarova, Praskovya (1894). Материалы по археологии Кавказа, собранные экспедициями Московского археологического общества. Вып. 4 [Materials for archaeology of the Caucasus, collected by the expeditions of the Moscow Archaeological Society, Issue 4] (in Russian). Moscow: Moscow Archaeological Society. pp. 165–172.
  5. "თიღვის განთქმული ტაძარი ..." [The famous church of Tigva...](PDF). Iveria (in Georgian). 185: 1–2. 29 August 1890.
  6. "სოფ. თიღვა (გორის მაზრა)" [Village Tigva (Gori district)](PDF). Iveria (in Georgian). 270: 2. 19 December 1890.
  7. Gamkrelidze, Gela; Mindorashvili, Davit; Bragvadze, Zurab; Kvatsadze, Marine, eds. (2013). "თიღვა [Tigva]". ქართლის ცხოვრების ტოპოარქეოლოგიური ლექსიკონი [Topoarchaeological Dictionary of Kartlis Tskhovreba (The History of Georgia)](PDF) (in Georgian) (1st ed.). Tbilisi: Georgian National Museum. p. 249. ISBN   978-9941-15-896-4.
  8. Muskhelishvili, David; Tumanishvili, Dimitri; Gagoshidze, Iulon; Apakidze, Joni; Licheli, Vakhtang (2008). Skinner, Peter (ed.). The Cultural Heritage of Georgia — Abkhazeti, Shida Kartli (PDF). Tbilisi: Georgian Arts and Culture Center. p. 17.
  9. Brosset, Marie-Félicité (1851). Rapports sur un voyage archéologique dans la Géorgie et dans l'Arménie [Report on archaeological voyages in Georgia and Armenia] (in French). St.-Petersbourg: Imprimerie de l'Académie Impériale des Sciences. pp.  105–107. village de Thighwa.
  10. Chitishvili, Natalia (2013). "King's and queen's place in the interior of the Georgian church" (PDF). Friends of Academic Research in Georgia. pp. 17–18. Retrieved 17 April 2017.