Philly Council

Philly Council

Published: 14 Sep 2023


Mtskheta, a small town nestled in the heart of Georgia, is home to some of the most awe-inspiring historic churches in the world. With a rich and storied past dating back to the 5th century, Mtskheta has played a significant role in the spiritual and cultural heritage of Georgia.

From the moment you set foot in Mtskheta, you can’t help but be captivated by the breathtaking beauty and sheer magnificence of its churches. Each structure is a testament to the architectural brilliance of the Georgian craftsmen who created them.

In this article, we will take you on a journey to discover 17 mind-blowing facts about the historic churches of Mtskheta. Brace yourself for a fascinating exploration of these architectural marvels, their cultural significance, and the legends that surround them.

Table of Contents

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Mtskheta Historic Churches, located in the city of Mtskheta, Georgia, are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This prestigious designation highlights their cultural and historical significance.

Spiritual Center of Georgia

Mtskheta has long been considered the spiritual heart of Georgia. The historic churches, including Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and Jvari Monastery, played a crucial role in the development of Christianity in the region.

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Living Pillar, is one of the most significant religious landmarks in Georgia. It is believed to house the robe of Christ and is a popular pilgrimage site.

Jvari Monastery

Perched on a hill overlooking Mtskheta, Jvari Monastery offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the surrounding landscapes. It is a perfect example of early medieval Georgian architecture.

Crossroads of Cultures

Mtskheta has a rich cultural heritage due to its position as a crossroads between Europe and Asia. Over the centuries, it has been influenced by various civilizations, including Persian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman.

Historical Significance

Mtskheta was the capital of the eastern Georgian kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. It played a pivotal role in shaping the political and cultural landscape of the region.

Architectural Marvels

The historic churches of Mtskheta showcase remarkable architectural styles, blending traditional Georgian elements with influences from Byzantine, Romanesque, and Oriental designs.

Intricate Stone Carvings

The facades of the churches are adorned with intricate stone carvings, depicting religious scenes, symbolic motifs, and intricate geometric patterns. They are a testament to the craftsmanship of the Georgian artisans.

Center of Georgian Orthodox Church

Mtskheta serves as the spiritual center of the Georgian Orthodox Church. It is home to the residence of the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, the spiritual leader of the church.

Burial Place of Georgian Kings

The Mtskheta Historic Churches are the final resting place of several Georgian kings and queens, adding a royal significance to these sacred sites.

Pilgrimage Destination

Mtskheta attracts numerous pilgrims from around the world who come to seek spiritual solace and pay their respects at the holy sites.

Artistic Treasures

Inside the churches, visitors can admire a wealth of religious art, including frescoes, iconostases, and ornate medieval artifacts.

Connection to Saint Nino

Mtskheta is closely associated with Saint Nino, who brought Christianity to Georgia in the 4th century. It is believed that she performed miracles in this sacred city.

Sacred Confluence of Rivers

The confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers near Mtskheta holds spiritual significance in Georgian culture. It is believed to be a sacred place where the energies of the two rivers merge.

Mythological Lore

Mtskheta is steeped in mythological legends and folklore. It is said to be the burial place of the mythical king, Svetitskhoveli, and is associated with various tales of gods and heroes.

Stairway to Heaven

Jvari Monastery, perched on a hill, is often referred to as a “stairway to heaven” due to its elevated location and spiritual significance.

Vibrant Pilgrimage Festivals

Mtskheta hosts vibrant religious festivals throughout the year, attracting both locals and tourists. These celebrations include processions, prayers, and traditional rituals.

These 17 mind-blowing facts about Mtskheta Historic Churches shed light on their unparalleled cultural, historical, and spiritual importance. Visiting these sacred sites allows you to immerse yourself in the rich heritage and architectural splendor of Georgia.


Mtskheta, with its historic churches, is a treasure trove of fascinating facts. From being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities to its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mtskheta carries a rich cultural and religious significance. The ancient monuments, such as the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and Jvari Monastery, showcase remarkable architectural prowess and hold great importance in Georgian history.Visiting Mtskheta is like stepping back in time, where you can immerse yourself in the grandeur of these magnificent churches and learn about the stories that surround them. The city offers a unique blend of spirituality, history, and stunning natural landscapes, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an enriching experience.Whether you are a history enthusiast, a religious pilgrim, or simply someone seeking beautiful landscapes, Mtskheta’s historic churches will not disappoint. Experience the awe-inspiring beauty and heritage of these remarkable landmarks and create memories that will last a lifetime.


1. How old are the historic churches in Mtskheta?
The historic churches in Mtskheta are centuries-old, with some dating back as far as the 4th century.2. Are these churches still functioning for religious purposes?
Yes, most of the churches in Mtskheta are still active places of worship, holding regular services and ceremonies.3. Can I visit the churches as a tourist?
Absolutely! The churches in Mtskheta are open to visitors, allowing tourists to explore their architectural beauty and learn about their historical significance.4. Are there any specific dress codes or rules to follow when visiting these churches?
Yes, when visiting the churches, it is recommended to dress modestly and respectfully. Women may need to cover their heads, and both men and women should avoid wearing revealing clothing.5. Are there any guided tours available?
Yes, there are guided tours available that offer a comprehensive insight into the history and significance of the churches in Mtskheta. These tours can enhance your experience and provide in-depth knowledge.6. Are the churches accessible for people with disabilities?
While efforts have been made to make the churches accessible, some of the older structures may have limited accessibility. It is advisable to check with the specific church or tour operator for detailed information.7. Can I take photographs inside the churches?
Photography policies may vary from church to church. It is always recommended to ask for permission before taking any photographs inside the churches.