There are 16 communities in Mestia municipality. In each of the communities, there are small, unique villages, visiting of which will make your trip unforgettable. One of them is the village of Svipi in the Pari community. Arriving in Svipi, you will find the Basilica Church of St. George( Jgraag, same as St. George in Svanetian language) with stunning and ancient frescoes.

According to the story, the church was built by the Chkhetiani family at the end of the 9th century and the beginning of the 10th century. The church is a hall-type building, with a right-angled apse to the east. The apse is arch-shaped at the shoulders, then it becomes a flattened, elliptical shape. The sanctuary is elevated by one step. The interior is fully painted. The sanctuary is separated from the hall by a three-arched iconostasis. Iconostasis is also painted. The temple is lit by the arched windows of the east and south.

The entrance to the St. George's Church of Svipi is from the west side. It is rectangular from the outside and arched from the inside. The wooden door, that will draw visitorsโ€™ attention, is one of the great monuments of Georgian wood carving. There is an old inscription of the 11th century written in the old Georgian alphabet, Asomtavruli. It says: "Saint George, protect the soul of Gabissa". The facades of the temple were also painted, although small fragments of facade painting have survived till today.

Painting

On the inner walls of the church, the first - black-and-white painting is from the 10th century, and the second - colored, from the 11th-12th centuries. The artist was a secular figure - Shalva Kirkishliani, whose portrait is depicted on the north wall of the church. The exterior painting of the church is also unique.

The carved wooden door from the west of the church is one of the great examples of Georgian wood carving art.

A treasure is also kept in the temple.

Unique icons and crosses with church bursar inscriptions are preserved in the church. One of the outstanding sanctities is the flag handle of Svaneti Region. This is the unique flag that led the Svanetian army into battle during the reign of Davit IV The Builder and King Tamar.

In the church, there is also a golden icon of St. George, the patron saint of the Pari community, which, according to the legend, is miraculous. Locals used to decide important issues in the presence of this icon, and as it is told even sworn enemies made peace.

In 2006, the temple was granted the status of an immovable cultural monument of national importance.


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