May 5, 2015

1566 GEORGIA (Mtskheta-Mtianeti) - Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (UNESCO WHS)

1566 Jvari Monastery

Located at the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari Rivers, Mtskheta was the ancient capital of Iberia, the East Georgian Kingdom from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD, and was also the location where Christianity was proclaimed as the official religion of Georgia in 337. To date, it still remains the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox Church, and it was declared as the "Holy City" by the GOC in 2014. The favourable natural conditions, its location at the intersection of trade routes, and its close relations with the Roman Empire, the Persian Empire, Syria, Palestine, and Byzantium, generated the development of the city and led to the integration of different cultural influences with local cultural traditions.

The Holy Cross Monastery of Jvari, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and Samtavro Monastery are key monuments of medieval Georgia. According to traditional accounts, on the location of Jvari Monastery in the early 4th century Saint Nino, a female evangelist credited with converting King Mirian III of Iberia to Christianity, erected a large wooden cross on the site of a pagan temple. A small church was erected over the remnants of the wooden cross in c.545 named the "Small Church of Jvari". The present building, or "Great Church of Jvari", is generally held to have been built between 590 and 605 by Erismtavari Stepanoz I. In the late Middle Ages, the complex was fortified by a stone wall and gate, remnants of which still survive.

The Jvari church is an early example of a "four-apsed church with four niches" domed tetraconch. This church design is found in the architecture of Georgia, Armenia, and Caucasian Albania, and is often referred to as a "Hripsime-type plan" after its best known example, the church of St. Hripsime in Armenia. The Jvari church had a great impact on the further development of Georgian architecture and served as a model for many other churches. Varied bas-relief sculptures with Hellenistic and Sasanian influences decorate its external façades, some of which are accompanied by explanatory inscriptions in Georgian Asomtavruli script.

About the stamp
The stamp, depicting the glacier Gergeti, was released on April 23, 2013, for Europa Stamps 2012, with the theme Visit... This stamp was issued in a mini-sheet of 16 stamps and in a souvenir-sheet of 12 different stamps only this stamp bearing the Europa logo

Jvari (monastery) - Wikipedia
Historical Monuments of Mtskheta - UNESCO official website

Sender: Grita Dumskienė
Sent from Tbilisi (Tbilisi / Georgia), on 05.03.2013
Photo: Zurab Gengiuri 

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