Achili Monastery

About Achili Monastery

Best time to visit: All Season

Archili Monastery is located in the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, in the Tianeti Municipality, near the village of Nadokra. It includes several buildings from different periods, such as two hall churches, a five-story tower, a wine cellar, a residential building and a fence. The oldest of the buildings is the VIII century hall temple. There is a tomb in the temple: it is considered that the Kakhetian eismtavari (literally, "chief of the people", ruler) Archil, the son of Stephen of Kakheti, is buried here. During the Middle Ages, a second church was built at the northeastern corner of this church, and in the 17th-18th centuries, a tower and other buildings were added.


Architecture

The church of the 8th century is a hall-type building with a semicircular apse inscribed in a rectangle in the east. Three chronologically different building layers are distinguished on it: the oldest layer is created by the irregular laying of large cobblestones; in the following centuries, the eastern and southern facades were faced with hewn blocks of shirim stone (facade stone); later, the damaged temple was restored by laying of` small cobblestones. The building has one entrance - from the south; it has a rectangular shape on the outside and an arched shape on the inside. The vault of the hall is supported by semicircular supporting arches. Initially, the church was illuminated through two windows - east and west. After the addition of the tower, the eastern window shadowed, so new windows were cut in the northern and southern walls and in the eastern part of the apse. The facades are undecorated. The eastern facade is entirely covered by the tower. The rectangular openings of the southern windows are cut in the two slabs of shirim and decorated with a simple shaft. The entrance is framed by a simple frame that protrudes slightly in front of the wall plane. The facades are completed by a cornice made of a shelf, fillet and shaft.

The second church stands in the northeastern corner of the 8th-century temple. As the first church, this is also a hall-type building with a semicircular apse inscribed in a rectangle in the east. Before, the temple was mainly destroyed, but now it is completely restored. There is only one entrance - from the south side. The hall is covered with a semicircular vault supported by one supporting arch. The interior is plastered. The hall is illuminated through one window in the east wall and two windows in the north one. The facades are undecorated and end with a cornice made of a shelf, fillet and shaft. The church was erected with irregular masonry of cobblestones of various sizes. In the masonry of the outer corners, hewn stones of shirim were used, the cornice was also made of shirim.

The five-story tower adjoins the eastern facade of the old temple and the southern facade of the second church. It has a square shape. The tower has an arched entrance from the south, at the level of the first floor. There is a fireplace on the ground floor, above which there is an arched niche. The floor is covered with a semi-cylindrical vault. On the western and northern walls of the second floor, deep lancet-arched niches were installed, one on each wall. To the south, there is a door leading to a platform with a span-roof. A high rectangular window has been cut in the east wall and a loophole in the south wall. A wide rectangular door leading to a small wooden balcony is installed in the south wall of the third floor, and one rectangular window has been cut in the east. Six loopholes have been carved into the walls of the fourth floor. The second, third and fourth floors had a flat roof rested on wooden beams. The southern wall of the fifth floor has a door opening onto a wooden balcony, while the rest of the walls have loopholes. The floor is covered with a domed vault. The facades are not decorated and end with an arched cornice made of thin tiles of shirim. The tower itself is built of cobblestone.

The wine cellar is located in the northern part of the courtyard. The building consists of two rectangular rooms and is almost completely underground. One of the rooms is a winepress, the other is wine storage. The rooms are connected to each other by a door. The wine cellar is covered with a domed vault; In the eastern wall of the room there is a clay pipe from the winepress, in front of which there is a kvevri (the clay vessel used for making wines). The room is illuminated through a circular hole cut in the top of the vault. The interior is plastered.

The residential building is located southwest of the first church. It is completely destroyed, only the remains of the foundation and part of the fireplace have survived. The complex is surrounded by a curved fence, from which only rare ruins have survived to this day. At the moment, the monastery complex has been restored.

Tags: #History #Church #Culture #Monastery #Historical Monument

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