Catholic Churches, Synagogues and Mosques in Tbilisi
Georgia is worldwide known for his multiculturalism. Especially, this tendency is spread in Tbilisi, where you can meet almost every cultural phenomenon, most of all, different temples are impossible to overlook... If you just wander around the city, without any course or direction, you will come across to many different cultural buildings in every corner of the street, or even in the suburbs. Most of all, different temples are impossible to overlook. And every church or chapel has its own wonderful history, which comes from the old times. So, I think it will be interesting to tell you stories about their founding.
I remember ,it was 22 December, in 2017, I was going to the theatre to see one performance titled "From the life of the marionettes " - according to one of the Bergman's movies. I came there earlier, so I had time to walk around the streets, and as it was wonderful, calm evening, I did so. Garden lights were shining obscurely, and I was wandering around without any direction, when I suddenly came across the "St. Virgin Mary Catholic Church". It was so unexpected, that I thought it was a kind of miracle, as if the church loomed up in front of my eyes. From outside it was adorned brilliantly, it was Christmas in three days, so they were getting ready for this. The members of the parish had created the imitation of the Bethlehem with potted figurines and at the top of the church there was attached a falling star, which was shining brightly. A wonderful scene unfolded before my eyes, so I decided to get there. And, I'm so glad I did it. Standing there, filled with the sweet aroma of the incense, I was almost turned to stone, as the rattling vowels of the organ were making me feel, like it was a secret miraculous place. Such euphoria had never ever inspired me. That was one of the most beautiful memories in my mind. So, think it will be interesting if I tell you the story of the creation of that church. The first Catholic Church was built in Tbilisi, by Dominican monks, back in 1243. During the reign of Giorgi V Brilliant, (1318-1346) on the order of the Roman Pope, there was set up a diocese and they have built Catholic Church of Annunciation, at the gateway of historical Tbilisi, near the gates of Kojori. But, later, in 1795 The Shah of Iran, Agha Mahmad Khan, during his invasion of Tbilisi, demolished along with others also Catholic Church. After this, in 1804, a vicegerent Pavel Tsitsianov decided to create a new Catholic church, he had a plan of a pseudo-Gothic style, and so he did. The construction was finished in 1806 and it was called "The Church of Holy Virgin Mary". When the Bolsheviks came into the head of government, the church of Holy Virgin Mary shut down. In 1998-1999 under the auspices of Bishop G. Pezotti, the church was renovated and became operational.
How to get there ? -> St.Virgin Mary Catholic Church
As for Synagogues, they have big history too. It's known to everyone, that Jews are the ancient residents of Georgia. Back in the VI century BC part of the persecuted Jewish people from Jerusalem arrived and settled in Mtskheta. Soon, as a result of Georgian people's loyalty and generosity, closely settled Jews were able to construct their house of worship-a Synagogue, in Mtskheta. Later, they settled down in other territories of Georgia. In Tbilisi, for example, there are several synagogues. The active big synagogue is located on Leselidze street. It was built in 1910. Also, there is a small synagogue nearby. The third so called Dome Synagogue is on the Anton Catholicos street. It's not operating now, and there has been set up David Baazov Historical and Ethnographic Museum of Georgian Jews.
How to get there?-> The active big synagogue
And the last issue is Mosques. The history begins from VIII century, when, during 4 centuries, Tbilisi was under Islamic influence. Thereafter, the influence of Islamic culture on the lifestyle and architecture of the city was big. Located in downtown, not far from Botanic garden, the mosque was first built by the king of Kartli, Rostom (1633 - 1658). In XIX century a minaret of the Mosque underwent a reconstruction by an Italian architect Giovanni Scudieri. There was another mosque on the left bank of river Mtkvari, in Rike, which was built in 1522 on the order of Shah of Iran, Ismail. This Shiite mosque was demolished by the communists under the pretext of reconstructing Metekhi bridge . After this , both - Shiites and Sunnis prayer in the Sunni Mosque/Juman Mosque in Abanotubani neighborhood. Here’s the picture. It's a really wonderful place ...
How to get there? ->Iumah Mosque in Abanotubani