Christian churches in Svaneti, Svan churches in Georgia, ancient paintings of Georgian temples
Svaneti differs from the usual Georgia not only by the customs of the locals. Find out what are the differences between the Svan Christian churches, what is famous for the religious holiday "Lagurka" in our article. The Madloba catalog - the best guide for tourists introduces the most unusual details of Georgian history. Don't miss it!
The church architectural heritage of Svaneti has more than 70 churches and religious buildings, most of them are single-nave churches of small size, erected in the VIII-XIV centuries from tuff or stone, as a rule, without relief decorations.
Svan churches have preserved the name of the "royal painter" Tevdore, who lived and worked in the late XI - early XII centuries. The title of "royal artist" indicates that Tevdore worked at the court and for the tsar. However, presumably, he was originally from Svaneti: this is indicated by the peculiar artistic manner of his paintings.
The earliest work of Tevdore is a painting in the Archangel Church in the village of Iprari (Iprali), in the community of Kala. It is a small-sized hall church and dates back to the 10th century. The painting of the temple has been preserved almost in its original form.
Near the village of He in the community of Kala, on a high mountain covered with coniferous forests, there is a church named after Saints Kvirike and Ivlita (in Svan, "Lagurka"). There used to be a convent here, where nuns came from all over Georgia. The inscription on the fresco says that Tevdore painted the church in 1112 by order of local feudal lords.
In the community of Ipari in the village of Nakipiri there is a relatively large tenth-century communal church. The eastern facade of the church is distinguished by a peculiar design: on the upper one on the Svan towers. Tevdore painted this church in 1130. This is evidenced by the inscription on the iconostasis.
Svan temples are distinguished by another feature: paintings are available not only in the interior, but also on the facade. This tradition is typical only for local churches. It is noteworthy that on the facades, in addition to traditional religious subjects, stories from worldly life or scenes from literary works were also depicted.