Sioni Cathedral (Tbilisi City)
Sioni or Sioni Cathedral is a historical temple of Tbilisi, which got its name in honor of the biblical Mount Sion. One of the most beautiful religious buildings in Old Tbilisi is known for several shrines. The modern Sioni Cathedral stands on the site of a 6th-century temple. The first temple was almost completely destroyed during the Arab invasion and was rebuilt only after almost four centuries.
The main sacred relic not only of the Sioni Cathedral, but of the whole country is the cross of St. Nino, the enlightener and baptist of Georgia. Made of grapevine and entwined with the hair of a girl, the cross is enclosed in a silver frame and is kept on the left side in the central iconostasis. Other important relics of the temple are the head of the Apostle Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus Christ, who, after the fall of Constantinople, was transferred to Georgia in the Sioni Cathedral. On the territory of the cathedral there are two bell towers – a wooden building dating from the 15th century and a bell tower of the 19th century in the style of Russian classicism.