Monastery of Ancha (Region of Klarjeti)
Monastery of Ancha (Georg. ანჩის მონასტერი, Tur. Ança Manastırı) – georgian Orthodox monastery in the historical region of Georgia – Klarjeti (Georg. კლარჯეთი). It is located in the historical village of Ancha (Georg. ანჩა), now Intsili (Tur. İncilli), on the territory of modern Turkey. Only its ruins have survived to this day. The founding of the Ancha Monastery, the oldest episcopal cathedral and an important cultural and educational center of the Klarjeti region, dates back to the 6th-7th centuries. For centuries, the monastery played an important role in the historical events of southern Georgia. His strength and authority contributed to the strengthening of the Christian monastic centers of the historical region as a whole. From the first half of the 6th-11th century, the Ancha Monastery became the center of the Diocese of Ancha, one of the five Georgian dioceses in the Klarjeti region. Bishop Ancha enjoyed great influence and honor at the court of the kings of Georgia.
The main temple of the monastery, a well-known arched structure, was a cross-domed building. The church was built of reddish sandstone with brownish and green stone inlays. The monastery complex included the residence of the bishop and a number of outbuildings. The miraculous image of the Savior, transferred to Georgia in 1664, was kept precisely in the Ancha monastery, which is still called Anchiskhati (Georg. ანჩისხატი) today. For centuries, Ancha Monastery was not only a religious but also an administrative center. In the 11th century, the temple, damaged during the war between Byzantium and Georgia, was thoroughly restored. In the XVII century, after the conquest of Tao-Klarjeti by the Turks, the Ancha monastery was abandoned and deliberately destroyed. The processed stones of the destroyed monastery were used by the Turks for the construction of a mosque and houses.