Ishkhani monastery

Ishkhani Cathedral (Region of Tao)

Ishkhani Cathedral (Georg. იშხანის ტაძარი, Tur. İşhan Manastır Kilisesi), is located in the historical region of Georgia – Tao (Georg. ტაო), the Artvin vilayet of modern Turkey, in the village of Arpacik (Tur. Arpacik). The first church on the site of today’s church, was built by the Armenian Catholicos Nerses in 647, which was destroyed as a result of the Arab campaigns of 736-738. From the construction of that time, only the sanctuary remains. In the 9th century (836), the temple, razed to the ground, was first restored by the Bishop of Ishkhani – Saba Ishkhneli (Georg. საბა იშხნელი). A small part of the remains of two old versions, in the second half of the 10th century, was included in the building of the great cathedral, built by the architect – Ioane Morchaisdze. According to historical sources, on the orders of the master, for the construction of the temple, the workers poured lime with milk. Because of this, the church acquired more beauty and strength.

The restored and decorated church of Ishkhani,  has been one of the most important episcopal cathedrals of Southern Georgia for centuries and  an achievement of Georgian architecture. This is one of the largest buildings among the Georgian domed architectural structures, the style of which reflects the various stages of development of the architecture and building culture of Georgia. The frescoes and inscriptions of the Ishkhni Cathedral keep important facts of Georgian history. Here ancient Georgian manuscripts were created and kept for centuries. Unfortunately, most of the written monuments preserved in the library have not survived to this day. The episcopal see in Ishkhani existed until the second half of the 17th century. Later it was turned into a mosque. For a long time, the unique monument stood in ruins. In 2013, after repeated attempts by Georgia, Turkish restorers restored the temple.


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