Sameba Cathedral (The city of Tbilisi)
Sameba Cathedral (Georg. სამების საკათედრო ტაძარი). The beauty and sizes of cathedral are indeed breathtaking, and rises magnificently on the hill of the St. Ilya, on the left bank of the Kura River. Sameba is the highest church in Georgia. It is 101m high. For comparison, before Sameba, the Alaverdi Cathedral in Kakheti was considered the tallest, with about 50m in height. Sameba Cathedral was built with grandiose scope. Its golden dome is practically seen from any point in Tbilisi. The cathedral is part of the entire complex including residence of the Patriarch and a monastery, school of theology and academy, hotel and the complex consisting of nine chapels, five of which are located under the ground.
The foundation of the cathedral was done according to all traditions: pieces from holy spots were placed in its basement like rocks from the Sion Mountain and the Jordan River, soil from Jerusalem and from the tomb of St. George. The Patriarch and the President have laid the memorial nameplates too. Bells for the cathedral were cast in Germany. There are nine of them, and the biggest weighs 8,000 kg.
The cathedral is designed in the spirit of modernism, and its architecture has little similarities with old traditions. Faces of the cathedral are done exquisitely with arches and unique fretwork. There are beautiful frescoes created under the supervision of the icon painter Amiran Goglidze on the walls of the Sameba Cathedral. Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II also took part in painting works of the Tsminda Sameba Cathedral; he painted several icons and a big image of the Holy Virgin that can be seen at the entrance. There are two floors under the ground; on the second floor there are museum and conference hall.