World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Jvari (monastery)

Article Id: WHEBN0001005467
Reproduction Date:

Title: Jvari (monastery)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Mtskheta, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Bagrati Cathedral, Gelati Monastery, Jvari
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Jvari (monastery)

The name of this monastery translated as the "Monastery of the Cross". For the Georgian monastery in Jerusalem with the same name, see Monastery of the Cross.
Jvari Monastery
Jvari Monastery
Basic information
Location Georgia
Affiliation Georgian Orthodox
Architectural description
Architectural type Church
Architectural style Tetraconch
Completed 586-605 AD, by King Stephen I of Kartli (Iberia)
Official name: Historical Monuments of Mtskheta
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, iv
Designated 1994 (18th session)
Reference no. 708
Region Europe

Jvari Monastery (World Heritage site by UNESCO.


  • History 1
  • Architecture 2
  • Threats 3
  • Gallery 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Jvari Monastery stands on the rocky mountaintop at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, overlooking the town of Mtskheta, which was formerly the capital of the Kingdom of Iberia.

According to traditional accounts, on this location in the early 4th century Saint Nino, a female evangelist credited with converting King Mirian III of Iberia to Christianity, erected a large wooden cross on the site of a pagan temple. The cross was reportedly able to work miracles and therefore drew pilgrims from all over the Caucasus. A small church was erected over the remnants of the wooden cross in c.545 named the "Small Church of Jvari".

The present building, or "Great Church of Jvari", is generally held to have been built between 590 and 605 by Erismtavari Stepanoz I. This is based on the Jvari inscriptions on its facade which mentions the principal builders of the church: Stephanos the patricius, Demetrius the hypatos, and Adarnase the hypatos. Professor Cyril Toumanoff disagrees with this view, identifying these individuals as Stepanoz II, Demetre (brother of Stepanoz I), and Adarnase II (son of Stepanoz II), respectively.[1]

The importance of Jvari complex increased over time and attracted many pilgrims. In the late UNESCO World Heritage Site.

However, over the centuries the structures suffered damage from rain and wind erosion and inadequate maintenance. Jvari was listed in the 2004 World Monuments Watch list by the World Monuments Fund.


Ascension of the Cross, bas-relief from the Jvari Monastery

The Jvari church is an early example of a "four-apsed church with four niches"[2] domed Georgian architecture and served as a model for many other churches.

Varied Asomtavruli script. The entrance tympanum on the southern façade is adorned with a relief of the Glorification of the Cross, the same façade also shows an Ascension of Christ.

Uncertainty over, and debate about, the date of the church's construction have assumed nationalist undertones in Georgia and Armenia, with the prize being which nation can claim to have invented the "four-apsed church with four niches" form.


Erosion is playing its part to deteriorate the monastery, with its stone blocks being degraded by wind and acidic rain.[3]



  1. ^ Rapp, Stephen H. (2003), Studies In Medieval Georgian Historiography: Early Texts And Eurasian Contexts, p. 344. Peeters Bvba ISBN 90-429-1318-5.
  2. ^ J-M. Thierry & P. Donabedian, "Armenian Art" p67.
  3. ^ ICOMOS Heritage at Risk 2006/2007: Jvari (Holy Cross) Monastery in Mtskheta


  • Abashidze, Irakli. Ed. Georgian Encyclopedia. Vol. IX. Tbilisi, Georgia: 1985.
  • ALTER, Alexandre. A la croisée des temps. Edilivre Publications: Paris, - (novel)- 2012. ISBN 978-2-332-46141-4
  • Amiranashvili, Shalva. History of Georgian Art. Khelovneba: Tbilisi, Georgia: 1961.
  • Grigol Khantsteli. Chronicles of Georgia.
  • Rosen, Roger. Georgia: A Sovereign Country of the Caucasus. Odyssey Publications: Hong Kong, 1999. ISBN 962-217-748-4

External links

  • Georgian government site
  • Max Planck Institute
  • UNESCO site

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.