Shida Kartli. A Brief Regional Description: A region in East Georgia, historically and territorially being the very heart of Georgia, with the city of Gori being the administrative center. The climate of Shida Kartli is of moderate, subtropical humidity, with the median annual temperature being around 10-12 ºC. In January the median temperature is 3º C and 20-22º C in July. The barometric pressure is around 500-700 mm. The regional climate is continental, with the median annual temperature fluctuating around 12-13º C (in the lowlands), 9-10º C (in higher, outer regions), whereas 4º C at higher altitudes (Java region). There are many monuments of nature, architecture, and culture throughout the region. East Georg
A fortified town erected on a rocky hilltop was called Gori. At the very end of the I Mill. B.C., a mighty fortress had already stood here, surrounded by a population of inhabitants. Gori has been mentioned in chronicles however, since the 7th century. During the general flourishing of statehood in the 11th century, Gori had also revived. Roads were repaired. Trading and travel picked up and the city sprang to life. This must be the reason for why the foundation of Gori is ascribed to David the Builder. Whoever held Gori Fortress, commandeered the entire region of Shida Kartli. Thus the fortress was laid to siege many times, constantly changing the owners. At various times, it was held by the Ossetians (through the help of the Mongols), Iranians, and Turks. Today, as in the past, Gori is located at a strategically or economically important crossroad, actively being involved in industrial and cultural affairs.
Rock-cut city Uplistsikhe is one of the prominent monuments of rock architecture in the world, having been carved out in the first millennium B.C. Noteworthy remnants that have survived are the so-called “Long Building”, “Western Church”, “The Great Yard” and the “Flat-roofed Houses”, “The Single-Pillar Hall” and “The Hall with Caisson Ceilings”, “The Beautiful House”, “The High Throne Room” Complex, “The Building at the Beginning of the Main Street”, “The Inaccessible Building”, “The Plain Room”, “The Double-Pillared Hall” and “The Quadruple-Pillared Hall” Complex, “The Prince’s Church”, “The House at the Edge of the Great Cliff”, “The Platform at the Edge of the Street”, “The Hall With Paired Rafters”, “The Red Room” Complex, the church, etc. In the 9th-11th centuries, Uplistsikhe was a fortress fulfilling military, strategical functions and the residence of the military general.
The central-domed church of Ateni Sioni was built in the first half of the 7th century on a cliff by the Tana River, at the site of an ancient basilica, as an imitation of the Church of the Holy Cross at Mtskheta. The outer walls are adorned with many reliefs from the 7th-10th centuries, inside however are murals from the 11th century, one of the most important works of the medieval Georgian wall-painting. 8th-11th-century inscriptions within the church provide important historical facts.
The monastery is located in the Kareli District about ten kilometers away from Kintsvisi Village in the Dzama River Valley. There are two churches and a gate preserved here. Only the chancel has survived from the older, 10th-11th century single-nave Church of the Mother of God, with remarkable murals dating from the second half of the 13th century. The main domed church of St. Nicholas built by Anthony Glonistavisdze, the Prime Minister and Chkondideli, in the beginning of the 13th century is more significant. The brick church is famous for its mural decoration. An angel heralding the Resurrection on the northern wall and a royal portrait (George III, King Tamar, and George IV Lasha) right underneath it are especially well-known. Kintsvisi murals are of crucial importance in the history of Georgian monumental painting. The church is accompanied by annexes constructed in the 13th-14th centuries and a separate chapel. Inside of the church is a chancel-barrier painted in the 15th century and in the narthex 16th-17th centuries murals are also preserved.
A domed church dedicated to the Holy Archangels stands in the Tskhinvali region, having been erected in 1172 on the outskirts of Ikorta Village. This typology was often used in the ecclesiastical architecture during the period from the 11th to the 18th century in Georgia. Restored and repaired in the 14th century, in 1672 and in 19th-20th centuries, it has still preserved its original appearance and stone carved ornamentation of high artistic merits. The 12th-century murals inside the church have also partially survived. The 17th-century holy martyrs – Shalva and Elizbar, military governors from Ksani, and Bidzina Cholokashvili are buried within the church.
The church is currently on territory occupied by Russia and it is impossible to see it
The Church of the Ascension at Samtavisi, a very prominent building of crucial significance for Medieval Georgian architecture, is located in the Kaspi region, on the bank of the Lekhura River. This domed church was built by Bishop Hilarion Samtavneli in 1030, over the grave of one of the holy Assyrian Fathers from the 6th century, St. Isidore Samtavneli. Distinguished by architectural features and the exquisiteness of stone carvings, the church had been partially restored in the 15th and 19th centuries. There are murals painted by Meliton Samtavneli during the 17th century within the chancel. The remnants of an early Medieval basilica, a single-nave church from a later period, an 18th-century bell-tower, and an episcopal palace are all part of a complex revealed as a result of archaeological excavations. The grave of St. Isidore (commemoration day – 20 May) is venerated as the relic of the church.
The Monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God at Kvatakhevi is situated in the Kaspi region, within the Kavtura River Valley. It is one of the domed churches dating to the 12th-13th centuries that became a model for the architecture of subsequent centuries. The church is abundantly adorned with rich stone carvings. Apart from the church, the Kvatakhevi Complex also contains Late Medieval and the 19th century refectory, a bell-tower, a wall surrounding the complex, and cells. Kvatakhevi is considered to be one of the main shrines in Kartli. Many people were martyred here in the 15th century.