Atchi Church

Cover image © Ilia Bilikhodze

Nestled in the heart of Atchi village, Ozurgeti Municipality, Guria, stands the St. George Church of Atchi. This exquisite edifice, with a past stretching back to the 13th century, is shrouded in a blend of mystery and splendor. Now, if you're a fan of perplexing tales, Atchi Church offers a tantalizing burst of stories!

The church’s history is somewhat enigmatic, with its oldest written records being mainly donation books from the 16th century. The Guria princes, especially Svimon II Gurieli and Qaikhosro I, held this church in high esteem, each contributing in various ways to its prominence. Spanning 9 kilometers (roughly 5.6 miles) south of Ozurgeti, the Atchi Monastery is an architectural delight. It boasts two intricately carved entrances adorned with crosses, and its eastern side gleams with windows decorated with meticulous carvings.

Dive into the church, and you're greeted by an explosion of artistry. The frescos depict gripping tales from St. George's life, the Virgin Mary's Assumption, Christ's grand entrance into Jerusalem, and more, crafted by the hands of four unique artists. One particular treasure, a gold-plated silver cross from Queen Tamar's era, was discovered by Ekvtime Takaishvili, standing as a testament to the church's historical significance. The church itself is encased in expertly crafted stone blocks, with a robust stone fence standing sentinel around it.

But the tales of Atchi go beyond its walls. Legend speaks of a fearsome devi that once terrorized the village. In their desperation, the villagers sought St. George's aid, who, in a thrilling showdown, transformed the menacing devi into stone. The villagers, in their gratitude, erected the church in the village's most picturesque spot. Today, this red-hued church, adorned with ornate windows, stands as a living reminder of this legend.

The interior of the Atchi St. George Church is a visual treat for art enthusiasts. With frescos that draw parallels to those in the Trabzon Hagia Sophia, yet maintaining their distinct touch, the church offers unparalleled artistry in both Georgian and Byzantine painting.

So, whether you're drawn by the church's architectural prowess, its rich history, or the legends that envelop it, Atchi Church promises a journey into a world of wonder and beauty. The next time you're in Guria, this historic gem is a must-visit!

Nearest to Atchi Church

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