Dolochopi Basilica

Journey back in time and uncover a captivating chapter of Georgia's religious heritage at the Dolochopi Basilica. Nestled in the Kakheti region, this intriguing 4th-5th-century edifice invites explorers to navigate through its storied past and hidden catacombs.

With a staggering length of 35.7 metres (approximately 117 feet) and a width of 18 metres (approximately 59 feet), Dolochopi Basilica ranks among Georgia's largest and oldest structures of its kind.

The basilica bears the indelible mark of the Arab general Marwan II, who historians suggest razed this Christian sanctuary during the 8th century. Yet, even in ruin, the basilica served as a place of prayer, a testament to the resilient faith and craftsmanship of the Georgian people.

Embodying this enduring craftsmanship, the basilica's limestone and mortar walls, complemented by finely-carved travertine corners and arches, have reshaped the contemporary understanding of historical construction practices. These resilient remnants stand as silent witnesses to the sophisticated construction capabilities of ancient Georgian artisans.

A labyrinth of ancient catacombs extends beneath the basilica, believed to be the final resting place of local dignitaries. These subterranean passages, teeming with history and mystery, contribute to the basilica's irresistible allure.

Adding another layer of intrigue, archaeologists unearthed a massive Qvevri (traditional Georgian clay jar) in the basilica's heart. The presence of this colossal vessel sparks tantalizing questions about the daily rituals and lifestyle of the people who once gathered at the basilica.

Rediscovered in 2010, the Dolochopi Basilica rests on the outskirts of Kvareli, near the Duruji river. Its ruins reveal the vestiges of a once thriving late antiquity settlement. The basilica's impressive dimensions, extending to 44 x 27 metres (approximately 144 x 88.5 feet) with additional aisles, mark it as one of the largest of its kind in the Caucasus and neighboring regions of Eastern Christendom.

Underneath the 5th-century basilica, a smaller predecessor church dating back to AD 387 rests, making it one of the earliest known Christian sites in Georgia.

Through the tangible legacy of its architecture and the profound depths of its history, the Dolochopi Basilica invites explorers and historians alike to delve into the rich tapestry of Georgia's early Christian past.

Nearest to Dolochopi Basilica

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