Sno Church

Nestled eight kilometers from Stepantsminda, the village of Sno is perhaps most famous for the colossal stone heads mentioned by Atlas Obscura. Yet, tucked amid this remote settlement, another gem awaits—the Sno Church, a testament to the area's rich history and cultural heritage. Built in 1987, this relatively recent cathedral rests on the foundation of an earlier church, echoing the layers of history that permeate this quaint mountain village.

This sacred site, named after the revered 5th-century king, Vakhtang Gorgasali, binds the village's past with the present. The church symbolizes the complex tapestry of regional history, personifying an intriguing "perplexity" born out of a deep-rooted lineage that intertwines with the Ghudushauri clan.

Passed down from generation to generation, an enduring narrative tells of Sno's origins. According to lore, the Ghudushauri clan established Sno village in honor of their male forebearer, Sno, an esteemed warrior. The eponymous hero's contributions earned him King Vakhtang Gorgasali's favor, who permitted Sno to construct a fortress in the area. This story forms the basis of the Georgian surname Ghudushauri.

In the 17th century, the Ghudushauri name gained prominence when Shiola Ghudushauri, then the valley's lord, demonstrated exceptional valor, earning him a revered place in local history. This legacy subsequently inspired the Shiolashvili surname.

Remarkably, the village of Sno is the birthplace of the Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia, born Irakli Ghudushauri-Shiolashvili. The patriarch's childhood home stands sentinel across from Vakhtang Gorgasali Church, adding a layer of personal history to this site of worship.

While the giant stone heads of Sno village are sure to captivate visitors, the Sno Church offers a complementary "burstiness" of cultural experience. So, when you find yourself in Sno, seize the opportunity to enrich your understanding of Georgia's history by visiting this humble yet significant church.

Nearest to Sno Church

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