Barakoni Church

Ever dreamed of traveling to a hidden gem nestled in the heart of verdant mountains and caressed by two rivers' confluence? Say hello to Barakoni Church! This slice of Georgian architectural paradise is tucked away in the mountain-framed village of Tsesi in the Racha Region, where the Rioni and Lukhuni Rivers converge in a picturesque tableau.

The enchanting St. Virgin Mary Church of Barakoni, brought to life in 1753 by the master craftsman Avtandil Shulavreli, stands as a testimony to Georgian architectural grandeur. Commissioned by Racha's feudal lord, the eristavi, the church was crafted entirely from stones sourced from the village of Itsi.

The church's construction is refreshingly unadorned: a rectangular, domed sanctuary with no appendages. It leans on its altar edges and two sturdy pillars for support. The exterior, however, is a different story – it's decked out with intricate carvings that give it an almost regal demeanor.

Inside, the church boasts an iconic iconostasis, lavishly adorned with skilfully painted icons – a rare sight indeed! Barakoni's domed structure and riverside location have also earned it the moniker of the small Svetitskhoveli – an affectionate nod to Georgia's most significant church in Mtskheta.

What's more, Barakoni Church has a fascinating neighborhood history. There was another local lords' church nearby, and religious books were printed in the vicinity as recently as 200 years ago. You can even spot the ruins of a single-nave basilica ordered by Queen Tamar.

There's a surreal magic that seizes time when you stand next to Barakoni, on the small green cape. As you gaze upon the babbling rivers and the imposing mountains – the sentinels of these valleys – time seems to slow down, letting you drink in the ethereal beauty of the moment.

Sadly, Barakoni bore the brunt of the Bolshevik rule and was closed and desecrated. Further damaged in the 1991 Racha earthquake, it stood resilient and was swiftly repaired. Today, it overlooks the junction of the Rioni and Lukhuni Rivers from its perch atop a steep cliff, a proud symbol of Georgia's timeless architectural tradition.

Nearest to Barakoni Church

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