Tsaishi Cathedral

Perched on the broad slopes of Urti Mountain, in the therapeutic resort town of Tsaishi, is an enduring testament to Georgia's spiritual heritage - the Tsaishi Cathedral. This significant site in the Samegrelo region of western Georgia not only offers insights into the country's religious past but also captivates visitors with its enchanting vistas of the surrounding landscape.

From as early as the 6th and 7th centuries, Tsaishi Cathedral has been at the heart of Georgia's religious narrative. This cathedral church, officially named Tsaishi Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God, forms the headquarters of the Diocese of Zugdidi and Tsaishi. It is one of the oldest Episcopal departments in the country, with its mention appearing in episcopal records between 602 to 610.

The cathedral’s history echoes in its stone walls and aged inscriptions. A notable monument from the 10th-11th centuries mentions Bishop Ephraim of Tsaishi alongside King Bagrat III of Georgia, marking its importance in the annals of Georgian history.

The cathedral we see today was constructed between the 13th and 14th centuries, replacing the 10th-11th century domed basilica that initially graced this sacred site. Over the centuries, the cathedral bore witness to several significant restorations. One noteworthy restoration followed the catastrophic earthquake of 1614, led by Bishop Malachi, who subsequently served as the Catholicos-Patriarch of Western Georgia from 1616 to 1639.

Another significant figure in the cathedral’s history is Bishop Grigol Dadiani, who in 1777, not only restored the main temple but also erected a stone bell tower, fortified the monastery with a wall, and brought together a collection of manuscripts and printed books.

The Tsaishi Cathedral complex, ensconced within a lofty fence, consists of the Church of the Virgin Mary, a two-story bell tower, and remnants of the Episcopal palace. The eastern facade retains its original ornamental patterns and reliefs, while the other facades have been carefully restored.

Beyond its architectural allure, the cathedral also served as a cradle of education in the region, with a monastery school operating within its premises until 1879. Following a period of closure during the Bolshevik rule, the monastery was rejuvenated in 1989 under the patronage of Catholics Patriarch of Georgia Elijah II.

Today, visitors are drawn to the cathedral's diverse offerings: the 17th-century fresco of St. George, the painting of the altar from the same era, and the fascinating scene from St. George's life. The cathedral's grounds also feature a palm garden and a 600-year-old linden tree, with a grove of the rare Zelkova tree species nearby.

Despite the ravages of time, natural disasters, and enemy onslaughts, Tsaishi Cathedral continues to stand resilient, symbolizing Georgia's enduring spiritual tradition and architectural prowess.

Nearest to Tsaishi Cathedral

Distances shown are straight-line, calculated automatically from coordinates, and may not reflect actual travel distance. They do not account for altitude, terrain, or obstacles. Not suitable for itinerary planning or emergencies. For entertainment use only.

Planning a Trip to Georgia? Inquire Now