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Georgian Cultural Heritage on the list of UNESCO
Among all of the historic monuments of Georgia, the ancient capital of Georgia - Mtskheta with its historic places (Svetitskhoveli, The Monastery of Holy Cross and the Principality), the Bagrati and Gelati Monastery complexes near Kutaisi, and the Ushguli Tribe - the highest point of upper Svaneti are all on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The Monastery of the Holy Cross
The Monastery of the Holy Cross is located at the convergence of the rivers Mtkvari and Aragvi, on the top of a rocky mountain, with a view of the magnificent sights of Mtskheta. The church completely blends with the mountain silhouette and resembles the mountain top. King Mirian and Saint Nino erected a large wooden cross there signifying the idols of the mid-4th century and that is how the Monastery received its' name.
The existing church of Svetitskhoveli was built at the end of the 6th century but its history began in the 4th century. It was the first Christian church in Georgia, in the base of which is buried the great holiness – the vesture of Jesus Christ. The Svetitskhoveli church was the largest church of Georgia during the Middle Ages. It is one of the most important religious structures, sophisticated in every way. The Svetitskhoveli Complex includes the church, a fence, a gate, a tower, the palace and the rooms of the monks. Kings were blessed in Svetitskhoveli for centuries. The crypt of the Georgian Royal Dynasty is also located in the church.
The church of the Principality is another excellent example of Georgian architectural heritage. It was constructed in the first half of the 11th century. The most interesting detail of its unique exterior is its ornamentation with each window of the church having a different shape. The graves of the first Christian King of Georgia Mirian and Queen Nana are also located there.
The temple of the Sleeping of Saint Mary is located on Ukimeroni Hill near Kutaisi, which is the symbol of a united Georgia and is named after the first King of Unified Georgia - Bagrat III. The construction of the church was completed in 1,003 but its dome completely collapsed during the Turkish invasion of 1692. The Cathedral of Bagrat holds a special place in the medieval architecture of Georgia with its historical and cultural importance.
The Gelati Monastery, which was founded in 1106 by King David the Builder, is located near Kutaisi. There is also an Academy nearby that was an educational center during the Middle Ages. King David the Builder was buried at the main entrance of the monastery according to his wishes. Another part of the complex, the Cathedral of St. Mary is distinguished by its paintings, including the distinctive mosaic fresco of the Virgin Mary.
The Ushguli community is well-known for its unique towers and churches. The Church of Virgin Mary, also known as the "Lamaria" church, is located in a much more visible area compared to other local churches. Ushguli is one of the highest inhabited villages at an elevation of 2,200 meters above sea level. Ushguli has an excellent environment for walking, mountain climbing, alpinism, horseback riding and mountain cycling tours. The highest peak of Georgia - Shkhara (5,068 m) is also located nearby.