Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, located in Mtskheta, is the masterpiece of the Early Middle Ages and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, Svetitskhoveli is the second largest religious building in the country.
It is believed that Christ’s mantle is buried here and has been one of the principal Georgian churches since the construction in 1029. Since its existence, the cathedral survived a variety of misfortunes and many of its valuable frescoes have been whitewashed by the Russian Imperial authorities. Luckily, some frescoes were restored including a 13th-century depiction of the “Beast of the Apocalypse” and figures of the Zodiac. Many Christian Orthodox icons adorn its walls, most of which are not original as they are kept at the national museums. There are examples of the stonework that shows grapes on the walls, reflection Georgia’s ancient wine-making traditions.