Samtavisi Cathedral is located in the village of the same name about an hour’s drive from Tbilisi, near the town of Kaspi.
Originally built in the 11th century, the version you see now was largely reconstructed in the 19th century after earthquakes severely damaged the building, however the eastern façade survived intact. The church grounds are beautifully maintained – a pretty stone wall surrounding green grass, the main cathedral, and several other buildings including a church-run shop that sells candles and icons.
Take note of the intricate stone carvings on the outside of the cathedral. Also in the yard is the 18th century bell tower, a wine cellar, and a mostly destroyed bishops’ house. The interior of the Samtavisi cathedral is rather modest, but beautiful 17th century frescoes have artistic and historical value. There are centuries-old gravestones set into the floor.
Samtavisi makes a lovely half-day trip from Tbilisi, or a nice place to stop on the way to Gori!