Some Georgian friends took me on a walk in a section of Tbilisi called Avlabari. Avlabari is where Sameba Cathedral is located. I had gone to the cathedral before, but I didn’t know it contained other hidden gems. This time I was shown the side chapels and also we went down under the main church. The church descended down two more levels. And on each level there was a big church. Not as big as the main cathedral of course, but still bigger than other stand alone churches.
I got to thinking while walking through the cathedral, not only how big it was but also how new it was…brand spanking new. It was new, but it also was built the same as churches of old. Which means the look was exactly the same as hundreds of years ago when they, too, were new. Polished granite and marble, walls and grout smooth to the touch. Imagining such a grand structure in the Middle Ages changes my perspective.
Along with that thought, we next went to a nunnery, Church of the Transfiguration, located nearby. The nunnery was built in the middle ages, but the frescos were bleached out. They are now restoring the paintings to their full luster. Seeing these paintings as they were, must have been a truly spiritual experience.
At the same nunnery was a restored part of an old castle where the Queen’s quarter’s used to be. Satchino Palace was a summer residence of Queen Darejan, the wife of the Georgian King Erekle II (1720-1798).
“Here is the church, and here is the steeple;
Open the door and here are the people.”