Bagrati Cathedral

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Bagrati Cathedral
ბაგრატის ტაძარი
Bagrati Cathedral in Kutaisi.jpg
Bagrati Cathedral
Bagrati Cathedral is located in Georgia (country)
Bagrati Cathedral
Shown within Georgia (country)
Basic information
Location Kutaisi, Imereti Province (Mkhare),  Georgia
Geographic coordinates 42°16′38″N 42°42′15″E / 42.2773°N 42.7043°E / 42.2773; 42.7043Coordinates: 42°16′38″N 42°42′15″E / 42.2773°N 42.7043°E / 42.2773; 42.7043
Affiliation Georgian Orthodox Church
Region Caucasus
Architectural description
Architectural type Cathedral
Architectural style Georgian
Completed 11th century
Dome(s) 1, rebuilt
Official name: Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery
Type Cultural
Criteria iv
Designated 1994 (18th session)
Reference no. 710
Region Europe
Endangered 2010–present

The Cathedral of the Dormition, or the Kutaisi Cathedral, more commonly known as Bagrati Cathedral (Georgian: ბაგრატი; ბაგრატის ტაძარი, or Bagratis tadzari), is the 11th-century cathedral church in the city of Kutaisi, the region of Imereti, Georgia. The cathedral, rebuilt officially on September 16, 2012 after heavy damage ages ago, served as a masterpiece in the history of modern and medieval Georgian architecture.{fact}

A distinct landmark in the scenery of central Kutaisi, the cathedral rests upon the top of Uk’imerioni Hill. It was built in the early years of the 11th century, during the reign of King Bagrat III, due to which it was called "Bagrati", i.e., Bagrat’s cathedral. An inscription on the north wall reveals that the floor was laid in "chronicon 223", i.e., 1003. In 1692, it was devastated in an explosion by Ottoman troops who had invaded the Kingdom of Imereti. The incident caused the cupola and ceiling to collapse.

Conservation and restoration works, as well as archaeological studies, began in 1952. In 1994 the Bagrati Cathedral, together with the Gelati Monastery, was included in UNESCO's World Heritage Site list as a single entity. In 2001, ownership of the cathedral was transferred from the Georgian state to the Georgian Orthodox Church. It is now of limited use for worship services, but attracts many pilgrims and tourists. It is also frequently used as a symbol of the whole city of Kutaisi, being one of its main tourist attractions.

Threats to Bagrati Cathedral[edit]

picture prior to reconstruction(Moskvich guide, 1913)
Bagrati cathedral under reconstruction (Photo A. Muhranoff, 2010)

The ongoing reconstruction of Bagrati Cathedral has led ICOMOS to recommend that it should be left as a ruin and added to the list of UNESCO Heritage Sites in danger.[1] UNESCO considered the rebuilding damaged "the integrity and authenticity of the site",[2] and in a later report urged the state authorities to develop a rehabilitation strategy that would reverse some of the changes, though acknowledging that the interventions may be "almost irreversible".[3] In July 2010 UNESCO added Bagratli cathedral to its list of world heritage sites in danger because of the continuing reconstruction project, and demanded that the reconstruction be stopped.[4]

As of May 2012, construction of the drum was well underway against the wishes of UNESCO. The addition of a drum and dome has sparked concerns that it may weaken and stress the original walls of the cathedral with the added weight above as well as undermine the integrity and authenticity of the site, as many recent attempts to "restore" churches and monasteries across Georgia have done in recent years.


See Also[edit]


  1. ^ UNESCO Report on the Mission to Historical Monuments of Mtskheta and Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery, Georgia, June 2–10, 2008.
  2. ^ Article in English version of Tabula (4 October 2010)
  3. ^ [1] Decision - 35COM 7A.29 - Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Georgia) (C 710), Paris, 7 July 2011
  4. ^ World Heritage Committee inscribes Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Georgia) on List of World Heritage in Danger