Photographer's Note

Kazbegi - The most famous church in the Caucasus

At a previous picture I have already written that Georgians have a strong preference for very special and spectacular locations to build their churches and monasteries.
This is certainly the case with the Church of Tsminda Sameba or Holy Trinity near the village Kazbegi.
Sometimes it’s also called the Gergeti Trinity Church.

It was built in the 14th century at an elevation of 2.170 meters on the edge of a cliff looking out over Kazbegi.

From the capital, Kazbegi can be reached in less than 3 hours by public transport (marshrutka = minibus). This village (also called Stepantsminda, or St. Stephen) is situated at 1.750 meters above sea level along the road that leads to Russia.

From there it is quite a climb to the church. Many people however take a taxi jeep up and walk downhill after the visit. The most courageous start very early in the morning and climb further to a glacier situated at 2.950 meters.

Accommodation can easily be found in Kazbegi and in Gergeti, a neighboring village.

I included the jeep on the picture so this would give a better idea of the scale. You can also see people going up the path to the church.

Information from Wikipedia:

The Gergeti Trinity Church was built in the 14th century, and is the only cross-cupola church in Khevi province.
The separate belltower dates from the same period as the church itself.
Its isolated location on top of a steep mountain surrounded by the vastness of nature has made it a symbol for Georgia.

The 18th century Georgian author Vakhushti Batonishvili wrote that in times of danger, precious relics from Mtskheta, including Saint Nino's Cross were brought here for safekeeping. During the Soviet era, all religious services were prohibited, but the church remained a popular tourist destination. The church is now an active establishment of the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church.

The church is a popular waypoint for trekkers in the area, and can be reached by a steep 3 hour climb up the mountain, or around 30 minutes by jeep up a rough mountain trail.

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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5077 W: 17 N: 12171] (49032)
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