BBC Travel: “Turkey’s Forgotten Georgian Kingdom”

17 Jul 2017

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By Gvantsa Gabekhadze

Journalist,17 Jul 2017 Tbilisi,Georgia

BBC travel has dedicated a story to Georgian churches now on the territory of Turkey, abandoned without care or attention.

The article tells a story of three medieval Georgian churches, which are in very poor condition.

The churches are Oshki, Ishan and Dörtkilise (Otkhta).

The article reveals that north-east Turkey is home to "magnificent Georgian monasteries” from the medieval principality of Tao-Klarjeti, a former feudal state ruled by the Bagrationi royal family.

During the kingdom’s golden age, Tao-Klarjeti was the centre of monastic life governed by the Georgian Orthodox Church. Today, striking remnants of the principality’s spiritual influence remain tucked in tiny Turkish villages among the visually arresting Kaçkar Mountains near the Turkey-Georgia border,” the article reads.

The faded frescoes in the apse of Dörtkilise speak to the church’s past grandeur, BBC Travel. Photo by Emma Harper. 

Touching on Oshki, the authors say many of the church decorations "have been stolen” over the years, a large crack on the western wall threatens the structural integrity and makeshift homes have been built right up against its exterior.

Disagreements between the Turkish and Georgian governments on how to proceed with restorations have left the monastery in a state of neglectful limbo, and the majesty of Oshki is left open to the elements, crumbling slowly.”

The article stresses that the fate of the Georgian churches is "worse than neglect.”

Authors claim that despite the dilapidated condition of these churches, it is still possible to admire the excellence of the medieval architecture and craftsmanship. But with no cohesive preservation plan in place, the fate of these architectural wonders remains uncertain.

Read more here. 

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