Temporary roof structure over the Gelati Monastery Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Georgia's west, will be completed before December and allow replacement of the roof structure of the monument below it, the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation said on Monday.
Construction of a cover over parts of the major cultural heritage monument has been ongoing "in accelerated mode" over the recent days, the agency said, and follows decisions made for safeguarding the site ahead of winter season precipitation.
The cover is being built after the actual roof tiling of the monument was damaged by natural processes last winter, leading to leakage of rainwater into a part of the monastery in summer. The incident saw the heritage agency and the contractor organisation the Georgian Arts & Culture Centre launch projects to replace the tiling and construct a temporary roofing over parts of the site for the upcoming winter.
As the ongoing work on building temporary cover - made of tin - proceeds the heritage agency has said its project "ensures maximum protection from water leakage into the monastery during the winter season".
The structure will be kept over the monastery until the tiling of the structure is completely replaced, with the latter work set to commence next year. The state organisation has also said the tiling material for the new roof would be lab-tested and expert-approved.
The Georgian Arts & Culture Centre, the contractor organisation for the tiling work, has said none of the previously used tiles that failed in July had had shown signs of visual defects during inspection after they were produced, making it "impossible to predict" their failure. The organisation also said the tiling had undergone laboratory testing on "mechanical characteristics" before being used in the rehabilitation works.