Ministry of Culture, Monuments Protection and Sport of Georgia
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Samtavisi domed Cathedral, built in 1030 by architect Hillarion Samtavneli, is remarkable due to the beauty of proportions and refinement of carving on the façades. Compared with other similar structures of the same period its plan is somewhat truncated, almost square. There is a new system of decoration on the eastern façade, which was later developed more fully and became popular it is a composition in the form of a large ornamented cross and decorated window surrounds with lozenge pattern beneath them. A blind arcade forms an organic part of the overall decoration of the façade. Besides the splendidly executed carving, there is an interesting bas-relief of griffin, under the right-hand arch. There are fragments of 17th century frescoes in the interior.
The Cathedral has been repaired repeatedly. In the 15th century, the dome and the western wall were built anew. Within the enclosed area of the Cathedral, there are the remains of a dwelling, the so-called bishop's palace. At the entry to the enclosure stands a gate belfry of the late feudal period.