Metekhi Church is located in one of the old neighborhoods of Tbilisi – Avlabari. According to the legend, the first version of a church was built in the 5th century. It’s the reign time of King Vakhtang Gorgasali.
A Brief History of Metekhi Church
The current church is not initial. The building period is 1278-1289. It is the ruling time of King Demetre Tavdadebuli (Dmitry the Sacrificed). The older version of the church burned in 1235, during the invasion of Mongols.
During its long lifespan, there were many reconstructions of the church. On the construction body, it’s easily noticeable several layers of brickwork.
During the Russian Empire’s ruling time, there was a prison in this area. After the Soviets took over, they abolished the prison in 1934 and rearranged the whole area as an art museum. Later, the relocation of the museum emptied the church. At a different time, there was an art workshop and a theatre in a church. In 1967 Georgian sculptor and painter Rezo Amashukeli built a Monument of Vakhtang I Gorgasali.
Currently, the temple is active again.
Infrastructure around the Church
- Metekhi Bridge: The Metekhi Bridge, also known as the King Gorgasali Bridge, connects the Metekhi plateau with the historic district of Old Tbilisi. It’s a pedestrian bridge with a distinctive red color and offers scenic views of the river.
- Monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali: Near Metekhi Church, you’ll find a monument dedicated to Vakhtang Gorgasali, the legendary founder of Tbilisi. The statue on horseback commemorates this historical figure.
- Old Tbilisi Streets: The streets surrounding Metekhi Church are part of Old Tbilisi, known for their charming architecture, cobblestone paths, and historic buildings. It’s a great area for leisurely walks and exploring.
- Baths District: Abanotubani, the Baths District, is not far from Metekhi Church. Here, you can explore the famous sulfur baths, enjoy a traditional bathhouse experience, and wander through the historic streets.
- Rike Park: Rike Park, located near Metekhi Church and the Metekhi Bridge, is a modern recreational area with sculptures, fountains, and green spaces. It’s an ideal place for relaxation and taking in the views.
- The Rike cable car: System that connects the historic district of Old Tbilisi, which is situated on the left bank of the Kura River, with the Narikala Fortress located on a hill overlooking the city.
- The Bridge of Peace: The Bridge of Peace, a contemporary pedestrian bridge with a unique design, connects Rike Park with the historic district. It’s known for its modern architecture and is often illuminated at night.
- Restaurants and Cafes: The area around Metekhi Church features numerous restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy Georgian cuisine and international dishes. It’s a pleasant area to dine while taking in the ambiance.
- Art Galleries and Museums: Explore art galleries and museums in the vicinity, such as the Georgian National Museum, to learn more about Georgian history and culture.
How to get there
Metekhi Church is a historic landmark located in the Old Town of Tbilisi, Georgia. It’s relatively easy to reach, and there are several ways to get to Metekhi Church depending on your starting point in the city. Here are some directions:
From Freedom Square (Tavisuplebis Moedani):
- If you’re in Freedom Square, which is a central location in Tbilisi, head southeast along the pedestrian-friendly Rustaveli Avenue.
- Walk for approximately 10-15 minutes until you reach the Metekhi Bridge. Cross the bridge, and you’ll see Metekhi Church on the hill to your left.
From Avlabari Metro Station:
- Take the Tbilisi Metro to Avlabari Station, which is on the Akhmeteli-Varketili Line (Line 2).
- Exit the metro station and walk south toward the Kura River. The Metekhi Church is visible from the station, and it’s a short walk to reach it.
By Taxi or Ridesharing:
- You can use taxi or ridesharing services like Uber or Bolt to get to Metekhi Church from anywhere in the city.
- Simply enter “Metekhi Church” as your destination in the app, and your driver will take you there.
- You can use local bus services to get close to Metekhi Church. Various bus routes pass through different parts of the city.
- While it’s possible to take a bus, keep in mind that walking or using the metro may be more convenient for this relatively short distance.
- If you’re staying in or near the Old Town of Tbilisi, especially in the vicinity of Meidan Square or Rike Park, you can easily walk to Metekhi Church.
- Follow the pedestrian paths and signs leading to the church. The area is quite walkable and filled with historic sites.
Tours via Metekhi church
- Appropriate Attire: When visiting a religious site like Metekhi Church, dress modestly and respectfully. It’s a good idea to have clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Women may want to bring a scarf or shawl to cover their heads inside the church.
- Footwear: Wear comfortable walking shoes with good traction, as you may need to navigate uneven terrain when exploring the area around Metekhi Church.
- Timing: Try to visit Metekhi Church during the daytime, when it’s well-lit and easier to explore. The church is often open to visitors during daylight hours.
- Photography: Respect any rules or requests regarding photography inside the church. Some religious sites may have restrictions on photography, so be mindful of these guidelines.
- Guided Tours: Consider taking a guided tour of the church and the Old Town area. A knowledgeable guide can provide insights into the history, architecture, and cultural significance of the site.
- Viewpoints: Take the time to enjoy the scenic viewpoints around Metekhi Church. The church’s location offers panoramic views of the city and the Kura River, so have your camera ready.
- Safety: While Tbilisi is generally safe for tourists, be cautious of pickpockets in crowded areas, and keep an eye on your belongings.
- Currency: Have some local currency (Georgian Lari) on hand for small purchases or donations at the church.
- Language: While English may be spoken to some extent in tourist areas, it can be helpful to learn a few basic Georgian phrases or use a translation app to facilitate communication.
Metekhi St. Virgin Church on a Map