Kutaisi, Gelati Monastery

Era 12AD
Location Rd to Gelati Monastery, Motsameta, Georgia

The monastery church at Gelati in Georgia has an apse mosaic. The church is a domed cross in square building dedicated to the Mother of God, built during the first quarter of the twelfth century. The mosaic in the conch of the apse was part of the original decoration. It shows Mary between the archangels Michael and Gabriel and is the only surviving post-seventh century monumental mosaic in Georgia.

The church was founded by King David IV ‘the Builder’, as his funeral church, though he died before it was completed, at a point when Georgia was in a period of political, economic and cultural expansion. David’s choice of the medium was presumably a nod to previous Georgian uses of the medium in the sixth and seventh centuries, an evocation of the glorious past. But the artists and raw materials for the mosaics may well have had to come from the Byzantine Empire, since there is no evidence to suggest that Georgia had any mosaic workshops at this time.