Travels in the USSR. Georgia. Part 5. Mtskheta: "Tamgsdlashiyshumyat" or a picnic in Georgian
Mtskheta. Svetitskhoveli Church
Continue the cycle"Traveling in the USSR". May morning1987on the bus we are the author of the presented slides Anatoly Sirota (
Mtskheta. Church Svetitskhoveli. View from the opposite bank of the Kura
Mtskheta, the oldest city in Georgia, until the end of the 5th century AD was the capital of Iberia (eastern Georgia). It was in Mtskheta that Georgia adopted Christianity in 324. It was brought by the Enlightener of Georgia, Saint Nina, about which we have already spoken in ArmenianEchmiadzinwhere she was saved from the penalty that befell pious Christian virgins and in a Georgian cityUrbnisiwhere St. Nina stopped on her way to Mtskheta. Here, St. Nina converted Tsar Marian and his wife Nanu to Christianity, and then the whole nation. On her advice, the king built a wooden church, in whose place now stands the revered by all Georgians temple of the Twelve Apostles Svetitskhoveli (the life-giving pillar), built at the very beginning of the 11th century.
Mtskheta. Church Svetitskhoveli.View from the opposite bank of the Kura
Mtskheta, like the monastery of Jvari, is located where Aragva flows into Kura (Mtkvari), but on the other side of Aragva. Beautiful views of Svetitskhoveli open from the opposite bank of the Kura. We left the bus moving along the Kura to the bridge to admire the temple above the water.
Mtskheta. Church Svetitskhoveli. South facade
Mtskheta. Church Svetitskhoveli. Window on the east facade
Mtskheta. Samtavro Church
Just as beautiful as Svetitskhoveli, the Transfiguration Church is Samtavro, founded in the 4th century by King Marian. Stone carving is especially good. The temple has acquired its current appearance in the 11th century.
Mtskheta. Samtavro Church
The convent of St. Nina during our trip (1987!) Was still abolished, but the small church of St. Nina or Makvlovani, translated as "bramble", was kept in order.The Makvlovani is the most ancient of the churches of Mtskheta, built shortly after the adoption of Christianity by Georgia. Saint Nina lived and preached in this place, in the hut of their blackberry branches.
Mtskheta. Church of St. Nina or Makvlovani
The temple of the monastery of Jvari (first half of the 7th century), crowning the top of the Armazi mountain, is clearly visible from Mtskheta. At this place, St. Nina erected a cross (in Georgian "jvari"), which marked the adoption of Christianity by Georgia.
We especially wanted to get to Jvari and see from the top of Armazi that place, "where" merging make noise, embracing, like two sisters, jets of Aragva and Kura, "to see the traces of the destroyed gates, and towers, and church vault" captured by Lermontov.
I loved Mtsyri very much, and my father especially admired the initial lines of the poem. While we were walking along the sleepy streets of Mtskheta to the bus station, he convinced me that it was enough for him to say to himself “where the noise is flowing” - and he clearly hears the flow of flowing water and sees the mountain river flowing through the stones. The poem begins smoothly - "a few years ago", then the rhythm all speeds up: "Where, merging, make noise, Embracing, like two sisters, the Jets of Aragva and Kura", and suddenly - stop, point: "There was a monastery".And then again calmly, sadly, lyrically: “From behind the mountain And now the pedestrian sees The pillars of the collapsed gate, And the towers, and the church vault ...” These lines, the father said. - they remind of a picturesque contrast familiar to connoisseurs of lonely temples in the mountains: verticals created by people “break through” mountain landscapes with their falling slopes ”.
View of the Jvari from the church Svetitskhoveli.
The bus station, however, turned out to be completely empty. There were no buses or minibuses to the ruins of the monastery, there were no taxi drivers or private traders who would agree to take us to Jvari: as they say, “we were not expected”. We were completely desperate, when suddenly a bus drove into a moody area and stopped. We rushed to him and - oh happiness! - it turned out to be a school trip from Tbilisi, which was heading to Jvari! The bus was packed with passengers — kids, social parents, and also some boxes, baskets and bags. The young teacher led the trip. They willingly agreed to take with us and even promised to take us back straight to Tbilisi. We squeezed into the bus and happily glanced at Jvari, towering over the river: now we will get!
I don’t remember whether we passed the bridge over Aragva or not, but the bus suddenly stopped near a pretty sunny lawn. The rapid movement began: the children jumped out and began to run, the parents dragged their weighty luggage out of the bus. “It's time for the kids to have a bite! Feed them and move on,” the teacher explained. We knowingly left and sat down on a fallen tree to eat. We had a so-called “emergency supply” with us — a bit of unharmed food, which we always took with us to travel in case of emergency work (and such emergency jobs often happened — the bus would break down in the middle of the road, or there was a catastrophic lack of time for inspection some town and you have to chew something on the go). On this day, emergency stock was Georgian bread pita bread and fresh cucumber, bought in the morning at the bus station.
Buying a cucumber was not without rough edges. The seller threw a cucumber onto the scales with force and immediately exclaimed: “rubel”! “What else is a ruble?” I was indignant. “You should at least wait for the arrow on the scales to stop.” The seller looked at me with disgust and contemptuously said: "Bary is like that!" “No,” I replied with the same contempt, threw 50 kopeks on the scale, grabbed a cucumber and proudly withdrew.
So, we modestly arranged on the sidelines, not wanting to interfere with our benefactors, but did not have time to start eating cucumber and pita bread, as an alarmed teacher jumped toward us and waved his arms. "Take it away! Take it away, please! As you can! You are our guests! What will people think of us!" He exclaimed, although there were no people other than bus passengers.
"Sit down, dear, have a snack with us!" And he dragged us to a huge oilcloth laid out in the middle of a clearing, which was surrounded by blankets and pillows, and which ... oh my God! all the luxuries of Georgian cuisine were filled in two layers: cold appetizers, carefully wrapped hot dishes, hot-smelling condiments, jars of pickles and bottles of homemade wine.
The children took a pie and ran to play, while the adults sat down for a long time. We ate, ate, ate and proclaimed toasts for children and for parents, for Georgia and for Russia, for friendship and love. At the insistence of the Pope, they drank to the housewives who covered this wonderful table. Moreover, the bus driver did not lag behind the other companions, which up to some point disturbed us.
Meanwhile, it began to get dark. "Tamgdeslivyashumyut ..." - suddenly remembered his father and timidly asked: "And when will we go to Jvari?" "Do you need it so much in Jvari? What are there - some ruins!" - the teacher waved dismissively.However, we somehow cheered up at once and began with two voices to explain that Lermontov’s poem is the pinnacle of Russian poetry and we really, well, just really want to look at the place described in Mtsyri, that we came from Moscow to Georgia for to see Jvari!
"Well, okay, Jvari so Jvari", - the teacher answered with a sigh and said: "It’s time to finish. We must take our guests to Jvari, because they love the poet Lermontov very much! Let's go." Quickly enough, considering the intoxicating state of the companions, everything was removed, and the sober driver famously drove us along the mountain road to the top. "You go, look there for ten minutes, and we will wait for you on the bus. The children are tired. Just do not fall, the precipice is steep," the teacher graciously allowed.
Jvari Monastery at dusk
With an unsteady gait, supporting each other, we, under the sympathetic glances of the bus passengers, headed towards the harsh temple on the edge of the abyss. "Both the towers and the church vault" ... At dusk, my father took one picture, and we carefully crawled to the edge of the cliff, from where we had a famous view of Kuru and Aragva merging with her. It was impossible not to photograph it, even with the risk to life.I insured my father, and he tried not to drop his beloved Kiev camera into the abyss.
View of the Arpagwa and Kura merger(left)from Jvari Monastery
I do not remember how we returned to the bus. In Tbilisi, we landed right outside the hotel. We forgave like relatives. The Georgian women, having learned that we live in a hotel and are deprived of homemade food, were very distressed and supplied us with impressive packages of food. Each hostess wanted us to take a gift from her. These generous gifts somewhat reduced our bitterness from the fact that we did not really see Jvari. In the remaining days in Tbilisi, in the evenings, we were no longer looking for a place to dine, but rushed to a hotel room. In the fridge waited for us jars and bundles with fabulous delicacies of Georgian cuisine. “Tamddeslivyashumyut”, - we sentenced, eating lobio, satsivi, khachapuri and much more, which the names did not know. We took the remaining products with us on the train that took us from Tbilisi to Kutaisi.
Continued to be!
All slides are made by my father Anatoly Syrota (
The slides were scanned by me in 2018 on a Plustek OpticFilm 7600i slide scanner.
Stories about Caucasian feasts:
1977 Georgian Kaleidoscope.
The husband stayed and began to care for the patient, and she lay and lay without regaining consciousness and not giving signs of a meaningful life