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    The smallest country in the world offers the heart of Catholicism and among the world's finest art collections, including the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms (ceiling pictured). Go to Vatican City!

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    Macedonia: Traditional architecture. Go Now!

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    Macedonia is a country still finding its unique identity, but its architecture is already one of a kind. Explore Macedonia!

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    Belvedere Palace (pictured) is just one of many palaces found in Vienna. The capital is a good start to Austria, which also features the Alps, the Lakes District, and incredible history & food. Go Now!

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    Ukraine: Traditional Village. Go Now!

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    Ukrainian culture is based on village life, particularly that found in the Carpathian Mountains (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

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    This Scandinavian country boasts big city excitement in Stockholm to small town charm. Begin Your Journey!

Architecture of Georgia

Georgia Architecture - Jvari Monaster in Mtskheta
Jvari Monastery

Some of Georgia's oldest, and still most distinct and recognizable architecture is church architecture from around year 1000 and before. In fact, there are ancient church ruins throughout the country as many cities, towns, and villages boast these old ruins.

The most significant of these monuments are the churches in the country's former capital of Mtskheta. The earliest of these churches is the Jvari Monastery (300s), a ruins on a hill overlooking the city, that is still claimed to be the country's most holy site. In the town itself is the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church and this complex contains numerous stone buildings and churches that are similar to church architecture in Armenia and later in the Byzantium Empire, but ultimately based on Jvari.

Similar to the churches in Mtskheta, Gelati Monastery (1000) in Kutaisi is in a similar style, but was continuously expanded or restructured into the 1600s. Overall, however what remains of this church today is primarily from this time period.

Georgian Architecture - Parliament
Parliament in Tbilisi

Other than churches, some of the only still-standing structures from the medieval time period are the houses in Chazhashi, which were built in the 1100s. These are the earlier example of domestic architecture in the country and their stone remains continue to stand today.

From the 1100s until the 1800s most of the still-standing architecture are the churches that represent a very similar style to both Jvari Monastery and the other churches in Mtskheta. In the 1800s the Russians took over the region and the style began to change. Much of the Russian architectural style was introduced in Georgia, particularly in civil buildings and this is most noticeable in larger cities like Tbilisi. This time also experienced an influx of neo-Classicism.

Since the 1800s homes have combined a number of design features, primarily from Russia, but also with a strong historical emphasis as the facades remain unique and balconies or porches are ever-present.

Georgian Architecture - Modern bridge in Tbilisi
Modern bridge in Tbilisi

When the Soviet took over Russia, Georgia soon fell under their rule and the architecture changed to match the Soviet ideals of strength and efficiency, leading to larger buildings with little attention paid to aesthetics. Again, this is best displayed in the larger cities, primarily on the outskirts of these cities.

Today, Georgia is again trying to reclaim their historic architecture and most modern architecture in the country is a combination of modern materials and techniques coupled with cultural aspects of houses and churches, creating a new style, not entirely different from their past.

This page was last updated: March, 2013