Sites & cities that bear the name of Zarzma


Today in : Georgia
First trace of activity : ca. 8th century C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 16th century C.E
Recorded names : Zarzma Monastery of Transfiguration, ზარზმის მონასტერი

Description : The Zarzma Monastery of Transfiguration (Georgian: ზარზმის მონასტერი, zarzmis p'erists'valebis monasteri) is a medieval Orthodox Christian monastery located at the village of Zarzma in Samtskhe-Javakheti region, southwest Georgia. The Zarzma monastery is nested in the forested river valley of Kvabliani and its tributary Dzindze in the Adigeni municipality, 30 km west of the city of Akhaltsikhe. It is the complex of a series of buildings dominated by a domed church and a belfry, one of the largest in Georgia. The earliest church on the site was probably built in the 8th century (6th or 7th century in other sources), by the monk Serapion of Zarzma whose life is related in the hagiographic novel by Serapion's pupil, Basil of Zarzma. According to his source, the great nobleman Giorgi Chorchaneli made significant donation – including villages and estates – to the monastery. It is said that the monastery main church was built by architect Garbaneli. The extant edifice dates from the early years of the 14th century, however. Its construction was sponsored by Beka I, Prince of Samtskhe and Lord High Mandator of Georgia of the Jaqeli family. The bell tower is from the same period. What has survived from the earlier monastery is the late 10th-century Georgian inscription inserted in the chapel's entrance arch. The inscription reports the military aid rendered by Georgian nobles to the Byzantine emperor Basil II against the rebellious general Bardas Sclerus in 979. In 1544, the new patrons of the monastery – the Khursidze family – refurnished the monastery. In 1577 they also transformed the bell tower, which became a church. The murals suffered significant destruction during the Ottoman rule. After the Ottoman conquest of the area later in the 16th century, the monastery was abandoned and lay in disrepair until the end of the 19th - beginning of 20th century, when it was reconstructed by the architect and artist duet V.F. Svin'in and A.S. Slavtsev, but some of the unique characteristics of the design were lost in the process. Currently, the monastery is functional and houses a community of Georgian monks. It is also the site of pilgrimage and tourism.

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