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Ateni Sioni Church

Ateni Sioni Church
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ateni Sioni Church

The Ateni Sioni Church (Georgian: ატენის სიონი) is an early 7th-century Georgian Orthodox church some 10 km (6 miles) south of the city of Gori, Georgia. It stands in a setting of the Tana River valley known not only for its historical monuments but also for its picturesque landscapes and wine. The name "Sioni" derives from Mount Zion at Jerusalem.

Sioni is a cruciform domed church (24X19.22 m.) with the façade furnished with carved quadrangle greenish-gray stones, rich decorated ornaments and relief. The church is an imitation of the earlier Jvari Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site at Mtskheta, Georgia. The church in Ateni was altered several times but its appearance changed substantially in the 10th century when the dome was reconstructed with the help of Todosak, an architect employed from Armenia.

"Joseph's Dream". Mural from Ateni.

The walls of the church contain the first inscriptions by Nuskhuri or Nuskha-Khutsuri, one of the versions of early Georgian alphabet, dating from 835. The first examples of Mkhedruli, a currently used Georgian script, are also found in the Ateni Sioni church and date back to the 980s. One of the inscriptions at the church commemorates Adarnase, the first documented Georgian Bagratid nobleman who was the father of Ashot I, the founder of the new royal line of Georgia.[1]

Near the church there are the ruins of the medieval fortified town of Ateni (modern-day villages of Didi Ateni and Patara Ateni).

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