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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an urban-type settlement and the administrative center of Dmanisi Raion, Georgian SSR. Located on the Mashavera River (Kura basin), 30 km southwest of the Kazreti railway station, the last station on the Marneuli branch line. The settlement has a dairy. Near Dmanisi, at the confluence of the Mashavera and Pinezauri rivers, are the ruins of the fortified city of Dmanisi (25 hectares in area), an important strategic point and a crafts and trading center of medieval Georgia. The city arose in the early Middle Ages. In the fortress there is a basilica enclosing three churches, built in the sixth and seventh centuries and restored in the early 18th century; the 13th-century narthex is richly adorned with carvings. The ruins of a belfry lie to the east of the basilica.

Dmanisi was conquered by the Arabs in the ninth century and later by the Seljuk Turks, who were driven out in 1123 by David IV the Builder. Dmanisi flourished in the 12th and 13th centuries. The city had a mixed population of Christians and Muslims (Georgians, Armenians, Arabs). Soon after it was sacked by Tamerland in the late 14th century, the city began to decline. It was devastated by Mongol and Tatar, Persian, and Turkish invasions. By the end of the 16th century Dmanisi had become a village, and by the mid-18th century it was deserted. The city began to be studied in the mid-19th century, and excavations were begun in 1936. City gates, paved streets, baths, a tunnel to the river, houses, a potter’s shop, a vegetable oil mill, and other workshops have been unearthed, as well as shops, granaries, wine cellars, and a mosque with a minaret and medrese (college). A large assortment of local ceramics of the ninth and tenth centuries and especially the 11th and 12th centuries, coins from the llth to 13th centuries (mainly Georgian), tools, weapons, and a treasure of 25 gold and silver ornaments from the 12th to 13th centuries have been found at the site.


Muskhelishvili, L. V. “Raskopki v Dmanisi.” In the collection Sovetskaia arkheologiia, fase. 6. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.
Lomtatidze, G. A. “Nekotorye itogi arkheologicheskikh raskopok pamiatnikov feodal’noi Gruzii.” Ibid., fase. 27. Moscow-Leningrad, 1957.
Jap’arize, V. “Shot’a Rust’avelis epok’is nak’alak’ari Dmanisi da misi ark’eologiuri shescavla.” Zeglis megobari, 8. Tbilisi, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.