a patriarchate cathedral in Mtskheta. Svetitskhoveli Cathedral was built in 1010 by the architect Ar-sukisdze on the site where Georgia’s first Christian church (fourth century) had stood. It was restored in the early 15th century and again in the 17th century.
A massive cruciform, domed structure, the cathedral rises above the city’s other buildings. It is rectangular in plan, and its western portion is divided into three aisles topped by a choir. The dome is supported by four free-standing pillars. Subordinated to the architectural mass is the solemn rhythm of the ar-cature on the facade and on the drum of the dome. The arcature is decorated with delicately and masterfully executed carving and reliefs. Fragments of murals, mainly of the 16th and 17th centuries, have been preserved in the cathedral’s interior.