Georgian monasteries in Azerbaijan
13 September, 2018
Georgian monasteries in Azerbaijan
Saingilo is a former province of the Kakheti kingdom, Georgia which is now situated in the territory of Azerbaijan. The Saingilo area includes the Balakan, Zaqatala and Qakh districts. The area was officially declared part of Azerbaijan when it was arbitrarily transferred to the jurisdiction and control of the Azerbaijan SSR (Soviet Socialist Republic )by the central communist government in Moscow in 1922. This was at a time when Georgia was under the control of the Soviets. Saingilo still has a
small population of ethnic Georgians also known as Ingiloy people.

It comes as no surprise that the area contains various Georgian Orthodox churches.

Only few churches are well preserved and active nowadays.
geotv.ge
The Kurmukhi Church of St. George, Photo courtesy: www.reginfo.ge

The St. Nino Church of Alibeglo located in the Qakh district and the Ingilo-Qotoqlo Trinity Church both built in the 19th century are still currently functioning. The St. George’s Church is the only permanently functioning church in the Qakh district, Saingilo.

The church of Kish used to function as a Caucasus Albanian Apostolic church, then as a Chalcedonian church within the Georgian Orthodox Church and later as an Armenian Apostolic Church. Currently it is a museum.

The following churches are in fairly good condition but unfortunately inactive: the Kurmukhi Church of St. George, the Dzeli Tskhoveli Church, the Little Alaverdi in the Qakh district, the Meshabashi Archangel Church, the Bazari Virgin Mary Church (Bakhtala Virgin Mary Church), a medieval church in Zaqatala.
geotv.ge
The St. Nino Church of Alibeglo, Photo courtesy: en.wikipedia.org

There are also some church ruins that remain as well as some historical information on a number of other churches in Saingilo such as the the Bideyiz Cathedral’s built in the 8th century, and the Boetani Church –In respect of the latter only the chancel survives due to attacks from Kizilbash invaders.

The ruins of the Darvaz Church,the Great Alatemuri Church, the Vardiani Church, the Vachnadze Church of Grace, the Zarni Church, the Zedzgiti Church,the Kasri Church, the Katekhi Church, the Seven church monastery complex of Leqarti, the St. Nino Leqeti Church, the Mamrukhi Church,the Rochahmedi Church, the Mokar-Kilisa Church, the Qulari Church, and the Qum Basilica Church can also be observed in this area.
geotv.ge
The church of Kish, Photo courtesy: en.wikipedia.org

Even though there are few ethnic Georgians currently living in Saingilo, they try to keep Georgian customs and traditions.

First photo courtesy: www.turebi.ge

Related stories:

Life of the only Orthodox confessor in historical Saingilo

Azerbaijan declares Dato Turashvili and Beso Khvedelidze as persona non grata

Gergeti Trinity Church among world’s most beautiful churches - The Telegraph

38 Churches Transferred to “Abkhazian Orthodox Church” in Unlimited Use


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