The magnificent Bagrati Cathedral stands tall on a hill overlooking the city of Kutaisi in central Georgia, with its green-tinted stones seen from many angles around town. Built in the early 11th century during the reign of King Bagrat III, hence the name, the cathedral served as a center of religious life and learning in the Kingdom of Georgia. However, in 1690 it was destroyed by Ottoman invaders. Over the ensuing centuries, Bagrati fell into further disrepair and by the 1950s, only parts of the walls were still standing. It wasn't until the 2000s that major reconstruction began to restore Bagrati to its former glory.
In 1994, Bagrati Cathedral was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, both for its importance as an early medieval cathedral as well as its location overlooking the city of Kutaisi. However, its extensive reconstruction in the 2000s was controversial, as UNESCO guidelines state that World Heritage sites should be authentic and reflect their true historical origins. While the reconstruction utilized remaining sections of original stonework, much of the cathedral was rebuilt. In 2010, UNESCO stripped Bagrati of its World Heritage status due to the degree of reconstruction undertaken. However, Bagrati remains an icon of Georgian architecture and an important symbol of the nation's medieval golden age, still drawing thousands of visitors.
The cathedral is built on a hill above the Rioni River, overlooking the city of Kutaisi, Georgia.
Bagrati was constructed in the 11th century. However it was destroyed in the 17th century and controversially rebuilt during the 21st century.
The cathedral served as a center of religious activity and architecture during the Kingdom of Georgia.
After its restoration, the Bagrati Cathedral has once again stood proud over Kutaisi. Many locals and visitors alike walk the grounds daily. No entrance fees collected.
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