Parkhali

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Nino Bagrationi
Giorgi Bagrationi
Giorgi Bagrationi
Gia Shervashidze

 
Only a large basilica survives of once a large monastery. St John the Baptist’s is similar to Otkhta basilica the only difference being that Parkhali preserves in its original form. It has not been subject to alterations or further reconstruction. Only the west porch, now largely ruined, is a later addition. Hence the church survives in its authentic shape.

The three-nave space is articulated by unevenly distributed four pairs of columns and an archade. There is a gallery on the west and a tall apse terminating in a conch on the east. There are pastophoria on both sides. The niches in the columns in front of the apse have royal and episcopal thrones.

The south niche is adorned with figurative reliefs. Small figures of angels are discernible on the capitals.

The entrances are from the south and the west. The windows are lavishly adorned. All façades in the exterior are decorated with an unbroken arcade. The upper section of the south façade bears an inscription in red paint mentioning Bishop Ioane. The letters in the inscription are roughly outlined and lack accurateness. Various opinions have been proposed regarding the date of the building.

The construction is assigned to the period of the reign of King Davit Kuropalates. A colophon of the Gospels copied at Shatberdi mentions that the Gospels were copied in 973 for the newly established chancel at Parkhali. There is further stylistic and construction evidence supporting this date.

The church chancel was painted with murals but was later whitewashed because of its conversion into a mosqie in the 19th century. The interior is painted respectively, wooden planks are laid on the floor and the openings on the façades are ‘repaired’.

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