I fear I’m overplaying my hand. Technical capabilities are not the same as artistry, and in my case I think the former is running out ahead of the latter. What this translates to, in layman’s terms, is that I have a ton of photos from this trip to Georgia that look good; that is, they were competently shot and edited to come out roughly as I hoped they would. And but however, that doesn’t mean that they are good, in the sense of making much of an impression on a dispassionate viewer, or having any artistic merit for that matter.
But just as even terrible people usually have parents that love them, I’m here to show you all of my photo children. They may have overbites, and they may have flunked out of community college, or they may put on a midatlantic accent in a vain attempt to cover up their cultural shortcomings, but they’re mine, dammit, and I’ve spent far too much time on this batch to be choosy. So enjoy. Or don’t.
Without delving into the comparative merits of various Christian sects, I can say that hands down, my favorite churches tend to be Orthodox. I was raised Catholic and as such am familiar with the glitz and glitter of the Roman rite. But those are staid and boring in comparison to their Eastern cousins. The churches of the Georgian Orthodox church are exceptionally beautiful, and below are just a few examples.
One astounding thing to me was that these churches seem to be open to the public, regardless of what is going on. Having your wedding in one of Tbilisi’s historic churches? Some Yank with a camera might hang out with you and discreetly photograph your special day.
The exception to the riot of color seems to be the Jvari Monastery of Mtskheta, built on a hilltop overlooking the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. Legend has it this church was built on the very spot where the first cross in Georgia was raised. It is ancient, and seems to predate the ornamentation that would later become common.
The interior is dominated by giant cross. Its rough hewn stone walls are in their own way as impressive as the more lavish churches.
Next up: one exceptional church meriting its own post.