The unique frescos in the Church of the Dormition of the medieval cave monastery of Vardzia in southern Georgia was hit hard by the fire that occurred on the night of 2 November. About this informed the head of National Agency of cultural heritage protection of Georgia Nikoloz Antidze.

According to him, the fire occurred due to the fact that someone left on the table in the temple, where candles lit the candle. The fire quickly spread to the other candles and icons lit up and the table itself, according to the portal “Georgia Online”.

“The fire damaged the frescos of the Church are covered with a layer of soot,” Antidze informed journalists. He added that in Vardzia sent experts and equipment and on November 2, will be initiated diagnosis and analysis of the scope and nature of the damage, selection of cleaning technique wall paintings, and then begin “emergency conservation efforts”.

Local law enforcement agencies began investigating the circumstances of the incident. The Church, which is a functioning Orthodox Church, temporarily closed after a fire.

The national Agency of cultural heritage protection of Georgia several years has been the large-scale restoration of Vardzia, one of the main areas which is the study of wall paintings in the Church of the Dormition of the virgin. The project is implemented jointly with the London Courtauld Institute of art. For four years the specialists of this Institute and the Tbilisi Academy of art studying in detail the frescoes of the XII century, their documentation and diagnosis of their conservation status, according to the publication.

The monastery complex of Vardzia (1156-1203 years), located on the border with Turkey, is one of the most important cultural monuments in Georgia, the value of which is recognized by UNESCO. The complex is located along the left Bank of the Kura river in the steep tuff wall of the erusheti mountain and consists of 13 floors. In this 120 residential complexes, consisting of churches, chapels, monastic cells, storerooms, baths, refectory, treasuries, libraries and 25 Marani – facilities for storage of harvested grapes and making wine at home. Also preserved secret passages linking the premises, the remains of plumbing and irrigation system.

The unique frescoes of the XII century was damaged by fire in an Orthodox Church and monastery complex of Vardzia in Georgia 02.11.2016

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