Author of the project Levan Khimshiashvili – Special Scientific-Restoration Studio
Status Cultural Heritage Site
Original function Church
Current function same
Location Samtsevrisi village, Kareli district, Shida Kartli Region
The Samtsevrisi church, built in the 7th century, was severely damaged by the earthquake in 1940. Remained walls of the monument had different degrees of inclinations and depressions, while the dome was collapsed. The restoration works were done according to the project by Levan Khimshiashvili by the anastylosis method. Some pretty difficult construction issues had to be solved and two options of restoration were discussed:
First option included erection of the missing walls by maintaining an absolute vertical, which would make the construction works easier, but between newly erected and original walls, additional 22cm wide gap would appear, inappropriate for the monument (size of inclination of the north-east wall towards north).
Second option considered erection of the missing walls with maintaining inclinations, existing for that time. This would allow preservation of the parallel pattern of the masonry mortar, original façade proportions wouldn’t be affected, old and new masonry mortars would fit together ideally and sphere and cylinder shaped arches would be restored by original stones, without any additions.
Despite the complexity and higher costs, second option was chosen. After the restoration the whole monument appeared to be inclined to the north-east, it’s still imperceptible because of the absence of clear verticals around the building.
Even though the church is quite small it has a well-chosen location and can be seen from the far as well. Moreover, it’s impossible to overlook the harmoniously blended proportions of the monument. (ntch)
Translation: Ana Kiasashvili
Photos: Levan Khimshiashvili personal Archive
“Historic Preservation” №10 (currently known as “Preservation” – Magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Washington D.C.)
Khimshiashvili, Ketevan. Levan Khimshiashvili (26.05.2013)