In the Tergi Valley, with Mount Mkinvartsveri in the background, there stands the only domed church in the mountainous country of Georgia Gergeti Sameba (Trinity) Church. According to Vakhushti Batonishvili, during the centuries the main symbol of Georgian Christianity – St. Nino’s Cross rested there. Gergeti Sameba Church was the cultural and religious center not only of Khevi and Mtiuleti but also of the North Caucasus Christians. The exact date of building Gergeti Sameba Church is unknown. According to the architectural and historical analysis of the church, it must have been built in XIV c. At that time the influence of the Georgian government on Khevi and Dariali Gate – main crossing road to the North Caucasus was weakened after the Mongol rule. Giorgi the Magnificient charged the local residents (further called “Samebis Saydrisshvilebi” – “the children of Sameba”) with taking care of Gergeti Sameba Church. In the following centuries, the other Georgian kings also awarded the residents of Village Gergeti with this honor.
Gergeti Sameba Church is a centre-domed structure. The local landscape makes it grandiose. The facades of the Church are decorated with ornaments. There are medalions on the windows (north façade). In XV and in the I half of XVI c.c. an arch construction, as the porch, was added to the Church. Later, a wall was built to it and it became “Sabchdeo” (the place of “Council”) of the Khevi elders. Gergeti Sameba Church has a stone wall around, which goes just along the fundament of the old wall. By blessing of Catholicos Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia the monastery life of Gergeti Sameba Church was restored. The annual Festival Day of Gergeti Sameba Church– 16 July was established.
Gergeti Sameba Church is a distinct architectural monument of Georgia’s church architecture and of the Georgian Cultural Heritage.