The Samtavro Periscvalba (“Transfiguration”) Cathedral is a cross-domed structure. It is part of the monastery complex. The wall of XIX century belongs to the monastery complex, a XVIII c. tower, a three-storey bell tower of XV-XVI c. and St. Nino Church (Makvlovani – Makvali – “Blackberry”) are what survived from the old wall. The paintings in the area of the Cathedral dome and on the walls belong to XVII c. The exact time of construction of the cathedral is unknown, though Vakhushti Batonishvili considers King Mirian as the founder of Samtavro. Before the Christianization of the Georgians there was a residence of Kartli Eristavi and royal gardens on the territory of the present Samtavro Cathedal. Saint Nino, who came to Mtskheta to preach Christianity, settled in these royal gardens. King Mirian took Christianity with the help of St. Nino and converted Georgians too. According to “Kartlis Tskhovreba” King Mirian, by his will, was buried “in the upper Church, at the middle southern column, in the North of it…”. Queen Nana is buried beside King Mirian. The Samtavro Periscvalba Cathedral is considered to be the final resting place of Georgian Christian kings and one of the holy places.
Saint Monk Father Gabriel (Urgebadze) served in Samtavro Temple. Father Gabriel lived in a small cell in the tower of Mtskheta Nunnery. 2 November 1995 Archimandrite Gabriel died. According to his will He was buried in a monastery manner – wrapped up in a straw blanket at the cemetery of Mtskheta Nunnery. Archimandrite Gabriel’s blood taken by the doctor-surgeon Zurab Varazashvili for the test, is still incorrupt. The oil taken from the permanently burning candle on the grave of Father Gabriel is known as the miraculous cure in Georgia and beyond its borders. Archimandrate Kirion – a spiritual son of Honorable Gabriel, made Luskuma (box, coffin) for Holy Father Gabriel in Periscvalba Cathedral where many pilgrims come to the holy parts of Father Gabriel and where a lot of curing miracles occur.