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Russian occupants violate Georgian monument in Abkhazia

18.11.10 20:25

Cupola of 11th-century Georgian church has been replaced with a Russian one. In the village of Ilori in Georgia`s occupied region Abkhazia, Russian occupants have painted over the church`s all facade and part of its interior with white paint for purpose of erasing the Georgian trace there.

The Eastern side of the church, where inscriptions in Georgian alphabet were engraved, has been completely plastered. Air conditioners have been installed on teh church. Unique frescos are facing danger as well.

Russians have deployed their tanks and military equipment outside the main sacred place of prayer of noblemen from Georgia`s historic provinces - Samegrelo and Abkhazia.

The Church of St. George of Ilori is a Medieval Georgian Orthodox Church in the village of Ilori, Abkhazia, Georgia. The Church was built in the first quarter of the 11th century, AD, and represents one of the most important sites of western Georgian architecture. It is also considered to have been one of the more significant religious locations of medieval western Georgia. The building has a single-nave design. During its long history, the Church underwent several important architectural modifications and was repaired by Levan II Dadiani in the 17th century, only to be burnt down by Ottoman Turks in 1736. The building was eventually restored again in the latter half of the same century.

The holy rites were conducted in the church even in the Soviet period and were halted only after occupation of the territory of Abkhazia in the 90ties.

Tbilisi intends to send special address to international organizations working on protection of antique works and monuments due to the violation of the Church of St. George of Ilori. The Georgian side urges UNESCO for immediate response to the actions of Russian occupants.

Along with the Church of St. George of Ilori, a number of Georgian architectural monuments remain unprotected in occupied Abkhazia. 1100 Georgian architectural monuments in total are located in the region.

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