Tbilisi never ends to surprise (at least me). I thought I'm quite familiar with all the places in Tbilisi's Old Town, but turned out - I was wrong. It was a Halloween eve and we decided to head to Shardeni (Tbilisi Old Town) to photograph some Halloween pictures.

Prior to that we went to lovely noodles place called Fire Wok on Shalva Dadiani street, and then just to randomize our route we decided to take a slight right turn on Lermontovs street, our first discoveries started already here, so I find a lovely Boutique art shop - Estia

After Estia we continued to wander through narrow Old Town's street when suddenly we ended in some yard which featured a really majestic building - as I learnt latter - Surb Nshan Armenian Church.

Abandoned Surb Nshan Armenian Church in Tbilisi

Abandoned Surb Nshan Armenian Church in Tbilisi

Luckily I took a tripod and I had already mastered some skills of taking night photography. See: Digital Photography school

Outside altar at Surb Nshan Armenian Church

Outside altar at Surb Nshan Armenian Church

To get a decent night exposition here I used light painting technology from a flashlight built in my phone. See how I light painted a complete darkness during Summer Solstice.

Crypt near Surb Nshan churh

Crypt near Surb Nshan churh

It looks so surreal - I mean this church is in some dwelling house's backyard. All that hung linen... crypt and linen... Looks way 'too surreal to me, not to say more

Crypt neat church

Crypt near church

Info plate back from Soviet days

Info plate back from Soviet days

According to written on this plate: Surb Nshan 1701 - is an architecture monument, guarded by state (Georgian SSR), any damage done to monument is punished by law.

Surb Nshan church tower shot from nearby street

Surb Nshan church tower shot from nearby street

I felt pretty surprised after seeing such architecture treasure left perish.

About Surb Nshan

The church is situated not far from Erekle II Square, at the crossroads of Akopyan and Serebryanaya streets. The exact date of the church foundation is unknown. But the available evidence suggests that it has existed before the 17th century. Evidence of this is a record in a Memory diary created in 1624. 

The inscriptions telling about the construction and restoration of the dome (1780), the door (1781), a new door, the chapel (considering the threshold of the southern entrance, 1861), etc. are valuable.

The records covering the construction process that had developed in the 17th century are especially detailed.

In 1868 the restoration work has also been conducted. The work, requiring 1020 rubles expenditure, included the restoration of the cross (300 rub.), whitewashing of the inner walls (500 rub.) and etc

The need for regular maintenance work was already felt in 1894.

In Soviet times, the church building was adapted for different purposes: During World War II the church was turned into a warehouse of pasta. Later it became a book depository of the National Library (mainly the Armenian periodicals were kept here)

Desolated and abandoned for decades Surb Nshan Church, left without any repair, in the end of 1990s’ has already been in a disastrous state. In September 1998 several employees of Monument protection of Georgia, concerned about the fate of the church, declared to the Armenians living in the neighborhood that if they within a month didn’t start repair jobs, the church would be given to the Georgian Patriarchy.

Read more: Surb Nshan (St. Nikoghayos) Church in Tbilisi

Location & Map
Georgia
Coordinates: 41.694303 44.804692