Surb Nshan Church
Surb Nshan Church (Surb Vardanants) is located in Marda region of Akhaltsikhe. And is located on the hillock of Surb Nshan. In medieval in Akhaltsikhe mainly was settled Armenians, as well as Jew, Meskh’s and Muslims. In 1820 when Akhaltsikhe Khanate transferred to the possessions of Russia, town and adjacent area settled in with Armenians. Each Armenian region of the city has its church and cemetery.
Surb Nshan church is middlemost-domed built from smooth-faced carven rock. From the east side three leveled bell tower with four-column small bell chapels on the top. Church has three front door and two pair of interior support as well as diaconicum on the both side of altar.
According to the wish of hieromonch Grigor Saginyan on the place of medieval ruined Saint Nshan church on 5 March of 1862 construction of new church honored by Saint Vardanants begun, funded by duke Vardan Vardanants.
Construction plan was draw up in 1861 and in 1863 it was blessed, and construction was finished in 1868. In 1887 fairy godfather Duke Vardan Vardanants was buried in church. There are painting in the church telling about construction.
In 1938 according to decision of Soviet Government churching was prohibited in the church. In spite of that door were opened for church members up to 1941.
During 1941-43 church was used as warehouse for military dress, during 1943-49 warehouse of different stuff. And during 1949-70 as warehouse of salt.
During 1976-78 representatives of Armenian Community and Priests brothers o. Ruben and O. Shmavon Sagoyan clear the church and was subjected to penalty cost from government. Unfortunately the church never was return back to Armenian people and became ethnographic museum of the city.
In 24th of April of 1989 Armenian priesthood carried out memorial service in Surb Nshan. It was source of discord between Georgians and Armenian Communities. The reason for this was confirmation of Georgian scientific that Surb Nshan was built on the fundament of Georgian church.