Dolishane (Doliskana) Monastery and Church

Dolishane (Doliskana) Monastery and Church

Doliskana Monastery is a Georgian Orthodox monastery located in Doliskana village, Klarceti region of historical Georgia. Today, the monastery is in Hamamlı Village, after driving 3 kilometers along the Şavşat-Artvin highway.

The Doliskana monastery in Turkey is widely known as the Dolishane Monastery and its church is called the "Dolishane Church." However, based on Georgian word for wheat-field "doli", the name should be written as “Doliskana".

Doliskana monastery was first established in the 830-840s and is not mentioned by name until Giorgi Merchule's report. According to his account, it is possible that Doliskana Monastery became an official monastery after him; however, there are conflicting records as well.

Dolishane (Doliskana) Monastery and Church

One possibility is that the monastery was founded in the first half of the 10th century when a church was built. Almost all the buildings of the monastery except the main church have been destroyed. There are two different views of whom the church is dedicated to - "Archangels" or St. Stefan.

The Doliskana Church, the main church of the Doliskana Monastery , is the only structure left from the monastery. The domed and covered crucifix church (20 X 14 meters from outside) was built in 10th century. It is inscribed on the southern façade that it was built by Bagrat in the first half of the 10th century and restored by Sumbat I of Georgia.

The space covered by the dome is approximately 25 meters high in the center. The central area has a square plan and four extended cross arms. In the east of the church, pastoforium rooms are located on either side of a semicircular apse. The path to these places today is through a door that opens from outside to the eastern walls and not from inside. The western arm was set into the ground two times as deep as the other arms. The northern chamber of the western arm, presumed to be used for wine storage or a cellar, contained soil. The church used cut and rough exterior stones, with rubble stones on the inside; figurative, geometric, and floral decorations made in relief technique (on the southern wall); some paintings have survived.

The relief on the south wall illustrates that the male figure was holding a model of the church. At one time, there was a “Sundial” relief on the southern cross arm of this church, but it was later stolen. The main part of this church, which is used as a place to worship and/or center of community activity, is largely intact and was used as a mosque until 1998.