On the Reconstruction of Oshki and Ishkhani Churches

It is well known that soon a contract between the Republics of Georgia and Turkey has to be signed which implies the reconstruction of Oshki and Ishkhani churches with the participation of Georgian experts.

It is hard to imagine that anyone who cares about our cultural heritage would not be happy for the favourable completion of the case, which seemed nearly hopeless. It is even more encouraging, as far as, not only two outstanding monuments of Georgian church architecture will continue their future existence, but there appears hope to save other Georgian antiquities on the territory of Turkey from an inevitable demolition.

Everyone, who has ever dealt with the preservation of antiquities is well aware of the difficulties connected with such international collaborations. Besides, we should not forget that for a long time not only reconstruction or consolidation of Oshki, Ishkhani, Otkhta Eklesia, Khandzta, other Georgian churches and monasteries and fortresses was not possible, but even to visit these monuments was an unrealizable dream for Georgian scientists and art-fanciers. This favourable change is first of all the result of joint efforts of the Ministry of Culture and Preservation of Monuments and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, as well as a great aspiration of our society. The attitude of Turkish authorities, their good will to take into consideration our wishes and find ways for involving Georgian scientists and restorers in the restoration of Oshki and Ishkhani (hopefully, later on other monuments as well) is valuable as well.

Perhaps, this great and important activity may be followed with certain problems. It is also very likely, that some people may consider this problem from the different point of view; but we believe that wisdom and resolution of our public will help us to overcome any difficulties and save us from all sorts of danger.

We look forward to completion of interstate negotiations and launching of restoration works on Oshki and Ishkhani churches, which will save these severely damaged monuments from the danger of destruction.

Scientific Council of the George     Chubinashvili   National Research Centre for Georgian Art History and Heritage Preservation