Kvetera (კვეტერა) is such a special place in the Akhmeta district of Kakheti. Usually this name refers to the X century temple, but in this place are also the remnants of the fortress, and once there was a whole city, presumably so called - Queter. Here people wander infrequently due to the lack of convenient transport - Queteer is in the far northern end of the Alazani valley on the deaf Achmet-Tianeti road. This place can be recommended for pedestrian trekking from Ahmeta or from Sabuye, where there is a good guesthouse.
The temple was built in the 10th century, and very little is known about this period in the history of Kakheti. Kakheti in those years was practically cut off from other Georgian states by the Tbilisi Emirate. Temples in that century were built mainly in Abkhazia. Chronologically close to the temple in Kumurdo, but Queteer does not resemble any of his contemporaries. According to the plan, the temple is a tetraconchus, but there are nuances. He does not look like a tetraconchi like Jvari or Ateni. The closest he is to the cathedral of Ninotsminda, which, interestingly, is also in Kakheti. Here it is in the plan:
I had an unproved assumption that tetrakhonks of this type are locally Kakheti phenomenon, borrowed from the Caucasian Albania. In this case, it is logical that Keter was built exactly that way, but it is strange that the idea of tetraconchus resurrected after 300 years of oblivion.
What is now
Personally, I believe that this is the most beautiful temple of the 10th century. It is small, cross-domed, four-sided. It is very carefully assembled from small blocks carved from a kind of soft stone. Usually they write that they are made from tuff, but I saw only shell rock. Or rather, petrified coral. Vaults of the apses and the vault of the dome are made of stone - this is a complicated technology at the time. In 200 years, the builders of Cambodian Angkor Wat will not own this technology. In general, the temple makes a good impression as a beautiful engineering solution. And purely aesthetically, it is more elegant than many other temples of Transcaucasia.
It can be seen that during the Soviet era, restoration was carried out - at least, they put a new shingles. The remains of this tile are still stacked in the tower nearby. The outer walls of the temple are now in a bad state. Soft shell rock is thoroughly eaten by rain. For clarity, here is a close-up photo of the surface of the stone from the inside of the temple. It's definitely coral.
Where is it?
The easiest way to get there is from the district center of Akhmeta - there are only 10 kilometers. We move (on what will) on the Tianet road past the village of Chakhrala (partially Ossetian), then there will be the Sabuye village and the bridge. Quarter - above the bridge. After the bridge there will be a fork - you have to choose the left road. It will turn up, to the mountain, and there already upstairs there will be a turn marked with a column with the marker "temple" and a pointer. The temple itself can not be seen from the turn.
The nearest town is the boring Akhmeta, halfway to it - the village of Sabue and the guesthouse of Iza Bekauri. For the Matani - Pankisi Gorge. In the west - the uninteresting city of Tianeti. Nearby, behind the mountain, near Matani, is the monastery of Tskhkarari.
text & photos by A. Mukhranov (http://travelgeorgia.ru)