The historical heart of the city, Metekhi is the place from where King Vakhtang Gorgosali started to develop the new capital erecting the first church on top of the hill in the 5th century. Tradition holds that it was also a site where the martyr lady Saint Shushanik, the heroine of the oldest known Georgian piece of literature, was buried in the 5th c. Later kings chose the site to host their court, royal palace, fortress and a cathedral. It remained the royal residence right through Queen Tamara’s reign until Khwarezmid invasion leaded by Jalal ad-Din in 1226 left Tbilisi in ruins and its Isani district, including this gorgeous hill-top ensemble, in flames.
The extant Metekhi Church of Assumption dates back to c.1278 – c.1284. It was later damaged and restored several times.