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November 23, 2002

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Using the metro isn't easy if you're illiterate. Letters of the Georgian alphabet look intricate and pretty but they're completely unreadable to our eyes. Since we can't correctly pronounce our destination, asking for directions doesn't help much so we use 'take a guess' navigation. We emerge from the metro, look around to find our bearings, and then go back into the station; this method isn't expensive because entering the metro costs 10 cents.
Police always show interest in our camera, as if churches hold strategic significance.
Sveti-Tskhoveli, Georgia's largest church, stands in the ancient capital of Mtskheta. This is the country's spiritual center, the area where Christianity became the state religion in 337 AD. Wedged at the boundary between the Christian and Islamic worlds, Georgia clings to the Orthodox faith. The countries of the Caucasus have had to fight throughout history to keep their religion and therefore most of its people are devout.
Nearby Mtskheta and overlooking the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi Rivers stands Jvari, an old church that is a classic of tetraconch design, whatever that is. Along with every other old place, this is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.