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Religion: "Cathedral of Atheism"

The Palace of Rituals. Photo: Peter Nasmyth
The Palace of Rituals. Photo: © Peter Nasmyth

Nearly all Georgians are Georgian Orthodox. Religion has played a crucial role in Georgian history - as one of the stable elements of culture that carried Georgian identity through the many foreign occupations. Russia tried to break this link by painting over the older Georgian church frescos - still visible in some Tbilisi churches. The Soviets went even further and built a Palace of Rituals, an alternative church which the BBC described during the "87 visit of Margaret Thatcher as a "Cathedral of Atheism".

Nasmyth has his own description for the building:

Arriving at its strange, semi-organic towers of tubular concrete, the architectural message seemed to defy all analysis. Reaching for my notebook, I scrawled the first words entering my head. I ended up with only two words: "blatantly phallic."

[p. 75]

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