Bagrati Cathedral named after Bagrat III, first king of united Georgia, is one of the most significant monuments of ancient Georgian architecture. Its formal title is the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Ghvtismshobeli. It was built during the reign of King Bagrat III (975-1014) upon the top of Ukimerioni Hill. An inscription on the north wall reveals that the floor was laid in "chronicon 223" (1003 year). The temple with its architectural and artistic merit has a special place in the history of Georgian architecture. It stood unharmed until the end of the 17th century. According to Vakhushti Bagrationi, a Georgian Royal Prince, famous geographer, historian and cartographer from the 18th century, in 1692 the cathedral was devastated by Ottoman troops in an explosion. South gate, west gate and a three-storied tower in the north-west remained until the 30-ies of the 19th century, what is also confirmed by the sketches of an artist N. Chernetsov.
Bagrati is a cross-dome building with a three-story tower built in its northwest corner. The dome was supported by four massive pillars. The west arm of the cross is squared off while three other cross-arms: in the east, in the south and in the north, terminate in semicircular apses. Decorations of Bagrati were very lavish. The facades were connected by the system of decorative arches, the windows and the gates contained very rich ornaments. Walls were decorated with carvings and the floor with mosaics which are still visible. In the southern gate there is a trace of the fresco of the Virgin Mary. Inside the cathedral, on the western side there was a special place where King, Queen and nobles stood during the liturgy. Deacons sat on both sides of the altar.
First restoration works, scientific research and exploration of the cathedral started in 1952.