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The Tomb of King David Soslan, Consort to Queen Tamar of Georgia

The Tomb of King David

[Excerpts from British traveller's diary]

"Fifteen miles beyond the Narrows, at the village of Nuzal, we stopped to look at a different kind of shrine. This was the tomb of David Soslan, an Ossetian prince who became the second husband of Queen Tamar, greatest of Georgian monarchs.... [author then discusses Tamar's first marriage to Yuri Bogolubski and seubsequent divorce] Four years later she married David Soslan. The new consort was himself partly Georgian, being a descendant through the female line of King Bagrat IV. The marriage was happy one an two chilren were born....

"The tomb - or church, for its is difficult to know how to describe it exactly - stands in a corner of an unfrequented backstreet of the village where hens and ducks forage in the dust. In shape it is somewhat similar to the classic Ossetian tomb, but is very much larger and lacks the distinctive steppe roof. Its external dimensions are about 20 feet long by 8 feet wide by 15 feet high (at the apex), but owing to the great thickness of the walls the space inside is considerably smaller. The internal surfaces are plastered, an decorated with frescos which, when Baddeley saw them,"had been defaced by a Georgian priest Nicolai Samurganoff because in his opinion they flattered the Ossetines at the expense of his own countryman"

"They [frescos] are still in very poor condition, an it was not easy to see them in the half light. There appeared to be a face of Christ, flanked by the Queen an her consort, but there were several other fragments as well. Dzera told us that the frescos are soon to be cleaned and restored, a task which is certainly overdue in view of their intrinsic interest: Tamar an David are, after all, two of the most famous figures in Caucasian history...."