Dghvani mosque, one of Shuakhevi region’s most distinctive, has survived a remarkable number of near-catastrophes: a Soviet demolition order (locals saved it by advocating that it be used as a warehouse instead), a landslide that partially lifted the structure from its foundations, and a recent population decline in the village. Today, it preserves some of Adjara’s most elaborate interior murals, painted by Laz master craftsmen Omer Usta and Usta Bin Ahmed (also responsible for the decoration of Ghorjomi and likely Beghleti mosques). The paintings include several of their trademark mTotifs: folded red scarves, lemon trees, flower vases, a bubble pattern framing the dome, and a bi-colored chevron pattern wrapping around the ground floor. As at Beghleti mosque, the mihrab is painted dark green with a gold-accented floral bouquet—Dghvani’s mihrab, however, also features a row of gold crescents and stars. To the left of the mihrab is a mural depicting balanced scales. The distinctive paintings can also be found on the verandah outside, with murals of corn to the left of the entrance and a highly-detailed rendering of an Ottoman-flagged steam sailing ship to the right. Most of the carvings at Dghvani are based on common late nineteenth century templates, but the latticework panel crowning the minbar is truly exceptional: a pattern of interlocking rings framed by grapevines and topped with crescents. While the interior columns are all doric, those on the verandah bear abstract floral motifs similar to the applied wood ornament inside.
LOCATION: 41°34'47.6"N 42°12'42.5"E
POPULATION: 284; Greater Dghvani, 1158
CONSTRUCTION DATE: 1907 (hijri 1325)
RENOVATION DATE(S): 1969, 1990s
CRAFTSMEN: Omer Usta, Usta Bin Ahmed (Laz)