As one of the oldest surviving mosques in Adjara’s coastal Kobuleti district, Kvirike was recently designated a protected heritage monument. Soviet authorities ordered the minaret and madrasa (the foundations of which are visible in the site plan, to the right of the mosque) demolished, but many historic architectural details remain intact. Kvirike mosque is most distinctive for the abundance of original carvings, all of them created using the incised method typical of the Ottoman period, which adorn both the interior and exterior. Unlike mosques in the harsher mountainous districts of Adjara, many of Kvirike’s original historic exterior details have survived, including wooden lattice window screens, a terra-cotta roof with a small dormer*, and an open verandah with original carved columns. A decorative band with a braided motif runs across the facade above the verandah. Both the door and its frame feature elaborate carvings of tulips and braids. Extensive carved ornamentation continues inside: the mihrab, minbar, columns, and balcony all retain their original unpainted wooden decorations. The particularly elaborate minbar crown shows the influence of local folk motifs. As with many earlier mosques, Kvirike does not have a full dome but a shallow recess with a carved medallion. Adjara’s regional heritage authorities recently guided a renovation that prioritized technical conservation over ongoing building functionality. They restored the windows, added a new tile roof, and preserved the wood without repainting it or adding insulation for winter use. The village, however, is no longer deeply observant and the mosque often stands empty, aside from Friday or holiday services.
*a window that projects vertically from a sloping roof, often with its own small roof
LOCATION: 41°46'07.9"N 41°50'20.0"E
CONSTRUCTION DATE: 1861 (hijrI 1277)
RENOVATION DATE(S): 2013
CRAFTSMEN: Laz from Arhavi (Ottoman Empire)
MINARET: No (original taken down; none rebuilt)