Autumn like poetry Kingdom of The Bagrationi Egrisi Dinasty
National Tourism Agency
PUBLISHER Vladimir Dzhishkariani EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Irine Jordania ART DIRECTOR Temo Machavariani PROJECT CONCEPT Giorgi Akhalkatsi ENGLISH TEXT EDITOR Irina Khazhalia TRANSLATOR Irina Khazhalia INVITED MARKETING MANAGER Leli Mirijanashvili INVITED EDITOR Nino Daraseli PHOTO EDITOR Temo Machavariani LAYOUT CONCEPT Levan Asatiani AUTHORS : Dato Turashvili / Beso Lordkipanidze / Igor Obolensky / Buba Kudava National Centre of Manuscripts / Nutsa Cheishvili PHOTOS : Zina Barnovi / National Centre of Manuscripts/ Buba Kudava / Nodar Sumbadze Alexsandre Roinishvili / Baron De Baye FOUNDERS Vladimir Dzhishkariani / Tea Chelidze DIRECTOR Vladimir Dzhishkariani IT DIRECTOR Zviad Mosiashvili DISTRIBUTION Mikheil Amashukeli ACCOUNT Paata Salia THE TECHNICAL STAFF Milana Drucker PARTNERS:
SPECIAL THANKS TO: The Administration of the President of Georgia / Georgian National Museum / Georgian State Literature Museum / National Centre of Manuscripts Georgian National Archive / International Union For Conservation of Nature / Department of Tourizm and Resorts of Georgia / The Agency of Protected Areas/ Ministry of Economy and Sustainable of Georgia / The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Georgian National Investment Agency Press-speaker of the President of Georgia Manana Manjgaladze / Turkish Airlines Director for Tbilisi ofice Fatih Guven The Georgian Ambassador to France Mamuka Kudava Publisher by: Publishing House ‘MODI’ Tbilisi, 0171, Kostava str. 68, build 3 Phone/Fax: +99532 409398, +99532 409397 E-mai: email@example.com Copyright by Publishing House ‘MODI’ LTD All rights reserved Printed By: Publishing House ‘MODI’ LTD
COVER Dima Antadze Still Life With Turtle
jer kidev XII saukuneSi cnobili sparsi poeti xayani Sirvaneli Tavis leqsSi qristian qals qarTulad uxmobs: ‘’moi, moi’’. Sua saukuneebis erT-erTi aRmosavleli poeti ki ambobs: ‘’saqarTveloSi viyavi da sul moi, moi viZaxeo’’. rogorc Cans, yvelaze xSirad stumarTmoyvare qarTvelebisgan enis armcodne mogzaurs swored ‘’modi’’ (Tu misi xalxuri forma ‘’moi’’) esmoda da yvelaze adviladac am sityvas imaxsovrebda. qarTvel kacs ver warmoudgenia rame martom akeTos, vinmes ar Seexmianos, ar dauZaxos, ar moipatiJos, azri ar gauziaros. albaT amitomaa amdeni ‘’modi’’ Cvens saubarSi, saqmeSi, cxovrebaSi. qarTvelebi xom ‘’modiT’’ viwyebT: modi vicekvoT, modi vimReroT, modi vTqvaT, modi gavakeToT, modi avaSenoT, modi davlioT, modi wavideT, modi vibrZoloT, modi vifiqroT, modi davweroT, modi vicocxloT da ase usasrulod... erTxelac saubari albaT ase daiwyo: modi, ’’modi’’ gamovceT...
In one of his poems, the 12th century Persian poet, Khaqaini Sherwani, used the word modi when his lyrical hero was trying to attract the attention of a Christian girl. Centuries ago, foreign visitors used to associate the word modi with Georgians, and the country, as they would often hear Georgians say “modi, modi, modi.” Modi is Georgian for “come” and is the word we use to informally call or invite somebody over, yet the meanings within this word are boundless. “Please come over, come in, have a seat, make yourself comfortable…” It is as if this word reflects why Georgians find it unimaginable to do things on their own and invariably invite others to join in, welcome them into their homes, share their experiences and ideas. More often than not, our discourse starts with modi, indicating that the listener is very much welcome - let’s dance, let’s sing, let’s talk, let’s drink together, let’s go, let’s fight, let’s think, let’s write, let’s live our lives… One conversation might even start with, “Let’s publish Modi!
28. Kingdom of Egrisi Beso Lordkipanidze
Five Things By Georgi Baramidze
The Bagrationi Dinasty Buba Kudava
Land With Beautiful Landscape There was Once a Cityâ€Ś
60. Dato Turashvili
1,26 May square, Tbilisi, 0171 Georgia t: +995 32 2 300099 f: +995 32 2 300001 e: firstname.lastname@example.org www.holidayinn.com
Onion Tears Nutsa Cheishvili
YOU WERE MARRIED THAT NIGHT MARY! Igor Obolensky
Davit Kakabadze Talent, knowledge, 94. Intellect and Passion
Nat ional Costume Women’s Dress 1.
Silver necklace with gemstones
Qatibi button-silver, button with the func tion of simple decoration
Dress front – this was an embroidered or highly ornate fabric. The neck line was always cut high.
Girdle – worn on the dress: narrow round the waist with long, wide strips hanging down the front. Its color had to match the dress. The girdle was often gold or silver twine, ornate with pearls or beads, very seldom plain
Cuffs – the hem of the sleeve, either hung down loosely or was tied at the wrist.
MUSHTAIDI PARK One of the oldest parks of Tbilisi – Mushtaidi was developed in the 30’s of the 19th century. In 1828, the first garden was developed on the very 5 hectare place by Mir Petech-Agha Seid Tavrizi from Iran. He was Mujtahid, a religious leader of Iranian part of Azerbaijan. And the garden was named Mushtaidi after his religious title Mujtahid.They say, Mujtahid decided to live in Georgia because of his Georgian wife, who dead earlier and was buried in the Garden. In 1845 Mir Petech-Agha returned back to Tavriz and his Garden was purchased by a rich local landlord. Since 1853, the Garden belonged to the National Treasury. Monthly strolls, public festivals, exhibitions and plays used to be held there. Soon, Mushtaidi Garden turned into a resting and entertaining centre. In 1887, Nikoloz Shavrov, natural historian, founded the Caucasian Silk Station on the territory of the Garden. The Station venue was constructed in 1892. In the course of time the most part of the building was damaged. Though, its main premise still remains keeping its original appearance, where the Museum of Silk, i.e. silk manufacturing history, library, and a silk production coordination center are disposed. In 1935 the first ever children’s railway was opened in Mushtaidi Garden. There used to be the theatre, open stage, café-restaurant and other amusements there.the city itself. It is spread on three mils territory, including the city. The most beautiful part of the city is the Fair”. In 1795, Metekhi Bridge was destroyed by Agha Muhammad Khan. City population contributed for rebuilding the Bridge and it was recovered in 2 years. It survived for only 8 years and in 1805 it was drawn by the flood. Afterwards people built temporary bridge, which was substituted by new bridge in 1823-1826, this was drawn by the flood again. 1830 bridge collapsed as well. New bridge i.e. 2 narrow iron bridge was built in 1843 and it served the city until the end of WWII. In 1950 began massive construction of Metekhi Bridge, which was fin-
ALEXANDER’S GARDEN A park being located very close to Rustaveli Avenue, the main highroad of Tbilisi, is still called “the Alexander’s Garden” by locals. It is one of the oldest public parks of Tbilisi. During royal times the place served as sport area for military trainings and public festivals. In the first half of the 19th century there was developed “Alexander Plats” there. In 1859 during Vicegerent Baryatinski’s rule there was launched development of a beautiful garden across the slope. The garden was opened in 1863 and named the Alexander’s Garden after Emperor Alexander II of Russia. The Garden and its exhibition pavilions with cafes and restaurants, and fountains and terraces, also a gardener’s house were projected by Otto Jacob Simonson, German architect (1832-1914). The garden development works were supervised by Heinrich Karl Verner Scharer, German botanist and landscape architect (1828-1906). The Alexander’s Garden was projected ordinarily. Development of its English style scenery upon European standards took four years. Tbilisi newspapers of that time called the Garden the first “European Stylish” one. Scharer brought trees and decorative plants from Gustav Fyweg’s forestry in Kodjori, near Tbilisi. In the course of time the Garden passed through many changes in architecture and planning. During the Soviet times its fountains were moved along one single line, and projection changed. Because of widening nearby streets its territory was also significantly cut. On 22nd of September 2008, after completion of rehabilitation works there was opened lower part of the Alexander’s Garden that is currently called April 9th Park.
OUR LIVES MTATSMINDA PARK
Mtatsminda Park is the highest in Tbilisi. It is located on 800m from the sea-level and about 430m from the city itself. The Park was developed on the upstation of Tbilisi cable railway in 1930. It is 7.5km far from the city center. There are two ways to reach the Park, either the cable railway or highroad. The cable railway was constructed by A. Blanche, French engineer, in 1905. It is 501m long with three stops. Its mid-stop takes you to the Mtatsminda Pantheon of Prominent Writers and Public Figures. The final stop takes you to a beautiful two-storey tower building of “Rotonda” café and restaurant. The old restaurant was reconstructed and a third storey added in 1936-1938. Mtatsminda Park offers an unforgettable landscape view over Tbilisi city. Its main landmark is 210m television tower. There is an entertaining center full of different amusements in the Park.
SYMBOL OF UNITY GEORGIA Bagrati Cathedral rests upon the top of Uk’imerioni Hill in the city of Kutaisi, the region of Imereti, Georgia. Due to its architectural and cultural values Bagrati Cathedral is a distinct landmark and a masterpiece in the history of medieval Georgian architecture. Historically it symbolizes the unified Kingdom of Georgia. The Cathedral was built in the early years of the 11th century, during the reign of King Bagrat III (975-1014) due to which it was called “Bagrati” Cathedral, i.e., Bagrat’s cathedral. An inscription on the north wall reveals that the floor was laid in “Choronicon 223”, i.e. in 1003. The Cathedral remained in its original appearance until late 17th c. Valuable notes are found in scripts made by Russian ambassadors Tolchanov and Yevlev, who visited Imereti in 1650-1652. They mention the Cathedral itself with premises around including a bell tower, which still remains mostly unchanged, and some palaces there. The ambassadors also mention gold and silver and great many precious stones decorating dozens of valuable icons and the whole Cathedral. According to Vakhushti Bagrationi, Bagrati Cathedral was devastated in an explosion by the Ottomans invading the Kingdom of Imereti from Akhaltsikhe in 1962. The invasion caused the cupola and ceiling to collapse and all treasures to be stolen, leaving the Cathedral in its present state. In 1740-1770 the Ottomans used the Cathedral remains for arm warehouse premise. In 1770 King Solomon I of Imereti fought against the Ottomans and liberalized the Bagrati Castle and Cathedral off the yoke. During the battle new damages were added to the old ones. They say the South and West gates of the Cathedral were standing firmly till 30’s of the nineteen century. In 1994, the Bagrati Cathedral was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. The conservation and restoration works, as well as archaeological studies, are still underway there. In August 2009, the Kutaisi archaeological expedition found a grave inside the West Gate. The grave was full of golden earrings, ring and other precious accessories dated back to 8th-9th cc AD. It is believed to belong to a queen, princess or lady at the Georgian Royal Court. There has been worked out a target project on restoration and conservation works in order to preserve the authenticity of the Cathedral. Nowadays, Bagrati Cathedral is of limited use for worship services, but attracts many pilgrims and tourists. It is also frequently used as a symbol of the unity of Georgia.
Sheltered by the massive peaks of the greater Caucasus, hidden away from the outside world, is the extraordinary land of the Khevsurs - Khevsureti. Nowhere else in Europe is there a place that feels so mysterious, unique and magical, a place where ancient pagan traditions survive, and medieval fortress villages guard the secrets of the valleys. Only accessible by road for seven months a year, Khevsureti moves at its own pace. Until the 1930s people here wore chainmail amour and carried swords and shields. The Soviet Union did much to try to destroy the ancient way of life, but rituals, songs and crafts are still preserved by the people of this proud, independent land. The Khevsurs never submitted themselves to any feudal lord, taking decisions independently, steered by community leaders called Khevisberis, who also acted as priests for the local shrine, each of which had its own pagan deity. Animal sacrifice is still common here, but other traditions have died out in some of the other regions. Blood feuds were common in this remote land, where life was always hard and family honor paramount. Constant war with the Muslim peoples of the North Caucasus resulted in the extraordinary architecture seen here today, where many villages were actually designed as fortresses, with family homes doubling as defensive structures. The Khevsurs were exceptional warriors and were often promoted as royal bodyguards. In battle, Khevsurs wore flags adorned with crosses and considered themselves permanent members of the army of the sacred flags and guardians of Georgian Kings. There has been a hypothesis, that these Georgian highlanders were descendants of the last European Crusaders because their folk culture – the material, social, and religious practices – greatly resembled those of the Crusaders. The Khevsur men, dressed in chain mail and armed with broadswords, wore garments full of decoration made up of crosses and icons, which served as a means of protection, according to Christianity. The pure European origin of Khevsurs is not supported by most modern scholars. However, some form of settlement of Crusaders in these areas is possible, as they are mentioned in several manuscripts of the time as participants of several battles against the Muslims in Georgia (100 “Frankish” Crusaders participated in King David’s army in the Battle of Didgori).
“KHVANCHKARA” - THE PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE Georgia is one of the oldest wine producing regions of the world. The fertile valleys of the South Caucasus, which Georgia straddles, are believed by many archaeologists to be the source of the world’s first cultivated grapevines and Neolithic wine production, over 8 000 years ago. Due to the many millennia of wine in Georgian history, the traditions of its viticulture are entwined and inseparable with the country’s national identity. Thus, when it comes to wine-making, Georgia is blessed. Extremes of weather are unusual: summers tend to be short-sleeve sunny, and winters mild and frost-free. Natural springs abound, and the Caucasian Mountain streams drain mineral-rich water into the valleys. Georgia’s moderate climate and moist air, influenced by the Black Sea, provide the best conditions for vine cultivating. The soil in vineyards is so intensively cultivated that the grape vines grow up to the trunks of fruits trees eventually hanging down along the fruit when they ripen. Among the best-known regions of Georgia where wine is produced is small but exotic Racha, Western
Georgia, where vineyards cover comparably less territory, mainly on the south slopes fenced with rocky cliffs along the River Rioni Valley (600-800m from sea-bottom). The area is especially blessed with huge sunshine hence local grapes Alexandrouli and Mudzhuretuli contain 28-30% sugar. Those two grape varieties originate a fine naturally semi-sweet red wine “Khvanchkara”. Some local wine-makers still preserve old recipe and use four or even more grape varieties to make “Khvanchkara”. The darkruby color wine has a strong specific bouquet and a harmonious velvety taste with a raspberry flavor. It used to be one of the most popular wines of the Empire. In the 19th century Khvanchkara wine made of Prince Kipiani’s vineyards were best of the best. Experts used to compare its velvety and delicate test of the Kipiani’s Wine with French Burgundy. The wine was called “Khvanchkara” later during Soviet period. Wines originated from “The Kipiani Wine” are still popular for their excellent taste and quality throughout Georgia and beyond.
T B I L I S I
C A T A L O G U E Art project : Nodar Sumbadze November
MODI To Georgia
FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GEORGIA
By Vice Prime-Minister of Georgia Giorgi Baramidze
FROM THE LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN FLEECE TO THE SUCCESSFUL REFORMS
Georgian culture has survived the worst cataclysms of the centuries, but still maintains its originality even today. It has always differed from other cultures by its unique art, polyphonic songs and fiery dances, stunning gold jewelry and precious metal processing technology. No wonder that from ancient times Georgia was of great interest for other countries. Proof of this interest is evident in the myth about the Argonauts, Jason and Medea. Located at the junction of Europe and Asia on the Silk Road, Georgia was explored by travelers, missionaries, and ambassadors who documented their journeys and later introduced Georgian culture to other nations. Today, Georgia is a country which managed to overcome its soviet past, civil wars, collapse of economy, disorder and aggression from the military superpower neighbor state and chose the democratic way of development, implemented radical reforms and achieved impressive economic results confirmed by international ratings. We are proud of our ongoing successful reforms in police, defence, judiciary, economy, energy, education and fight against corruption;
ALL SEASON BEST TOURISTIC DESTINATION
In Georgia you have a got a potent mix of diversity â€“ our country is an excellent destination for sun, sea and same time mountains with snow and opportunity to ski! Georgia has resorts, which cater to all tastes and ages and has a fantastic history, culture and some fascinating architecture. You can explore the amazing history or you can choose to unwind, spend an afternoon being pampered and let the warm waters off the Black Sea coast lap at your toes. Adventure lovers can head to various National parks, discovering medieval castles and untouchable nature. Bon vivants need look no further than Tbilisi, where the markets and bars are among the most stylish and atmospheric, and the Georgian cuisine rates as the tastiest, in the world. Tourists can discover wonderful ski resorts of Bakuriani, Gudauri and Mestia, gorgeous nature of the countryside, summer in Georgia is perfect for sun and sea on the developed coastline of the Black Sea, from beautiful Batumi to new resort of Anaklia, the autumn is a good time to participate in the Rtveli, process of collecting of grapes and wine making-tasting.
MODI To Georgia
“DISCOVER YOUR SECOND HOMELAND” DEMOCRATIC REFORMS AND THE Georgia and Georgian people are well ATTRACTIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR known for their hospitality, openness and for particular atmosphere of friendship and THE INVESTMENTS tolerance. Through ages different nationals from around the globe were coming to Georgia and falling in love, leaving the part of their hart in Georgia and taking the unforgettable memories and pure energy of relations. Tucked between history’s great empires lies a sliver of a country, a little slice of land that legend has it God saved for himself. When He was handing out homesteads to the varied nations at the beginning of time, the Georgian people were late to show up. The only place left was a beautiful spot God had picked out for Himself and He gave this land to Georgians. The main association of any person who came to Georgia is that it is his or her second homeland. The Georgian people treat guest equally and with highest respect. The land, the food, the music becomes very precious. The fertility of the land as well as the ancient traditions of winemaking and feasts, suggest a paradise that has endured for thousands of years. Despite repeated invasions, the Georgians have retained their language, religion, customs and most important – the atmosphere of welcoming guests, when the guest feels like a home.
Since Rose Revolution the Government of Georgia set the goal to safeguard freedom and security of the country, to present the example for the entire region how western type of democracy can deliver and to retrieve its place in the family of the European nations. The Government of Georgia implemented widescale reforms directed towards modernization and democratization of the country, such as fight against corruption, constitutional and judicial reforms; modernization of the police and border management; reforms in education; liberalization of economy; addressing social and economic needs of population and made considerable progress in building a multi-ethnic state, where all citizens have access to the government and economy. Georgia became a good example of the country with successful and rapid transformation. Our achievements have been widely recognized by respected international organization. For example Georgia has been singled out by the World Bank as the number 1 economic reformer in the world over the last 5 years, and now ranks 16th place for the ease of doing business, being number one in Eastern and Central Europe. At the same time Georgia is ranked as the 7th easiest country to start business and 1st in registering property. Georgia attracted significant FDI due to its highly favorable investment climate based on three key principles: minimal regulations, low taxes and strong anti-corruption enforcement.
GEORGIA IS WAITING FOR YOU . MODI TO GEORGIA!
GEORGIA – CRADLE OF WINE
In Georgia, the wine culture is closely tied to the country, having a long and rich history. The legacy of viticulture in the country is unbelievable for such a small land. Over five hundred varieties of grape, roughly one-quarter of all the types of grapes present on earth, are harvested within the country. Having cultivated its own means of maturing wines, Georgian wine has a particular flavour and taste not found anywhere else on earth. Visiting Georgia gives you the opportunity to discover both the traditional and the modern way and method of making wine, you can visit an old wine cellars, as well as a present-day wine factories. And you may taste the difference. Guided by an expert in the field, you will degust ate the wines of different regions, getting thus a large overview of the Georgian wine production. In autumn you also have the unique opportunity participate actively in the vintage. Georgia is the homeland of wine - says a greater part of the world’s competent experts. Archeologists and historians possess a number of material evidences including 7000 years old grape stones and many more very antique vessels, also survive remarks of a number of foreign chroniclers and travelers. Homer and Strabo remarked about the Georgians: “They sing, rock, regale, nobody can venture upon offending them.” When hearing the songs that survive from those times and when surveying the vessels obtained from ancient layers, one can realize the culture at that time undergoing the process of formation as being tough and unique. Georgians know very well how to match a wine with a dish, which wine to serve to better fit the number of invited guests or the nature of celebration.
Kingdom of Egrisi
egendary Colchian Kingdom existed until 1st century BC. The land was invaded by Mithridates VI of Pontus, and later fallen to the Roman Republic. Prominent Greek geographer and historian of the ancient world Strabo wrote, “How famous was this land in ancient times is proved by myths on Jason and even earlier Psyche”. The collapse of the Kingdom of Colcha resulted formation of several kingdoms at the end of 1st century BC, and Egrisi (or “Lazika” called by the Romans and Byzantines) was the most powerful one. In 4th century BC Egrisi subjugated other kingdoms of Apshileti, Abazga and Sanigeti, and was stretched from the Caucasus and Gagra-Pitsunda (the north) to the River Chorokhi (the south), and from the Likhi Range (the east) to the Black Sea shore (the west), unifying the whole western Georgia. Agathia of Myra, Byzantine historian of 6th century, wrote about Egrisi and its people, “The Lazians are brave and powerful tribe ruling other strong tribes. They are proud of their ancient Colchian origin, may be more than they should, though might not groundless. I cannot think of any other tribes having same wealth, number of servants, precious and productive land, as well as beautiful character and appearance.” Despite being rather strong, Egrisi had to keep balance between two powers of Byzantine and Sassanid Persia. During 5th-6th cc Egrisi kings were Byzantine vassals occasionally coming under Sassanid Persia. Political changes were the subject to the country’s orientation choice at certain time. Despite great many archaeological data and old manuscripts proving that Egrisi Kingdom got Christianity in the 4th century, it is obvious that the Kingdom changed its faith several times until 523. And, in 523 King Tsate I of Egrisi finally declared Christianity the official religion. The Egrisians even built their monastery in Jerusalem. Egrisi had rather strong and developed cities of Pazisi (currently Poti), Petra (currently Tsikhisdziri), Kutaisi, Varditsikhe-Rodopolis and others. Though, the capital Tsikhegoji was a distinguished one. The Byzantines called it Archeopolis (i.e. “Old City” in old Greek). It remains still preserve over hills and slopes of Nokalakevi Village. The city used to be surrounded by the river flowing out of a narrow valley from the south, and the north-west was protected with Tekhura Unagira Mount with its rocky cliffs. Tsikhegoji became the capital of Egrisi in the 4th century. It covered 18h area and was divided into three parts: Lower City, Hill City, and Citadel on the very top of Mount Unagira. All three
MAIN STORY parts were protected with stone fences. The Lower city was used for living and trading. There were two palaces, two baths, four churches, and water reservoir with secret tunnel down to the river bank for water supply in case of encirclement. Enemy could only attack the city from the east, thus the locals built triple stone fences around the capital in 4th6th cc. The hill between the citadel and the city was also fenced. The citadel used to serve as a shelter for king, the army and local population in case of invasion of the city’s Lower part. There was a church there. Tsikhegoji, or Archeopolis, is described in details by Prokopo of Caesarea, Byzantine historian (6th c), “Archeopolis is situated on a rather dark hillock on the bank of a river. The city has one gate at lower part, which is not well protected but pretty difficult to get to it through uneven path. Another gate is at the rocky cliff and hard to reach. And, there is a shrubbery far away around. There are two walls protecting the way from the hill to the river that is the only water supply for the city.” In the 6th century Egrisi turned into the very center of a battle between Byzantain and Persia. Gubaz II ruled Egrisi at that time. At the beginning of the war the Egrisians were the Byzantine’s ally. Though, self-willed acts by Byzantine masters and commanders provoked Gubaz II to secretly send his ambassadors to Shah Chosro I of Persia. Fortunately, the ambassadors’ speech in front of Shah still preserved. The ambassadors explain reasons and benefits of collaboration between Egrisi and Persia, “We hereby should say some of those damned Byzantines misdeeds. Our King only keeps the name but all power belongs to Byzantines. Even the King is their servant being frightened with orders by Strategos. Our land is full of their soldiers not to protect but to jail us and obtain all our wealth… We hereby are ready to present to you the benefit of our collaboration. By merging our powers Persia will ever enlarge its dignity and get direct access to the Black Sea shore. You will have an opportunity to build ships and easily reach the capital of Byzantine. And, it will be totally depended on you to allow neighbourig barbarians massacre Byzantine land each year. You are well aware that Lazeti is just at the bottom of the Caucasus.” In 542 Persians came to Egrisi and together with Gubaz II attacked the Byzantines. At first the new ally was rather successful, but Chosro did not stand Gubaz’s strong character and decided to kill him. He ordered the King’s assassination to Prince Parsman of Egrisi. The last had bad relations with Gubaz, but still did not turn to be a traitor and informed the King. Angry Gubaz came back to the Byzantines and fight next to them against Persians till the end of his life. The capital city Tsikhegoji (Archeopolis) was the main point during the battles. In 551, Persian Commander Mermeroe marched
to capture the city. 3 000 Byzantines stood next to Egrisians to fight for the city. Persians even used eight elephants, but despite their majority they could not win. Mermeroe returned a year later with huger army, more elephants and extra strong group of Husabirs. But, the Persians lost again. Gubaz II was very energetic person and despite successful battle demanded Byzantine commanders to be more active and target oriented. Thus, he often criticized them and denounced them to Emperor Justine I. The Byzantine commanders slandered him to be a traitor and informed the Emperor. The last called Gubaz to come to Constantinople. The commanders apprehended about revelation of their shadow deeds and traitorously murdered Gubaz in 554. The fact rose great disturbances and the Egrisians called a public council in order to decide whether stay with the Byzantine or shelter to Persians again. Persian supporters presented their arguments by a wellknown orator Ayet, who was argued by Phartadzi supporting Byzantine. Finally, Egrisians decided to stay in ally with Byzantine but demanded Justine to severely punish the murderers and crown Tsate II as
Gubaz’s successor. The Emperor fulfilled all terms, beheaded some of the murderers and others exiled, and declared Tsate II as King of Egrisi. In 562, the Byzantine-Persian War was ended in “fifty-year” peace, and Egrisi remained under influence of Byzantine. At the end of the 6th century Byzantine abolished the Kingdom of Egrisi, and the country was governed by appointed Patricios. The last must have been Egrisian Prince. The situation lasted till the end of the 7th century. The Arabs came to the south Caucasus in the middle of the 7th century. Marwan bin Muhammad (called “the Deaf ” by the Georgians), the Persian ruler and military leader for the Arab caliph, invaded eastern parts of the Byzantine Empire, and later then Georgia. At the end of the 7th century, Patricios Sergi of Egrisi being angry with the Byzantines opened the door to
door to the Arabs. With fire and the sword Marwan the Deaf fought his way across Georgia from the east to the west in 735-737. And the Egrisians again changed their ally and supported Kings Myr and Archil of Kartli against Arabs. The Georgians lost the battle and Myr and Archil fled to Egrisi. Enraged Marwan the Deaf gathered an enormous army and marched after the Georgian kings, and approached Argveti on his way to Egrisi. The princes David and Constantine Mkheid-
THE LAZIANS ARE BRAVE AND POWERFUL TRIBE RULING OTHER STRONG TRIBES. THEY ARE PROUD OF THEIR ANCIENT COLCHIAN ORIGIN, MAY BE MORE THAN THEY SHOULD, THOUGH MIGHT NOT GROUNDLESS. I CANNOT THINK OF ANY OTHER TRIBES HAVING SAME WEALTH, NUMBER OF SERVANTS, PRECIOUS AND PRODUCTIVE LAND, AS WELL AS BEAUTIFUL CHARACTER AND APPEARANCE. ze of Argveti led the resistance against the fearsome conquerors, but the enemy routed the Georgian army and the commanders David and Constantine were taken captive. Marwan the Deaf demanded the brothers to convert to Islam and promised great honors and command of the armies instead. The brothers strictly refused the offer and Marwan ordered that the brothers be starved to death. After Argveti Marwan the Deaf moved to Egrisi and destroyed its capital Tsikhegoji. That was the end of Egrisi Kingdom. At the end of the 8th century there was formed a new western Georgian Kingdom of Abkhazia.
“Bagrationi” is not just a family name for Georgians, but the whole history, dignity, glorious past, courage and valour, beauty and esteem, respect and devotion, a kind of paternal links to ancient times, our own land and national roots… “Bagrationi” – it seems one can’t pronounce the name without confidence and pride. Today, if you happen to meet Bagrationi you immediately pass some subconscious responsibility to him and expect some wonder in response. He must be well-built, handsome, inspired, firm, faithful, welleducated and devoted to his Motherland. He is a character from the past, a kind of museum exhibit. He is much more than an ordinary Georgian, he is Bagrationi! The Soviets used to teach us that a king was a tyrant, oppressor, standing at the top of stairs based on fear and obedience as its steps. We used to study history of Europe and Asia full of revolts and revolutions against the monarchy. I often wondered about rapid changes of ruling dynasties in the 40
history of Europe and tried hard to remember them. That was rather strange for me as we associated only one name to the monarchy – the Bagrationis. And, every time the monarchy seizure was caused by external enemies but not Georgian people here. If people took the throne off one Bagrationi, offered it to another Bagrationi. Quite often Georgians being oppressed by enemies wished to restore the national monarchy and waited for the Bagrationi’s call. Georgians loved their king and could not imagine any other king except Bagrationi. And, all that happened while having all kind of kings, those being obedient or refractory, brave or coward, faithful or traitor, selfless or betrayer, tolerant or merciless, farsighted or short-minded, well-educated or sumptuous feast and hunting lovers, rueful or lighthearted, devoted or selfish.... And still, the Georgians associated the monarchy only to the Bagrationis ruling the land almost continuously for ten centuries.
The Bagrationi Dynasty H Buba Kudava
istory has one bad feature – most intrigue facts are always covered with mist. But it might be on the contrary, we eager to reveal what we do not know. Many modern scholars still argue about the Bagrationi origins. The issue is complicated with lack or contradiction of Georgian, Armenian, and Byzantine sources. Although certain, generation by generation, history of the Bagrationi dynasty begins only in the 8th century. Some sources and scholars consider the first Bagrationi a successor of Guaram Kourapalat, the ruler of Kartli (eastern Georgia) of the 6th century. Guaram’s maternal successor was the ancient Georgian royal dynasty of the Parnavazi. There is another theory affirming common roots of the Georgian Bagrationi and the Armenian Bagratun. Part of the scholars considers the Georgian Bagrationi branched out of the Armenian Bagratun, while others prove their common Chani (Cholchian) origin of the both dynasties. Though, some believe the both names originated from one and the same name Bagrati and other similarity is only coincidence. According to a family legend itself, the ancestors of the Bagrationi dynasty traced their descent to the biblical king and Prophet David, hence calling themselves “Davidians”.
Millennium-Long Royal Reign In the 6th century Persia seized monarchy in eastern Georgia and the land was ruled by Erismtavari (Presiding Prince). During the following century the Arabs invaded Georgia and all erismtavari acknowledged their authority. In the 8th century the last Erismtavari and the first historically proved Bagrationi – Ashot rebelled against the Arabs but lost the battle and fled
to southern Georgia. He acknowledged Byzantine as the suzerain lord and obtained the title of Kourapalat forming a large polity conventionally known in modern history writing as Georgian Kourapalates or TaoKlarjeti after its two major provinces. Ashot and his successors receiving imperial titles of Kourapalat and Magistros by Byzantine successfully developed cultural and ecclesiastic oasis on the small land of Tao-Karjeti. There were built castles and fortresses, churches and monasteries, made book translations and manuscripts decoration, also several dioceses were founded there… The Bagrationi were developed and enlarged dividing Tao and Klarjeti into separate branches – the lines of Kartli, Tao and Klarjeti – frequently struggling or relating with each other. The rival authorities argued on the Byzantine titles and established new Georgian ones. When Adarnase II declared himself “the King of Kartvelians” (“Kartveli” means “Georgian”) in 888 he could hardly imagine that his descendants would rule Georgia next 922 years. Though, the beginning of new era in our history was obvious. Bagrat III, descendant of Kouropalat and “Kings of Kartvelians”, was able to consolidate all lands and became the first King of unified Georgia. His descendents permanently fought for regaining invaded Georgian lands against Byzantine, Turks and Seljuks, Mongolians, or maintaining their power from other Bagrationis or feudals revolts. In the 13th century the Georgian Kingdom being invaded by Mongols was divided in two parts – western and eastern. Hence, the Bagrationi Royal House
was also separated in two lines. After declining the Mongol yoke there was a brief period of reunion of the kingdom and the dynasty. But the country could not resist the eight onslaughts of the Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur and global cataclysms that resulted in falling Constantinople and strengthening Ottomans and Persia (14th-15thcc).
Developed lines of the Bagrationi formed other smaller branches creating noble families. Some weaker ones could not “bear great responsibility” of the name Bagrationi and turned into Mukhranbatoni (Prince of Mukhran), Davitashvili (David’s son), Gochashvili (Gocha’s son) and Ramazishvili (Ramazi’s son). It was often hard to differentiate them from ordinary nobles though they well remembered their royal origins.
“BAGRATIONI” – IT SEEMS ONE CAN’T PRONOUNCE THE NAME WITHOUT CONFIDENCE AND PRIDE
The once powerful monarchy fragmentized into three independent kingdoms – Kartili (central to eastern Georgia), Kakheti (eastern Georgia), and Imereti (western Georgia) – each led by the rival branches of the Bagrationi dynasty, and Samtskhe – dominated by its own feudal clan Jakeli. That was the way of development of the Bagrationis’ lines of Kartli, Kakheti and Imereti. The three houses happened to fight next or against each other, sometimes trying to unify or separate again.
Russia annexed unified Kingdom of Kartli and Kakheti in 1801, and a bit later Kingdom of Imereti in 1810. The Bagrationi dynasty was deposed from the Georgian throne and most of them subsequently arrested and deported from Georgia. The Bagrationis and other Georgian noble families were forcefully taken to the Russian Empire keeping them into either honorable or humble custody.
Bagrat III first King of unified Georgia
Though, some seek political shelter or partnership with the nation having the same religion. But, Russia responded only in granting lands and supreme ranks of aristocrats to the Bagrationis. Hence, the noble aristocrat families of the Bagrationis got high military ranks and education at the Royal Court of the Russian Empire. The Russians partially translated Georgian family names forming new lines of the Bagration-Gruzinskis or just the Gruzinskis (descendants of Kartli and Kakheti original line), the Bagration-Imeretinski (Imeretian line), or the Bagration-Mukhranskis (noble line of Mukhranbatoni Princedom).
The Soviets greatly oppressed the family. Some of the nobles were shot, others were exiled. All their palaces, land and property was nationalized. Though, they could not extirpate royal dignity and past glory of the name. And, the Soviets change their tactics and declined and humiliated the nobility through granting the family name to any peasant or worker wishing to have the royal surname.
GREAT KING DAVID IV BUILT A BIG GELATI MONASTERY NEAR THE CAPITAL OF THE UNIFIED GEORGIA KUTAISI
Fresco of Betania church. King Giorgi III, Queen Tamar, King Lasha-Giorgi
Russia was clever enough to grant other Georgian noble families the aristocratic rank of the Bagrationi. Thus, all their descendants were equal to the true royal heir, and the name of Bagrationi was often met within Georgia or beyond.
In the middle of the 20th century, Prince George Bagration-Mukhranski was officially recognized by royal houses of Europe as the Head of the Royal House of Georgia.
Nowadays, an idea of restoration of the constitutional monarchy is rather popular among some parts of our society. To be the Bagrationi still means great respect and honour. It is still pronounced with glorious sounds – “the Bagrationi”.
Making Georgia Royal Titulary
was minion of God, like his ancestor Prophet David”.
As we mentioned above, the Bagrations kept title of “King of Kartvelians” in Tao-Klarjeti. “Kartvelian” was called residents of central (Kartli) and southern (upper Kartli) parts of Georgia at that times.
David IV began subjugation of smaller “Georgias”. At first he regained the title of “the King of Ranis and Kakhetians”, and later added “King of Armenians”. Before his death David subjugated Shirvan (ancient country used to exist on the territory of current Azerbaijan) and obtained a title of “Shirvan Shah”, and after expelling the Ottomans out of ancient Armenian royal city Anisi David got a title of “Shahin Shah” (i.e. “King of Kings” – a title of ancient Armenian kings of Anisi). Unlike his ancestors, David the Builder refused all Byzantine titles and formed a classical Georgian royal titulary of the Bagrationis of Golden Age – “King of Abkhazians, Kartvelians, Ranis, Kakhetians and also Armenians, Shirvansha and Shahansha” stretching his pan-Caucasian empire, at its largest extent, from North Caucasus to northern Iran, and eastwards into Asia Minor.
As for the western Georgia, it was a separate kingdom with capital city in Kutaisi. The Kingdom was ruled by “Abkhazian King”. “Abkhazia” was called the whole western Georgia at that period. It was either fortune or natural sequence that the mother of Bagrat Bagrationi, descendant of “Kings of Kartvelians”, was a daughter of “King of Abkhazia”. After intradynastic wars the western Georgia was ruled by a blind King. The Bagrationis took a chance to depose the blind King and crown infant Bagrat in Kutaisi.
BAGRAT III, DESCENDANT OF KOUROPALAT AND “KINGS OF KARTVELIANS”, WAS ABLE TO CONSOLIDATE ALL LANDS AND BECAME THE FIRST KING OF UNIFIED GEORGIA
Later, “the King of Abkhazia” obtained the patrilineal title of “King of Kartvelians”. Byzantine tried to underline its nominal influence on Georgia and granted a title of Kouropalat to Bagrat. But, the fortune turned to Bagrat and entrusted him a greater mission. And, Bagrat took the challenge and became the first ever King of Unified Georgia. 4 years before his dead, Bagrat was able to subjugate all political units throughout western Georgia and obtained their titles as well. An outstanding representative of the Bagrations, Bagrat Kouropalat – “King of Abkhazia, Kartvelians, Ranis and Kakhetians” – was sitting on the royal throne of Georgia in Kutaisi. It was the crossroad of the first and second millennium (10th-11thcc) and Georgia had to pass through long way of its statehood… Unfortunately, Bagrat’s descendants lost the title of “King of Ranis and Kakhetians”. It was difficult time – downfall of Byzantine, and endless onslaughts of Turk-Seljuks… No one knows what really happened but as chronicler said George II by his own will passed the crown to his 16-year old son David in Georgia being totally destroyed by Seljuks or frequent earthquakes at that time. It seems that intuition directed George II to foresee that the ruling of ever glorious and great king of Georgia – David the Builder – was coming through. The royal chronicler said, “David
A spouse must have been a noble of equal rank. During 9th-10th cc when Georgia was divided into several kingdoms and princedoms, the Bagrationis of Tao-Klarjeti married to other Georgian kings or princes or Armenian royals, or the other branches of the Bagrationis themselves. During the unified Georgia, the Bagrtionis had to find their spouses abroad. And, beautiful daughters and sisters of Byzantine Caesars, kings of Armenia or Ossetia, princes of Seljuks, Nayns of Mongols became queens of Georgia. Changing the faith was a must for any bride. All of them had to become Orthodox Christians. The main male line went extinct only twice: once by Queen Tamar and later by her daughter Queen Rusudan. Tamar’s unique position as the first woman to rule Georgia in her own right was emphasized by the title Mep’e (“king”), thus Alan Prince David Soslan was brought to marry Tamar as she was the Sovereign of the Kingdom. Though, Prince David was also reputed Bagrationi descent of Demetre, son of Princess of Alan and George I Bagrationi. The last was Tamar’s ancestor as well. Queen Rusudan, like her mother, was the Sovereign. She was married to Prince of Erzurum Seljuk. The
King Vakhtang VI
Prince got Christianity. The fact had a wide resonance throughout Asia Minor in the 13th century. Though, his name was quickly forgotten by history. But, this political marriage had born David whose descendants ruled western Georgia for some time. After declining Mongol yoke Georgia was reunited again and “western branch” of the Bagrationi dynasty was again merged with the family. Tamar’s and Rusudan’s sons had royal surnames and were called Son of Tamar or Son of Rusudan since Tamar and Rusudan were sovereigns but not their husbands, for instance King Lasha-George Son of Tamar. King Lasha-George Son of Tamar was nurtured in the shade of his glorious mother. He was rather strange and impetuous person. He gathered “like-minded” people around and fought against the old aristocracy. Once he fell in love with a gentry’s married daughter and made her queen. But, the nobles and aristocracy could not stand gentry as their queen and brought the woman back to her husband. The King’s heart was broken and he never got married any more. Though, the loved couple had had a son David. Soon, Georgia was invaded by Mongols and Lasha-George bravely fought for his land and die. No Georgian counted his illegitimate son, but time passed and the Mongols established their rules in Georgia and recognized David. Hence, illegitimate for Georgians but legal for Mongols the Bagrationi dynasty still kept the Georgian throne.Daughters of the Bagrationis were also married to their equals – emperors, sultans, kings, amyras… The most famous example is Queen of Byzantine Martha-Mary (11th c) with her rare beauty. Another brilliant example is Great Tamar’s granddaughter also Tamar (later called Gürcü Hatun – “Georgian Lady”) was favourite wife of Kaykhusraw II, Seljuk Sultan of Rum, and beloved Princess of Asia Minor. The last Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI also intended to become son-in-law of the last king of unified Georgia George VIII, but Emperor Constantine was killed in unequal battle with the Caliphate. In the 15th century the unified Georgia was destroyed and the Royal House was divided into three lines of Kartli, Kakheti and Imereti. It was difficult to find equal spouse for the Bagrationis being surrounded with Islam states. Thus, the lines married to each other or sometimes to other noble families. Such marriages helped the Bagrationis to keep their positions but strengthened arrogant feudals.
Royal Tombs Each royal house has its own Royal Tombs. Early Bagrationis, whose tombs are known nowadays, chose different places for their final rest. They built and developed new churches and monasteries and enriched old ones, established new dioceses. And, no one knows whether their choice was based on love or importance of these or those places for their graves.But, one con-
formity is still obvious: since southern Bagrationis of Tao-Klarjeti obtained the throne of western Georgia and began unification of the Kingdom, all sovereigns were buried in the west underlining the Bagrationi’s legitimacy over that part of the land. Great King David IV built a big Gelati monastery near the capital of the unified Georgia Kutaisi, former capital of “Kingdom of Abkhazia” in West Georgia. Upon his own will David IV was buried at the monastery gate in order to allow every visitor to step on him. And, a new tradition of forming Royal Tombs at Gelati began. According to some sources Glorious Queen Tamar was also buried at Gelati. No enemies could defeat beautiful and courageous Queen, thus nine golden coffins were brought to different directions in order to keep secretly the real place and prevent the grave from being profaned by her enemies. Thus far, nobody knows where Tamar’s grave is. After downfall of the unified Georgia, the Bagrationis of Kartli were buried at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, the Bagrationis of Kakheti – at Alaverdi Cathedral, and the Bagrationis of Imereti – at Gelati Monastery. Though, there were some exceptions of the rule. And, it is rather strange that no sovereign was buried in Tbilisi being the capital of the whole Georgia, then only Kartli and at last Kartli and Kakheti Kingdom (12th-15th cc). But, some kings were buried abroad, for instance two muslim kings were buried in Kümri, Persia; three Georgian kings
Making Georgia seeking assistance from the north neighbour passed away in Russia and were buried there; another two Georgian kings were fighting along Persians in Afganistan and died there; the last Georgian monarch King Solomon II of Imereti after his expulsion by Russians died in Trabzon and was buried at Greek Orthodox Church courtyard there.
Names Today, each of us pays significant attention to the first name – we are proud of it, like or don’t like it, and partly or fully change it. We try our best while choosing names for our children… Therefore, it is natural that names had special meaning in times of flourishing traditionalism and symbolism of middle ages. One and the same name was quite often given to several members of the family. The royal dynasties paid even more attention to the names. And, the Bagrationis were not exception. Heirs, princes and princesses were named after their prominent father, grandfather and glorious ancestors. Sometimes, new and fashionable names were taken mostly from Byzantine and Persia. The Bagrationis of Tao-Klarjeti mainly used Ashot and Adarnase – after their first ancestor and his father, also David – to highlight their biblical origin, and Bagrat – founder of the family name. There were also found Gurgen and Sumbat among royal and noble names.
Gelati monastery near the capital of the unified Georgia Kutaisi King Davit Kurapalat I
Currently, George is the most popular name in Georgia. It is natural as St George is the most honoured saint and great many churches are built throughout the country. But, not many people are aware that St. George became honoured few centuries later after his martyrdom. Name George was not such popular in early Christian Georgia. First documents using the name are dated back to the 7th or 9th centuries. And, the first Bagrationi Prince named George was born at the beginning of II millennium. After George I (10141027), the second king of unified Georgia, who died in unequal battle against the Terrible Emperor Basil II of Byzantine, there were 19 kings named after George. The name was the most popular among the Bagrationis. Though, numeration moved from kings of unified Georgia to Kartli, and later Kartli-Kakheti sovereigns. Kings of Kakheti and Imereti were given separate numeration. The last sovereign George was George XII of Bagrationi, the last King of Kartli-Kakheti Kingdom (1798-1800). The Bagrationis used the name of their biblical ancestor Prophet David after Tao-Klarjeti period during unified Georgia and even after its downfall. David is the “second popular” name among Georgian kings. Though, King David XI, who was King Simon’s brother, the last solely fighting against two greatest empires of Persia and Ottoman, left rather negative name serving to the enemy and changing the faith
upon his own will. There were 15 kings named after David in Georgia. The eldest son of George XII should have been ranked David XVI, but Russia violated the “Treaty on Protection of Kingdom of KartliKakheti” and declared the unilateral annexation of Kartli-Kakheti to the Russian Empire and deposed the Bagrationi dynasty from the Georgian throne exiling Tsarevich David (Prince David Bagrationi) to Russia. Bagrat was not as popular at the later period as at the begging of the Bagrationis reign. There were only 9 kings named after Bagrat in Georgia. It is strange but the Bagrationis did not use names of ancient Kartli (eastern Georgia) kings from 4th-3rd cc BC to 6th century AD. It is true, most of ancient kings were pagans, but no one even used the name of the first Christian King Mirian. Exceptions were made after “Archil” and “Vakhtang”. The history named Vakhtang Gorgasali, who found Tbilisi and moved the capital from Mtskheta here, as Glorious King of Georgia. Therefore, the Georgians called national flag “Gorgasliani” (i.e. “Gorgasali’s”) later. It is very symbolic that Vakhtang II (Vakhtang I was considered to be Vakhtang Gorgasali himself) did not appear during the Golden Age of our Kingdom but in times of difficulties and sorrow of the Mongols yoke when the nation needed a hero to remind glorious times of the past. Finally, there were 5 kings named after Vakhtang. Demetre, Constantine, and Alexander are also found among the Georgian royal names. Who knows whether it is pure coincidence or purposefully realized deeds but it is a fact that the name of the founder of Constantinople and great many emperors of Byzantine, is met among the Bagrationis for the first time during the downfall of Byzantine when Georgia remained the only Christian country surrounded with greater Islamic empires. The Georgian kings underlined that the mission of being Christian outpost in the East moved from Byzantine to Georgia. Here should be noted that Greek names “Alexander” and “Constantine” was quite popular among the Bagrationis of Kakheti and Imereti during 15th-18th cc.It is extremely striking that no Georgian name is met among the Bagrationis. All of them have either Christian-Greek origin, or Jewish, or even Persian (especially in 16th-18th cc). Most of the names have been transformed and changed and are considered as “Georgian” nowadays. Royal names are still very popular among the Georgians. Our people love the Bagrationis and their names. Therefore, we currently have so many George, David, Vakhtang,Tamar,Lasha,DimitriorDemetre,IrakliorErekle…
Land With Beautiful Landscape RACHA-LECHKHUMI NATIONAL PARK RACHA IS A HISTORICAL PART OF GEORGIA; THE REGION USED TO BE CALLED SKVIMNIA TILL THE SIXTH CENTURY B.C. DURING THAT PERIOD RACHA BELONGED TO EGRISI KINGDOM, AND WAS AN INSEPARABLE PART OF GEORGIA. IN LATE MIDDLE AGES, WHEN GEORGIA WAS DIVIDED INTO SEVERAL INDEPENDENT KINGDOMS, RACHA BECAME A PART OF IMERETI. HOWEVER, NOBLES LIVING IN HIGHLANDS WERE TOO STRICT AND UNCONTROLLED, AND RULERS OF IMERETI KINGDOM HAD TO USE FORCE TO MAINTAIN THEIR AUTHORITY OVER RACHA.
Racha, being divided into Lower Racha and Upper Racha (these two parts cover Ambrolauri and Oni Districts), is a very charming and beautiful region. The Rioni River and its tributary create hydrological environment of Racha. Visitors can enjoy fascinating landscapes of magnificent lakes and mountains surrounded with pine trees. The shortest way from Imereti to Racha is through Tkibuli. Motorway passes Tkibuli and goes up to Shaori Water Reservoir, Ambrolauri District to Lower Racha. The place is well-famous for its special species of vineyards called Khvanchkara and Alexandrouli. Racha is rich in great diversity of natural treasures, such as Utsera and Shovi mineral water spas. The
region is also very famous for its historical monuments: Nikortsminda domed church (11th c), Mravaldzali St.George church (11th c), Khotevi and Sori churches (dated back to Middle Ages), also the Tsedisi, Kvari, Mindatsikhe, Krikhi and Barakoni castles. Ancient Racha Towers, with very similar roofing to Svanetian ones though different in shapes, can only be found in highland village Ghebi. Stone houses with wooden balconies, wine cellars with supporting facilities are very popular in Racha. Some of those houses are older than 150 years.Racha is rather interesting region from ethnographical point of view either. Old customs and traditions still exist in old rural areas. You can also find altars for man and cattle protecting idols there. The region is distinguished within diverse Georgian folklore with its unique songs and musical instrument Gudastviri.
achan cuisine is special, very traditional, and just perfect. All Rachan women are artistic masters of cooking. All that makes your visit to Racha impressive and unforgettable for the rest of your life.
Locals are famous hunters, bakers, and smiths there. Blacksmith forges and archeological monuments of the ancient times found prove existence of developed metallurgy in ancient times there. It should be highlighted that the Jewish reside in the region, and the Synagogue in Oni is one of the nicest in Georgia. Local climate is humid with a sufficient amount of precipitation (annually 1100 mm). Winter in Racha is cold, and summer is long and warm. There is an alpine zone in the highlands of Racha. The zone is always snowy and frosty. Racha constitutes high mountain range of the Caucasus. There are 228 varieties of fossil and 7 different mineral waters in the region. You can find following geo-technological zones of the Caucasian and Trans Caucasian mountain ranges: Caucasian Crystal core (granite complex); Caucasian range main climbing zone; Kazbegi-Lagodekhi zone of argil sediments; Mestia-Tianeti zone; Shovi-Pasanauri and ZhinvaliGombori sub-zone segments; Chkhalta –Lailashi zone sediments and magma of their synchronous basalt components; Gagra-Java zone; and the Racha sub-zone there. The region is especially rich in different minerals: gold-antimonite, and antimonite-gold-polymetallic; quartz-ferberite, and quartz-arsenopyrite; cuprumporphyry, hydrargyrum, and hydrargyrum-arsenic. The Chkhalta-Lailashi-Racha segment is rich in cuprum, plumbum, arsenic, stibium and hydrargyrum. There are found deposits of Chordi barium sulfate, also the Tsedisi ferum-manganite and Telnari plumbum-zincum, Bajikhevi and Mukhli-Tsesi gypsum in the region. Racha is rich in forests. One can’t help being fascinated with amazing beauty of mixed species of forests with snowy Caucasus range background.The region soil represents the northeastern part of Colchis botanic-geographic land. It should be highlighted that Racha’s terrain is not identical, thus local flora is diversified. Northern, western and eastern slopes of the lower zone are covered with deciduous forests with beech, hornbeam, lime and ash trees as well as their groves. Southern slopes are covered with oak groves (Georgian oak – quercus iberiva). Its sub-forest consists of hornbeam, red hawthorn, medlar, and cornel. All these plants make Racha’s oak groves resemble mountain forests of East Georgia. The upper part of the zone is rich in beech trees and coniferous forests, fir and silver-fir trees, and groups of deciduous and
RACHA IS RATHER INTERESTING REGION FROM ETHNOGRAPHICAL POINT OF VIEW EITHER. OLD CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS STILL EXIST IN OLD RURAL AREAS. YOU CAN ALSO FIND ALTARS FOR MAN AND CATTLE PROTECTING IDOLS THERE. IT SHOULD BE HIGHLIGHTED THAT THE JEWISH RESIDE IN THE REGION, AND THE SYNAGOGUE IN ONI IS ONE OF THE NICEST IN GEORGIA.
SYNAGOGUE OF ONI Of all the synagogues in Georgia, one of the most remarkable is the Synagogue of Oni, built at the end of the 19th century. This Synagogue has a unique story of its own and is considered to be a symbol of Jewish and Georgian integrity. In the early 1950s, the Soviet Government cracked down on Zionism with particular ferocity. In 1950, the Committee of State Security issued an order to knock down the Synagogue of Oni, but a group of Georgian and Jewish mothers entered the Synagogue with their babies and locked the door from inside. The communists were stumped and rescinded the order, thanks to the devotion of Georgian and Jewish mothers. The Synagogue still stands in the center of Oni and is under the protection of the Historical and Architectural Monuments of Georgia.
IN RACHA ONE CAN ALSO FOUND TWO DIFFERENT SPECIES OF MARTEN BEECH AND PINE MARTENS, ALSO WILDCAT, LYNX, GRAY WOLF, RED FOX, HARE, ETC. IN LOCAL FORESTS THERE. THE REGION IS RICH IN AVIFAUNA, ESPECIALLY BIRDS OF PREY. 56
coniferous-deciduous forests. The Cochian sub-forest is less developed there. Due to cutting coniferous forest only beech trees grow on some gorges of the same altitude. Like the whole Caucasus, birch trees dominate in the subalpine forests there. One can see unique oak groves in high mountain areas. The Racha National Park is rich in such endemic species as Kemularia’s spurge and Svan genista as well as rare Racha bluebell, Dzaku bluebell, etc. One can’t hide impression while seeing astonishing artificial coniferous forests made several decades ago in Racha, particularly in Ambrolauri District. Local fauna is a subject of special interest there. The area used to be famous for unique brown bear species. Local men were known as the best hunters there. Unfortunately, no exact data is known that it is obvious that brown bear still exists in dense forests of Racha. Roe deer and chamois can be seen in mountains. West and East Caucasian jackals are believed to hybridize in high mountains of Racha. One can also found two different species of marten beech and pine martens, also wildcat, lynx, gray wolf, red fox, hare, etc. in local forests there. The region is rich in avifauna, especially birds of prey.Racha has very strong tourism potential; it is one of the best sites for wine, horse, botanical, and photo-video tourism as well as ecological tours and bird watching all over the world. Currently, rafting is the only type of cultural, off road and extreme tourism being developed in this region. Recently, there is growing number of foreign tourists enjoying motor-biking there. Racha is an especially attracting place for mountaineers. However, neither Georgian nor foreign mountaineers have shown their interest in researching such mountains as Pasi, Anchakhi, or Samerckhle. From the speleological point of view, Gogoleti, Tsakhi, Tskhrakvari, and Shaora-Sharauli caves are very interesting and it is expected to develop this kind of tourism in near future.
Present column is prepared on the basis of “International Union for Conversation of Nature” materials. This is Georgian membership-based Public Organization acting since 1994. For further introduction with the activities of the said Organization, including membership issues or supporting its programs you can visit web-page: www.gccw.org
WALLS OF THE PAST
There Was Once a City…
The Tbilisi Opera Theatre provides a fascinating chapter, framed by a bizarre prologue and an even stranger epilogue in the history of 19th century Georgia. At this time, the idea to build a new opera house in Tbilisi was not born in the minds of Georgians. In the second half of the 19th century, Prince Vorontsov – the viceroy of Georgia – was quick to find a way to make the Georgian nobility into close allies of Russia and to turn them into an unquestioningly obedient force. Dato Turashvili
n Besarion Belinsky Street, just a few steps from the house where legendary personality Shalva Javakhadze resides, there is a shoemaker’s atelier plastered with photos of Maria Callas. The shoemaker himself, in addition to carrying out his work breathing life into shoes, is the only one of his fellow Tbilisi cobblers who can often be heard humming opera tunes as he exchanges smiles with his clients. Currently, he is the only such craftsman who has never ceased to adore opera and knows nearly as much about Maria Callas as Gogi Nizharadze. Although coming across an opera-loving shoemaker is an uncommon occurrence in today’s Tbilisi, a century and a half ago, any craftsman – a member of any guild – could perform by heart at least one (and often more) of the arias which were a part of their much-beloved operas staged in the Tbilisi Opera Theatre. Anyone considering that this is a hyperbolic, nostalgic anecdote ought to read the articles written by the foreign journalists who visited Tbilisi last year: they wrote that they were extremely impressed by the operatic knowledge of the groundskeepers who, equipped with brooms, whistled, to the last note, the very tunes they had heard at the Opera House the
night before. By discovering the Georgians’ “Achilles Heel”, Vorontsov quickly succeeded in his efforts to turn these once rebellious Georgian princes into the most loyal vassals of the Russian Empire. Previously Russophobic Georgians pinned Russian medals and decorations upon their chests and came to believe, unquestioningly, that the foundation of a series of publishing houses and theatres in Tbilisi and across the rest of Georgia was a clear sign of the Russian Tsar’s ultimate benevolence with regard to their country. The rare exceptions, who refused to exchange their Georgian Chokhas for Russian uniforms and insignias, immediately got a taste of Vorontsov’s deceitful designs. However, the majority of Georgian aristocrats stood firm in their belief that any cultural endeavor undertaken in Tbilisi served the cause of promoting the Georgian nation, when in fact it was a calculated move to pull the wool over the eyes of those Georgians, who had fought selflessly to keep off the Russian yoke. The primary motive for building an opera theatre was to offer the Georgian ruling class the chance to fill their leisure time with dazzling entertainment, and to thus abandon their thoughts of independence. The Russian Emperor, who had become fed up with the continuous commotions and riots in Georgia, found this to be a painless and attractive way to fix the “Georgian problem”, and
WALLS OF THE PAST therefore acceded with pleasure to Prince Vorontsov’s request for funds to build an opera theatre in Tbilisi. The opera was meant to be Italian and it fell to the merchant Tamamshev to build an opera house. According to newspaper reports, he bought a plot of land “for two smoked sturgeon and two pieces of cloth” from the Tsitsishvili Estate. Prince Tsitsishvili’s low asking price completely confused the Armenian merchant and also made him suspicious: eyewitness accounts indicate that Tamamshev was wary from the very outset of the muddy and churned-up Yerevan Square with a channel running underneath. It was through this channel that a stream of water made its way from the Tbilisi neighborhood of upper Sololaki to the right embankment of the Mtkvari River, via the Mukhrani ravine. Kavkaz Newspaper reported that, immediately prior to the opening of the opera house, “rain began to fall in torrents in Tbilisi. The downpour created a stream so powerful that it swept a cow from Sololaki and drove it up the Mukhrani ravine, across the channel underneath the Yerevan Square”. This report is further confirmed by oral accounts saying that the cow incident not only took place, but also caused the opening ceremony to be delayed until 24 April 1851.
boiling tar. The figure of Tamamshev was seen twisting his body and screaming for relief but the keeper of Hell remained adamant that the punishment was being rightly meted out to him for his reluctance to finance the Armenian theatre. Apparently, Tamamshev, who was attending the performance, did not even blink an eye over this scene. Mantashov’s reaction was considerably more emotional: immediately after the end of the play, he went backstage and contributed a considerable sum of money to the Armenian theatre. As for Tamamshev, he left with a face devoid of emotion and with a reaction like this, it seems clear that Georgian culture would not have been in his thoughts. Tamamshev’s only concern was to extract as much profit as he could from any business in which he was involved.
THAT DAY THE OPERA HOUSE PRESENTED VINCENZO BELLINI’S “NORMA” FEATURING THE DAZZLING SOPRANO JULIA MINNOZI IN THE TITLE ROLE. A FEW MINUTES BEFORE THE CURTAIN WENT UP, HADJI MURAD, FOLLOWED BY A COHORT OF TOP RUSSIAN OFFICIALS, MADE HIS GRAND ENTRANCE AND TOOK HIS SPECIFICALLY ASSIGNED SEAT IN THE STALLS.
The opera house was a four-storey building. The architect was an Italian man named Scudier who, tragically, died the very same year he was appointed. Consequently, the final design is commonly credited to Gagarin. The theatre was located in the front part of the building which, at the insistence of Tamamshev, has initially been earmarked as a caravanserai. This came as no surprise as Tamamshev was not known for his appreciation of culture or the arts. That he cared nothing about the revival of Georgian theatre and culture is an undisputed fact. Another fact is that this wealthy Armenian knew very little about his own culture and seemed to care even less. Repeated pleas from his fellow Armenian citizens constantly fell on deaf ears: he was never persuaded to cough up even a penny. The Armenian population eventually took their revenge on Tamamshev in the same manner as they did on the shopkeeper Mantashov. They staged Gabriel Sundukiants’ play “Oskan Petrovich’s Life Hereafter” in which the stingy rich man closely resembling Tamamshev is forced into a cauldron of
In this respect, the opera venture lived up to Tamamshev’s expectations. Every performance was a sell-out, with the stalls and boxes filled to capacity. The road to the opera hall was lined with the shops for which Tamamshev’s caravanserai was built. Like the Russian Empire’s emissaries to Tbilisi, Tamamshev had planned out everything: the Georgians’ instantaneous infatuation with opera; the resulting sense of gratitude to the Tsar; and the eventual confiscation of freedom. They (undoubtedly) had grounds for this. Tbilisi’s Italian Opera Theatre was still in its infancy when Shamil’s naib Hadji Murad (the legendary insurgent who had eventually been forced into submission by the Russians) was brought to Tbilisi. That day the Opera House presented Vincenzo Bellini’s “Norma” featuring the dazzling soprano Julia Minnozi in the title role. A few minutes before the curtain went up, Hadji Murad, followed by a cohort of top Russian officials, made his grand entrance and took his specifically assigned seat in the stalls. The lights went off and as the hall was plunged into darkness, a young Georgian prince clad in a white Chokha suddenly rose and swore loudly at Hadji Murad, calling him a traitor. The theatre’s imposing chandelier, which had been tailor-made in Paris, was immediately switched on setting the hall ablaze with light, and guards were called in, but the identity of the indignant Georgian prince remained unknown. The no less indignant public reported seeing a white Chokha somewhere in the uppermost tier. The exact
WALLS OF THE PAST insult was never interpreted to Hadji Murad but the message was clear and he left immediately without seeing the performance. Hadji Murad knew perfectly well that he would be fitted with the mantle of traitor in Georgia despite the fact that the Georgians were the first to begin to yield to the Russians. That evening the opera was performed with a delay, although not because of the legendary naib. Rather, it was the charming Maiko Orbeliani, who fainted. The number of volunteers who rushed to her aid was so high that the flapping of their numerous fans was thought to have later caused her to contract a case of pneumonia. This incident went on to fuel a rumor among Tbilisi residents that it was the insult to Hadji Murad that caused Maiko Orbeliani’s shortness of breath – she might also have recalled the night when, during the Russian Tsar’s visit to Tbilisi, the Georgians handed her over to Emperor Nicholos as a sign of reverence. The only consolation was that the Emperor was so drunk that night that it’s unlikely he’d have been able to spot Maiko Orbeliani’s beauty. The claim by Russian literary historians that Lev Tolstoy had seen Hadji Murad in the Tbilisi Opera Theatre (and that this incident later served as an inspiration for his book) does not conform to reality. The fact is that Tolstoy never saw Hadji Murad, alive or dead. When the severed head of the myth-shrouded naib was brought to Tbilisi and displayed in a hospital, Lev Tolstoy was not among a huge crowd of spectators who flocked to catch a glimpse of it. Tolstoy did indeed visit Tbilisi, and it was during his first visit to Georgia that he conceived the idea of writing a book on Hadji Murad, but he never met him in person… Tolstoy was a frequent visitor to the Tbilisi Opera Theatre and, in his writing he displayed an unreserved admiration for it. The Tbilisi Opera Theatre also drew gasps of admiration from Alexander Dumas, who had toured all the acclaimed opera houses of Europe and was insistent that the Tbilisi Opera Theatre was unparalleled anywhere in the world. The Tbilisi audience was also unmatched. Instead of exchanging greetings, Tbilisi-dwellers bade one another good day by enquiring about the health of the tenor due to appear on the stage in the evening. The main concern was the various ways to get extra tickets because every citizen of Tbilisi –regardless of his or her nationality or religion, or cultural or social standing – seemed determined to hear “La donna è mobile” right from the stage. “From the stage” because opera arias could be heard blaring out from every corner in the streets. Starting with water vendors in Yerevan Square and ending with the eventempered Kakhetian merchandisers, everyone tried to sing opera. Under such circumstances, it is little wonder that the number of people with a hankering for hearing Antonio Torezella live was huge in 19th century Tbilisi. There are reports that Torezella was credited with the talent of conducting the orchestra without the help of a score. So, it is no small wonder
WALLS OF THE PAST that on 5 October 1857, in the midst of a torrential rain storm Tbilisi dwellers were enthusiastic about joining a long, winding ticket queue for the premiere of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Troubadour”. The Tbilisi Opera Theatre was the first venue in the entire Russian Empire to premiere Bizet’s “Carmen” and Puccini’s “Cio-Cio San”. The managers of the Tbilisi Opera Theatre were wellversed in the field of public relations and advertising and enlisted the services of a certain Abela (whose surname did not go down in history) to promote the venue. Abela was the tallest man in Tbilisi in the second half of the 19th century and his rise to fame was due to this extraordinary height. Abela figures in a novel by the Armenian artist Bashinjaghianz, while Ilia Chavchavadze describes him as the tallest man in Tbilisi walking on wooden stilts through the streets and yelling at the top of his lungs the name of whichever opera was forthcoming. Abela could most frequently be encountered in overcrowded squares. Standing on stilts he was always surrounded by a constantly growing mob of children. Eyewitness accounts mention that Abela was also the man who could be counted on to know any kind of information on anything or anyone in Tbilisi. Unconfirmed anecdotal reports even say that it was long and leggy Abela who tracked down a photo of the legendary military figure Giuseppe Garibaldi in Cambiajo’s studio gracing the wall of Ilia Chavchavadze’s study (at Ilia’s request). Nothing happens by chance, and it was perhaps far from coincidental that Ilia Chavchavadze took such a close interest in the personality and portrait of Giuseppe Garibaldi, who was then at the helm of the Italian National Liberation Movement. Nor could it have been accidental that Garibaldi had an overpowering lust for opera. There were cases in Italy when Italians (falling under the spell of Nabucco’s opera) felt the urge to go to the battlefield directly from the Opera House. Russians were quick to get a whiff of the dangerous tendencies in the Tbilisi Opera Theatre as well. That Georgians were under the “malignant” influence of Italian opera was not difficult to perceive: on 17 October 1867, Georgian gymnasium students went so far as to fly national flags right in the stalls of the theatre. The fury this incident triggered from the governor general of the Caucasus, Prince Bariatinsky, led to tough sanctions against the theatre’s leadership and centered allegedly on the fact that gymnasium students did not enjoy access to the Opera. But this was only a pretext. The actual reason behind such fury was the reawakening brought on by the Tbilisi Opera Theatre which, rather than choking off nationalist sentiments among Georgians (as was initially intended), actually increased them . The Russians realized their mistake, and to correct it they decided to drive off Italian and Georgian singers and adapt the Tbilisi theatre exclusively to Russian music. This measure affected female singers deeply. They even complained to Director Muraviov
WALLS OF THE PAST that with no prospect of marriage they felt even more hopelessly trapped. Male singers appeared to be in a less vulnerable position. Blota and Tolle opened flower shops, Joseph Villa started a hat-sewing workshop in the vicinity of Tamamshev’s caravanserai (it was perhaps in the stalls of this shop that the distinctive airdrome-shaped hats later appeared). Director Myraviov seemed totally unresponsive – he just followed instructions. Conductors were also sacked. The process of creating a Russian troupe with a strictly Russian repertoire was a quick one – quick, because demand for opera and classical music was enormously high in Tbilisi. Kavkaz newspaper ran a story which stated that “there is hardly any family in Tbilisi not in possession of a piano or a grand piano; there is hardly any mother in Tbilisi not obsessed with trying to give her children a good musical education.” That’s what provided the background for the development of a network of music shops in Tbilisi and the manufacture of top quality pianos and grand pianos. And that’s why Muraviov acted in haste. He knew opera lovers could not last long without spiritual nourishment, and arranged, with the support of the authorities, for the arrival of Russian singers from various Russian cities. A new repertoire of exclusively Russian arias was speedily worked out and performances were launched again. But the authorities seemed totally oblivious to the fact that music was now all over Tbilisi: “Casta Diva” pounding from Maydan, scales and trills, fiorituras and flats filling the air throughout the city.The Russian opera provoked a distinctly unfavourable reaction in Tbilisi. The discerning audience who had become accustomed to relishing the charms of Italian opera could not come to terms with a strictly homogenous repertoire forcefully imposed on them. These rumblings of discontent posed a looming threat of riot. It was, of course, unlikely that Italian opera could really provoke an actual riot, but fear always makes molehills from mountains (especially within the ranks of government), so the decision was made to lower these passionate sentiments by bringing back some Italian conductors and singers. Italian opera was restored and tickets once again became a scarce commodity. This first glimmer of success infused the Georgian public with great enthusiasm and the regained chance of an encounter with genuine art brought on the acute awareness of living in an occupied homeland. The increasingly frequent use of the word “freedom” in Tbilisi entailed a heightened level of censorship. Rules for those seeking entry into the Opera House were toughened. Students of the gymnasia and non-classical schools were banned not only from the stalls but even from the uppermost tier. But hot hearts thumped not only in the chests of young people. Aware of this fact, the governor-general tasked the mechanic Bocharnikov with the installation of secret microphones in the theatre hall so that he could eavesdrop on all conversations, whether on
the stage or in the stalls. For putting in place this unprecedented technology Bocharnikov was paid an astronomical sum for the time: 139 roubles and 72 kopecks (which was actually more of a payment for keeping silent). When Bocharnikov mentally converted this sum to its equivalent in bottles of vodka and wine he was struck dumb with joy – fleetingly, though. When Georgian aristocrats feasting in the European Restaurant in Mushtaid Garden called gallon-drunk Bocharnikov to order, the latter reacted with dismay calling them fools. To substantiate his point, Bocharnikov even disclosed details of the secret device. It was there and then that mechanic Bocharnikov could no longer rely on the governor general’s powers of patronage. News of the eavesdropping technology was leaked to the press and Alexandre Orbeliani was filled with indignation because he knew the Russians could not be expected to build an opera house for disinterested reasons – but nobody believed him then. However, it was the Russians who built the opera house for a definite goal. The goal, though, was not attained and the Russians hammered out a particularly barbaric but simple solution: they burned down the opera house. This took place in 1874. Russian authorities set fire to the great Tbilisi Italian Opera – one of the most fantastic buildings in the world, which again instilled in Georgians feelings other than those the Russians had hoped to instill. That’s the reason they burned it. The official version of events is that the fire broke out accidentally in merchant Lazarev’s store and it took just minutes for flames to engulf the entire building. Well, it could have been a coincidence that the governor general departed for Borjomi just a day before the fire, but the fact that the huge pool of water in front of the opera building turned out to be completely empty on that ill-fated evening is a highly suspicious coincidence. It also seems doubtful that firemen could not reach the site of the blaze for a full sixteen hours. In the meantime, everyone in Tbilisi - people of all ages and from all walks of life - toiled long hours, dragging buckets of water from the Mtkvari to extinguish the flames. It is not perhaps accidental that Yablochkin, the chief of the fire prevention service was, rather than arrested, awarded a prize. The only person brought to justice was the storekeeper, who kept on insisting during the trial that his store had been deliberately set ablaze by his rivals. He hadn’t the faintest idea, however, that the fire was in fact engineered in St. Petersburg’s magnanimous palace, not in any neighboring shop. The fire was engineered and carried off flawlessly and the building was burned beyond any hope of repair. Despite the fact that tears could solve nothing, Tbilisians stood and wept because deep in their collective subconscious they knew they had once again lost their homeland – a concept which (incidentally) shares some of the same qualities as fire: if you don’t fan its flames, it will simply die…
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Onion Tears A composer, tutor, saxophonist, jazzman – all that is Rezo Kiknadze – a Georgian musician, and today the Principal of Tbilisi Conservatory. “Music has always accompanied me since my early childhood. At the beginning that was not consciously but my mind played some melodies all the time while going somewhere, or remembering something, or being frightened. Frankly speaking, the quality was not always top. Sometimes it was an Indian movie soundtrack, or a song from “Bremen Musicians” animation film, or even Mendelssohn or Bach. The last is my childhood’s greatest musical impression. Later when I attended music classes, Bach was my favourite. His masterpieces helped me to hide my laziness and make illusion of being a hard worker. These short two- and three-part contrapuntal works seemed so easy for me that I could quickly play them by one hand. Meanwhile, my attention was attracted by books. And, unluckily the second “method” to hide my laziness failed… I recorded a sonata by Haydn on a type-recorder and turned it on. But, the reproduction was too loud and my Mom opened the door asking me what I was playing and saw me lying on a sofa with a book into my hands…”
ou say, you were lazy?
Despite working hard and being involved into great many different projects, I’m still lazy. But, I know unless I wok no goal will be achieved. And, I keep preaching to my students find inspiration and joy while endless rehearsals…but, I myself can’t get it always. For instance, saxophone rehearsals depend on strange inspirations. One can’t take it out off my hands if I come across it. But, sometimes I can pass it even didn’t paying any attention for few days…
Philologist and Musician I studied classical philology at the university. After completion of the full course successfully I got my diploma, and was proud of my thesis work being published into the university journal… But my philological study did not diminish my musical habits. I kept playing while being a student at the university. First, I bought an old clarinet and learnt how to play it by myself; I remember hours rushing quickly while playing. I did not think of becoming a professional musician at that time, but just enjoyed music very much. Once, my Mother
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LA VITA COME ARTE met a shoplady from a music shop round the corner. The lady said to my Mom, “Ms Lamara, I feel so sorry about your son, he comes to our shop and looks at this saxophone every single day”… Mother couldn’t help buying the instrument which was extremely expensive for us those days. And, that was the first impulse of my turning from philologist to musician… At that period my moving to Jena University (GDR at that time) was failed; Georgia faced the first huge anti Soviet rally on 14th of April 1978; Georgian students marched to Ujarma for our “First National Deed” in summer 1978. Friends I got in Ujarma, and later my friends friends, make a wide but strong community of my close people. It was a strange time… We were a strange generation... We are still strange people witnessing demolished Soviet Empire and formation of wild market economy… And, who knows what cataclysms are waiting for us in future… But, you know, a man lives one life and values it from
his personal point of view unless he is a philosopher. Thus, subjective feeling of being especially distinguished generation is felt equally by all of us… And, since I have only one life full of its different stages of goods and bads, I can express regret and sorrow as much as joy and happiness… Meanwhile, saxophone took all of my time. Jazz has been following me since my early childhood just like classical music. My first real perception of music was at the age of two or three… I remember “Peter and Wolf ” by Prokofiev (clarinet’s voice when a cat creeps up to a bird), and As-dur (began with minor) by Schubert. I remember first impression by coming across to the “electric acoustic” musical faces like broadcasted lullaby’s final accord distortion via small dynamic of my radio, or rushing after a ball kicked out in bushes I remember being stuck at high voltage power bunker listening to 50h buzzing and birds twittering and having my friends shouting “Hey you, hurry up!” as back vocals. You know, I was listening to jazz even into the cradle – as my 14-year elder brother Nodar Gaprindashvili, artist, says. He gifted me first jazz records. I was just 10 years old when he
LA VITA COME ARTE brought Luis Armstrong’s, Ella Fitzgerald’s, Jack Tegarden’s, Peterson’s, Dave Brubeck’s and many others records hidden in an aquarelle painting box. Later, Charlie Parker’s music truly drove me mad – once I had fever and was lying in bed when heard fully expressed verbal speech in his log and short extremely articulating music phrases. Therefore, I became a saxophonist. I was more than happy when I began playing with Gogi Nakaidze… Dima Saladze, Zura Shamugia, and certainly Gogi – these are people supporting me in making my first musical steps. We used to rehearsal together, and admired “old ones” – Tamaz Kurashvili and Lavrika Jincharadze in Tbilisi, and dozens and hundreds foreigners via their records. We kept listening to their playing styles trying to learn as much as was possible… Yeh, it was just unforgettable time… I met with David Shugliashvili when I was last year student at university. We became close friends from the very moment of our meeting. Soon, I revealed my sacral secret to him, my new passion of writing music. But, I was writing two or three time and unable to continue… I began another theme and had similar difficulties. David took me to his father Mikho Shugliashvili. Our meeting played decisive role in my life. This meeting influenced on the whole my further main professional career, I mean composing. He died 15 years ago, but still inspires and motivates me. Shugliashvili was genius having unique professional, enthusiastic, inspirational and teaching skills. Despite “iron curtain” he could catch the very zests in classical as well as modern music, and be inexhaustible source notwithstanding time and style. He formed his unique method for every musical style and trend, which still greatly assists to any musicians despite his/her age, talent, or style. Shugliashvili’s method easily explain theory, harmony, and other classical disciplines as well as modern composing technologies, esthetics – in short the whole stuff a musician needs to obtain and be aware of. One big mistake I made was my stupid belief that the saxophone and jazz could hamper my composing. That was unimaginably foolish of me and resulted in losing some great years spent in Georgia and later in Germany. I did not even touch the instrument for a long time and lost skills. I still face lack of technical skills and no training can restore what has gone forever… One more and certainly the greatest impression was waiting for me before leaving Georgia for Germany. Particularly, in 1988 there was reopened ancient Anchiskhati Church (in the center of Tbilisi) that used to be a workshop and a warehouse during the Soviet time. And, a group of young fellows, today known as the Anchiskhati Group, make their first steps there. The group consisted of David Zatiashvili, Zaza Tsereteli, David Shugliashvili, Guram Gagoshidze,
LA VITA COME ARTE Temo Imnadze, Aliko Khakhiashvili and me, and was led by Malkhaz Erqvanidze. About eighteen months prior to Anchiskhati opening we all met at Folklore Polyphony Symposium in Borjomi and became close friends. It was our wish to restore traditional Georgian church songs unique polyphony, and therefore formed our octet. We aimed to seek and bring back to life our ancient polyphony being lost or hidden at the National Institute of Manuscripts’ exhibits or other archives for decades. We found old scripts and music saved and kept by our heroic musicians and priests in early 20th century. We studied them and sang for the first time at the Easter Divine Liturgy in Bethany Monastery. Then we were taken to the Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia. His Holiness and Beatitude listened to us and liked the way we did it. So, we were honoured to be appointed as the Anchiskhati Church Group
I knew a long time before our meeting that there was “a little cute Toto, Chubchika’s daughter”. My Mom used to keep saying, “Oh, you should watch her citing poems. I wish you could watch her citing “Knight in Tiger’s Skin” by hart at Mziuli’s yesterday. And you, you lazy boy… I can’t think of any graft to force you learn or even read at least a line”. I was just ten years old at that time. Our next “meetings” were at our dearest friend Lela Pataridze’s birthday parties when we were still children. But, we really came across to each other when my Mom took her, Lela and me to Litva. After living such unordinary life (30 years) the only thing I can say – my life is meaningless without her. All my friends, acquaintances, close or not too close people know that…
Germany After massive protesting rally of 9th of April 1989 the Georgian national movement went to extremely tensed, hostile and hysterical stage with endless and senseless statements and boasts of “being Holy Mother Virgin’s land”, judging and abusing each other… I took Mikho Shugliashvili’s lessons, studied at the Conservatoire, sang at Achiskhati Church Group, but still couldn’t help feeling sense of dissatisfaction – so familiar to most of my generation in Georgia. And, unexpectedly I got a phone call from Marika Lapauri, a very old friend of mine even before wellknown Ujarma meetings, and today great supporter and patron of Georgian culture in Hamburg as well as Germany and beyond. Marika studied playing the organ in Lübeck. She invited me to catch some fresh air and look around. She took me to her Musikhochschule Lübeck that looked like dozens of small cute multi-storey buildings composing one architectural
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complex of huge and beautiful labyrinth. I was simply shocked. I had never seen such library of books or sound records, classrooms or concert halls, or busy students’ venue… I went to a receptionist and asked for any professor’s telephone number. That was the way I met Friedhelm Doel, former Principal of Basel Music Academy, and active participant of Berlin Music Van of 70’s, currently Professor of Musikhochschule Lübeck. After dialing the number given by receptionist I found a rather aggressively informal, frank and impulsive person, brilliant composer and tutor on the other line of the phone. I felt that a long-lasting relation was launched from the very first moment… He replied, “So, a young Georgian? from the land of Medea?” Later, I found out that he was an author of the opera about that myth, and hence was looking at Georgia from “Colchian angel”… We met soon afterwards. I showed him my scores and he liked them. He told me that there was a free seat and he would be pleased to see me among his students, and offered to attend one of his classes concert the other day. I went to the concert performed by young composers of different nationalities, styles, and belief, and was overflowed with exciting emotion. Then I went to the South, particularly Trier and Erlangen, where Marika arranged for me to give lectures on Georgian music. I returned from the South in a week and called again to Prof. Doel for examination details but his wife congratulated me to be a student! Later I was told that Prof. Doel went to the Conservatoire Board and told them, “Here’s a young man, who have studied a lot and can write fine musical stuff. He wishes to become our student. We have a free seat, but please, tell me what kind of examination we shall arrange for him?!” Hence, I became his student and then a friend and colleague… This year Prof. Doel celebrated his 75th birthday anniversary and told me that he felt himself old, his health was rather unstable but we still had one of those unforgettable evenings till early morning enjoying good wine and friendly talk at his house… In short, I came back to Georgia for my student’s visa and was lucky to get scholarship from the Liana Isakadze’s Foundation. And, in February, twenty years ago – Oh my Gosh! – moved to Germany, the country which I considered to be the top
LA VITA COME ARTE of the European music. But, at that time I couldn’t imagine to stay for such a long time there … Absolutely not, but it was just cascade of trials and ordeals, difficulties and grief… You know, it was not easy to be a student and keep your family on. I had to work as a driver, currier, worker at some sweets factory, stevedore at the port, interpreter… Finally, took my saxophone out of its case and quickly got popularity by playing jazz. That was the first time I realized what a big mistake I did putting my saxophone aside… The situation slowly changed and I could earn more as a musician rather than a worker. I was invited at different events, concerts, and projects, and even got orders to write musical compositions. A bit later I had some students for saxophone class. And, when I became an assistant at Electric Studio I was more than happy to say “goodbye” to all my non-musical jobs.
got nearly mad while looking at my lifestyle and decided to accompany me during the whole day hoping to find a minute to chat with me… He had an amateur’s camcorder and was recording some good moments during a day and having fun while watching them in the evening... Levan recorded about 40 minutes of really good stuff that became the ground for the documentary “Onion Tears”, which is the dearest movie and very close to me. The film reflects an acute and extremely pressing problem – the youth’s massive flew from Georgia to other countries. Great many people consider it to be a real masterpiece of that particular genre. You remember my mother Lamara Gvaramia’s monologue scene. Great wish and premonition she states in the film has just begun to come true after her death. I’m sure the scene is impressive and unforgettable for every single viewer.
Hence, I first decided to come back to Georgia just two years ago, and did that in March this year. Now, I teach electro-acoustic music at Ilia’s University in Tbilisi.
So, if we evaluate those 20 years spent in Germany, I can frankly say they were invaluable for me as a musician (I studied and worked there) and as an ordinary man (my son George was nurtured and educated there. He is a good musician and a good man either); If not Germany, Toto could have not fight against her severe illness. We saved her and two other friends lives there at least for some years; Germany gave me great experience that is worth of all those difficulties and ordeals, poverty and sometimes even despair I passed through; I wrote about fifty compositions, and still like most of them and consider them successful; I toured all over the world participating into some projects or attending conferences. All my trips were business. I couldn’t afford “to go on holydays”. All extra money and free time was spent on Georgia; I was lucky to meet my brilliant colleagues and make friends with them, and not only Germans but Georgians too. It seems to me right that we came across on foreign land. I am proud and feel happy about these relations making invaluable contribution to my development as a musician…
“Onion Tears” Your emigrant life is brilliantly reflected in “Onion Tears” movie by Levan Glonti. What pushed the idea to be born? In May 2000, Levan Glonti, producer and my friend, arrived to Germany. He had not made a film since winning Award in Munich ten years ago (we had met then), and was not going to do anything, he just came to see me. But, I had an extremely busy schedule: simultaneously working for two theatres; also had to finish other two compositions – one for an orchestra concert, and another for The Brahms Festival; other additional “jobs” – students, and driving throughout northern Germany during a day and returning back home, a two-room apartment full of relatives and guests. I was so exhausted at the end of the day that shared no word with no one… at night was preparing materials for next day rehearsal… In short, Levan
Thanks God, the most interesting part of my life came to the end. Though, I hope the following part will also offer interesting events, new compositions, new relations with my students, and new experience in playing jazz…
LA VITA COME ARTE
YOU WERE MARRIED THAT NIGHT MARY Igor Obolensky
century passed but admirers of this famous poet have still been trying to comprehend who that mysterious Mary is? Whom the Great Galaktion devoted his love and adoration? This is one of the biggest mysteries of the 20th century literature. When Galaktion was asked whether his Mary really existed he replied, “That’s my secret”. “Mary” is believed to be a prominent Georgian aristocrat lady Mary Shervashidze, a lady in waiting to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. Mary had a great power of spreading her charming beauty and endow with inspiration all around. But, she became immortal due to Galaktion Tabidze and his poem “Mary” rather than her amazing beauty. You were married that night Mary! Mary, that night your eyes were dimmed, The glints and hues of Heavens weary – With autumn’s sadness overfilled! Lady Mary herself wrote to a Georgian collector and historian Papuna Tsereteli, “I did not know Galaktion Tabidze in person. I got married in Kutaisi on 20th of September 1918. It was already evening though still light, and weather was fine. That’s all I can tell you about.”Mary held a respectable position in the Georgian high society, as well as the Russian Imperial court for the last few decades of its existence. Certainly, she and Galaktion belonged to different social communities. And, it is quite possible that the poet just saw a glimpse of amazing young lady or was even met at some metropolitan celebrities meeting but the lady neither paid any attention nor remembered him. It is obvious that they knew each other either. In1923 there was issued a collection of poems by Galaktion. And, in one poem he describes himself cutting the name of “Mary Shervashidze” on a wood. Galaktion’s friend remembered they often saw Mary
THERE ARE SOME MASTERPIECES OF THE WORLD LITERATURE THAT ARE BEING ARGUED AND DISCUSSED EVEN A CENTURY LATER. RESEARCHERS ARE STILL STUMBLED IN REVEALING THE REAL OBJECTS OF ADORATION BY SUCH GENIUSES AS BYRON AND PUSHKIN. ANOTHER ENIGMA APPEARED IN 1915, WHEN A GEORGIAN POET GALAKTION TABIDZE PUBLISHED HIS POEM “MARY”. in Kutaisi. Once, Galaktion even brought Mary’s photo to prominent Georgian artist Lado Gudiashvili and asked to paint a portrait. Gudiashvili wrote the order, but Galaktion did not like the painting. Love-story of genial Galaktion impressed me so much that I tried to find the very Mary and look into the personal features of that legendary lady. And, Tatuli Gviniashvili, Princess Babo Dadiani’s daughter, helped me greatly. Princess Dadiani, an aristocratic Tiflisian lady, was a sponsor mother at Mary and aide-de-camp of Emperor Nicholas II George (Gigusha) Eristavi’s wedding. That was the wedding Galaktion bitterly described into his poem. Tatuli Gviniashvili told me that once she asked to Tabidze whether Mary really existed, and he replied, “Existed!” “They might have not had any relations. That’s quite natural. Mary Sharvashidze spent most of her life in Saint Petersburg. But, even one glimpse might have been enough for Galaktion’s great sense of imagination to write such masterpiece.” Tatuli was lucky to know Galaktion in person and meet Mary Shervashidze several times in Paris. Thus, all life-stories about that mysterious Lady she got from the original source. “In late 60’s I arrived to Paris for the first time and immediately got invitation from Mary. She herself called and invited me. You know, my mother and she were close friends.
JUST SO STORY I was so excited while driving to her house. My uncle, Babo’s brother, accompanied me. We chatted a bit: (my uncle) – You have no idea what you are going to see! This is incredible beauty! (me) – On, what an extraordinary beauty I will see. Don’t you know Tbilisi is full of extremely beautiful women? (my uncle) – No, Mary is something completely different. And, he was absolutely right. I was shocked when I saw Mary Shervashidze. She was amazingly charming. Once, Duchess of Leuchtenberg met Mary at the Royal Palace in Saint Petersburg and couldn’t hide her admiration, “I’d get married blindly to a Georgian who has even a small portion of your charm”, Mary smiled and replied, “I will show you the one right now”, and called Levan Melikishvili, a knight guard being on duty that day. Young Georgian knight was really handsome and the Duchess felt in love with him and got married. They had a son Teimuraz. After the Bolshevist revolution the family moved to Tiflis in 1917, and later was forced to flee Georgia in 1921.” In 1917, Mary Shervashidze left Saint Petersburg for Georgia. The country lived full artistic and cultural life during its independence until 1921. Prominent portraitist Savely Sorin visited Georgia at that time and painted portraits of several Georgian beautiful ladies. The master was amazed and impressed with Princess Mary. After returning to France he used to rebuke his models, “Why are you acting like that? Do you imagine yourself being Mary Shervashidze-Eristavi? Then keep in mind, there is no other woman like her!” Savely Sorin devised Mary’s portrait to Georgia after his death, but his widow liked it so much that decided to keep it at her house in Monte Carlo. After her death she devised the portrait to Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco. They say Mary’s portrait decorated Princess’ bedroom, and she looked at the portrait before morning dress every single day. That was the way one of the most beautiful ladies of the world decided whether she looked good enough that day. During 80’s of last century, Ms Sorina hosted a legendary Georgian dancer Nino Ramishvili in Monte Carlo. The widow was in perfect mood and unexpectedly offered Nino Sukhishvili Junior (Nino Ramishvili’s granddaughter) to take the portrait to Georgia. But, the young lady felt shy to take such
a gift. Certainly, she deeply regrets her timidity now… After returning back to Georgia Mary Shervashidze got married to former aide-de-camp of Emperor Nicholas II George (Gigusha) Eristavi, who was grandson of great King Irakli II of Georgia. …A day before Russian invasion Mary together with her husband, and relatives and friends flee Georgia in March 1921. At first they lived in Constantinople and later moved to Paris. Beautiful Mary was surrounded by admirers in Paris either, where she easily found a job. At that time increasingly popular Coco Chanel offered a modeling position to Mary. Because of the losses incurred as a result of fleeing Georgia, Mary’s family met some financial problems and she had to put aside her principles and accepted Chanel’s proposal. “That was the only reason Aunt Mary walked on the podium”, noted Mary’s relative and her closest friend Princess Dadiani’s granddaughter.
“YOU WERE MARRIED THAT NIGHT MARY! MARY, THAT NIGHT YOUR EYES WERE DIMMED, THE GLINTS AND HUES OF HEAVENS WEARY WITH AUTUMN’S SADNESS OVERFILLED!” Here should be noted that during 20’s of last century a modeling position was called dummy and definitely was not as prestigious as nowadays. Hence, the Princess enjoying respect and admiration at the Emperors court short time ago had to step over some of her values. But Chanel did her best to please the Georgian beauty and make not feel her to be just ordinary hired labour. It was Mary to whom Great Coco trusted to show famous pearls presented to her by Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, who murdered Rasputin. There is a photo of Mary wearing that pearl necklace and a dress by Chanel. In 1947 Mary’s husband George Eristavi passed away. She stayed as his widow the rest of her life though had dozens of proposals. Mary did not have any children but nurtured her niece Nanuka and nephew Konstantin. Nanuka died at her early age and Aunt Mary gave way to despair staying all days round at home. Another great grief was her beloved nephew Konstantine’s death. Princess Mary became all alone. She
looked after her cats like her own babies. Princess Shervashidze was in correspondence with Princess Dadiani, who came back from emigration to the Soviet Georgia. The correspondence still exists and is preserved. I was lucky to look at Mary’s letters though it was hard for me to read them as the Princess Shervashidze had rather original handwriting, “Warm-hearted feelings and emotions fill my soul every time I get your cordial letters. I wish to be with all of you there. I am so lonely here, but blame no one as people have their own concerns”… In the final years of her life Mary lived to a nursing home having three rooms. But, she kept her apartment in Paris as she noted, “Just to play cards with friends”. She had to give cats to others. Her finances covered the apartment’s rent but couldn’t afford the maid. For many years the Princess lived on the pension she got as forced displaced person. Princess Shervashidze-Eristavi like all other Georgian émigrés refused to gain French citizenship. Despite her age Mary had admirers even at the nursing home. An old Earl brought a bunch of fresh flowers every day. Princess Shervashidze behaved as though she did not care much, but if the Earl happened to come without flowers Mary refused to talk to him, in that case the only way for the Earl to atone was a cute bunch of flowers. Mary’s financial problems were saved by one of her admirers Vadim Makarov, a son of Admiral Makarov Commander-in-Chief of Pacific Fleet. Vadim named Princess Shervashidze-Eristavi into his will. Vadim Makarov used to serve together with Kolchakov in Siberia for few years and then immigrated to America. He met with Mary thanks to his sister Alexandra, who was former lady in waiting to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia. Vadim Makarov was a good entrepreneur and made about 3mln US Dollars fortune that was huge sum of money in 1964. Most of his fortune was given to his sister Alexandra, and several ten thousands to Princess Shervashidze-Eristavi… The Royal court evenings of Saint Petersburg and Chanel’s podiums all remained in the past, but Mary still kept looking after her appearance. Princess Dadiani’s daughter Tatuli Gviniashvili remembered her leaving Paris for Georgia in 60’s. All Georgian emigration community gathered to see Tatuli off at the station but only Mary was late. Everybody joked “The train will be arriving to Tbilisi when Mary comes”. And while joking and laughing, the Georgians noticed that all other people were looking at one direction. The Georgians also turned towards it and were shocked – Mary was walking along the platform wearing violet shirts and jacket and holding a bunch of beautiful violets in her hands… Princess Shervashidze was always late. That was a part of her extraordinary character and she was always forgiven.
JUST SO STORY Once, being a lady in waiting to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia she was late on some royal funeral. She went into the hall after Emperor Nicholas II that was strictly forbidden upon the Royal Palace Etiquette. Mary expected the Emperor’s fair anger but His Royal Highness charmed with her beauty could only state, “It is a sin to have such beauty”… As for Mary’s admirer Galaktion, he passed through a tragic life. His first wife Olga Okudjava was shot during Stalin’s repressions. Loosing of beloved wife turned into real tragedy to the poet. He could not overcome the grief. Tabidze began drinking alcohol and absolutely did not care about his appearance in the streets of Tbilisi. Strangers recognized and saw him home with respect and sorrow quite often. But Galaktion never minded… The only thing he minded was creative thought. And, the only thing he cared about was his little notebook that he always kept into his pocket. That was the notebook where Galaktion wrote the poem “Mary”… Galaktion Tabidze suicide himself on the 17th of March 1959. He jumped off a hospital window. The great poet was buried on the Holy Mount Mtatsminda Pantheon of Prominent Georgians in Tbilisi. Meanwhile, Mary Shervashidze could not under-
IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THEY KNEW EACH OTHER EITHER. IN1923 THERE WAS ISSUED A COLLECTION OF POEMS BY GALAKTION. AND, IN ONE POEM HE DESCRIBES HIMSELF CUTTING THE NAME OF “MARY SHERVASHIDZE” ON A WOOD. stand why everybody around was excited about the real addressee of Tabidze’s poem. She kept saying, “Isn’t it enough that the poem is simply genial?!” Indeed, such discussions pleased her much. She wrote to Princess Dadiani, “My dear
Baboshka, you cannot imagine how pleased and happy I was receiving your letter and realizing how lovely you care about my fame and image. When the poem “Mary” was published I was often told to be
LOVE-STORY OF GENIAL GALAKTION IMPRESSED ME SO MUCH THAT I TRIED TO FIND THE VERY MARY AND LOOK INTO THE PERSONAL FEATURES OF THAT LEGENDARY LADY. PRINCESS DADIANI, AN ARISTOCRATIC TIFLISIAN LADY, WAS A SPONSOR MOTHER AT MARY AND AIDE-DE-CAMP OF EMPEROR NICHOLAS II GEORGE ERISTAVI’S WEDDING. THAT WAS THE WEDDING GALAKTION BITTERLY DESCRIBED INTO HIS POEM. the addressee. I could not say anything since he did not hand me the poem. I wish I could come back to my Motherland and see and hug all of my dear people there, and talk about everything”… Unfortunately, Mary was never able to come back to her native Georgia. Though, she always missed it and felt real nostalgia.She always kept asking her friends, “How’s Georgia there?” One could always find a book of “A Knight in Tiger’s Skin” by Rustaveli on her bedside table. She could read much of the poem by heart. Mary Shervashidze died in 1986 at the age of 97. She kept clever mind and renowned beauty till her last days. Mary Shervashidze-Eristavi was buried on the Russian cemetery in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois near Paris.
Galaktion Tabidze Was a leading Georgian poet of the twentieth century, whose writings profoundly influenced all subsequent generations of Georgian poets. He survived Stalin’s Great Purge of the 1930s, which claimed lives of many of his fellow writers, friends and relatives, but came under heavy pressure from the Soviet authorities. Those tragic years plunged him into depression and alcoholism. He was eventually placed in a psychiatric hospital in Tbilisi, where he committed suicide. November
Yes, Let’s Talk About Art
“Work cannot be considered art unless it expresses a sense of space. It is known that geometric or line perspective was discovered by Italian renaissance and European art has been making three dimension illusion of relief through that line perspective since then. But a tick felt, what I saw at a hut in Khevsureti, convinced me in ability of expressing space illusion without line systems but only through colours. That was a fantastic discovery!” Shota Gagarin
avid Kakabadze – Georgian avantgarde painter, graphic artist and scenic designer, art scholar and innovator in the field of cinematography as well as an amateur photographer.
It was always difficult for me to write about the painters. What an irony: the unique eternity in our universe is light. Pursuant to physics all the rest, even time, is relative. And what’s going on? The only branch breaking through in is painting that still remains as unprocurable as sunshine with all its empty supposition, mood, world of irrational beliefs where a word “objectivity” rises immediate discredit among the audience. It’s hard to find more non pragmatic people losing sense of reality than the painters. How can they manage the one that equals to the whole existence to play, dance, and put onto its place like a little baby? The one that measures the whole universe… the one that determines everything… Thus, it’s not strange when those dirty with oil wanderers, often homeless and strung people live more bohemian life rather than those who can afford it. They just keep the reins like a snap. You need special suspicion to catch the main glimpse, even more if you mostly depend on mind, reasoned out strategy but not impulses, which like a broken
clock rarely but exactly points to light source up in the sky. Stereotypes associated with the painter are as bad as racial or religious ones. Therefore, let’s put them aside. Let’s not talk like a kind of pattern about gorgeous museums and their fancy artists once flown up to the sky and then thrown down onto the earth. Though, this is rather ordinary addiction, I’d even say drug addiction. Legendary persons run after paint smell like glue sniffers. People like amusement and painting can express dozens of breathtaking tragedies. And, if we highlight stereotypes, particularly conditional dichotomy, the painter I’m going to talk about belongs to a stable group of “mind painters” rather than tragic “soul painters”. I myself believe such differentiation is simply stupid. One can’t think about more idiotic question than “Frivolous giddy Modigliani following his inner eye or educated theorist Picasso?” The questions sounds that way in Georgian, “Upright toper Niko Pirosmanashvili (who was presented to Europe by educated Iliazd and Picasso) or initially responsible David Kakabadze, graduated from Paris School of Art?” Let’s leave that to a first-year student flirting with “art lover” girls, those who haven’t known yet that Pirosmani was well educated either. His labeling as a “crude painter” was pure wish of
ICON Soviet political nomenclature and those moralists having no sense of responsibility but waiting for instructions from above (sometimes even from Heaven) rather than real and scientifically proved facts. Let’s forget about light first-year girls but talk about a Georgian artist whose greatest pleasure was talking about art. It is obvious the issue David Kakabadze was concerned about in 1924 still remains unsolved. The great master wrote, “Current situation requires doubling our cultural work that might partially make my dream come true, i.e. strengthening artistic view and artistic writing in Georgia. Yes, let’s talk about art!” Let’s talk about art since it is used as well as stipulated in healthy cultural environment. Here stipulation means to analyze, dialogue, conceptualize, take responsibility on personal deeds in art. Blaming muse and other imaginary beings is more human foible or wash one’s hands off it rather than dignity. I have no idea about the exact purpose of sole but I’m pretty sure that wiping one’s nose with it is definitely not correct behavior. Prominent Georgian artist David Kakabadze’s life is not dramatic enough to be shot at Hollywood. But, there could be written a novel, full with inner monologues and cataclysms staying within mind frames though provoking danger for physical existence. David Kakabadze is a thinker seeking for responsibilities but not escaping them. Considering general stereotypes about great painters, Kakabadze is not just pure interpreter of ideas whispered to him by Olympus Gods. His every work is inevitability coming out of contemporary art trends basic analyze but not blind following to comfortable esthetics. Such attitude adds a kind of eclectic shine to the artist’s work. But, this is just at first sight. Retrospective review of David Kakabadze’s work strictly differentiates logic and range of development, and we are forced to change a word “eclectic” into “diversity”. Once Kakabadze even said, “Homogeneity opposes the nature, while diversity forms the life”. I began writing about David Kakabadze using principles of physics purposefully as Kakabadze graduated from natural science department of physics and mathematics faculty at St. Petersburg University in 1916. That could explain his creative seeking for the accurate axe and the golden cross and natural harmony into abstraction. Kakabadze was born into a poor peasant family in the village of Kukhi (Khoni Region). His father Nestor Kakabadze was a ferry-man. David got interested in painting since early childhood when a stranger drew his father’s portrait. David often looked at the portrait hanging on the wall of their small house. He tried to draw a similar picture of his father, his house,
ICON leaves in the garden. He wanted to multiply what he liked in pictures. He was a frequent visitor of a nearby painting workshop, where he was grabbing paint left on the bottom of a bucket like a starving child cleaning his plate with piece of bread. The family saw little David’s aspiration and tried to support as much as they could. His elder brother studied in Vienna and sent him a book of basics in painting. Later, little David continued his study at Kutaisi Grammar School. He studied well enough to prepare younger students and buy a photo camera for his tuition fee. David attended private studios by Russian and Polish artists in Kutaisi.
apotheosis of the theme was “Imereti – Mother of Mine” (1918). The mother is in front of landscape background. Her face is as ascetic as environment around. Her cold eyes and weaving express just simple mechanic. Their movement does not add any dynamism to strong and static picture. The mother is well fitted into the nature. Her shapes are not sharply marked out. It seems she has grown up like a tree. The background seems flat at first sight but artistic stresses and rhythm of general and local stroke attract one’s glimpse in colours but not geometry. The mother’s strong eyes and wrinkled face with light component is treated in details though not to “warm” the monument structure but on the contrary to add some cold. Look at the mother’s cold and abstract sight making her figure distant. Such trick of space and mood helps the painter to generalize the mother’s face and represent it as iconographic expression. But, how does the life flow from such emotionally distant picture? Here comes one insignificant detail! A butterfly! This small flitting butterfly brings total dissonance into the composition. This small detail makes the mother and the whole nature around and beyond alive.The mother, and the picture in general, give a birth to David Kakabadze as a painter expressing in details, lines and colours.
“A PORTRAIT IS AN INDIVIDUAL’S FACE BUT AT THE SAME TIME IT REFLECTS THE FACE OF CONTEMPORARY LIFE. THE PORTRAIT SHOULD EXPRESS A PERSON’S APPEARANCE AS WELL AS HIS INTERNAL WORLD. BESIDES, THE PORTRAIT SHOULD EXPRESS A FACE OF MAN IN GENERAL”
While studying at St. Petersburg University, David Kakabadze attended painting classes at the studio of DmitroyevKavkazsky until 1915. David was only 25 years old but had already chosen his own developing vector – he studied his own internal world and tried to look and express the universe through that prism. He tried himself in contemporary art, mainly cubism (“Funeral in Imereti” 1913, “Self-Portrait” 1913), paid much time to realistic technical skills. He began making series of self-portraits. The series included portraits being similar in composition but different if concept revealing characteristic features of the painter that could be described as “movement not over the surface but into the depth”. The mood was perfectly reflected into his essay about the portrait, “A portrait is an individual’s face but at the same time it reflects the face of contemporary life. The portrait should express a person’s appearance as well as his internal world. Besides, the portrait should express a face of man in general”. He painted “Self-Portrait at the Mirror” (1913), “Self-Portrait with Pomegranate” (1912), “SelfPortrait in Gray Robe” (1917), “Mother’s Portrait” (1914), and “Brother’s Portrait” (1915) in frames of “portrait series”. Kakabadze was in Georgia during 1918-1919. He began working on landscape series. He had already studied human nature, and then wanted to conceptualize the universe within the cognition. David tried to oppose a human being and nature and find their crossing point and exactly express that symbiosis and then both generalize in sole unity. The
David Kakabadze was noticed quickly. In 1919 there was opened an exhibition by Georgian artists at “Hall of Glory” (currently Art Gallery on Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi). Vakhtang Kotetishvili remembered, “I was attracted by two young artists – Lado Gudiashvili and David Kakabadze”. It is rather interesting fact that only two artists were dismissed from the Georgian Artists Union: Gudiashvili and Kakabadze. The both were found guilty because of their way of thinking. But, we will talk about it later. Now, let’s be back to David’s youth, the beginning of making lines of masterpiece on the canvas.David Kakabadze exhibited “Imereti – Mother of Mine”, landscapes, self-portraits, cubist “Funeral in Imereti” and great many other works, totally 60, at “Hall of Glory”. Sergey Sudeykin, art critic, wrote about the exhibi-
ICON tion, “I know D. Kakabadze from “Mir Iskustva” (means “World of Art” in Russian). He is thoughtful artist masterfully using his skills. He loves old Dürer’s art and creates works with high technique. His “Nature Morte” is one of the best among the exhibits. “Mother’s Portrait” moves us into museum art. This ascetic work seems to merge Georgian and German.”Kakabadze was especially interested in sharing European experience, new forms of art, new creations by foreign colleagues, new conceptions by art critics. He was seeking his own ways of communication and expression through analyzing two major European groups: one of deepening, organizing, synthesizing, creating new possibilities in cubism (from Picasso to Andere Lotte); and another either using already established art formulas (André Derain, Suzanne Valadon) or thinking about simple ways of expression of nature (Van Dongen, Vlaminck). It is very interesting coincidence that David Kakabadze and Wassili Kandinsky came to the same conclusion separately at the same time. The conclusion turned into the prime principle of the 20th century’s art and still remains as basic. “Getting through” considers two worlds, i.e. art and nature, are absolutely separated. Art escapes off real frames and continues its existence independently. This conclusion made Kandisky to become a founder of abstractionism, and pushed Kakabadze to get out of periphery and put his nose directly into the artery of cultural life to continue further creative development within free space of art. In 1919 Kakabadze went to Paris. A short time before leaving for Paris, David created one of the first automatic drawings in the world “the Generalization”. Kakabadze will be a pioneer for many times in future… Paris was a completely new page in Kakabadze’s life. He gradually stepped away off specific objects and totally cut all chains binding visual world. In 1921 he made a new series in Brittany: at first realistic and then cubistic and later biomorphic images. Kakabadze was one of the pioneers developing organic abstraction through biomorphic images in the 20th century. The same line was followed by Kandinsky, who had already found himself within “specific art”. “Abstract art creates new world, which has nothing in common with reality at first sight… The world of art is as real as specific. Thus, I prefer to name the socalled abstract art as “specific art”, said Kandinsky. The idea was shared by Jean Arp, Joan Myró, Naum Gabo… But, Kakabadze was still concerned about reflecting image on relief. He lectured on various aspects of visual arts in Paris and developed his interest in kinetic form. In 1923 he constructed a film camera that produced the illusion of relief and thus became one of the pioneers of three-dimensional cinema. In 1926 an American philanthropist Catherin Drier, researching contemporary art in Europe, got interested in Kakabadze’s works. Drier bought some paintings
Elene Akhvlediani, David Kakabadze and Lado Gudiashvili. David Kakabadze sponsored by local philanthropists, he studied natural sciences at St. Petersburg University from which he graduated in 1916. At the same time, he attended painting classes at the studio of DmitroyevKavkazsky and did a research in old Georgian arts. After a brief period of working as a painter and educator in Tbilisi, he went to Paris where he lived from 1919 to 1927. He partook in the “Société des Artistes Indépendants exhibitions” and joint exhibitions with the great Georgian artists Lado Gudiashvili and Elene Akhvlediani. The cycle of landscapes reproducing the nature of Kakabadze’s native province of Imereti is some of the most interesting of his early works. During his stay in Paris, Kakabadze was attracted by “subject less painting,” and worked on problems of pictorial technique, occasionally using metal, mirror glass, stained glass and other such materials in place of paints. He soon went over to an even more “Leftist” position, and paid generous tribute to cubism. He lectured on various aspects of visual arts in Paris and, developing his interest in kinetic form, in 1923 he constructed a film camera that produced the illusion of relief and thus became one of the pioneers of three-dimensional cinema. By the mid- 1920s he had rejected his cubist-influenced style in favor of more abstract sculpture and painting.
ICON by Kakabadze, which are exhibited next to Dushan, Ray and Kandinsky nowadays.But the success did not make any fortune for the painter. The Soviets cut all grants and he had to earn his daily bread by himself. Kakabadze was worried about losing much time on daily work rather than art. And, he decided to come back to the Soviet Georgia in 1928.In 30’s the Soviet cultural atmosphere was under extremely negative impression. The Political Bureau narrowed the loop around the artists. Stalin declared “social realism” the only legal and allowed trend. Some members of Georgian advanced groups fled abroad, or were shot by the Soviets, and others gave up ideal ideas and began writing poems for children. The Soviet Union cut brilliant masters of art like gangrene. Any “cultural contraband” or “style import” was strictly punished. Artists tried to survive killing old “not politically correct” self-identity, or died themselves. Some of them killed self-identity at first and then assassinated themselves. Could you imagine a poet after writing “Dada” and futuristic manifests became an adept and chief censor of social realism – Bessarion Zhgenti, after ruined h2so4 Advanced Group. Another tragic example of those years was Titsian Tabidze writing his non-conventional “Dada Manifest” in 1923, and “returning” in frames of allowed borders with soviet poetry in 1928. Despite the fact that Kakabadze, along other cubists and abstractionists, was called “Leftist” in Europe, the Soviet Union was not pleased with him. The Soviet Union was more catholic than the Pope himself, and more leftist than any trend or individual artist. After coming back to Georgia, Kakabadze’s first exhibition was criticized in the newspaper “Communist” on 9th of August 1928, “Exhibited paintings are strange. The reason is rather explainable. From European point of view such exhibition is held for the first time in Tiflis. One can’t see any entertaining pictures expressing consolation and moral. It is a pity that the visitors could not find a tasteful painter in Kakabadze’s art.” David Kakabadze was often called formalist and subjectless by Soviets condemning his moral. What should David Kakabadze have done in such a country? And, he went back to his beginning. Kakabadze continued his Imereti themes in new monumental decorative landscapes, including industrial landscapes. Around the same time, he began his academic career at the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts. Now, Kakabadze made his “illegal sketches” only for theatre, trying to implement his European experience. From 1928 to 1947 David Kakabadze collaborated with leading Georgian theatres and produced several set designs: “Hop, We Are Alive!” by Toller in 1928, “Kvarkvare Tutaberi” by Kakabadze, and other valuable performances for the Marjanishvili Theatre, also “Queen of Spades” by Tchaikovsky for Tbilisi Opera House in 1947. In 1930, he also produced a classical film “Jimshvante”, later the film director Mikheil Kalatozishvili was blames for “for-
maism”, and another film “Lost Paradise”, directed by David Rondeli in 1936. Having returned to Georgia, Kakabadze tried to catch a Parisian echo here. He was seeking “correct, simple, symmetric forms” in national sculptures and abstraction in rugs and thick felts representing ethnic culture. David wrote to his brother, “Work cannot be considered art unless it expresses a sense of space. It is known that geometric or line perspective was discovered by Italian renaissance and European art has been making three dimension illusion of relief through that line perspective since then. But a tick felt, what I saw at a hut in Khevsureti, convinced me in ability of expressing space illusion without line systems but only through colours. That was a fantastic discovery!”Kakabadze became a professor at the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts in 1928, but came under pressure from Soviet authorities for “failure” to abandon Formalism and adapt to the dogmas of Social realism. Eventually, he was dismissed from the Academy in 1948. He continued the series of “Imereti” and created one of his notable works “Rally in Imereti” in 1942. The painting was absolutely different from “Imereti – Mother of Mine” and the abovementioned idea of “opposing a human being and nature and finding their crossing point and exactly express that symbiosis and then both generalize in sole unity” – remember? But “Rally in Imereti” expresses a sharp contrast between the people and the nature. A black and white poster of Lenin kept by one of the rally participant is absolutely jumped out of colourful and light landscape. The man with angry face holding the poster seems to be the head of gathered collective body. Humans are deposed to the landscape bottom. It has recently been revealed that there were Stalin’s and Beria’s posters as well, which were painted over after Stalin’s death. But, Kakabadze did not see that as painter, graphic artist and scenic designer, art scholar and innovator in the field of cinematography as well as an amateur photographer died (in 1952) a year before Stalin’s death. And, finally I should say if you ever meet anyone stating that from 1949 a new stage began in David Kakabadze’s art, giving examples of “Poti – Elevator” (1949), or sketch “Gumbrin Refinery nearby Kutaisi” (1951), as though the artist found a new compositional means – please do not believe… That is just ridiculous… Those paintings were made by despair, bound, and sick man rejecting his own biography, the whole way of life and esthetic achievements and capitulating. Thus, calling “a new stage” to meaningless glorification of unified labour rhythm, and “compositional meanings” to line distribution of workers used for expressing homogeneous movements and actions is not correct. David Kakabadze being free would never made such paintings as he believed that “Homogeneity opposes the nature, while diversity forms the life”.
What makes me paint? It is not easy to say - the hand that possesses talent, knowledge, intellect and passion. Painting is a capacity feeling for me. It is the parallel world of the real life, where by means of manipulating the space, color, line the painter tries to discover or express himself. Technique doesnâ€™t exist independently; it means both emotion and knowledge as well. There is nothing second-rate, every nuance is of importance. And the main thing is the process of work. Sometimes I see the result so clearly, that I move towards it so promptly and inconspicuously, that I donâ€™t even feel that I am working - In case I use the new technique or the new material dictates me something, the process becomes very reckless and interesting. Sometimes I have falling down and I donâ€™t like anything painted by me. Attitude is a main thing for me.
Dima Antadze RED AUTUMNE paper, mixed media.
DIMITRI ANTADZE Professor of Monumental Arts in Tbilisi Academy of Art PERSONAL EXHIBITIONS 2006 June - Takaoka, Japan. “Gallery Nono” 2006 October - Tokyo, Japan. “Gallery Kubota” 2004 May - Tbilisi, Georgia. “Kopala Gallery” 2003 July - Cannes, France. “Gris Albion” 2003 June - Amsterdam, Netherlands. “Goda” Gallery 2000 September - Gifu, Japan. “Gifu City Culture Center” 2000 August - Toyama, Japan. “Sonoko” Gallery 2000 July - Tokyo, Japan. “Kubota” Gallery 2000 May - Tbilisi, Georgia. UN House Gallery 1999 November - Ankara, Turkey. “British Culture Center” Gallery 1997 April - Tokyo, Japan. “Kubota” Gallery 1996 December - Toyama, Japan. “Shin Sakura Machi” 1996 October - Tokyo, Japan. The Foreign Corespondents Club 1996 February - Toyama, Japan. “Hizuki” Gallery 1995 May - Toyama, Japan. “Art Space Kawamoto” 1994 October - Tbilisi, Georgia. Georgian Museum of Art
GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2007 - Ankara. Georgian Artists Exhibition 2003 - Tbilisi. USA Embassy in Georgia “Three Mans Show” 2002 - Tbilis. History Museum of Art “Trough Art To Peace” 1995 - Toyama. Mau fine Art Gallery – “Fairy Tale” 1993 - Belgium. Franche – Compte/Tourine La Grosse - Two oil paintings show 1992 - Moscow. Georgian Cultural Centre “Mziuri”– Georgian Artists 1990 - Philadelphia. Georgian - US Joint - Venture “Lileo Arts”- Georgian Art. Four oil paintings show 1989 - Vienna. Georgian-Austrian Joint - Venture Company “Daraba”. Fifteen oil works show 1989 - Tbilisi. Georgian Artist’s Group exhibition oil painting. www.dima.ge
Guga Kotetishvili Solo Exhibitions 2011 “Mirrors”, Gallery “Kopala”. Tbilisi, Georgia; 2009 “Furniture Art”, Gallery “Vernisage” Tbilisi, Georgia; 2004 “Furniture Art”, “TMS Art Gallery”, Tbilisi, Georgia; 2003 Photo exhibition, “Old Gallery”, Tbilisi, Georgia; 2002 Photo exhibition “India in Squares”, “TMS Art Gallery”, Tbilisi, Georgia; 2000 Exhibition-installation, Gallery “Sane” Vienna, Austria; 1997 “Furniture Art”, “TMS Art Gallery”, Tbilisi, Georgia; 1996 “Furniture Art”, “TMS Art Gallery”, Tbilisi, Georgia;
Main Group Exhibitions 2007 International Photo Festival “Aina 2007”, Baku, Azerbaijan 2002 Photo Exhibition “Three Stations on the Silk Road”, Culture Center “Sanat”, Baku, Azerbaijan;
If you see a beautiful sundress used as a lampshade at a restaurant or café, or if you walk out on the street and see a girl carrying a bag decorated with a lock made of a violin detail, or if you are on a party where a pioneer model turns into an infant – you should know that is Guga Kotetishvili. Everybody knows Guga’s handmade masterpieces – no one else but he can give such extraordinary new life to old and useless items… MODI Magazine hereby present to you an exposition “Mirrors” by an artist and designer Guga Kotetishvili. 104
1998 Art Forum “Salon CAH-98”, Moscow, Russia; International Projects 2008 Project “Independent Stories”, together with Embassy of Lithuania to Georgia and the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania, Tbilisi-Garikula, Georgia; 2006 International Land Art Project “Virtual Army”, Ushguli, Georgia; 2004 International Land Art Project “Fortress”, Shatili, Georgia; 2003 International Land Art Project “Island”, Nargin, Azerbaijan;
Book Design 2011
“Hamal” Collected Poems by Salome Sulaberidze;
2008 “What’s Come Up” Collected Poems by Vakhushti Kotetishvili; 2006
“Sandglass” Collected Poems by Vakhushti Kotetishvili;
“Estern-Western Sofa”, Collected Translations;
2003 “Penelope, Portraits of Ancient Females” by N. Tonia, K. Nadareishvili, Published by “LOGOS”, Tbilisi, 2003;
Cinema Art 2003 “Muscles”, soap opera art director, “202” Film Studio, Tbilisi, Georgia.
Present: Georgian Style Burger Burger bun Suluguni (Georgian Cheese) Wild plum sauce Basilic Garlic Dried coriander Fenugreek Saffron Onion Sirloin Pork Beckon Half egg Pickled cucumbers Tomatoes Lettuce 112
National Centre of Manuscripts
1/3 Merab Alexidze Street, 0193 Tbilisi, Georgia Tel.: (995 322) 36 41 85 Fax: (995 322) 36 32 41 email@example.com www.manuscript.ge
National Treasure of Georgia
The manuscript known as â€œthe Mokvi Gospelâ€? was copied at the scriptorium of Mokvi Monastery, Abkhazia, in 1300 AD. It is lavishly illustrated codex with rare for the13th-14th centuries illustrations number. Parchment of ivory color is used as the material. The distinguished characteristic of the manuscript is the miniatures on the background of leafy gold.
The Gospel contains 329 leaves, 155 miniatures, 10 Canon Tables, 4 Evangelists Portraits and over 530 capital letters and initial. Due to its artistic-decorative features Mokvi Gospel is distinguished pattern of the Georgian as well as Byzantine book art of the 12th-14th cc. Artistic style of Mokvi Gospel follows early Palaeologian tendencies and based on the heritage reflected in the decorations of Gelati (12thc) and Jruchi II Gospels (12thc). This style became dominant in Georgian
The Agony in the Garden
book art during next centuries.
Richly illustrated manuscript codices dated back to the 13th14th cc are rarely found in Georgian as well as in Byzantine world. Therefore, Mokvi Gospel with its exact date of execution is of invaluable importance. This unique sample might turn into the invaluable criterion for the attribution of undated manuscripts. The unique manuscript written by calligrapher Ephraim is distinguished also with its text edited by George the Athonite. The testament of George the Athonite is placed at the end of the manuscript (326r). The Gospel edition was widely spread in Georgia as well as Georgian monasteries aboad (Note, the same edition was used for gospels of Gelati, Vani, Lechkhumi, Lapskaldi, Berta, Akhaltsikhe, Artvini, and Ubisa).
The Apostles before Pharisee
Creators of Mokvi Gospel Mokvi Gospel was commissioned in 1300 by Daniel, Archbishop of Mokvi. According to the manuscript colophons it was copied and illustrated by artistcalligrapher Ephraim. Ephraim is a brilliant representative of the Georgian calligraphy school of the 13th-14th cc. The talented scribe skillfully uses established principles of the centuries-old Georgian traditions of book art and freed them from the conventions of the medieval art which is reflected in vital and emotional comprehension of the compositions. No other Greek or Georgian codices of the 13th-14th cc are as lavishly illustrated and ornamented with mixture of bright colors and gold as Mokvi Gospel. Some of the illustrations are painted on whole folios others are inserted into the text and follow the Gospels text. Miniatures of Mokvi Gospel are painted on leafy gold backgrounds, which is a unique case. Mokvi manuscript is written by one master. Generally, illuminated medieval manuscripts were illustrated by several artists. It is plausibly that Mokvi Gospel was painted by three artists; the main painter Ephraim skillfully constructed artistic body of the manuscript to achieve united stylistic impression.The unique Mokvi Gospel proves that master Ephraim was trained and worked at a large and rich scriptorium full with different books of supreme quality decorations.
Appearance of Christ to the Apostles
â€œHoly Gospel hereby is written by me, poor sinner Ephraim, on the date of twentieth of fifth month in 6904 upon Georgian Chronicle and 6808 upon Greek Chronicleâ€? (p.325).
The Manuscript History Mokvi Gospel was created at the scriptorium of Mokvi Cathedral in Abkhazia. The coping believed to begin during the reign of Holy King Demetre II of Georgia. The long and intensive process was completed by 1300.Unfortunately, it remains unknown when and how the Gospel was taken from Abkhazia to Martvili, where it was found by Nikodim Kondakov and Dimitri Bakradze in the second half of the 19th century. In summer 1913, upon a commission by Georgian Historic and Ethnographic Society Ekvtime Takaishvili together with a photographer Fyodor Kiune went for an expedition to Samegrelo. That was the first time when the Gospel pages were photographed.
1. The Holy Women at the Tomb of Christ 2. Appearance of Christ to the Holy Women
In 1921 after Russian invasion, Mokvi manuscript and other Georgian treasures were taken to France by Government of Georgia. The Georgian treasure was kept and protected with rare devotion and faith by Ekvtime Takaishvili – “the Georgian Treasureman”. Due to his hard effort every single unit of Georgian treasure was returned back to Georgia in 1945. The treasure included gospels of Gelati, Berta, Vardzia and Mokvi with gold-plated silver covers. Nowadays, the unique masterpiece being brought back from immigration is kept at the National Centre of Manuscripts of Georgia. Ekvtime Takaishvili, “I cursed each Georgian who dared to lose any historical item of our Motherland. I warned everyone to bring the item first to me and, if I could not purchase it then let it to be sold to a foreigner”.
The Betrayal of Christ
Initial Letters Initial letters are valuable parts of decorated pages of Mokvi Gospel. There are over 530 letters representing great diverse of decorations. Initials have images of birds, animals and fishes. Drawing lines are so accurate needing no additional elements by the master. Special love and devotion is given to the letter “d” (“D”). It is drawn in different shapes and ornaments throughout the whole text. The master always considers the whole plot of the page. Tender and refined mixture of perfect calligrapher and painter creates festive and divine impression over each page. Besides rare proportions of the Initials, the calligrapher gives profound interpretation of every single decoration. From this point of view one shall have a look at letter “a” (“A”) drawn in a shape of whale keeping human feet into its mouth (269v). This original composition has no analogue. And, this initial is not put on its place by a coincidence but expressing the Bible story on Iona and whale – a symbol of Christ’s death and His Resurrection as well as the Eucharist. Therefore, the decorated initial letters is put on the page reflecting miracle feeding of people by Christ that indicates to the Holy Communion. All initials are painted picturesque. Very often 4-6 initial letters of perfect accurate style are brilliantly distributed throughout one page still keeping the text balance and the whole decoration in one ensemble. Particular attention should be paid to extraordinary individuality of initials throughout the manuscript. Artistic details do not destroy the solid form but reveal their values through ornaments.
Miniatures During the 12th-13th cc miniatures were very popular decorations for handwritten manuscripts. And, Mokvi Gospel takes distinguished place with its 155 masterful miniatures. The Gospels miniatures are made on the leafy gold background that is as good as the best examples of the Constantinopolitan artistic school. Mokvi Gospel is characterized with making all its miniatures into one conceptual unity with no repetition in all four gospels. The manuscript stresses divine link between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The link is expressed in the unique way – the master places on a separate page the whole Genealogy of Christ at the beginning of St. Matthew’s Gospel. The Genealogy
Special Project miniature consists of 42 Biblical Fathers images and the only lady Mother of God among them. Thus, Ephraim underlines the main role of Mother of God in the genealogy of Christ and linking of the Old Testament and the New Testament. In fact, the miniature is a kind of title page for other small miniatures inserted into the text. There are four miniatures of Mother of God in the Gospel. This unique feature could be explained with the commissions of the Gospel to be copied for Mokvi church, dedicated to the Dormition of the Theothokos. The Dormition miniature placed at the end of St.John Gospel reflects old Georgian tradition of being Mother of God’s land. Illustrations of Mother Virgin with Evangelist Luka reflect old believes that St. Luka was very close to Mother of God and even painted Her Icon. The author of Mokvi stresses that very moment into his miniature. The manuscript illustrations are logically ended with images of Mother of God and the Gospel commissioner Archbishop Daniel of Mokvi. The composition covers the whole page. Archbishop Daniel donates the Gospel to Mokvi Cathedral. The iconographic version has no analogues among other medieval manuscripts.
Scrapped Golden Pages In the course of time the unique manuscript suffered severe damages. While thumbing the book paints are falling from its miniatures. Adhesive material attaching leafy gold to the parchment turned to be weak, and illuminated layer is falling together with golden plates. It is hard to specify the exact time when Mokvi Gospel was damaged. It had already been damaged before the scholars found it at Martvili Monastery. Prof. Shalva Amiranashvili noted the damage while drafting a list of returned treasure from France. Nowadays, such essential parts of unique Mokvi Gospel as the illuminated layers of miniatures: “Evangelist St.Matthew”, “the Genealogy of Christ”, “Mother Virgin with Child” and many other unevaluated parts are greatly damaged. The title page reflecting “Deesis” composition is also lost. Its existence was proved by great many scholars and researchers. Conservation and restoration of already greatly damaged Mokvi Gospel with its unique miniatures on the leafy gold backgrounds could only be possible in case of its accurate diagnosis and selection of proper means of restoration. Mokvi Gospel Gold Details November
Saving Mokvi Gospel In the course of time the unique manuscript suffered severe damages. While thumbing the book paints are falling from its miniatures, and illuminated layer is falling together with golden plates. The manuscript needs urgent diagnosis and restoration. The project aims at diagnosing the Mokvi Gospel. Upon completion of diagnosis of the manuscript specialists will have a proper method selected to restore the Gospel. The restoration is a long and costly project. “Just for Saving Mokvi Gospel” – the National Center of Manuscripts of Georgia supported with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, and different public or private organizations have launched an active charity campaign. There is opened a banking account, and the public can also contribute to saving the Mokvi Gospel by dialing 700 685 of MAGTI, Geocell, and Beeline mobile operators. Call fee is 1 GEL. In frames of the charity campaign there was held a Gala concert at Kote Marjanishvili Theatre, Tbilisi. Charity Concert On December 7, 2010 The charity event for Saving Mokvi Gospel was held at Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre. There were performed songs by such famous Georgian singers and groups as Liza Bagrationi, Tamriko Chokhonelidze, Eka Mamaladze, Giorgi Ushikishvili and group “Lashari”, also Dato Archvadze and Theatrical Quartet, Zumba, Niaz Diasamidze, Neka Sebiskveradze, Sofo Khalvashi, Holy Trinity Cathedral Choir, group “Martve”, group “Basiani”, Abkhazian Youth’s Chapel and many others. It should be noted that the Theatre Administration as well as participants of the event served free of charge. The event was attended by Dimitri Shashkin, Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Koba Subeliani, Minister of TDP, Rusudan Kervalishvili, Chairlady of the National Center of Manuscripts Friends’ Society, Giuli Alasania, Member of the Society Board, Alexander Kvitashvili, Rector of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, and representatives of great many organizations and people concerned.
Auction On July 1, 2011 The Publishing House “MODI” organized an auction “MODI Save Mokvi Gospel”. The auction was held at the Radisson Blue Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi. There were presented over 130 showpieces of nine different categories there. The event presenters were Duta Skhirtladze and Otar Tatishvili. There was sold paintings by Rusudan Petviashvili, Levan Tsutskiridze, Irakli Parjiani; also private items of David Kipiani, Maya Chiburdanidze, Moris Potskhishvili; and photos by Yuri Mechitov, Guram Tsibakhashvili, etc. The auction was attended by Georgian publicities, political figures, businessmen, collectors and those working in culture and art.
UNESCO Support and Foreign Restorers Diagnosis In 2010 upon assistance of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, the Georgian National Center of Manuscripts prepared a project on diagnosis of Mokvi Gospel that was submitted to UNESCO. The UNESCO head office approved the project and allocated special funds. Due to the UNESCO’s funds and charity events it was possible to invite international experts and restorers to diagnose the Gospel condition. International experts Andrea Patak (Germany), Andrea Giovanini (Switzerland) and Magdalena Liedke (Germany) together with Georgian specialists studied Mokvi Gospel for one week. The results and an official conclusion will be issued in two months. It is expected to draft a scientific conclusion on a proper restoration method to be selected. According to preliminary data the Gospel is greatly damaged but could be saved. Special care should be paid to the miniatures that need urgent restoration and conservation. In general, the manuscript needs stabilization. Thus the restoration needs a long-term and costly project. After completion of rather hard and difficult work it could be possible to achieve digitalization of the manuscript. It is projected to involve specialists of the Georgian National Center of Manuscript into the project.Therefore, the charity campaign to save Mokvi Gospel is still on. And it is intended to organize concerts and events to collect money for the project.
Buba Kudava, Director National Center of Manuscripts, Dimitry Shashkin, Minister of Education and Sciens of Georgia and Europian experts while working on the diagnosis Mokvi Gospel
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Japanese Restaurant - 29 I. Abashidze St. Tbilisi
IN THE SHADOW OF METEKHI
Georgian Restaurant The Right Bank of the R. Mtkvari. Tbilisi tel: (+995 32) 253 07 97
KALA – CAFÉ
Club-Restaurant - 7 Bambis Rigi St. Tbilisi
KGB - CAFE WITH SOVIET INTERIOR
American/Georgian Restaurant -37a Kostava St. Tbilisi
L’EXPRESS - FRENCH CAFE
Asian Restaurant - 29 I. Abashidze St. Tbilisi
Georgian Restaurant-29 K. Tsamebuli Ave. Tbilisi tel: (+995 32) 277 93 83 8/10 Erekle II St. Tbilisi tel: (+995 99) 279 97 37
BREAD HOUSE- GEORGIAN
on Chardin Street- 12 Chardin St. Tbilisi
Tbilsi, Freedom square 4 Tel: (+995 32) 277 91 00 Fax: (+995 32) 277 91 10
Batumi, N. Zhordania str. 31 tel: (+995 32) 272 90 09, (+995 99) 31 69 28, (+995 222) 7 07 07
BELLE DE JOUR - FRENCH
CHARDIN 12 RESTAURANT
COURTYARD MARRIOTT –
Batumi .1 Ninoshvili Street 6000 Batumi Tel: +995 422 255 555 Fax: +995 422 228 888
MATRYOSHKA – SLAVIC
cuisine- Hero’s Square, Tbilisi
Signagi, Central square tel: (+995 255) 4 30 30
RADISSON BLU IVERIA
Batonebi - American café 64 Paliashvili st. Tbilisi
8/10 King Erekle St. Tbilisi
14 Chardin St. Tbilisi
MASPINDZELO - SAKHINKLE
Restaurants Network - 7 Bambis Rigi St. Tbilisi tel: (+995 32) 230 30 30
VERA STEAK HOUSE
38, Paliashvili Street Tbilisi, Georgia tel: (+995 32) 225 09 00
Citadines Freedom Square Tbilisi is the first Apartment Hotel in Georgia. http://www.citadines.com/georgia/tbilisi/freedom_square.html
GUIDE 10 A
Abanotubani, Tbilisi, Georgia tel: (+995 32) 272 00 21
CLUBS TWO SIDE PARTY-CLUB
Tbilisi, 7 Bambis rigi St., reservation: Tel: (+995 32) 230 30 30
Tbilisi, 12 Bambis rigi Tel: (+995 32) 243 99 77
Tbilisi, 25 Kostava St. Tel: (+995 32) 292 09 50
Tbilisi, 22 Metechi St., I fl. Tel: (+995 92) 532 32 32
NIGHT CLUBS CLUB 33A
Tbilisi, 76 Chavchavadze Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 222 51 33
Tel: (+995 90) 521 21 21, (+995 95) 221 21 21
Tel: (+995 32) 269 66 47, 269 66 51
Tbilisi, Baratashvili bridge, Mtkvari Right embankment Tel: (+995 32) 292 30 17 Fax: (+995 32) 292 30 16
Tbilisi, 2 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 293 58 11, 93 18 40 Fax: (+995 32) 293 31 15
Tbilisi, 8 Merjanishvili St. Tel: (+995 32) 295 35 82
G. MICKELADZE STATE TOY THEATRE
Tbilisi, 11 Rkinis rigi Tel: (77) 522 02 82
Tbilisi, 36 Kostava St. Tel: (+995 32) 299 99 55, Fax: (+995 32) 293 38 71
CACHE - CINEMA CLUB
Tbilisi, 18 Nikoladze St. Tel: (+995 32) 225 05 80
CACHE - CINEMA CLUB
Tbilisi, 9 Kiacheli St. Tel: (+995 32) 299 05 51, (+995 99) 544 08 18
Tbilisi, 44 Chavchavadze Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 229 25 34, (+995 97) 290 14 94
Tbilisi, 13 Shavteli St. Tel: (+995 32) 299 66 83 Fax: (+995 32) 292 24 96
Tbilisi, 5 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 292 03 57, 292 02 85, Fax: (+995 32) 255 50 00
Tbilisi, 22 Rustaveli Ave.
Tbilisi, 2/9 Guramishvili Ave.
Tbilisi, 64 Guramishvili Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 261 84 26, 261 84 13
Tbilisi, 64 Paliashvili St. Tel: (+995 90) 222 64 64
Tbilisi, 12 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 298 38 03, (+995 93) 522 20 60
Tbilisi,103Agmashenebeli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 295 69 03 Fax: (+995 32) 295 17 13
G. SHAVGULIDZE THEATRE SAKHIOBA
Tbilisi, 45 Kostava St. Tel: (+995 91) 568 88 00
A. GRIBOEDOV RUSSIAN STATE DRAMA THEATRE
Tbilisi, 2 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 298 58 21 Fax: (+995 32) 293 31 15
K. MARJANISHVILI STATE ACADEMIC THEATRE
Tbilisi, 8 Marjanishvili St. Tel: (+995 32) 295 35 82 Fax: (+995 32) 295 40 01
KAKHA BAKURADZE MOVEMENT THEATRE
KONSTANTINE GAMSAKHURDIA SOKHUMI STATE DRAMA THEATRE
Tbilisi, 11a Leonidze St. Tel: (+995 32) 299 74 27, (+995 99) 257 95 92
M. TUMANISHVILI CINEMA ACTORS THEATRE
Tbilisi,164 Agmashenebeli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 235 31 52, 234 28 99, 235 70 13 Fax: (+995 32) 235 01 94
MEORE SAKHLI (THE SECOND HOME)
Tbilisi, 60 Agmashenebeli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 295 78 22
MUSIC AND DRAMATIC STATE THEATRE
Tbilisi,182 Agmashenebeli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 234 80 90, 234 79 59 Fax: (+995 32) 234 80 90
NABADI - GEORGIAN FOLKLORE THEATRE
Tbilisi, 19 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 298 99 91
NODAR DUMBADZE STATE CHILDREN`S THEATRE
Tbilisi, 99/1Agmashenebeli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 295 50 67, 95 78 74 Fax: (+995 32) 296 32 89
ROYAL QUARTER THEATRE
Tbilisi,182 Agmashenebeli Ave. (Mushtaidi) Tel: (+995 99) 556 87 57
Tbilisi, 10 Abesadze St. Tel: (+995 32) 292 38 70 Fax: (+995 32) 299 61 71
abaSiZis 10/ 995 32 222222
Bar F1 - 10 Abashidze str. Tbilisi. Booking: (99532) 2252257
Cocktail Bar - 11 Erekle II St. Tbilisi
S. AKHMETELI STATE DRAMATIC THEATRE
Tbilisi, 8 I. Vekua St. Tel: (+995 32) 262 61 97, 262 59 73
SH. RUSTAVELI STATE THEATRE
Tbilisi, 17 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 293 65 83, 293 18 94 Fax: (+995 32) 299 63 73
SOKHUMI CHILDREN’S THEATRE
Tbilisi, 8 Tetelashvili St. Tel: (+995 32) 296 17 40
TBILISI STATE MARIONETTE THEATRE
Tbilisi, 26 Shavteli St. Tel: (+995 32) 298 65 89, 298 65 93 Fax: (+995 32) 298 65 89
TEATRALURI SARDAPI – RUSTAVELI
Tbilisi, 42 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 299 95 00
THEATRE – VERIKO
Tbilisi, 16 Anjaparidze St. Tel: (+995 32) 222 13 38, 299 98 96 Fax: (+995 32) 222 13 38
THEATRE OF PANTOMIME
Tbilisi, 37 Rustaveli Av. Tel: (+995 32) 299 63 14, (+995 77) 541 41 50
THEATRE ON ATONELI
Tbilisi, 31 Atoneli St. Tel: (+995 32) 293 32 38
Georgia, Tbilisi, 33 Paliashvili st. tel.(+99532) 2520866, e-mail: giajanashvili.gmail.com
GUIDE Z. PALIASHVILI TBILISI STATE THEATRE OF OPERA AND BALLET
Tbilisi, 25 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 298 32 48, 298 32 49 Fax: (+995 32) 298 32 48
Batumi, Rustaveli str. 1
Kutaisi, Agmashenebeli square 1
GALLERY ART AND ANTIQUE SALON
Tbilisi, 30 Leselidze St. Tel: (+995 32) 292 05 76
ART GALLERY LINE
Tbilisi, 7 Bambis Rigi; 44 Leselidze St.; Airport,
“PRIMECLASS” CIP LOUNGES
Tel: (+995 32) 250 85 80 Fax: (+995 32) 250 85 80
Tbilisi, 10 Chardin St. Tel: (+995 32) 275 45 10, (+995 99) 550 53 02
Tbilisi, 11 Rkinis Rigi Tel: (+995 32) 272 48 72, (+995 93) 531 92 66
Tbilisi, 13 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 299 09 25
Tbilisi, 8/10 Erekle II St. Tel: (+995 32) 293 89 14
Tbilisi, 27 Atoneli St. Tel: (+995 32) 293 14 18
GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM - PICTURE GALLERY
Tbilisi, 11 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 298 48 14
Tbilisi, 9 Griboedov St. Tel: (+995 32) 251 43 87, (+995 99) 546 32 72
Tbilisi, 10 Abashidze St. Tel: (+995 32) 223 21 07
Tbilisi, 8 Chanturia St. Tel: (+995 32) 298 98 89, (+995 99) 556 99 71
KARVASLA’S EXHIBITION HALL
Tbilisi, 8 Sioni St. Tel: (+995 32) 292 32 27
Tbilisi, 7 Zubalashvilebi St. Tel: (+995 32) 299 99 02 Fax: (+995 32) 299 99 02
LA MAISON BLEUE - TEXTILE ART STUDIO
Tbilisi, 94 Barnov St. Tel: (+995 32) 223 21 16, (+995 93) 530 70 29
Tbilisi, 11 Taktakishvili St. Tel: (+995 32) 225 23 34
Tbilisi, 30/2 Leselidze St. Tel: (+995 32) 299 88 72, (+995 97) 574 33 00
MODERN ART GALLERY
Tbilisi, 3 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 298 21 33 Fax: (+995 32) 298 21 33
N GALLERY AND SANDRO ANTADZE
Tbilisi, 15 G. Akhvlediani St. Tel: (+995 32) 292 00 53, (+995 99) 590 33 09
NEWKAZ - TOURISM DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
Tbilisi, 5 Janashia St. Tel: (+995 32) 223 37 56, (+995 99) 551 68 42 Fax: (+995 32) 223 37 56
ORNAMENT - ENAMEL GALLERY
Tbilisi, 103 Agmashenebeli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 295 28 20, (+995 99) 550 20 80 Fax: (+995 32) 295 17 13
Tbilisi, 6 Erekle II St. Tel: (+995 32) 298 98 56
Tbilisi, 17/6 Agmashenebeli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 291 00 24
MUSEUMS ANIMATION TOY`S MUSEUM
Tbilisi, 23 Amagleba St. Tel: (+995 32) 299 57 88
Tbilisi, Agmashenebeli Alley Tel: (+995 32) 252 13 05
CINEMA HISTORICAL MUSEUM
Tbilisi, 88 I. Javakhishvili St. Tel: (+995 32) 34 74 79, 91 01 92
D. BAAZOV GEORGIAN JEWISH HISTORICAL ETHNOGRAPHICAL MUSEUM
Tbilisi,3Anton Catholicos St. Tel: (+995 32) 298 59 92, (+995 32) 298 90 62
DENDROLOGIC MUSEUM (BOTANIC GARDEN
Tbilisi, 1 Botanikuri St. Tel: (+995 32) 272 11 85 Fax: (+995 32) 272 34 09
E. AKHVLEDIANI HOUSEMUSEUM
GEORGIAN FOLK SONGS AND INSTRUMENTS’ MUSEU
Tbilisi, 6 Samgebro St. Tel: (+995 32) 245 77 20, (+995 32) 245 77 21
GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM
Tbilisi, 3 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 299 71 76, 298 48 11 Fax: (+995 32) 298 21 33
GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM-PICTURE GALLERY
Tbilisi, 11 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 298 48 14
GEORGIAN OLYMPIC MUSEUM
Tbilisi, 2 Dolidze St. Tel: (+995 32) 236 57 23, 236 57 20
Tbilisi, 22 Chubinashvili St. Tel: (+995 32) 295 02 60
K.MARJANISHVILI STATE ACADEMIC THEATRE’S MUSEUM
Tbilisi, 8 Marjanishvili St. Tel: (+995 32) 294 00 76
Tbilisi, 27/1 Leselidze St. Tel: (+995 32) 298 92 89
MIRZA FATALI AKHUNDOV AZERBAIJANIAN CULTURE MUSEUM
Tbilisi, 17 Gorgasali St. Tel: (+995 32) 272 15 71, 275 35 30
Tbilisi, 7 Erekle II St. Tel: (+995 32) 293 64 12 Fax: (+995 32) 298 90 13
Tbilisi, 12 Kiacheli St. Tel: (+995 32) 299 74 12
Tbilisi, 3/5 Leonidze St. Tel: (+995 32) 244 24 05, 244 24 06
PHOKANI - GALLERY OF PHOKA ST. NINO NUNNERY
FOLK AND APPLIED ARTS MUSEUM
NIKO PIROSMANASHVILI STATE MUSEUM
Tbilisi, 7 Bambis rigi Tel: (+995 32) 243 90 47, (+995 99) 597 60 51
Tbilisi, 28 Sh. Dadiani St. Tel: (+995 32) 299 97 22, (+995 32) 299 61 52
GEORGE CHITAIA THE OPEN AIR ETHNOGRAPHICAL MUSEUM
Tbilisi, 34 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 99) 573 17 30
RUSUDAN PETVIASHVILI`S GALLERY
Tbilisi, Kus tba highway 1 Tel: (+995 32) 272 90 46
Tbilisi, 29 Pirosmani St. Tel: (+995 32) 295 86 73
SH.AMIRANASHVILI STATE MUSEUM OF ARTS
Tbilisi, 1 Gudiashvili St. Tel: (+995 32) 299 99 09 Fax: (+995 32) 298 21 33
SH.RUSTAVELI ACADEMIC THEATRE’S MUSEUM
Tbilisi, 17 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 298 40 51
SIMON JANASHIA GEORGIAN MUSEUM
Tbilisi, 3 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 299 80 22 Fax: (+995 32) 298 21 33
SOVIET OCCUPATION MUSEUM
Tbilisi, 3 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 299 80 22 Fax: (+995 32) 234 86 51
STATE MUSEUM OF THEATRE, MUSEUM AND CINEMA
Tbilisi, 6 Kargareteli St. Tel: (+995 32) 295 19 00, 295 86 98
STATE SILK MUSEUM TBILISI
6 Tsabadze St. Tel: (+995 32) 234 09 67, 234 09 63 Fax: (+995 32) 234 09 67
TBILISI Z.PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET STATE THEATRE’S
Museum Tbilisi, 25 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: (+995 32) 293 37 43
Tbilisi, 17 Shavteli St. Tel: (+995 32)2 99 53 37, 299 65 11
VAKHTANG CHABUKIANI MUSEUM
Tbilisi, 83/23 Agmashenebeli St. Tel: (+995 32) 295 19 63 Fax: (+995 32) 223 70 25
Tbilisi, 10 Bakradze St. Tel: (+995 32) 299 81 16
THE NATIONAL CENTER OF MANUSCRIPTS,
1/3, M. Alexidze. Georgia,Tbilisi Tel.(+995 32) 236 41 85 Fax:(+995 32) 236 32 41 www. manuscript.ge
12 Chanturia str., 0108 Tbilisi, Georgia Tel: +995 32 433 433 +995 32 106 392 firstname.lastname@example.org www.investingeorgia.org
BUSINESS ROUND TABLE MEETING WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF LEADING TURKISH APPAREL MANUFACTURERS Georgian National Investment Agency is actively involved in the development of the Apparel industry. Why have you decided to work in this direction? One of decisive factors for picking up apparel sector development is that this is a labor intensive industry and companies involved are in need of young labor force. An average size would require a production with between 200 and 300 employees. Having in mind this factor we saw that Georgia more than satisfies this request across the entire country, and in particular in certain regions where the unemployment rate is higher. According to 2010 data the active population of Georgia was estimated to be around 2 million out of 4.4 million people with 16.3% unemployment rate. In addition, in Georgia, 27.5% of the unemployed population (86,625 people) is aged between 20 â€“34, therefore there is high percentage of young labor availability especially in the Guria region which is also strategically positioned to serve the local market as well as the nearby Turkish market. Besides the availability of the skilled and competitive labor force the country has long traditions in Apparel industry dating back to soviet times. During those times, textile and apparel manufacturing was far developed compared to other Soviet Republics. What is the current situation on the Georgian Apparel market? Which famous brands do place orders for local apparel manufacturers? Nowadays there are more than 200 apparel manufacturing companies in Georgia, about 95% of which are
MODI MAGAZINE HAD CHANCE TO MEET WITH DIRECTOR, GEORGIAN NATIONAL INVESTMENT AGENCY, MS. KETI BOCHORISHVILI AND REVEALED SOME INTERESTING ASPECTS OF APPAREL REVIVAL IN GEORGIA.
micro-enterprises. Five of these are Turkish investments based in Ajara and one is a significant Georgian investment in Kutaisi. The rest of companies are mainly located in Tbilisi. Combined, these firms employ approximately 5,000 workers, 85% of whom are women. Annual apparel and textile production has boosted since 2004, from about GEL 8 million in 2004 to around GEL 40 million in 2010. The success of Georgian apparel manufacturers is proved by the fact that many of the local companies have orders from renowned brands as Mexx, Zara, Marks &Spencer, Puma, Lotto, Lebek, Hawes & Curtis, Per una etcThe range of the clothes produced in Georgia is wide and includes: T-shirts, sportswear, shirts, blouses, blue jeans, coats, trousers, jackets, sweaters and uniforms for the Georgian police, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environment, and many other government organizations. In addition to the Government tenders, Georgian apparel companies supply uniforms to the private sector via custom orders. The main buyers are hotels, restaurants, banks, fuel stations, and other companies There are significant Turkish investments in Ajara region, why is Turkey so interested in Georgia and do Turkish apparel companies consider opening new factories in our country? Although Turkey is a world leader in the textile and apparel industry it still looks for the new investment opportunities and considers Georgia as a potential location for expansion of the production and opening new plants. Looking at Ajara region you will see that all five large apparel producers are Turkish investments. Turkish firms, in this context, view Georgia not only as a low-cost producer, but also as an export base that can provide it with access to consumer markets such as CIS, the US, and the EU. About 95% of Georgian apparel manufacturersâ€™ production is exported to their parent companies in Turkey, and then from Turkey to the EU markets. As already mentioned the end buyers are Marks & Spencer, Puma, Zara, Lotto, and others. I would point out that quite recently at the invitation of the Georgian National Investment Agency (GNIA) and the USAID-funded Economic Prosperity Initiative (EPI) program, the CEOs of several leading Turkish companies in the apparel industry visited Georgia from October 13- 16. The visit was lead by Mr. Cem Negrin, the chairman of the Turkish Clothing Manufacturers Association (TGSD). For us cooperation with TGSD is crucial as it has approximately 400 members, all of which are
What is the role of GNIA in the further advancement of Apparel sector?
12 Chanturia str., 0108 Tbilisi, Georgia Tel: +995 32 433 433 +995 32 106 392 email@example.com www.investingeorgia.org
The GNIA actively works on exploring and promoting the development potential of the apparel industry in Georgia. Concrete investment projects are on offer to investors in line with sector-specific studies. The Georgian companies are assisted in terms of establishing new business contacts and advancing export opportunities. Georgian National Investment Agency assists local apparel manufacturers to increase the production efficiency and volume, Could you briefly summarize those main factors why Georgia has a favourable business climate for apparel manufacturers?
The competitive advantages that Georgia offers to investors are rather attractive. Just to name a few the country offers skilled workforce and highly competitive labor costs. What is very important in terms of production is that there are low energy costs and good transportation links to CIS countries, Europe and Asia. Existence of Free Trade Agreement with Turkey and CIS countries (Inc. Russia) is another factor attracting many foreign companies in line with favorable taxes especially at Free Industrial Zone. Moreover developed infrastructure plays a certain role when foreign companies visit Georgia and consider business expansion opportunities here. TURKISH DELEGTION VISITING “ELSELEMA” APPAREL FACTORY leaders in the Turkish apparel industry and even if part of the companies are interested in starting business in Georgia it will create hundreds of additional jobs in our regions combined with inflow of new technologies and opening of factories. In frames of the business trip of Turkish apparel manufacturers some site visits were conducted to the regions of Georgia. Turkish delegation members visited the BTM Textile factory in the city of Batumi and were also given an opportunity to explore potential investment locations in the Guria region of Georgia.
In the end I would like to point out that Government of Georgia is considering to offer interested apparel manufacturers some incentives, such as: Government of Georgia will provide a land in the various areas throughout the whole Geor¬gia, mostly in the Guria region (western Georgia). The sole condition of the Accessible Land incentive will be the purpose of developing the textile business only on the proposed land for the next 7 years. Above that GoG will ensure full access to the nearest infrastructure network, including roads, electricity, water supply and natural gas. Water wells will be available on some land plots which is expected to decrease the project operational costs by decreasing the cost of the water by 10%. Georgia will reimburse onside labor training costs on the lump sum bases at the end of the first year
Could you name few of Turkish companies visiting Georgia and if they already have some operations in our country? Except for Turkey which are the other countries targeted by Georgian apparel manufacturers? The renowned Turkish companies visiting Georgia included Koton, Seleksiyon Tekstil, Negreti Tekstil, Ogretmen Corap (PENTI), and Istanbul. These are the companies who manufacture clothing for such wellknown brands like CAVALLI, SCERVINO, Zara, Mango, GAP, H & M. The production of the abovelisted manufacturers exceeds over a million units of clothing per month. Koton for instance already has two brand shops in Tbilisi and manufactures some part of its production at Georgian apparel company “ELSELEMA”. I should also note that this year the representatives of also renowned apparel company Kardem paid several visits to Georgia and placed orders for several local apparel manufacturers. In a view of diversified markets Georgian apparel sector mostly serves UK, German and Ukrainian markets.
LEADING TURKISH APPAREL MANUFACTURERS ATTENDING GEORGIA FASHION WEEK
12 Chanturia str., 0108 Tbilisi, Georgia Tel: +995 322 433 433/ +995 322 106 392 firstname.lastname@example.org www.investingeorgia.org
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The Venice Carnival - one of the greatest, loudest, most mysterious and democratic public celebrations of the world which has long become the worldwide show despite its traditional background. Every year in the environment of unforgettable spectacular and the world of indelible impressions more than half million tourists gather to see the sparkling Venice with torches and neon bulbs, heroes with masks riding gondolas, showers of candies and the performances of Commedia dell'arte... The Venice Carnival is an amazing synthesis of past myths and modern age where people go to realize their individuality, fantasy, dreams and wishes...
The Concert of George Michael in Paris -after the several year break George Michael, the world legend of the pop music returns to the stage together with a symphony orchestra. Palais Garnier - the so-called grand opera of Paris will be the final point where George Michael will close his grand European tour - Symphonica â€“ the Orchestral Tour. The repertoire is made up of the compositions from the best albums of George Michael and includes such world hits as Freeek, Shoot the Dog, Roxanne by The Police, Miss Sarajevo by U2 and Luciano Pavarotti, My Baby Just Cares for Me by Walter Donaldson, etc. The fans of George Michael should expect a great, unforgettable and the most impressive concert...
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year and direct the looks and hearing of milliards of fans from the four continents to Ukraine and Poland. On July 1, the excitement of the whole month will culminate at the Kiev stadium.
More than 1,4 million football fans are expected to appear at Euro 2012. Only 70 thousand of them will attend the main match at the Olympic Stadium of Kiev. With the help of TBC Prime Card you can be one of those lucky ones who can watch that live world show.
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jazz forums of Europe... Imagine the real Mecca, the fantastic festival which spreads to the tens of concert spaces of different sizes and in whole looks like a continually moving jazz town. The music never stops there, it goes from one stage to another and the audience is constantly in action because such names as Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan, Bootsy Collins, Tom Jones, etc. are familiar for the jazz festival of Rotterdam. The North Sea Jazz Festival embraces many other genres close to jazz and that's why the fans of swing, bebop, blues, fusion, funk, soul and hip-hop can also easily identify themselves there...
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* 27 27 www.tbcbank.ge
Relationship Based on Mutual Trust. By Keti Kublashvili Director, Agricom Ltd. Company Profile Agricom Ltd was founded in 2005. The company mainly focuses on grain trade, both import and export. More specifically, we mainly trade grain (80%), partially corn, soya, and other (20%). Grain is transported by sea and railway, and is mostly distributed in Georgia. However, we export a certain amount of the product to Armenia, the country that relies on import since it does not have a seaport. Our company has been an exclusive partner of BUNGE in Georgia since 2008 and does business directly with its office in Geneva. BUNGE is an American company established in 1818 and has an extensive experience in our field. 134
Can you talk a little about the reasons of establishing Agrikom in Georgia? I will try to be short. Many years ago, when private sector in Georgia was nonexistent, the country depended on donations and financial assistance for grain, in order to sustain itself. Donor nations were seeking companies to manage and distribute the product. Later, when private sector started to develop we decided to form a similar enterprise in order to help Georgia free itself from the permanent humanitarian assistance. The fact that our team had already had some experience working in a similar environment only helped. In 2005 Georgia was cut off of humanitarian assistance, giving us a chance to open up a for-profit organization. Are there any other similar companies currently operating in Georgia? Of course there are. I mean, there are big mills here. Some of them import and further process the product. But they neither distribute it to the local market, nor export. Thus, we were able to obtain quite a solid position as
an importer since we are the only exporting company in the field. We permanently share information and maintain relationship with all our partners. You know, our branch is a direct indicator of the countryâ€™s well-being. The final product of our operations is bread therefore it is absolutely necessary for us to work properly. Does the product produced in Georgia meet the local market demands? No when it comes to grain unfortunately. If we cite numbers, Georgia needs about 700750 thousand tons of grain annually. Local product makes up for only 10-15% of the demand. As you see, it is not nearly enough thus import is still essential. What can you tell us about your experience with Bank of Georgia? Bank of Georgia is one of the best and major partners of ours among other banks. Quite often we make decisions and work on various projects together. We hold consultations on a regular basis and share ideas. It was Bank of Georgia that helped us to strengthen the partnership with BUNGE. The most interesting part of our relationship is Commodity Trade Finance (CTF) that is a step forward in doing business. CTF is very popular in Europe and the US but not so much in Georgia. It requires great sense of confidence on the part of the bank and fulfillment of that confidence by the client. Certainly, the relationship is based on certain guarantees but still greatly depends on mutual trust. Our relationship with Bank of Georgia has always depended on mutual trust and understanding, up until today, and we hope to continue to work with the Bank that way in the future.
Georgia on The Crossroads of Civilizations
Published on Nov 27, 2011
It is as if this word reflects why Georgians find it unimaginable to do things on their own and invariably invite others to join in, welcome...