Why should visit Georgia?
Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia has attracted since the dawn of time, the variety of its landscapes and culture, adventurers and traders. Baron de Baye, a 19th century French archaeologist has defined the Georgians as a people who think that their guests are a gift offered by the gods "Not only beauty seems eternal in this country, but also, kindness, bravery, the honesty of the Georgian heart."
Here the present meets the past and modernity is fertilized by tradition. According to Greek legends, Jason and his Argonauts came here to search for the Golden Fleece. Georgia today is strongly rooted in its tradition and, at the same time, stands at the forefront of the former Soviet bloc countries seeking to access, without violence, the values of modern democracy.
During the whole of the 29th century, Georgia, a sort of compromise between the Riviera and Switzerland, was the favorite resort country of the peoples of Eastern Europe who sought high peaks, sunny beaches, good food and his art of living well.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the beauties of Georgia are opening to travelers in search of new spaces and a culture as surprising as ancient. From the shores of the Black Sea to the steep peaks of the Caucasus, from the rich vineyards of the eastern part of the country to the semi-desert lands, the natural beauties of Georgia and its extraordinary biological and climatic diversity make each visit a unique event.
The legend of Jason of the Argonauts who conquered the Golden Fleece with the help of the enchanting Medea finds a particular resonance in the centuries-old practice of the Svanetian mountaineers who collected powders and gold nuggets in the rivers on skins of sheep.
Archaeological excavations have revealed traces of viticulture in the Caucasus more than 8000 years ago. It is generally thought that the origin of the word wine comes from the Georgian word 'gvino'.
Georgia is home to more than 500 domestic grape varieties, more than any other wine country. The culture of the vine is alive and practical as a rite by almost all Georgian families.
Ancient Georgian traditional Qvevri wine-making method was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Qvevri wine-making is practised throughout Georgia, particularly in village communities where unique varieties of grapes are grown. The Qvevri is an egg-shaped earthenware vessel used for making, ageing and storing the wine. Knowledge and experience of Qvevri manufacture and wine-making are passed down by families, neighbours, friends and relatives, all of whom join in communal harvesting and wine-making activities. The wine-making process involves pressing the grapes and then pouring the juice, grape skins, stalks and pips into the Qvevri, which is sealed and buried in the ground so that the wine can ferment for five to six months before being drunk.
Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia for 1500 years. The legend places the foundation of the city at the place where King Vakhtang Gorgasali - Boar's head - found in a hot spring, in the 5th century AD, a pheasant that his hawk had slaughtered. The king ordered that the city be built around this spring. The name Tbilisi refers to the hot thermal water in Georgian. The architectural mix of the city reflects the wide variety of nationalities that through the ages have made Tbilisi their home. The old city has its Jewish, Azeri and Armenian neighborhoods at a stone's throw from one another.
The historic churches of Mtskheta, former capital of Georgia, are outstanding examples of medieval religious architecture in the Caucasus. They show the high artistic and cultural level attained by this ancient kingdom.
Founded in 1106 in the west of Georgia, the Monastery of Gelati is a masterpiece of the Golden Age of medieval Georgia, a period of political strength and economic growth between the 11th and 13th centuries. It is characterized by the facades of smoothly hewn large blocks, balanced proportions and blind arches for exterior decoration. The Gelati monastery, one of the largest medieval Orthodox monasteries, was also a centre of science and education and the Academy it housed was one of the most important centres of culture in ancient Georgia.
Preserved by its long isolation, the Upper Svaneti region of the Caucasus is an exceptional example of mountain scenery with medieval-type villages and tower-houses. The village of Chazhashi still has more than 200 of these very unusual houses, which were used both as dwellings and as defence posts against the invaders who plagued the region.
The Gerogian is one of the oldest living languages in the world and has its own alphabet. It belongs to the Kartvelian group, part of the Caucasian language family. Georgian writing appears in the 5th century. This is how we write in Georgian characters 'Saqartvelo' which is the name of Georgia:
Ⴑ Ⴀ Ⴕ Ⴀ Ⴐ Ⴇ Ⴅ Ⴄ Ⴊ Ⴍ (Used since 1st century BC)
ⴑ ⴀ ⴕ ⴀ ⴐ ⴇ ⴅ ⴄ ⴊ ⴍ (Used since IX century AD)
ს ა ქ ა რ თ ვ ე ლ ო (Used since XI century AD)
Living culture of three writing systems of the Georgian alphabet is inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Popular singing has a highly valued place in Georgian culture. Polyphonic singing, in the Georgian language, is a secular tradition in a country whose language and culture have often been oppressed by invaders.
The Chakrulo song, which is sung at ceremonies and festivals and belongs to the first category, is distinguished by its use of metaphor and its yodel, the krimanchuli and a “cockerel’s crow”, performed by a male falsetto singer. Some of these songs are linked to the cult of the grapevine and many date back to the eighth century. The songs traditionally pervaded all areas of everyday life, ranging from work in the fields (the Naduri, which incorporates the sounds of physical effort into the music) to songs to curing of illnesses and to Christmas Carols (Alilo). Byzantine liturgical hymns also incorporated the Georgian polyphonic tradition to such an extent that they became a significant expression of it.