Georgia – the country of remarkable history and culture. Its special geographical location justify the cultural identity that distinguish Georgia from other countries. On the one hand it is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and at the same time, Georgia occupies a central place in the Caucasus between the Black and Caspian Seas, where it has always played a significant role.
According to archaeological excavations in the territory of Georgia there are the first hominids in Europe 1.8 million years ago. It is believed that they were the first Europeans, and that Georgia is a country where they have spread to other parts of Europe.
Study the unique culture Shulavery (6000 – 4000 BC. Er.) showed that in Georgia, the first in the world, began to grow vineyards and wineries. Based on these facts, Georgia is considered the birthplace of winemaking. On the territory of Georgia are still encountered several dozen varieties of grapes, and Georgian wines are popular around the world.
Based on the special geographical location, Georgia from ancient times within the scope of interests of travelers and traders. Among them were the Argonauts – Greek sailors, a story about journeys which have survived to this day thanks to the Greek myths. The aim of the expedition of the Argonauts in Georgia has been associated with the task they are even seize the Golden Fleece. Myth of the Golden Fleece reflects the history of the early bonds of ancient Greece and Georgia. According to legend, the gold on the slopes of the Caucasus, in Georgia, was extracted by immersing in a sheep’s skin gold-water river. This method of gold mining still occurs in the mountains of Georgia – Svaneti region.
In ancient times, after the collapse of the Achaemenid Empire of Iran and Alexander of Macedon, Silk Road which connects Asia with Europe, was under threat. This influenced the fact that this road bypassing Syria and Iran, runs across Georgia. Influence from the west – first from Rome, and then her right heir to the Byzantine Empire, and at the same time, the influence from the East – from Iran and the Islamic Caliphate, as the spread of other oriental civilizations has enabled Georgia to be dedicated to the incredible cultural values. In Georgia, was created a unique alphabet, which is one of the 14 original scripts, known to date throughout the world. At the same time, Georgian architecture has reached unprecedented peaks, which is primarily manifested in a variety of churches and monasteries, most of which are still standing in Georgia. Next to the Georgian Orthodox Church can be seen Gregorian and Catholic churches, as well as Jewish synagogues and Muslim minarets.
In Georgia, in some cities, you can meet each other at a distance of less than 100 meters of churches of different religious denominations that historically characteristic of Georgian culture and a peaceful co-existence of different religions emphasizes tolerance of Georgian culture. Zenith of Georgian culture and statehood is the period of King David IV the Builder (1089-1125) and Queen Tamara (1184-1210), when the Georgian art, architecture and literature reached their highest recognition. XII century in the history of Georgia called Golden Era.
Despite the political disintegration and partial loss of independence in the XIII-XVIII centuries, Georgian culture remain to be selected for its rich tradition and revival of regional centers, in different ways reflected in all the historical parts of Georgia.
From 1801 to 1991, despite the first conquest of Georgia by the Russian Empire and then the Soviet regime, Georgian culture has preserved its traditions and protect themselves from extinction.
In 1991, Georgia regained its independence (from the first it happened in 1918, but that time only three years), and 2003 after the Rose Revolution, it became the path of economic development, as well as reconstruction and establishment of the European tradition culture. This in turn led to a revival of tourism in Georgia.
Rich Georgian culture makes it even more interesting traditional distinction and diversity of historical regions of the country. Culture of these regions in Georgia that are in the same time historical provinces of the country, they differ from each other with life and traditions. But at the same time they add each other and together create a multiface Georgian culture. For example, Kakheti known for ancient tradition of winemaking; Kartli region – for many ancient and medieval cities (Uplistsikhe, Dzalisi, Mtskheta, Tbilisi, Samshvilde); Javakheti – unique healing spas and mineral waters, Abkhazia and Adjara – the seaside resorts; Samegrelo – a variety of beautiful dishes; Imereti – historical monuments, Svaneti – unique medieval towers, Racha-Lechkhumi – unforgettable mountains, etc.
And all these historic regions of Georgia unites the rich history and unique cultural heritage, the variety of recipes and widely known of all Caucasians, hospitality – all these features for centuries was admired and still admire visitors to Georgia.
Bronze era- The rise of culture; high quality weapons and tools; Gold, silver, ritual tools, jewelry with expensive stones were approaching the masterpieces.
At the end of II century B.C. began the usage of iron; the tight links with Antic period Greece in the cultural, political and economic fields; the myths about Prometheus and Argonauts;
Creation of state from II millennium, capital of which lied in Kolkhida; Domestic silver money -“Kolkhuri Tetri”.
From the beginning of IV millennium new city-states emerged along the Black Sea shore: Fazisi, Dioskuria (now Sukhumi). Meanwhile significantly strengthened Kolkhida was constantly threatened by the outside invasions, mainly resulted by its geo-political location. Despite of being so-called “Connecting Bridge” all along its rich history between East and West, Georgia was and still is more pro-western, which definitely had great influence on the formation of Georgian culture.
In the III century B.C. the Kingdom of Iberia was established. The king Farnavazi, who has founded royal dynasty, is also known as the Great King who has created first original Georgian Alphabet.
As time passed on new changes were brought by the wind, which has put people before a great discovery and changed their mentality totally. It had opened and flourished human’s hidden nature and shifted towards spiritual freedom- Christianity.
The pioneers of the Christian religion preaching were Andre and Simon. However St. Nino was the first to spread it throughout Georgia. According to the legend Christ’s initial dressing was brought to capital Mtskheta and sacred light has illuminated the area from the sky. The same area was later in eleventh century decorated by the King
Vakhtang Gorgasali (later founded future capital-Tbilisi) with beautiful cathedral which he built during his reigning period
Consequently Bagartioni dynasty came to rule. This period was exceptional as the number of tremendous cathedrals was built in Georgia by Giorgi Khandzteli, which was the key for creation of great respect towards the spiritual and state bodies, lately shrinking the process of Georgian Renaissance.
In the year 1089 16 years old David became a King, ho was later called by people “Builder” as he created the strongest and most prosperous Georgian state, winning legendary battles. At the time Georgian kingdom was one of the most powerful states in the region. Interestingly enough to notice, that such powerful and strong king at the end of his life was tortured by remorse of his sins and has written “Galobani Sinanulisani” (book depicting his private life) and has asked in his will to be buried at entrance of cathedral so everybody who enters the temple stepped on his heart. During the same period Khakhuli cathedral’s St. Mary miraculous icon was drawn, which was decorate with expensive stones donate by the Kind David “The builder”. The cultural centers and contemporary writings were also on the rise-up. (Ikalto, Gelati and Gremi academies were founded).Georgian cathedrals were built in Jerusalem, Anthon, Sin Mountain and literature masterpiece, poem “Vephvistkaosani” written by Shota Rustaveli.
The renaissance period had the astonishing King, the muse for the following generations, Queen Tamar, woman of gorgeous beauty, has always led the army barefooted. Both King David and Queen Tamar were acknowledged as the saints by the Georgian Orthodox church.
Thirteen’s century brought new wave of invaders to the country-Mongolians. A century of battling with them significantly weakened the Georgia Kingdom. Separated to the small kingdoms itself, Georgia was ruled by many Kings, until new great partner emerged – Russia. However, bilateral relations were not the perfect, as the Russia was always reluctant to fulfill its obligations flowing from negotiations between states, which eventually led to the Georgians starting the resistance in the late 1900 and whole 20 century against Russian influence.
I ndependence of Georgian state did not last longer than from 1918 till 1921; however it regained its sovereignty recently -1991.
The road of Georgia was always that difficult, counting the time from early ancient to nowadays which awakes the question how could such a small country survive? The answer is simple as that – faith. Conquerors never asked Georgians more than denying their faith.