History, Art & Culture

History

Georgia was first unified as a kingdom under the Bagrationi dynasty by the King Bagrat III of Georgia in the 9th to 10th century, arising from a number of predecessor states of ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia. The kingdom of Georgia flourished during the 10th to 12th centuries under King David IV the Builder and Queen Tamar the Great, and fell to the Mongol invasion by 1243, and after a brief reunion under George V the Brilliant. By 1490, Georgia was fragmented into a number of petty kingdoms and principalities, which throughout the Early Modern period struggled to maintain their autonomy against Ottoman and Persian domination until Georgia was finally annexed by the Russian Empire in 1801. After a brief bid for independence with the Democratic Republic of Georgia of 1918–1921, Georgia was part of the Trans-Caucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic from 1922 to 1936, and then formed the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic until the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The current republic of Georgia has been independent since 1991. The first president Zviad Gamsakhurdia stoked Georgian nationalism and vowed to assert Tbilisi’s authority over Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The new government under Mikheil Saakashvili after the Rose Revolution in 20013 prevented the secession of a third breakaway republic in the Adjara crisis of 2004, but the conflict with Abkhazia and South Ossetia led to the 2008 Russo–Georgian War and tensions with Russiaremain unresolved.
Nowadays, president of Georgia since 2012 is Mr. George Margvelashvili.

In 337 Georgia adopted Christianity. Mirian, the King of Kartli, declared Christianity the state religion of Georgia. The conversion of Georgia is ascribed to Nino from Capadocia. Thus, the Georgian Orthodox Church is the oldest in the East. In the 5th century the Georgian Church gained autocephaly (became independent). In the 20 is of the 11th century the Georgian Patriarchate – the sixth in the world – was formed.

Population by Religion:
Christian Orthodox 75% (Georgian Orthodox 65%, Russian Orthodox 10%),
Muslim 11%,
Armenian Apostolic 8%,
Others 6%.

Art

Among the Georgian best-known paintings, there are works of Pirosmani, a self-taught artist born in 1862 with his charming and naive style. Many of his works are exhibited in Paris. Till now only about 200 masterpieces survived out of 2,000 Pirosmanis paintings. Among the 20 th century artists should be mentioned: Kikodze, Zura Bandzeladze and Parjiani, who managed to create and implement new ideas in the Georgian art.
As for the sculptures in Georgia, traditionally large figurative sculpture was not acceptable for Georgian Christian Orthodox Church. However, super artistry was produced by Georgian sculptors during the centuries in stone carving. Carving techniques developed together with metal working from the very beginning of 5th century. Contact with the Roman and Hellenistic, later with Persian influences was shaped and molded in Georgian original style. Interesting elements of Sculpture appear during incorporation of Christian elements with Pagan motifs. Monumental sculpture is a feature of Georgia s 20th century artistic scenery.

Many of the Georgian churches are decorated with frescos, which are largely based on Byzantine traditions. The best frescos are those, preserved in the churches of Ateni Sioni, Kintsvisi, Timotesubani and Ubisi; in the cave monasteries of Bertubani and Udabno (at David-Gareja) and Vardzia, as well as in Svaneti.

Georgia is one of the countries, with its own writings. Here were born persons, whose talent captured the world. The oldest Georgian written works date back to the 4th century AD and all evidences strongly indicate that the written Georgian language existed even before Georgia adopted Christianity as its official religion. Christianity served as a powerful incentive for developing Georgian literature. Jakob Tsurtaveli wrote The “Martyrdom of Saint Shushanik”, in 470, an original hagiographic work, demonstrating high literary standards of a pre-Christian writing tradition. Georgian literature had an exclusively religious character over the next six centuries.

By end of 19 th and beginning of 20 thcentury Ilia chavchavadze and his associates revised the reality in Georgian literature, criticizing passive life of the Georgian noblemen and population; fighting against reification national features and heritage of Georgia . Georgian people consider Ilia Chavchavadze as a father of Nation. He was killed by Russian agents for his active life. Therefore, we should also remember the most respected and beloved Georgian poets Vazha Pshavela, and Akaki Tsereteli; The representatives of the period of literary innovations, a part of symbolist movement that started in 20ies of the 20th century, were Paolo Iashvili, Kolau Nadiradze, Titian Tabidze, Valerian Gaprindashvili. Among the most popular 20th-century poets are symbolists Galaktion Tabidze, (Georgian Bodler ) ; Lado Asatiani beloved for his sensible and lyric style, Ana Kalandadze and others.

Georgia has a wonderful and highly distinctive tradition of polyphonic singing that is at least 2000 years old, maybe 3000, predating Christianity which arrived in Georgia in 326 AD. It is a polyphonic tradition, which means that the voices sing in multi-part, usually unaccompanied, harmony. There’s also a kind of modern folk music, known as ‘urban music’, which has developed in the recent hundred years and can now be heard in every car and bar of Georgia. It has catchy tunes and sentimental lyrics, sung in simple harmony to guitar accompaniment. The most famous of these songs is Suliko, which was Stalin’s favorite
Theater, ballet, folk and classic music, Georgia has it all. The beauty of the culture..

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