Art and culture
Art and culture

Georgia is a country with ancient and rich original culture which goes back as far as millennia. Its knowledge and recognition has crossed national borders and entered the international level to become the cultural legacy of the mankind.

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Georgian monumental architecture, world-renowned art of singing and music, book miniature, rich spiritual and secular literature, colorful dances, jewelry, chasings and paintings along with the hospitable Georgian people are inalienable part of this ancient country.

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The original geographical position of Georgia on the border between European and Asian continents reflected on its culture which absorbed Near-Eastern, European and local Caucasian traditions. The important trading ways crossing the territory of Georgia and connecting the north with the south, and the east with the west were the source of penetration for the elements of new cultures, traditions, trends, tendencies, doctrines etc. Deliberate wisdom of the Orient and progressing dynamism of the West met there in Georgia.

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The period of the 11th - the 12th centuries were the Renaissance of Georgian state when monks in academies, churches and monasteries put forward new humanistic ideas. Even during the Middle Ages philosophy and historiography, theology and law, poetry and art prospered in Georgia . Architecture, astronomy, geography and other branches of knowledge were being developed. Applied art began to arise; especially jeweler's business and art of metals processing (chasing) which still prosper.

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Blossoming of secular culture occurred in the 19 th century when Georgian writers and artists under the influence of European enriched the treasury of national and world art. The most considerable place n the treasury of spiritual culture of Georgian people is occupied by musical and dancing folklore - art of harmonious choral singing and national dances recognized all over the world.

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The traditional Georgian applied art is mainly represented by high art items from ceramics, metal, wood, and bones. Georgia is famous for its fine jewelry, engraving on metal, armory.

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The first samples of ceramic ware appeared in the territory of Georgia in the 7th millennium BC. Later, in the 4th-3rd millennia BC along with ceramics there emerged first metal items. The first silver objects found in the territory of Georgia are dated back the 3rd millennium BC. The quantity of jewelry increased in the next millennium. At that time the jewelry business reached its blooming. The jewelers mastered the art of filigree, stamping, and molding to perfection.

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But the art's apogee came in the 11th-13th centuries. The period of numerous conquests affected Georgian applied arts. It was under the influence of European, Persian, and Asian art but managed to preserve the traditional techniques and deep national content.

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From ancient times Georgian craftsmen used enamels when processing precious metals. This art was greatly developed in the 9th-12th centuries. Enamel, especially of plaque-a-jour type, was used for decoration of both religious and secular purpose: church utensils, tableware, belts, rings, and necklaces. Even now this art has not lost its power; Georgian masters continue applying the enameling techniques.

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Literature

The first Georgian literary monuments are related to the 5th century AD. It is church literature of early Christianity – lives of the martyrs and saints, various treatises. Later went folklore – legends about heroes and didactic poems.

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The blooming of Oriental ( Persia , in particular) literature strongly influenced the development of Georgian literature. During the epoch of the early Middle Ages epic products of lyrical character about unfortunate love inspired by Firdausi's creativity and other authors appeared. The symbol of Georgian fiction is the epic poem “The Hero in Tiger Skin” by Shota Rustaveli written in the 12th century.

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The most significant contribution to the literary heritage of Georgia was also made by Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani, the author of Georgian thesaurus (the 18 th century), Elijah Chavchavadze, Alexander Kazbegi and Acacias Tsereteli (the 19 th century), Galacteon Tabidze (“The Moon of Mtatsminda”, “The Wind is Blowing”), Constantine Gamsakhurdia ("The Right Hand" – the 20th century).

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Novels of Nodar Dumbadze, great Georgian writer of 20th century, tell about simple and wise men, filled with folk humor and deep philosophy. Works of Dumbadze "Me, Grandma, Iliko and Ilarioni", "The White Banners", "The Law of Eternity" were published in 94 languages.

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Painting and architecture

Georgian painting is represented by the works of such masters as legendary Niko Pirosmani, Gigo Gabashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili, Cornelius Sanadze, Elena Akhvlediani, Sergey Kobuladze, Simon Virsalasze and Ekaterina Bagdavadze. Among famous Georgian sculptors are Eldudzha Amashukeli, Irakli Ochiauri and Zurab Tsereteli.

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Theatre

Georgian dramaturgy goes back to the mid-19 th century. Its founder is the writer, translator and theater figure Georgi Eristavi (1811–1864).

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In Georgia there are more than 30 theatres. The most popular of are in Tbilisi: the Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Z.Paliashvili, S. Rustaveli State Academic Drama Theater well-known in the modern theatre world for as of the most creative and talented company, the State Academic Drama Theatre named after K.Mardzhanishvili which marked its 50 th anniversary, Griboedov State Russian Drama Theatre, the State Music Theatre named after V.Abashidze.

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Cinema

The birth of Georgian cinema is related to the beginning of the 20 th century. The first film was made in 1912. Back then nobody knew that Georgian movies would be recognized all over the world.

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Georgian film directors such as Eldar Shengelaya (“Shirekilebi”), Georgi Chkheidze (“Pirosmani”), Tengiz Abuladze (trilogy "Entreaty", “The Tree of Wishes”, "Penitence"), Otar Ioseliani (“The Favorites of the Moon” and many others), Irakli Makharadze (“Wild West Riders – Georgian Artful Horsemen”), Georgi Danelia (“Cheer Up!”, “Mimino” and many others) have received a number of international awards. Their works were included into a treasury of the world cinema.

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Georgia gave birth to very talented actors such as Veriko Andzhaparidze, Kakhi Kavsadze, Sfiko Chiaureli, Vakhtang Kikabidze and others.

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Museums

Georgia has about 100 museums. In Tbilisi alone there are more than 20 of them. The major museum of the country is the State Museum of Georgia named after Simon Dzhanashia transformed in 1919 from the Caucasian Museum (founded in 1852).

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There you will see the largest collection of Georgian culture monuments: material culture objects whose age starts from the epoch of the lower Paleolith – tools, arrowheads and spears, utensils, ancient ornaments as well as handicrafts from different areas of Georgia, the collection of coins both from Georgia and the countries of the Near East. The Museum is divided into geological, biological, zoological sectors as well as the ones dedicated to contemporary history of Georgia.

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The second largest museum is the State Museum of Fine Arts named after S.Amiranashvili. Its “golden fund” contains the richest collection of ancient Georgian artifacts (including well-known enamels of the Khakhul triptych and the central enamel icon of the Mother of God) along with Russian, Soviet, West European and Oriental art.

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Worth visiting are the National Picture Gallery, the State Museum of Modern Fine Arts, the State Museum of Folk and Applied Arts, the Museum of Georgian Literature, Tbilisi Historical Museum named after I. Grishashvili, the State Museum of Music, Theatre and Cinema, N.Pirosmani's State Memorial Museum, the History-Ethnography Museum with the collection of ancient Georgian dwellings.