For centuries, European, Eastern, and other cultures have encountered each other in Georgia, located at the intersection of Europe and Asia. The juxtaposition of their unique qualities and Georgian creativity has led to the development of a diverse and unique culture. This country will surprise you with its combination of antiquity and modernity, and with its cultural heritage monuments and sights, in which centuries-old traditions are brought to life.
Despite its war-torn history at the hands of would-be conquerors, Georgia has maintained its unique language and writing system, as well as its literary, architectural, musical, and choreographic arts, its gastronomic and winemaking traditions through countless centuries of battle for being itself.
The question is, what should you experience and see in Georgia to understand Georgian culture within a few short days of vacation?
Many visitors to Georgia start their cultural acquaintance with a supra (feast) and the delicious Georgian cuisine.
The country, which has been cultivating vine and making wine for more than 8,000 years, is renowned for its tradition of feasting and treating guests.
A supra in Georgia accompanies both joyful and sad events. At a supra, you will get the chance to hear locals at their most authentic, as they discuss what they love, how they are loved, and their hopes for the future. At a supra you sing, dance, recite poems, exchange ideas, and of course, make friends.
At the supras given for you in various parts of Georgia, you will try the food and drinks typical for this very region. What better way to learn how to understand and appreciate a new place?
Georgian songs are as ancient as Georgia itself. Here, every region has its own sound, but all share one thing in common: structured polyphony.
Georgia was one of the first places in the Christian world to lay the groundwork for three-part harmonies in church music.
In 1977, NASA sent the “Golden Record” into space, on which were recorded masterpieces of human creativity, including “Chakrulo,” a treasure of Georgian folk polyphony. Georgian polyphony has also been listed as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO since 2008.
Another gem of Georgian culture is its dance. Its performances depict stories about love, war, beliefs, and work. When the unique features of Georgian dance are discussed, the first things noted are always the flexibility of the men and the elegance of the women.
The monuments, houses, fortresses, decorations, frescoes, and ornamentation that you will encounter in every village, mountain, or valley of the country demonstrate the richness of Georgian culture.
The development of religious architecture began in the 4th century, with the spread of Christianity in Georgia.
Being at the crossroads of various religions, Georgia has always strived towards the West culturally. By accepting Christianity, the country defined its ultimate direction. In today’s Georgia, there are many well-preserved medieval Christian monuments.
Multiple world-renowned archaeological finds have been discovered within Georgia.
The discovery of 8,000-year-old grape pips in Gadachrili Gora (Marneuli Municipality, Kvemo Kartli Region) became a worldwide sensation, as they were definitive proof that Georgia is the homeland of winemaking. This means that wild vines were first domesticated by the locals, who later made wine from those cultural grapes in special clay vessels - Qvevri.
In Georgia, you can see the ruins of ancient cities that used to be a home for a developed, thriving society. In the Hellenistic Period, when a new world civilization was born, a global trade route passed through Georgia, bringing urbanization to the country.
A few dozen languages in the world have their ancient writing system, but only around twenty have their alphabet, of which Georgia is one of the oldest. Our writing system is believed to have been created in the 3rd century BCE.
The Georgian alphabet has taken three different forms throughout its history: Asomtavruli, Nuskhuri, and Mkhedruli, with the latter remaining in use to this day. In 2016, UNESCO inscribed all three forms of the Georgian alphabet on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Ancient examples of Georgian writing are kept in the Georgian State Museum.
We could go on forever about Georgian culture, but seeing and hearing is better than reading. That’s why you should visit Georgia’s cities, villages, and churches, share in Georgian folklore and traditions, look around the museums, browse the bazaars of handmade objects, attend performances, watch Georgian films, sample Georgian wine, and try Georgian foods. Then, you will be able to answer the question, “Why Georgia?”.