Georgia has a long history that spans 3,000 years. Inhabited since the Palaeolithic period, Georgia was divided into two regions between the sixth and the fourth centuries BC: Colchis to the west (western Georgia today), the mythical land of the Golden Fleece, and Iberia to the east (eastern Georgia). A strategic crossroads between East and West, Georgia was frequently invaded by enemy armies. It always knew how to keep its independence from the Arabs, Mongols and Turks, but could not resist colonisation by the Russian forces, whose invasion violated the Treaty of Guiorguievsk signed between Georgia and Russia in 1783. This treaty provided for a Russian military protectorate over Georgia, while ensuring the autonomy of the Georgian kingdom. In reality, however, Georgia was simply integrated into the Russian Empire. It regained its independence in 1918.
Photo: University of Batoumi © Georgian Parliament
- 1918 : Georgian independence.
- February 1921 : Occupation of Tbilissi by the Red Army, the end of Georgian independence.
- August 1924 : General insurrection against the Russian Bolshevik occupation.
- 1928/1931/1936/1956/1962 : Bloody repressions of the Georgian people, sparked by manifestations for independence.
- 1972 : Edouard Chevardnadze becomes the head of the Communist Party of Georgia.
- 1978 : Manifestation in Tbilissi in order to protect the Georgian language.
- April 9, 1989 : Brutal repression of a peaceful manifestation in the Georgian capital. 43 protesters were killed.
- 1990 : Victory of the “Round Table”, a coalition for independence, in the legislative elections. Zviad Gamsakhourdia becomes president.
- April 9, 1991 : Georgia gains its independence following the fall of the USSR.
- 1992 : Military putsch forces President Gamsakhourdia into exile. Unilateral declaration of independence by Abkhazia, thus starting a conflict with Georgia.
- 1993 : Russia gets invovled in the conflict. Accession to the Commonwealth of Independent States.
- 1999 : Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union
- November 5/ 23, 2003 : Rose Revolution.
- January 2004 : Mikheïl Saakashvili is elected President of Georgia. He promises to regain the separatist regions of Southern Ossetia and Abkhazie.
- 2006 : European Neighbourhood Policy with European Union.
- April 2008 : Russia shows its opposition to the accession of Georgia to NATO by increasing its support to the separatist regions of Southern Ossetia and Abkhazie.
- 2008 : Battles between Georgian troops and those of Southern Ossetia. Terrorist attacks are committed in Abkhazie, Russia accuses Georgia. Clashes occur at the Georgian and Abkhazian borders.
- August 15/16 2008 : Georgia and Russia sign a cease-fire negotiated by the French Presidency of the European Union .
- 2009 : protests against the presidential elections in Abkhazia by the European Union, the candidate and the potential countries to the EU, and the EFTA countries.
- 2011 : Visas and Readmission Agreements with the European Union.
Batoumi is the pearl of the Black Sea, hidden beneath the Caucus Mountains, with a population of 130,000 people. Capital of the autonomous region of Adjarie, Batoumi is an extremely important harbour city. The Greek geographer Flavius Arian named the harbour “Bathus,” which in Greek means “deep.”
Although an important harbour on the Black Sea, Batoumi is also known for its tourism. Thanks to its beautiful beaches, which are surrounded by majestic mountains, Batoumi is able to attract thousands of tourists each year.
© Autonomous Government of Adjara
Georgian Polyphonic Singing
On May 18, 2001 UNESCO proclaimed the Georgian Polyphonic Singing as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Polyphonic singing is a popular and secular tradition that plays a part in all the activities of daily life, from work songs, to songs of healing, to Christmas carols. The three types of Georgian polyphony are sung in three different regions. Georgian polyphony is astonishingly original and beautiful, with many different forms and genres. There are three types of polyphony: complex polyphony, very common in Svanetia; polyphonic dialogue over a bass background, prevalent in Kakheti in eastern Georgia; and contrasted polyphony with three partially improvised parts, found in the western part of the country.
© Tbilisi State Conservatoire
Georgian traditional dances are an ancient tradition. Although repeatedly invaded by the Persians, Mongols, Ottomans and Russians, Georgia has preserved its cultural identity. The rhythmic music for these dances is played with the dohol (doli), a two-skinned drum played with a stick and both hands.
Moreover, the multiple invasions helped to forge a unique musical culture, like the dance lezginka. Although shared by the peoples of the Caucasus, each country puts its own unique spin on the lezginka. This dance can be performed solo, in couples, or in groups. The men dance very fast, unlike the women, who almost appears to be floating above the ground, so that the couple will never touch.
It is likely that some of these dances have pagan roots. The festive aspect of Georgian culture has enabled the dancing tradition to be passed down over the centuries. Every occasion is an excuse to dance.
Picture: dancers © http://www.lezginka.net
Since the 4th century, Georgian culture has been based on the Christian faith. The country has always resisted several invasions over the centuries, partially thanks to its architecture and fortifications. The ancient fortified churches are altogether unique, especially the Bagrati Cathedral, the Mtskheta Monument, and the Haut Svanétie Fortress, which can be found on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Photo: Bagrati Catheral, World Heritage © Georgian Parliament