A Little About Georgia

Welcome to Georgia, shusshin (birthplace) of Tochinoshin, Gagamaru, and wine. Yes, that bacchanalian beverage, perfected in the hills of France, was domesticated in the Caucasus. Georgian wines are a favorite among my Russian and Eastern European friends. I believe that is why it is such a prize for Vladimir Putin (as well as the resorts Crimea). The Russian Olympic venue at Sochi was a stone’s throw from Georgia. A quick visit to the website for the National Tourism Administration shows several pictures of cultural treasures and amazing vistas.

Mtskheta, Georgia

Tochinoshin is from Mtskheta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site was put on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2009 but removed from that list in 2016, noting work done and the commitment by the State Party to the preservation of the site. This month, a UNESCO monitoring mission is headed to Mtskheta to “assess current conditins at the property.” Tachiai will report on findings.

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I must admit, the description from the tourism company, VisitGeorgia.GE is enticing: “Situated at the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers, Mtskheta has been a site of human settlement since at least the second millennium BC. The town is named after Mtskhetos, son of Kartlos – the legendary progenitor of the Georgian people. Already a town of some significance in pagan times, it gained importance as the site of the first Christian church in Georgia. Today it is no longer the capital of the country, but it is still the spiritual capital and home to two of Georgia’s greatest churches – Svetitskhoveli and Jvari.

While I was growing up, Georgia was a part of the Soviet Union. When the Communist block dissolved, Georgia declared independence. However, that independence has been fraught with conflict as Russian loyalists, primarily in the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, continue to try to break away with Russian help. The breakout of heavy fighting and war in 2008 has yielded to an uneasy peace as Western war correspondents have embedded themselves in other Russian proxy battles from Crimea to Syria. It’s difficult to get a sense of the status quo in Tblisi. The most recent article I could find was this from Politico: “Vladimir Putin’s mysterious moving border.”

11 thoughts on “A Little About Georgia

    • What kind of food do they have? I’ve had Bulgarian food and there’s an awesome Russian restaurant in DC called Mari Vanna.

      • The dumplings are great. As are all the stews. Walnut and pomegranate are quite big ingredients and used really well. Oh and the Georgian bread called Khachapuri is melt in the mouth. Wine is fantastic too.

  1. Mtskheta sounds like a cool place. If you hop in a car there, an hour’s drive will take you to Gori, another Georgian town – famous as the birthplace of one Josif Vissarionovich Dzugashvili – the most vile human that ever lived.

    What does this have to do with Tochinoshin? Nothing. But it’s not to be forgotten if choosing to write about Georgia, no?

  2. The two regions(South Ossetia and Abkhazia) broke up with Georgia because ultranationalists(with the blessings of EU and USA) came up to power in Tbilisi after the break-up of the USSR.Let’s not forget that ”little” detail.

    • The news seems more concerned with keeping me up-to-date on the latest addition to Clan Kardashian than events in the region they, and many Americans, came from. (I’d be curious to see journalists covering St. Patrick’s Day parades in the US polled on the pronunciation and meaning of the word Taoiseach.) I admit that the only Georgian politician I know is Mikhael Saakashivili. I know he was president for a long time and is now in exile, and a politician in Ukraine, but I do not know whether he was an ultranationalist.

      • Saakashvilli also embraced the ultranationalist agenda of returning the break up regions by force.I was talking about guys like Zviad Gamsakhurdia,the first president of post-soviet Georgia.He promoted the policy of an ethnically ”clean” Georgia (in a multinational country ).Pushing a nationalist agenda in multi-ethnic country?That’s a hell of recipe for civil war and destruction.

        • Not many leaders welcome the breakup of their country. If Putin tries to regain control of break away countries, like Ukraine and Georgia, is he “embracing the ultranationalist agenda of returning the break up regions by force?”

          • I don’t think that he has this agenda. Crimea was annexed,but the people wanted the unification with Russia,unlike with Abkzhazia and South Ossetia which didn’t .Plus Putin(By the way I’m not his supporter or fan) wasn’t talking about an ethnically ”pure ” Crimea or Ukraine . It’s not about welcoming the break up of your country.Georgia would be unified if they continued the soviet policy of equal rights to all ethnic groups(Which the official soviet policy ,by the way).Yet the choose the line to deny the rights of the other peoples living in the country ….So,not much else to say.This was a major recurring theme unfortunately ,after the break of the Soviet Union.Nationalists gaining power in republics and civil wars breaking up.


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