Georgian culture is an exotic, mysterious and ancient culture stretching back for millennia. Elements of Anatolian, European, Persian, Arabian, Ottoman and Far Eastern cultures have influenced Georgia’s own ethnic identity resulting in one of the most unique and hospitable cultures in the world. Georgian culture is world renowned for being accommodating and tolerant. Traditionally, Georgian people consider guests to be a gift from god and their welcoming amiability is immediately apparent upon a traveler’s arrival.
Georgia’s strategic geographic location between Europe and Asia is one of the primary reasons for its diverse, yet distinct, cultural features. Its vector on the historic Silk Road enabled important trade connecting the north, south, east and west. This junction of commerce along with Georgia’s own bounty of resources combined to form a definitive amalgamation of cultures.
Throughout history, pockets of isolation in the remote mountain areas have maintained much of their primeval peculiarity. These gems of antiquity offer the tourist a glimpse into the authentic Georgian condition.
One marvels at the uncanny combination of Georgia’s ancient and modern characteristics. Stark progress in recent years has spawned impressive infrastructural development while bolstering cultural and historic preservation making all that Georgian culture has to offer easily accessible.
Recognition of Georgian culture has piqued international interest placing Georgia at the forefront of heritage tourism and research to become one of the great cultural legacies of the modern world
Georgian monumental architecture, world famous polyphonic singing and traditional music, book miniature, rich spiritual and secular literature, colorful folk dances and ballet, theatre and cinema, jewelry, metal works, enamels, and paintings all bear trademark qualities of this ancient culture.
The period between the eleventh and twelfth centuries was the Renaissance of the 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, all flourished in Georgia.
Architecture, astronomy, geography and other disciplines of knowledge were being developed. Applied art from this period forward, especially jewelry manufacturing and the art of metallurgy (chasing), still prospers today.
Blossoming of secular culture occurred in the nineteenth century when Georgian writers and artists, influenced by European trends, enriched the treasury of national art. Two of the most significant entries in the treasury of spiritual Georgian culture are the traditions of musical and dancing folklore.
Today, Georgian culture is richer than ever. For any traveler seeking a completely original destination with diverse cultural influence, Georgia is an accessible and affordable choice.
Georgian social culture is encapsulated in a single ceremonial feast of traditional Georgian cuisine, multitudes of Georgian wine and the traditional Georgian toastmaster – “Tamada”. This banquet is called “Supra”.
These convivial gatherings often last from early afternoon well into the early morning. Toasts are delivered by Tamada which can last upwards of thirty minutes. During the interim while Tamada is speaking, drinking is prohibited. Once Tamada sits, the remaining guests at the table are required to offer additional toasts pertaining to the same topic. Topics include nationalism, the dead, the living, parents, children, friends, nature and, most popular, god.
Once everyone has contributed to the toast, Tamada raises his glass to the others. A scuffle to make sure everyone’s glasses touch before drinking is common. It is impolite to touch glasses at the top and guests often compete to touch each other’s glass lower, sometimes resulting in an extended “touch off” wherein several minutes of glass touching occurs until Tamada is satisfied that all guests at the table have touched glasses at least once in the appropriate manner. It is frowned upon to leave the table for any reason without implicit permission from Tamada.
Tamada then proclaims “Bolo mde!” to which the guests retort “Bolo mde!” which translates to “until the end” – meaning drink the entire glass until it’s gone.
Appropriate activities occurring between toasts are light conversation, political brawls, repeated hugging and kissing, and most importantly, polyphonic singing and/or European style guitar songs usually sung by everyone at the table, if not the room.
The primary function of these dinner gatherings is to celebrate birthdays, death days, religious holidays, funeral wakes and other social occasions. However, none of the aforementioned are required in order to warrant Supra. The only requirement is a gathering of two or more, as much wine as is on hand and the willingness to drink until it’s gone.
Georgian Applied Art
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. Read more...
Music and Dances (folklore)
There are just a few countries in the entire world with such a developed choral culture as in Georgia . The national originality of Georgian people fully is fully reflected in harmonious singing. Read more...
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. Read more...
Painting and Architecture
Georgian painting is represented by the works of such masters as legendary Niko Pirosmani... Read more...
Georgian dramaturgy goes back to the mid-19 th century. Its founder is the writer, translator and theater figure Georgi Eristavi (1811–1864). Read more...
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. Read more...
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). Read more...