Georgian culture and tradition goes far back in history and is characterized by its's ancient heritages, geographical location, Christianity, art and folklore . 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.
Hospitality and table-tradition
Georgian people are known for their strong and unconditional hospitality, and for Georgians the guest is literally sent from God. The Georgian hospitality is well reflected in the significant Georgian table-tradition. Georgias splendid kitchen is charac-terized by sophistication and variation. You will easily find more than 20 different types of dishes at the table during a Georgian feast (supra), accompanied by wine in big quantities. Tamada is leading the table, proposing all the toasts through improvised speaches, songs and poetry, and everyone who wish may take the word following up tamada's toast. A real Georgian table is lasting for hours and hours.
Vintage is a special and cheerful holiday for Georgians accompanied by songs and dances. The The vintage is delivered for processing to a special room called “maranii” – winery – and placed into a big vat – “satskhaneli” - a hollowed tree trunk. Usually grapes (together with peel and seeds) are feet-pressed. This is the gentlest way to obtain juicy pulp because the seeds remain intact and do not give the wine strong bitter taste. The resulting pulp of grapes is placed into kvevri, a huge clay jug, for fermentation. These jugs are dug in the earth with the jug hole at floor level. It provides constant temperature during fermentation. Fermentation periods are different for red and white wines.
Folk-songs and dances
The Georgian folk songs have their origin back in pre-christian time. They have been handed over from master to pupil and from group to group through generations. The songs are related to social/cultural traditions, with content ranging from love and religion to work and feast. They cover the musical specter from the most intimate to the very masculine. Georgian folk songs are normally three part songs characterized by improvisation and polyphony. For Georgian harmonies are characteristic special three-voice vocal techniques. In 1976, the U.S. space agency NASA sent unto space Georgian song “Chakrulo” as an example of musical abilities of mankind.
In Georgia there is such a concept as “dancing dialect”. It means that each region of Georgia has its special manner of dancing such as Kakhetian, Kartalian, Svanetian, Mingrelian, Imeretin, Gurian, Adzharian,Mtiulian etc.
The State Symphony Orchestra and a number of folk song and dance ensembles such as “Erisioni” and "Rustavi", ‘’Sukhishvilebi’’ are known all over the world.
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.
Painting, enamel, textile, ceramic, fresco, metalwork, goldsmith and stonecarving are the most traditional and developed part of the Georgian visual art. Here the traditional Georgian ornaments is important both aestheticly and symbolicly. The tradition of ceramics, metalworks and goldsmiths goes back to antiquity. Today enamel and goldsmiths are among the most widespread of the Georgian visual arts.
Georgia is mentioned as "the country of poetry", hosting noumerous poets. The Georgian language has it's own alphabet and is very suitable for poetry. The first examples of Georgian poetry goes back to the 9th century and the written hymnography. In the 12th century Shota Rustaveli wrote his master- piece The Knight in the Tiger's Skin, which is regarded as the Georgian national poem. This is an extensive poem touching the major philosophical and human aspects of live. In addition to Rustaveli, the most famous Georgian poets are Vaja Pshavela, Akaki Tsereteli, Nikoloz Baratashvili and Galaktion Tabidze.
Z.Paliashvili Opera and Ballet Theatre
The main temple of art in Tbilisi is a spectacular tall structure in strict Mauritian style with turrets, arches and stained-glass windows. The front entrance from the facade is decorated by a intricate molding. The theatre is one of the gems of Rustaveli Avenue.
Shota Rustaveli Theater
The Shota Rustaveli Theatre in Tbilisi is one of the most famous theaters in Georgia. It was founded in 1921. The theater building, constructed in 1899 in the Golovin Avenue, now is named after the great Georgian poet and statesman of the XII century Shota Rustaveli.Today the Shota Rustaveli Theatre is one of the leading theaters of Georgia. Here you can watch performances, magnificent in intensity of emotions, written by world-famous playwrights, and performed by the best Georgian thespians. The Shota Rustaveli Theatre attracts attention with its exquisite architecture. The rectangular building of the theater with arches and glass windows creates an effect of its lightness and ethereality. The theater’s outer walls feature the murals with images of mythical creatures: chimeras, harlequins, seductive houris and bacchantes enhancing its unusual beauty. All these architectural features make the Shota Rustaveli Theatre one of the main cultural attractions of the Georgian capital.
Georgian Culture - Theatre
Georgian dramaturgy goes back to the mid-19 th century. Its founder is the writer, translator and theater figure Georgi Eristavi (1811–1864).In Georgia there are more than 30 theatres. The most popular of theatres 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.
Georgian Culture - Cinema
The Rustaveli Cinema is the main film theater of Tbilisi. The cinema building was designed by the famous Georgian architect N.P.Severov in 1938. N. Severov was born in Tbilisi, where he built the most important projects of his life, including the Rustaveli Cinema.The cinema is a small rectangular building, whose austere facade is decorated with sculptures. This architecture is in perfect harmony with the buildings located next to the cinema, which together make up Rustaveli Avenue.
Georgian Culture - 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). 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. 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.
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.