skip to content

Georgia

Geography & Topography

Capital: T’bilisi; 1,064,000

Population: 3,262,200

Area: 69,700 square kilometers (26,911 square miles)

Language: Georgian, Russian, Armenian, Azeri

Ethinc Groups: Georgian (84%), Other (16%)

Religion: Georgian Orthodox, Muslim, Russian Orthodox

Currency: Lari



History

Georgia is a sovereign state geographically located in Asia. It sits on the Black Sea and has an extremely strategic location at the crossroads of two continents. It’s famous mountain region in the North of the country- The Caucasus Mountains- serves as a boundary between Europe and Asia.  Due to it’s strategic location, it has often served as an object of rivalry between the neighbouring regions of Persia, Turkey and Russia. Georgia achieved independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Georgia’s art and culture draws influence from its surrounding regions. It has been heavily influeced over the years by Classical Greece,  the Roman Empire, the Byzantine empire and later by the Russian empire. The country enjoys a unique culture and literary tradition that is strongly based on the Georgian alphabet. During the middle ages, Orthodox Christianity had a huge influence on the art and culture in the country and this is evident in the many works of art, churches and monasteries that still exist today. Georgia has a rich literary tradition along with a strong artistic culture. The country is known for its unique traditional music, theatre and cinema. Notable artists who hail from Georgia include famous ballet choreographer George Balanchine and ballerina Nino Ananiashvili.

 

 

Performing Arts

Music

The most recognisable instruments in traditional Georgian music are:

Larchemi (Georgian Pan Flute)

 

Larchemi: The Larchemi operates just like any other pan flute. It is played by blowing horizontally into the open end against the inner pipe edges. each pipe has its own note, known as a frequency, which produces a unique sound. The pipes can also play sharps and flats provided the musician is familiar with special techniques involving pipe-tilting and head movements.

 

 

Phanduri

 

 

 

 

Phanduri: The Phanduri is a string instrument which originates from the Mediterranean basin. Whilst it is traditionally associated with Greek music, due to Georgia’s multi-nation influence, the Phanduri was adapted into the local culture and is now considered a staple of Georgia’s traditional music scene. The instrument contains 3 strings and is played widely throughout Eastern Georgia and the Caucasus region. A similar instrument is the Georgian Chonguri.

Doli

 

Doli: The Doli is played througout Georgia and the Caucasus region. The instrument’s construction consists of leather which is tightly stretched over a hollow cylindrical drum (traditionally wooden). Different sound effects can be achieved by striking the drum in different areas. Traditionally an instrument played by men, it is often used in Georgian theatre or dance productions as a musical accompaniment.

      Dance

Kartuli

Kartuli:  is a romantic dance performed by a man and a woman. It is meant to demonstrate and uphold traditional romantic values such as respect for a woman, dignity and love. Traditionally, the male keeps his gaze upon his female partner whilst keeping his upper body still and upright throughout the performance. The woman, on the other hand, maintains a downward gaze at all times whilst seeming to float effortlessly over the stage. The intense technical precision required to perform this dance has earned it the reputation as one of the most difficult Georgian dances in existence.

 

 

 

Davluri

Davluri: Similar to Kartuli, this dance is also performed by a male-female couple. The structure is less formal however and there are often many couples on stage simultaneously, rather than just one. It is meant to portray the aristocracy and is reminiscent of dances perfomed in European courts. Kartuli often involves  colorful costumes and vibrant music.

 

 

 

 

 

Some interesting facts:

  • The main agricultural exports of Georgia are citrus, grapes, tea & hazelnuts
  • The are 4 official languages spoken in Georgia
  • The Georgian alphabet is one of only fourteen modern alphabets in the world
  • There are more than 17 traditional types of Georgian dances

 

 

More information on the Georgian community: