GEORGIA

Georgians call themselves Kartvelebi (ქართველები), their land Sakartvelo (საქართველო) and their language Kartuli (ქართული). These names come from an ancient pagan chief named Kartlos, who is considered the father of all Georgians. The name Georgia, widely used abroad, originates from the Greek georgìa (γεωργια), which means agriculture. The name has been associated with Saint George, Georgia’s Patron Saint. For these reasons, Georgia is a country of tradition, culture, religion and nature.

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Chronology

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Visit Georgia

In the Georgian popular culture the guest is considered as a “gift from God”.
Whoever has the opportunity to travel to Georgia – for work or pleasure – can easily see that Georgians take this matter very seriously. Georgian hospitality is charming and involving and very ofter it pushes visitors to stay.

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Georgia and the world

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Khatia Buniatishvili

Khatia Buniatishvili was born in the capital of the Caucasian state in 1987. She is a world-renown pianist and plays in the most famous theatres such as those of Prague, Paris, Vienna, Moscow, Geneve, Zurich and Saint Petersburg.

Khatia held her first concert when she was six years old, with the Chamber orchestra in Tbilisi. In 1991-1997 she attended the Musical School in Tbilisi, where she has been a pupil of Z. Paliashvili until 2004. In 2004-2006 she has been a student of V. Saradjishvili at the State Conservatory in the Georgian capital city. She attended specialization courses with Claude Franck in Verbier and with François-René Duchable in Annecy and Paris. In 2010, she won the Borletti-Buitoni Trustprize in 2010 and on April 19th 2018 she made an exhibition at the Carnegie Hallin New York. Khatia Buniatishvili recently moved to Vienna, where she attends the classes of Oleg Maisenberg at the University of Music and Performing Arts. She has been granted a scholarship from the BSI SAband.

Much appreciated by contemporary musicians, she collaborated with the British band Coldplay for their album A Head Full of Dreams.

We invite you to listen to her work such as those included in the album Motherland.

David Lordkipanidze

David Lordkipanidze is an anthropologist and archaeologist born in Tbilisi in 1963. He is professor and director of the Georgian National Museum(GNM) since 2004. David Lordkipanidze is known in the international scientific community for having discovered the hominid fossil initially called Homo Georgicus and subsequently reclassified as Homo Erectus. His archaeological researches in the Georgian region of Dmanisihas brought into light an hominid skull more ancient than Homo Erectus, dating back to 1.8 million years ago. Testifying the transition from Homo Habilis to Homo Erectus, Lordkipanidze’s findings questioned the evolutionistic theories considered valid until then.

Lordkipanidze has received many awards including: Georgia’s Order of Honour (2000), Award of the Prince of Monaco(2001), the French Order of “Palmes Academiques” (2002), the Rolex Award for Enterprise (2004), the French Order of Honour (2006) and the Goethe Medal (2016). In 2007 he became Foreign Member of the United States National Academy of Sciencesand a member of the World Academy of Art and Science. 

Here you can find the video of his speech at TedxTibilisi

Katie Melua

Few know that the famous singer Ketevan “Katie” Melua (1984) is Georgian. Born in Kutaisi and raised between Tbilisi and Batumi she left Georgia during the 1993 Georgian civil war. Her family moved to Belfast, in Northern Ireland, where her father worked at the Royal Victoria Hospital and where Katie attended the St. Catherine’s Primary School and the Fortwilliam Dominican College. Her family moved to London in 1998. At 15, Katie won a talent show organized by the British TV channel ITV, singing the hit Without Youby Badfinger. She later graduated at the BRIT school with an A in Music.

Katie speaks Georgian, Russian and English. She has published nine albums, holds concerts all over the world and has millions of fans.

On April 29th 2006, her name was given to a new variety of tulips in the Nederlands.

Here you can find her version of “Wonderful Life”.

Demna Gvasalia

Demna Gvasalia was born in 1981 in Sokhumi in Georgia and was later naturalized as German. He studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp – Belgian academy that has among its alumni Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester – where he graduated with merit.

Gvasalia presented his first collection at the 2007 Tokyo Fashion Week. In 2009-2013 he was working as director of the women’s wear at the Maison Martin Margiela. He subsequently became Senior Designer for female prêt-à–porter collections at Louis Vuitton. In 2014 he founded, together with his brother Guram Gvasalia, a clothing and footwear brand named VETEMENTS. He is currently Creative Director at Balenciaga.

Aram Il’ič Chačaturjan

Born and raised in an underprivileged Armenian family in Tbilisi, he enrolled in the Gnessin Musical Institute thanks to his talent. In 1921, after the sovietisation of the Caucasian region, he moved to Moscow where he studied at the Conservatory, sharing his classes with Nikolai Myaskovsky. He studied cello and composition and soon he became one of the leading Soviet composers of his generation.

In the Thirties he married the composer Nina Makarova. In 1951 he became a professor at the Moscow Conservatory. One of the most prominent people of the Soviet musical scene, he received the several significant awards from the Soviet Union.

He died in Moscow on May 1st, 1978.

George Gomelsky 

Born in Tbilisi in 1934, Gomelsky was a record producer, composer and musical manager. His family left in 1938 and traveled to Syria, Egypt, Italy, Switzerland and Britain. In 1963 he founded and directed the Crawdaddy Club in London, in the Richmond upon Thames area, where he organized the first Rolling Stones concerts, who played there twice a week. When the size of the club became insufficient to welcome Rolling Stones fans, Gomelsky replaced them with the Yardbirds and became their manager and producer. Subsequently, Gomelsky founded the music label Marmalade Records, publishing the works of artists such as Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity and the first works of the future members of the band 10cc. Gomelsky also played an essential role in the career of Soft Machine, Magma and David Allene of the band Gong. He also produced early recordings by Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page (both of whom played with the Yardbirds), Blossom Toes (Rod Stewart), and John McLaughlin and Alexis Korner.

In 1978 he moved to New York, where he died in 2016.

Elisso Bolkvadze

Classical music pianist, Elisso Bolkvadze was born in Tbilisi from a literary family. She held her first concert when she was seven years old and attended a music school for gifted children in Tbilisi. She continued her studies at the Tbilisi Conservatory and later on moved to Paris and Austria.

Elisso Bolkvadze played in concerts worldwide and has won several famous international piano contests. In 1993 she was decorated with the Georgian Government Medal of Honour. In 2010 she was decorated by the Tbilisi Municipality for her cultural influence too. Elisso Bolkvadze is currently the artistic director of the yearly Batumi music festival. She has recently created a charity musical foundation, Lyra, in order to help and promote a new generation of young classic pianists in Georgia.

On January 22nd 2015, the UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova designated Elisso Bolkvadze as Artist for Peace. On October 7th 2015, she was decorated with the Order of Arts and Literature by the French Minister of Culture Fleur Pellerin.

Giorgi Latso (Latsabidze)

Georgian pianist and composer specialized in the Romantic repertoire, Giorgi Latso is an appreciated performer of the works of Frederyk Chopin, Franz Liszt and Claude Debussy.

Thanks to a scholarship promoted by the Georgian President of the Republic, in 1996-2001 Latso studied at the State Conservatory in Tbilisi, with the professor Russudan Chodzava.

Latso is one of the youngest pianists to have registered and played live the 24 Studies and 24 Preludes by Chopin, the 12 transcendental execution studies by Liszt and the 12 Preludes by Debussy. His performances have been broadcasted on radio and TV in Europe, Asia and the United States.

In 2012 Giorgi Latso has been officially invited by His Sanctity Pope Benedict XVI at his residence in Vatican City. On that occasion he played Mozart’s Concert for piano and orchestra n. 21 with the Wiener Philharmoniken Orchestra at the Santa Maria Maggiore Basil in Rome.

Liana Isakadze

Born in Tbilisi, Liana Isakadze started studying the violin when she was seven years old. At nine years old, thanks to her teacher professor Shiukashvili, she played with the State Symphonic Orchestra.

In 1956 Liana Isakadze held her first solo concert. Since 1964 she played a Stradivari violin she received as a gift from the Moscow State Violin Collection. Since 1965 she has performed as a solo violin in orchestras directed by conductors such as Jiri Kout, Paavo Berglund, Vladimir Verbitsky, Jiří Bělohlávek, Valery Gergiev, Yehudi Menuhin, Eri Klas, Aleksandr Dmitriyev, Kurt Masur, Thomas Sanderling, Michail Jurowski, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Hiroyuki Iwaki, Rudolf Kempe, Václav Neumann, Mariss Jansons, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Herbert Blomstedt, Gintaras Rinkevičius, Neeme Järvi, Dmitry Liss, Charles Dutoit. In 1965 she was awarded the Grand Prix at the Marguerite Long and Jacques Thibaud International Contest in Paris. In 1970 she reached the third position at the Tchaikovsky Contest in Moscow. In the same year, she won the Jean Sibelius International Violin Contest in Helsinki. In 1989-1991 Isakadze has been a People’s Deputy in the USSR. In 1983 she directed several international music festivals such as Eichstädt (Germany), Nocturnal Serenades in Pitsunda (Abkhazia / Georgia), Open Air Festival in Batumi (Georgia) and Festival of Arts in Borjomi (Georgia ). In 2011 Isakadze founded the ensemble orchestra Virtuouses from Facebook, which saw the participation of famous international musicians. The ensemble held its first concerts in August 2011 with the festivals Friends of Facebook and Night Serenades in Batumi (Georgia).

Liana Isakadze has received the titles of People’s Artist of the USSR (1988), Meritorious Artist of the Georgian SSR (1970). She has also been decorated with the Georgian State Prize (1975, 1983, 2002) and with the Georgian Order of Honour (1998, 2002).

Historical Maps

Geography and history are deeply linked. Since the ancient times, maps testify what today some want to deny: the Georgian territorial unity throughout the centuries. The regions of Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia have never been separated states, but have always been part of Georgia. In this short gallery, the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia are signalled with red arrows.

The origins of wine

Georgian Legend: “While God was distributing the land to the peoples, Georgians were sitting at a long banquet full of food and wine, having a great celebration. It was the most important moment of the Georgian celebrative tradition – the toast –  and it could not be interrupted. So the Georgian people arrived late for the division of the land. God told them that all available land had already been distributed, but the Georgians replied that they were late because they had been giving a toast to God Almighty. God was so happy about it that he decided to give to that joyful people the part of land he had kept for himself. Today that land of immaculate mountains, green hills and rich valleys similar to Paradise is known as Georgia.”

The entire region of Southern Caucasus has an ancient winery tradition where has been developed a wide variety of grapes and methods of winemaking.

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Music

The Georgian people has a deep love for opera, music and classical ballet. Music festivals and concerts are always attended by a vast public.

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