Around Georgia

Wine From Prehistoric Georgia With an 8,000-Year-Old Vintage

Posted on November 16, 2017. Filed under: Wine Tourism |

The base of a Neolithic jar recovered from a Neolithic site in Georgia. Researchers found wine residue on pottery shards at two Georgian sites going back to 6,000 B.C. CreditJudyta Olszewski

Raise a glass to Georgia, which could now be the birthplace of wine.

The country, which straddles the fertile valleys of the south Caucasus Mountains between Europe and the Middle East, may have been home to the first humans to conquer the common grape, giving rise to chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and thousands of other reds and whites we enjoy today.

In a study published Monday, researchers found wine residue on pottery shards from two archaeological sites in Georgia dating back to 6,000 B.C. The findings are the earliest evidence so far of wine made from the Eurasian grape, which is used in nearly all wine produced worldwide.

“Talk about aging of wine. Here we have an 8,000-year-old vintage that we’ve identified,” said Patrick McGovern, a molecular archaeologist from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and lead author of the study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The excavations at the Gadachrili Gora site in Georgia. CreditStephen Batiuk

The findings push back the previous date for the oldest evidence of winemaking by about 600 to 1,000 years, which Dr. McGovern previously identified in Iran. But it does not dethrone China as the location of the earliest known fermented beverage, which Dr. McGovern dated to 7,000 B.C. That drink, however, was most likely a cocktail consisting of rice, honey, hawthorn fruit and wild grapes, unlike this most recent finding, which was pure grape wine.

Wine culture has long been intertwined with the history of Georgia, where elaborate toasts are an important part of traditional feasts. Archaeologists have found evidence of its consumption there during the Bronze Age, Classical Period, Greco-Roman Period and Medieval times. Georgian wine was also among the most favored in the Soviet Union.

source: nytimes

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The Ancient Methods Of WineMaking

Posted on October 27, 2017. Filed under: Wine Tourism |

garekani-jpjGeorgia is a country of a rich history created by our great ancestors. In this regard, the first thing we should mention is vine, the result of industriousness of the Georgian people, who were the first to cultivate various species of vine.Grape – a plant domesticated in Georgia in the past and used to make a pleasant drink – wine, that conquered the world (of course, in a good sense), contributed to the friendship among the people and time by time acquired a wide range of connotations: religious, political, and economic, because since the ancient times, wine has been a commodity of international trade.
According to the Bible, Noah, the God’s favorite, built the ark in the Caucasus (Giorgi Ionta Hyperioni, the researcher has comprehensive information from the time of the Deluge to the present, i.e. from the 7th to the 8th Noah), planted a vineyard, built an altar, and sacrificed wine and a couple of turtledoves to God, got drunk and stripped himself naked. Mount Ararat, which is mentioned in the Bible, is one of the coordinates of the Ark in the Caucasus. The vine species Noah used to make wine, which he sacrificed still grows in Georgia and it is of three colors: red, black and golden.

In the ancient times, wine was upgraded to the national level; The Bible says that Melchizedek, the King of Salem blessed Abraham with bread and wine. Abraham received the first Kosher wine (in Georgian – Zedashe or holy wine) from Melchizedek. The Hebrews are blessed with Kosher wine. That was when Abraham pledged that 1/10 of everything he possessed would be offered to Melchizedek.
Wine ,as a part of the national culture, dates back to the ancient times in Georgia. To the Europeans, the history of Georgia as a civilized country begins with the King Aeëtes (XVII-XVI BC) – the time when the majority of European countries did not exist. “Argonautica” by Apollonius Rhodius relates that in the Palace of the King Aeëtes, Argonauts saw vine tendrils entwined around the columns and wine fountains (pp. 3,220-224).
In Georgia, there was a tradition of Zedashe and a wine cellar cult. Special attention was paid to the winemaking technologies, which subsequently came to be used in medicine. Along with “Golden Fleece”, Medea took to Greece preparations made from wine. As is well known, 50:50 mixture of spring water and black wine (grapes are black, wine made from it is ruby color) prolongs life, and removes toxins from body.

During the vintage time, vindemiatrix – the star of vineyard care, grape-harvesting and storage looks upon our homeland. Georgian viticulturists called the star the “Star of Qvevri (a large clay wine jar)”.
It is noteworthy that there is no “vine cross cult” in any country other than Georgia.
In Georgia, the church doors and barrels were made from timber of a single solid vine. A groove for sanctified, holy water was also made from vine.
Wine fermented in a vine barrel was called “angelic wine”. According to the Bible, when Abraham and Melchizedek met, Melchizedek gave Abraham the “angelic wine” to drink.
When Georgians wanted to transform the vine into I, II, III, IV … IX heaven wine, the vine / heaven relationship depended on the depth of vine root in the soil. The ancient Georgians were aware of nine heavens. There are Georgian folk songs about the heavens. Numbering of the Heavens depended on the planting depth of the vine root: the 1sttHeaven -1×49, the 2nd Heaven -2×49,……9th heaven – 9×49; Vineyard root was measured by the king’s cubits (49 cms), the 9th heaven vine root was 4 meters deep in the ground, and was therefore the 9th heaven wine came out.
Silver anchor and bell were made with a special golden section, which had a particular sound frequency (it was tuned to La sound, which is called the tuning fork frequency); the anchor was immersed in wine, tied to a silver bell on the other side with a gold chain; winemakers hung up the anchor and bell on the bar across the pitcher top, sang songs and rang the bell. Thus, wine was prepared for its journey – it didn’t become turbid anymore and never turned sour. This sort of wine was sent to the sunken city of Dioscuria, where the vessels in which the wine was transported, are still buried. Some of the vessels have been found. There were cases when amphorae were not broken. When anglers opened them, they saw that the wine was not spoiled. Thus, we can say that in ancient Georgia, viticulture and winemaking were taken to an academic level. These two sectors were based on agriculture. However, there were some kinds of vine that intersected with horticulture (vines entwined round the trees). Vine grown on amber-colored fig trees, from which amber-colored wine was made, was called “Royal babalovani”; it is referred to in Kind David’s Psalm 79,11-13; black grapes grown on black fig-trees, the wine of which is dark red was another variety. Pergola of amber-colored and black grapes was called “Samepo Salkhinebeli” (Royal Purgatory), which is depicted in a painting by Pirosmany.

For the wine to obtain healing properties, copper nails were used, which were driven in the land to a span depth from the vine roots (nail was of span length too) – five nails on five sides of vine, so that five-pointed star was formed allowing vineyard to absorb excess amount of copper. Wine produced from copper-rich black grapes was used for strengthening the health of premature children and treatment of anemia.
In paganism, the elders used the alchemical secrets of winemaking. The technology was called “alchemical marriage”. Certain plants were added to grape juice (machari). One of such plants, which is from the family of elderberry called “Pera-pera”, was added to machari in secret doses. The mixture was fermented and medicinal wine came out, which was used for 40 day treatment of severe liver diseases, gall bladder and gastrointestinal illness.

In the Georgian paganism, viticulturists defended themselves by going to the sanctuary, isolating themselves, keeping silence, only singing, talking and pronouncing incantations to vine plants. A vine seedling was watered with two bowls: a silver bowl was used when planting vines in the evening, while a gold bowl early in the morning. Jukhra Nadiradze, an archeologist found these bowls during the excavations in the village of Sairkhe.

In Georgia, there was a rite of “giving water to wine”: when wine dried up a little, “Holy water” was added to it. The rite was performed by the high priest, called Megvinetukhutsesi in the paganism and a Bishop in modern Christianity.
Monks ( a monk – “beri” in Georgian) cultivated vine. Iberia was the old name of Spain and Eastern Georgia was also called Iberia in ancient times.
The Georgian Chronicles mention Bostan-city, on the plateau of which a 30-person prehistoric stone winepress was discovered.

A lot of materials concerning vine and vineyard are available in Georgia:
1. The national viticulture and winemaking technologies have preserved to this day.
2. The national experience spread across nations, languages and tribes;
3. The archaeological artifacts related to viticulture and winemaking;
One of the examples is Vardsia – town of 3000 monks, where wine flew through clay pipes to qvevris installed in stone in each cell.
We have a lot of materials and artifacts, which relate to not only vine and wine. However, no field research has been conducted as yet. We will be glad if you honor this nation of ancient culture by setting up an office, so that we could promote the ancient methods of Georgian winemaking. In case of interest and funding, we can offer you plenty of materials and artifacts, which will allow you to see from a new angle not only Georgian history, but that of the world at large.

The question arises “Why are drama and politics, religions and wars mixed in the history of wine? And why should it have so many varieties? Only the history can explain it,”- says the well-known researcher and wine writer Hugh Johnson.

Elza Asabashvili

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Уплисцихе, Шида Картли, Грузия

Posted on September 13, 2017. Filed under: Туры по Грузии |

Тика Буджиашвили

Это пещерный город, город, вырубленный в скалах. Он возник в первые века нашей эры и просуществовал до XIII-XIV вв.  Подобные высеченные в скалах города есть и в Передней Азии. Однако Уплисцихе и по своей планировке и по архитектурному решению уникален. Можно добавить, что жизнь на месте Уплисцихе по раскопкам прослеживается уже с конца II тыс. до н.э. Город, площадью около 8 га, размещался на слегка наклонной плоскости скалистой горы, с запада совершенно отвесной, и попасть с этой стороны в город было почти невозможно. Отвесная скала, обрывающаяся в Куру, и сама река прикрывают путь в город с юга. С восточной и северной стороны, где склоны пологие, строители города вырыли глубокий и широкий ров, по внутреннему контуру рва были воздвигнуты толстые и высокие стены. В средние века их несколько раз ремонтировали.

Дороги подходили к городу с трех сторон. С востока шла обычная, незащищенная дорога, с запада вилась по склону скалы вырубленная в ее толще узкая тропинка, она не нуждалась в защитном укреплении. Третье дорога-‘аробная’ шла с севера и пролегала по сложному рельефу.  Есть еще одна, четвертая, дорога- речная.

На юго-западе Уплисцихе находится интересный комплекс, среди сооружений которого выделяется зал торжественного назначения. Его фасад с открытой аркой завершает фронтоном, а перекрывающий зал свод обработан в виде кессона. Здесь явно чувствуется влияние римской архитектуры первых веков нашей эры. Возможно, перед залом был дворник или амфитеатр.

На территории города в конце 50-х гг. археологи раскопали остатки трехнефной базилики второй половины VI в. Церковь с подковообразной апсидой большей частью вырублена в скале, а ее южная стена построена из камня.

Видимо, эта церковь со временем не могла удовлетворить потребностей города, и в -IX-X вв. к востоку от нее была воздвигнута другая, трех церковная, базилика. Много раз переделанная, она дошла до нас в довольно хорошей сохранности.

Спустя несколько столетий, приблизительно в XII-XIII вв. на западной окраине города были высечены небольшие зальные церкви, имеющие характерные портики со звездчатым сводом.

Особое политическое значение Уплисцихе вновь приобретает в IX-X вв., когда столица Грузии-Тбилиси-была в руках арабов. В годы борьбы против захватчиков в процессе объединения Грузии Уплисцихе стал центром страны. Археологические данные и летописи свидетельствуют, что Уплисцихе как город перестает существовать во время нашествия монголов.

“Памятники Восточной Грузии”

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Georgia Hosted The fourth International Qvevri Wine Symposium

Posted on September 4, 2017. Filed under: Wine Tourism | Tags: |

By Tika Bujiashvili

On September 2-3, 2017 Georgian wine association organized the fourth International Qvevri Wine Symposium, which was held in Ikalto, Georgia. The Symposium was supported by the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia, The National Wine Agency, The Association of Georgian Wine and Alaverdi Metropolitan David.

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The aim of the symposium were to educate the Georgian public and international community about the ancient traditions and Qvevri winemaking methods, the unique nature of the Qvevri as a vessel for wine, how Qvevris are made and the danger of losing the art and the history of winemaking in Georgia.
Scientists, wine experts, sommeliers, veteran winemaker and other wine sector representatives attended the event. The symposium was a good chance for the participants to share experiences and views on tendencies and challenges in the field of wine.

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Within the frame of the Symposium the first Qvevri Wine Competition was held and the winners of the competition were announced at the closing ceremony of the event on September 3 at the Ikalto Monatery Complex.
It is symbolic, that the IV International Qvevri Wine started at Qvevri School-Academy and ended at the Ancient academy of Ikalto, which was the place where Qvevry winemaking with other disciplines was studied and became a part of Georgian culture and traditions.

‘It was an unforgettable day for me- the contest was the most emotional and responsible… I had never been as nervous as during this competition. It was a different feeling-The first Qvevri Wine Competition, it means everything. New step and new history in the history of Qvevri wine. The competition made some people happy, some were heartbroken, but one thing I want to say is that, the presented samples were just good and very good … That’s why it was a difficult contest…’ said Ketevan Jurkhadze, a member of the jury.

The members of the jury were:

Giorgi Samanishvili-Head of National Wine Agency, Georgia
David Chichua- Scientific-Research Centre of Agriculture, Head of Department, Member of Georgian National Committee, Georgia.
Giorgi Dakishvili – Head winemaker at ‘Schuchmann Wines Georgia’, Member of Georgian National Committee, Georgia.
Ketevan Jurkhadze – Founder and Director of the Wine School ‘Kabistoni’. Member of Georgian National Committee, Georgia.
Liza Granik – MW, USA

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The first Qvevri Wine Competition bestowed 72 awards: 22 gold, 21 silver and 29 bronze.

The first Symposium was held in Georgia in 2011 in Alaverdy.

In 2013, Georgian traditional way of making wine in Qvevri received the status of non-material cultural heritage monument UNESCO.

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Museum Of Historical-Ethnography Of Matchakhela, Adjara

Posted on August 18, 2017. Filed under: Adjara, Around Georgia |

By Tika Bujiashvili

Machakhela Gorge is located to the south from Batumi close to the confluence of Machakhela and Chorokhi rivers. There are also lots of cultural and historical monuments, as well as national parks in Machakhela Gorge, which have already become tourists attraction places.

In ancient times, Machakhela gorge was rich with blacksmiths and forges where both weapons and household and agricultural implements were made. You can see a monument to a gun named ‘Machakhela’.  The monument of Gun was built in Matchakhela gorge in 2007. Matchakhela Gun monument is a symbol of the tradition of making guns and pistols, which made Machakhela masters famous in the 18th century.

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In the village Zeda Chkhutuneti there is a rich Machakhela ethnographic museum, which I would say experiences lack of the visitors, though it really keeps the history of the region. The building was once a mosque.

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The collections of the museum cover the history of village Akhasheni. There are archaeological materials, numismatic, different things of Adjarian life and ethnography, paintings and craft works of local artists, different documental materials and photos.

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Атенское Ущелье, Шида Картли

Posted on August 8, 2017. Filed under: Туры по Грузии |

Тика Буджиашвили

В окрестностях Гори немало интересных мест, и в первую очередь Атенское ущелье со знаменитым Атенским храмом. Сюда от города около 8 км юго-восточном направлении.

Атенское ущелье славится не только своими историческими памятниками, но и знаменитым вином. Первый памятник на пути- Атенская крепость, возвышающаяся прямо над дорогой на почти отвесной скале. Несмотря на свои небольшие размеры крепость уже в X в, а может быть и раньше, считалась надежным укрытием.  Крепость много раз упоминается в летописных источниках. Среди рассказов о ней есть и такое трагическое повествование.

В 1556 г. иранцы во главе с шахом Тамазом напали на Грузию и захватили многие крепости, но Атенскую взять не смогли. Здесь, в этой надежной твердыне, царь Луарсаб I укрыл свою мать, сестру и семьи крупных феодалов. Шах, узнавший об этом, всеми силами старался не упустить такую дабычу. Но гарнизон крепости стойко защищался. Как-то иранцы захватили в плен слугу царицы, и под угрозой смерти он открыл неприятелю местонахождение водопровода, питавшего водой осажденных. Кизилбаши отвели воду, и изнемогавший от жажды, гарнизон был вынужден сдаться. Только таким путем удалось взять крепость.

Проехав еще километр, мы окажемся перед Атенским храмом. По типу это церковь аналогично Мцхетскому Джвари и построена вскоре после него, в первой половине VII в.

Церковь в плане представляет тетраконх, вход в который с севера. Внутреннее пространство образуется четырьмя крестообразно расположенными апсидами и куполом, воздвигнутым на место их перенесения, и освещается окнами, устроенными как в апсидах, так и в барабане купола. Осуществляется при помощи тромп, расположенных в три ряда. Первый ряд имеет восемь граней, второй-шестнадцать, третий-тридцать две. На них и покоится барабане купола.

Фрески появились лишь во второй половине XI в. В западной апсиде сохранились портреты заказчиков-грузинский царей и феодалов.

Атенская роспись-одно из блестящих произведений грузинской школы живописи.

На внутренних стенах храма сохранилось много исторических надписей. Наиболее интересна надпись на стене южной апсиды. В ней среди других сведений сообщается о том, что халиф, разгневанный неподчинением Тбилисского эмира Сахака, прислал большое войско под начальством турка Буга. Войско непокорного эмира разбиты, и в субботу 5 августа 853 г. Буга взял Тбилиси и предал город огню, а эмир Сахак был казнен.

Фасады храма облицованы тесаным камнем и богата декорированы орнаментами и сюжетными рельефами. Как выясняется, облицовка верхней части храма вместе с барабаном купола-результат реставрации X в. Надпись на южном фасаде называет имя восстановителя храма- Тодос. Не изменив архитектурных форм храма, он лишь заново облицевал разрушенные части, а на восточном и южном фасадах, по-видимому, заменил поврежденные рельефы VII в. При осмотре фасадов остается впечатление, что реставраторы не имели точного плана размещения рельефов-большая их часть поставлена как попало, даже без учета специфики фасадов.

Один из лучших рельефов расположен на западном фасаде и изображает сцену охоты на оленей. Высоким мастерством также отмечен рельеф в тимпане северного входа. Здесь изображены два оленя, пьющие круглого водоема.

На фасадах храма много разновременных надписей. Большое историческое значение имеет пространная надпись, помещенная в нише южного фасада. В ней говорится, что по повелению царя Баграта IV в 60-х гг. XI в. в Атени строился город, и перечисляются те сооружения, которые были построены и необходимы для города.  К сожалению, теперь даже место, где стоял город, нельзя точно указать.

“Памятники Восточной Грузии”

 

 

 

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Merab Piranishvili’s Stone Sculptures in Sno, Kazbegi

Posted on July 26, 2017. Filed under: Around Georgia, Kazbegi | Tags: , , , |

Author Tika Bujiashvili

When you decide to travel to Kazbegi and visit Gergeti Trinity Church, before Stepantsminda, on the way, 8 km from the main road there is a small village Sno. Amost everybody knows, that Sno is the home of the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church with a small church in the courtyard of the residence. The village also has a large statue of Vakhtang Gorgasali, and a tower fortification from the XVI century, known as Ghudushauri fortress. Though, Before you reach the places, you will see contemporary sculptures in the open air and you will immediately recognize the faces of Georgian eminent people -Ilia Chavchavadze, Akaki Tsereteli, Vazha Pshavela, Shota Rustaveli and Jesus Christ (his last piece of work).

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These stone sculptures belong to Merab Piranishvili, a self-taught sculptor. ‘The form of the stone itself tells what to do.  I just curve eyes, a nose and a mouth. I leave the rest natural. A beard? The stone had it itself,’ says Mr. Merab.

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His dream is to make a museum in the open air and plans to create the history of Georgia here, in Sno, with about 500 sculptures.

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‘Years will pass, but these sculptures will remain forever’, says Merab Piranishvili.

He makes these sculptures with his own expenses.

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Каменные изваяния в селе Сно Казбеги

Posted on July 25, 2017. Filed under: Туры по Грузии |

По дороге к Казбеги, в деревне Сно, находятся каменные изваяния. Вы сразу же узнаете лица самых знаменитых людей Грузии – Ильи Чавчавадзе, Акакия  Церетели, Александра   Казбеги. Эти изваяния рассеянны в разных местах у подножья горы, что даёт им безупречный вид. Автор изваяний  —  скульптор -самоучка  Мераб Пиранишвили.

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“Сама форма камня подсказывает что делать из него. Делаю только нос, глаза и остальное все оставляю как было. Главное, что все лица обращены к небу.”

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Мераб  мечтает, чтобы это место когда-то стало музеем под открытым небом.

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Автор Тика Буджиашвили

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Джута, Казбеги

Posted on July 18, 2017. Filed under: Туры по Грузии |

Джута находится в муниципалитете Казбеги на высоте 2200 м над уровнем  моря. Это граница с Хевсурети. Само деревня занимает второе место по населенности в Европе после Бочорни (Тушети).

От деревни придется пешком идти 5 км до маленького озера  у подножья  Чаухи. Горный массив Чаухи расположен в ущелье Большого Кавказского хребта, вдоль истоков реки Бакурхеви.

По дороге до озеро вы можете остановиться в Зета Кемпинг или The 5th Season. Эта гостевые дома типа хостеля. Хостели платные. Здесь вы можете арендовать места для палатки и провести прекрасное время,  наслаждаясь прекрасной музыкой, которую для вас исполняет Ди —джей.

Внимание туристов обязательно привлекут  изваяния   знаменитых людей Грузии, высеченные  из камня. Это место находится в деревне Сно.  Дорога к Джуте лежит именно через эту деревушку, поэтому не поленитесь здесь остановиться.

Автор Тика Буджиашвили

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Juta, A village in Kazbegi Municipality,Georgia

Posted on July 2, 2017. Filed under: Around Georgia |

By Tika Bujiashvili

Juta, a village in Kazbegi municipality, is one of the must see places in Georgia. Located at the altitude of 2200m, after the village Bochorna (in Tusheti) is one of the highest settlements in Europe.

You have to walk 5 km to the foot of Chaukhi mountain range, where you will see a small beautiful Juta lake, which is a good place for camping, though on the road, after 1 km walk from the village, you can have a rest and enjoy mountains with a superb view of the Chaukhi array at Zeta Camping and The 5th Season – hostel- type resorts where you can have a chargeable camping place. In spite of location (2360 meters above the sea level) both places are equipped with both in-door and out-door cafes and comfortable rooms. Here you can always enjoy good music, find perfect places for camping or horse riding and many other options for those who like active recreation.

 

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