EnglishRussian

CULTURE

 

Georgian culture evolved over thousands of years with its foundations in Iberian and Colchian civilizations,  continuing into the rise of the unified Georgian Kingdom under the single monarchy of the Bagrationi. Georgian culture enjoyed a golden age and renaissance of classical literature, arts, philosophy, architecture and science in the 11th century.

 

Georgia has a unique national culture and a strong literary tradition based on the Georgian language and alphabet. Strong sense of national identity, has helped to preserve Georgian distinctiveness despite repeated periods of foreign occupation. Georgians have their own unique 3 alphabets which according to traditional accounts was invented by King Pharnavaz I of Iberia in 3rd century BC.

 

Georgia's medieval culture was greatly influenced by Eastern Orthodox Christianity and the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church, which promoted and often sponsored the creation of many works of religious devotion. These included churches and monasteries, works of art such as icons, and hagiographies of Georgian saints. In addition, many secular works of national history,  mythology, and hagiography were also written.

 

Georgian ecclesiastic art is one of the most fascinating aspects of Georgian Christian architecture, which combines classical dome style with original basilica style forming what is known as the Georgian cross-dome style. Cross-dome architecture developed in Georgia during the 9th century; before that, most Georgian churches were basilicas. Other examples of Georgian ecclesiastic architecture can be found outside Georgia: Bachkovo Monastery in Bulgaria (built in 1083 by the Georgian military commander Grigorii Bakuriani), Iviron monastery in Greece (built by Georgians in the 10th century), and the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem (built by Georgians in the 9th century).

 

During the modern period, from about the 17th century on wards, Georgian culture has been greatly influenced by cultural innovations imported from elsewhere in Europe.

 

The first Georgian-language printing house was established in the 1620s in Italy, and the first one in Georgia itself was founded in 1709 in Tbilisi.

 

Georgian theatre has a long history; its oldest national form was the "Sakhioba" (extant from the 3rd century BC to the 17th century AD). The Georgian National Theatre was founded in 1791 in Tbilisi.

 

In Tbilisi, the Museum of the Caucasus was founded in 1845. In the 1920s, it became the State Museum of Georgia. The Tbilisi State Theatre of Opera and Ballet was established in 1851.

 

Georgia has rich and still vibrant traditional music, which is primarily known as arguably the earliest polyphonic tradition of the Christian world. Situated on the border of Europe and Asia, Georgia is also the home of a variety of urban singing styles with a mixture of native polyphony, Middle Eastern monophony and late European harmonic languages. Georgian performers are well represented in the world's leading opera troupes and concert stages.

 

The folk music of Georgia consists of at least fifteen regional styles, known in Georgian musicology and ethnomusicology as "musical dialects". Georgian folk music is predominantly vocal and is widely known for its rich traditions of vocal polyphony. It is widely accepted in contemporary musicology that polyphony in Georgian music predates the introduction of Christianity in Georgia (beginning of the 4th century AD).  All regional styles of Georgian music have traditions of vocal a Capella polyphony.