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Georgian Arts and Culture


The culture of Georgia has evolved over the country's long history, providing it with a unique national culture and a strong literary tradition based on the Georgian language and alphabet. This has provided a strong sense of national identity that has helped to preserve Georgian distinctiveness despite repeated periods of foreign occupation and attempted assimilation.


The Georgian alphabet was invented in the 5th century BC and reformed by King Parnavaz I of Iberia in 284 BC.

Georgia's medieval culture was greatly influenced by 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. As well as this, many secular works of national history, mythology and hagiograpy were also written.

During the modern period, from about the 17th century onwards, 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, by the writer, dramatist and diplomat Giorgi Avalishvili (1769-1850).

Its leading actors were Dimitri Aleksi-Meskhishvili, David Machabeli, David Bagrationi, Dimitri Cholokashvili and others.

The State Museum of Georgia was founded in 1845. The Tbilisi State Theatre of Opera and Ballet established a few years later, in 1851.

Greatest representatives of Georgian culture of the XIX century were: Nikoloz Baratashvili (poet), Alexander Orbeliani (writer), Vakhtang Orbeliani (poet), Dimitri Kipiani (writer), Grigol Orbeliani (poet), Ilia Chavchavadze (writer and poet), Akaki Tsereteli (poet), Alexander Kazbegi (writer), Rapiel Eristavi (poet), Mamia Gurieli (poet), Iakob Gogebashvili (writer), Simon Gugunava (poet), Babo Avalishvili-Kherkheulidze (actor),

Nikoloz Avalishvili (actor), Nikoloz Aleksi-Meskhishvili (actor), Romanoz Gvelesiani (painter), Grigol Maisuradze (painter), Alexander Beridze (painter), Ivane Machabeli (translator), Okropir Bagrationi (translator), Sardion Aleksi-Meskhishvili (translator), Kharlampi Savaneli (opera singer), Pilimon Koridze (opera singer), Lado Agniashvili (folk singer), Alioz Mizandari (composer), etc.

The first cinema in Georgia was established in Tblisi on November 16, 1896. The first Georgian cinema documentary ("Journey of Akaki Tsereteli in Racha-Lechkhumi") was shot in 1912 by Vasil Amashukeli (1886-1977), while the first Georgian feature film ("Kristine") was shot in 1916 by Alexandre Tsutsunava (1881-1955).

The Tbilisi State Academy of Art was founded in 1917.

Georgian culture suffered under the rule of the Soviet Union during the 20th century, during which a policy of Russification was imposed but was strongly resisted by many Georgians.

Since the independence of Georgia in 1991, a cultural resurgence has taken place, albeit somewhat hampered by the country's economic and political difficulties in the post-Soviet era.

In the 330s Christianity was proclaimed the state religion of Georgia. This marked the beginning of vigorous development of arts and letters. Members of the high society of Kartli and Egrisi were well acquainted with the literature and philosophy of the East and the West.

Among them were eminent scholars-philosophers: Peter the Iberian and loane the Laze (5th cent.). Centers of culture and enlightenment also existed in Georgia, some being of international significance. In the 4th century a school of rhetoric and philosophy functioned not far from the town of Phasis (modern Poti).

Along with representatives of the local nobility students from abroad were also taught at the school:

It was the alma mater of the famous Greek philosopher and rhetorician Themistius who says that his father Eugenius had also learned wisdom at that school.

Joane Petrizi (12th century) - the most significant Georgian medieval philosopher - devoted intensive work to neo-Platonic philosophy.

The Georgian Academy of Sciences

The Georgian Academy of Sciences unites the scientific-research institutions of the Republic where the fundamental research in almost all main fields of science is carried out.

The Academy coordinates scientific research in Georgia and develops relationship with the academies of foreign countries and other scientific centers.

At present there are 65 academicians and 64 corresponding members working at the Academy. The Georgian Academy of Sciences develops rich national scientific traditions which the Georgian nation created in the course of centuries.

It is a well known fact that many centuries ago outstanding Georgian scholars made brilliant translations and created original works in educational and scientific centers well known in their times, such as the school of philosophy and rhetoric in Colchis(Western Georgia) (4th c), the centers of spiritual culture in Palestine (5th c.), Syria (6th c.), Greece (10th - 15th c.c.) and Bulgaria (11th c.) as well academies of Gelati and Ikalto (11th-12th c.c.) in Georgia.