Tao Monuments under Rehabilitation
04 April, 2013
Tao Monuments  under  Rehabilitation
For the first time restoration of Georgian historical monuments in Turkey, in the historical Tao-Klarjeti has begun. The process is observed by Georgian art historian, a research fellow of Giorgi Chubinashvili National Center of Georgian Art History and Monument Protection Dr. Irine Giviashvili. Georgian Journal interviewed art historian, who resides in Ireland.
Q. How are you involved in the process of rehabilitation of Tao-Klarjeti historical monuments and at what stage is it right now?
A. For many years, together with
my Georgian and foreign colleagues I have been working on a public awareness regarding Georgian monuments in Turkey, calling for their rehabilitation. At the same time I am an official nominator of Oshki Church to the World Monuments Fund (http://www.wmf. org/project/oshki). Right now I am invited as an art historian consultant by the Turkish firm Anfora Mimarlik Resotrasyon working on Oshki project.
Q. How would you evaluate the projects of Oshki and Ishkhani churches, which are prepared by the Turkish side?
A. Oshki and Ishkhani churches are to be restored according to the standard “call of tender”. Taking into account the variety and the complexity of the monuments, these projects elaborated by standard tender agreement, are insufficient. That is why, additional survey and works are needed before and during the rehabilitation process.
Q. How many Georgian historical monuments are on the territory of Turkey right now? Is there any kind of exact work done to count it?
A. Ministry of Culture of Turkey made an official record of Georgian monuments in northern-eastern provinces of Turkey under the direction of Dr. Mine Kadiroglu. Result is 140 ruins, 16 fortifications, 27 monasteries and 28 chapels. However, the list is not complete.
Q. To what extent is the Georgian side involved in the process of rehabilitation and have you seen process in action?
A. The rehabilitation works have not begun yet because of heavy winter. Meanwhile, the Georgian side expressed its readiness to participate and to contribute to both projects. Formally, the Georgian side is not involved in the rehabilitation of any projects as yet. The text of the agreement is to be finalized soon. Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs traditionally are in charge of the agreement.
Hopefully, the active process will not begin until the Turkish and Georgian teams review the projects together. It must be said that there is need of extra geological survey to define the level of stability of construction (walls, the dome); besides, archeological excavations and analyses of mural paintings for further conservation must be done. Only after these works, it can be decided what kind of rehabilitation is appropriate for Ishkhani or for Oshki: consolidation, conservation or restoration.
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