Culture
Georgia and Switzerland have more in common than you might think
20 November, 2018
Mountains, cheese and the colors of the national flag – these are the most obvious things that the two small countries share. But there is more to it. For instance, both countries are multicultural with a strong regional identity and traditions. Thus, when the two countries celebrated 25 years of diplomatic relations last year, the Swiss Embassy published a photo¬book entitled “Switzerland and Georgia – a close relationship in pictures”.

“Due to
the enthusiastic feedback we received, we decided to show the photos on exhibition”, - said the Swiss Ambassador Lukas Beglinger at his farewell reception on Monday evening. The temporary exhibition shows pictures of the photo book and is located in the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia.

Here, we show you a small selection of the pictures of the exhibition that prove that there are a lot of similarities between Switzerland and Georgia. The photos as well as the additional explanation have been kindly placed at the disposal by the Swiss embassy.

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Bridge across the Verzasca river and the Queen Tamar Bridge spanning the Acharistskali River, photo courtesy: Roland Gerth/ Paata Vardanashvili

Switzerland and Georgia are strategically located countries whose territories served as important transport and transit routes in the past millennia – up to these days. Beautiful stone bridges dating from ancient times illustrate their long-standing role in international transport.

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The ‘Glacier Express’ on the Landwasser viaduct and a Swiss double-decker train on its way in Georgia, photo courtesy: Andrea Badrutt / Nino Zedginidze

The ‘Glacier Express’ testifies to the genius of Swiss railway engineering. Passing through 91 tunnels and over 291 bridges, it takes travelers across the Alps, connecting major tourist resorts. In 2016, Swiss double-decker trains were introduced in Georgia. Connecting Tbilisi with Batumi and other Black Sea resorts, they have proved to be very popular.

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The Marché-Concours in Saignelégier and horse racing at the Tushetoba festival, photo courtesy: swiss-image.ch / Goga Chanadiri

Each Swiss canton and Georgian region cultivates its distinct traditions, customs and festivities. A famous yearly horse show in Saignelégier aims at the promotion of a native horse breed, the Franches-Montagnes. Tushetoba is a summer festival that celebrates local cultural heritage and is traditionally opened with a vigorously contested horse racing.

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Mountain goats in Eastern Switzerland and Caucasian Ibex in Lagodekhi National Park, photo courtesy: Christof Sonderegger / Paata Vardanashvili


Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) and Caucasian ibex (Capra caucasica) are mountain icons in Switzerland and Georgia. Inhabiting steep, rough terrain, both species are excellent climbers.

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Swiss wrestling contest in Gonten (Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden)/Georgian wrestling at the Tbilisoba festival, photo courtesy: swiss-image.ch / Goga Chanadiri

Wrestling in Switzerland and Georgia originated as one of the oldest forms of combat and gradually grew into national sports. Early depictions in the cathedral of Lausanne (13th century) and in Georgia’s Alaverdi Cathedral (11th century) are indicative of the tradition of wrestling as a part of festival culture.

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Verzasca Dam in the Canton of Ticino and the Enguri Dam in Svaneti, photo courtesy: Ilana Marcus / Maia Duishvili

604 active hydroelectric plants in Switzerland produce clean, renewable energy. But dams in Switzerland provide more than energy. Often located in breath-taking places, they attract the attention of tourists as well as film directors. James Bond, in “Golden Eye”, made a 220-meter free fall from the Verzasca Dam. The Enguri Dam, being 271.5 meters in height and the second highest concrete arch dam in the world, is one of the monumental constructions from the Soviet area. Located on the main road to the World Cultural Heritage villages of Zemo (Upper) Svaneti, the dam and the reservoir will soon be transformed into a tourist zone.

Related stories:

“We try to make Georgia and its culture better known to the Swiss people”

First Georgian restaurant opened in Switzerland

Cattle drive in the Great Caucasian Mountains in Georgia

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