A reminder of the past: Photographers capture Georgia’s Soviet architecture
28 November, 2017
A reminder of the past: Photographers capture Georgia’s Soviet architecture
The Soviet rule has left its mark on Georgia’s architecture. Although the Soviet Union fell in 1991, their monuments in the country survived.

Two Italian photographers, Roberto Conte and Stefano Perego travelled throughout Georgia to locate these Brutalist and Constructivist landmarks and capture the existing Soviet heritage in Georgian architecture in a photo series.

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The former Ministry of Highway Construction of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, now Bank of Georgia Headquarters. (Photograph: Roberto
Conte)


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Housing complex in Tbilisi. (Photograph: Roberto Conte)

The architecture website „Archdaily“ takes their photographs as an occasion to recount Georgia’s history. The article describes what happened after 1921, when the Russians intervened in Tbilisi and declared the nation as a Soviet state: “Architecture became one of the Soviet’s key tools to exercise their ideology. The city of Tbilisi was regulated by masterplans, and monuments and buildings glorifying the Soviet Union surfaced on every street corner.”

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Art school in Zestafoni. (Photograph: Roberto Conte)

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Russian Georgian Friendship Monument in Gudauri. (Photograph: Stefano Perego)


After the Soviet Union fell, some buildings have been destroyed, others have been renovated to take on a new form. But as the photo series shows, today these buildings remain throughout the country as a constant reminder of Georgia’s Soviet past. Roberto Conte and Stefano Perego view the Brutalist and Constructivist landmarks as an important feature of the country’s urban landscape.

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Tbilisi. The Palace of Ceremonies/Rituals. (Photograph: Roberto Conte)

The article highlights interesting aspects of the photo series, such as the expressionist style apparent in the Soviet architecture: “This can be seen in the use of human forms in the statue by Berdzenishvili in Marneuli and Russian Georgian Friendship Monument near the Georgian border. Human forms also appear in murals painted on the side of many Soviet public buildings (…).”

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Former Auditorium of the Industrial Technical College in Tbilisi. (Photograph: Roberto Conte)

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Marneuli. "And They Shall Grow", a sculpture by Merab Berdzenishvili. (Photograph: Stefano Perego)

The photographs of Conte and Perego document a part of Georgia’s long history. The remaining Soviet buildings remind of that past but also add to the diversity of the country’s architectural landscape.

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Aragveli monument in Zhinvali. (Photograph: Stefano Perego)

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Technical Library in Tbilisi. (Photograph: Roberto Conte)

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Soviet war memorial and residential buildings in Chiatura. (Photograph Stefano Perego)

Related articles:

Tbilisi's rare Art Nouveau buildings at risk

Batumi’s Neo-Gothic Cathedral with century-old priceless frescoes

Tbilisi’s Theater and Music Exhibition Hall among TOP 10 cultural buildings of 2016

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