Georgia's Soviet-era monuments featured on CNN
07 February, 2018
Georgia's Soviet-era monuments featured on CNN
Georgia’s soviet architecture, mosaics and monuments of the past often attract attention of the leading international media publications.

This time, CNN devotes quite informative article to Georgia's Soviet-era monuments and calls them the towering titans of the past.

“Throughout Georgia, the past overshadows the present. Cropping up everywhere from back-road village squares to mountain peaks, steel and concrete monuments survive as the legacy of a past many would rather forget” the article reads.
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The Tiger and the Knight by architect
Elguja Amashukeli

According to the publication, the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic built a phenomenal number of ideological monuments during its existence from 1936 until 1991.Georgia’s soviet monuments were characterized by themes of Soviet historicism - stars, fists and Red Army soldiers, though by the 1970s and into the 1980s, this formalism would give way to new and often abstract works of modernism.

The author of the article discusses a huge variety of Soviet monuments in Georgia, such as the Monument to the Treaty of Georgievsk at Gudauri, a ski resort located on the south-facing plateau of The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and hyper-proportioned Soviet memorial in the mining town of Chiatura, a city in the Imereti region of Western Georgia.
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Monument to the Treaty of Georgievsk at Gudauri. Photo courtesy Morten Oddvik

Unprecedented growth of tourism in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi is also stressed in the article.

“Tourism is at a record high, while rapid new development is appearing, in part, by way of large-scale Chinese investment. Much of Tbilisi's early 20th-century art nouveau architecture (previously condemned as bourgeois by the Soviet regime) has enjoyed recent reassessment and repair, and in 2002 the World Monuments Fund added Georgian art nouveau to its list of endangered works”,Cnn.com reports.
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The Memorial of Georgian Warrior Heroes in Gori. Photo courtesy Darmon Richter

A significant number Soviet-era monuments in Tbilisi have already been removed, including the monumental arches on what was once Republic Square, nicknamed "Andropov's Ears," built in 1983 by O. Kalandarishvili and G. Potskhishvili for an official visit by the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. Andropov's Ears were demolished in April 2005, when the third President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashivili declared their destruction.
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Andropov's Ears during Soviet times

It is worth mentioning that not every monument built in Soviet Georgia was overtly political, for example, the Monument of Saint Nino, the Enlightener of Georgia, or the Chronicles of Georgia memorial complex, both designed by Zurab Tsereteli, a Georgian painter, sculptor and architect known for large-scale and at times controversial monuments.

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Monument to Saint Nino by Zurab Tsereteli. Photo courtesy Darmon Richter

The publication also mentioned one of the main tourist attractions of Old Tbilisi, the statue of Mother of Georgia (Kartlis Deda in Georgian) and calls it “an enduring symbol of nationhood with or without the context of her socialist sisters overseas.”

The statue of Kartlis Deda was erected in 1958, the year Tbilisi celebrated its 1500th anniversary. Prominent Georgian sculptor Elguja Amashukeli designed a figure of a woman in Georgian national dress. She symbolizes the Georgian national character: in her left hand she holds a bowl of wine to greet those who come as friends and in her right hand is a sword for those who come as enemies.
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The statue of Kartlis Deda

At the end of the article, as a conclusion, the tendency of demolishing soviet era monuments is highlighted.

“In 21st century Tbilisi though - if not quite yet in all of Georgia - any Soviet-era monuments that can't be rehabilitated as national symbols now increasingly face demolition, or obscurity and decay” – CNN informs it readers.

Read full story at CNN

Related stories:

Soviet Mosaics in Georgia – 'Street art' of the past

The Architecture in Tbilisi, Georgia, Is Worth the Trip Alone- VOGUE

Georgian building among 13 most bizarre Soviet-era constructions


A reminder of the past: Photographers capture Georgia’s Soviet architecture

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