10 Unique things about Georgia
24 July, 2018
10 Unique things about Georgia
1. Kvevri is a large clay fermentation vessel, used for storing and ageing traditional Georgian wine. The vessel is buried in the ground. The process of making wine in kvevris involves pressing the grapes and then pouring the juice, grape skins, stalks and pips into the kvevri. Georgia has revived this ancient method of wine-making dating back to the 6th millennium B.C. You can observe kvevris in large wine cellars of almost every part of Georgia.
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Kvevri, Photo courtesy: Photo courtesy:
www.qvevri.xyz


2. Georgian scripts are among the only 14 existing scripts worldwide. Georgian scripts include three writing systems used to write the Georgian language: Asomtavruli, Nuskhuri and Mkhedruli. Although the systems differ in appearance, all three are written in the lower case (in other words no Capital letters are used) , their letters share the same names and alphabetical order, and are written horizontally from left to right. Mkhedruli is now the standard script of modern Georgian. The Georgian alphabet was announced as one of the world’s most beautiful scripts by www.matadornetwork.com (a collection of millions of travelers across the globe with an unquenchable thirst for adventure and exploration). 
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Georgian alphabet, Photo courtesy: www.matadornetwork.com

3. Most Georgian surnames end either in shvili or dze. Shvili means a child and dze means a son. The suffixes are preceded by various designations. For example, meqvab- (pot-maker) + shvili (child) probably means that the ancestor of the surname’s owner used to be a pot-maker. The surname makharadze contains makhara (somebody made me happy) and dze (son). It may refer to the happiness of a child’s birth.
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Svaneti towers, Photo courtesy: www.sputnik-georgia.com

4. Located in Georgia’s north western region of Svaneti are the unique Tower Houses. Tower houses are particular type of stone structures, built for defensive purposes as well as habitation. Since 1996, the traditional towers of upper Svaneti have been protected as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most of the towers date back to the period between 9th and 12th century. 
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Chokha, Photo courtesy: www.ghn.ge

5. Chokha – is a wool coat, typically worn by men, with cartridge holders on the chest. They were once basic folds, later made to hold bullets and gunpowder. Now, they are simply ornamental. The chokha has been in wide use among Georgians from the 9th century until the 1920s. It is still used in Georgia as a symbol of national pride, and is frequently worn by Georgian men at weddings and official functions. There are four types of chokha: the Kartl-Kakheti chokha (Kartli and Kakheti are eastern Georgian provinces), the Khevsur chokha (mainly in the Mtskheta-Mtianeti province of Georgia), the Adjarian chokha (mainly found in western Georgian provinces such as Acharuli and Guria, previously also in Lazona), and the general Caucasian chokha.
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Panduri, Photo courtesy: www.wikipedia.org

6. Panduri - is a traditional Georgian three-string plucked instrument common in Eastern regions of Georgia: such as Pshav-Khevsureti, Tusheti, Kakheti and Kartli. The panduri accompanies heroic, comic and love songs, as well as dance. In the past, the Panduri was played at feasts, weddings and religious events. They have been one of the most important items within the Georgian family.


Krimanchuli- Georgian polyphony

7. Georgia’s traditional music is widely recognized as the earliest polyphony of the Christian world. Vocal polyphony based on ostinato formulas and rhythmic drone are widely evident in all Georgian regional styles. Eastern Georgia is known for pedal drone polyphony (two highly embellished melodic lines develop rhythmically free on the background of pedal drone) and contrapuntal polyphony (three and four part polyphony with highly individualized melodic lines in each part and the use of several polyphonic techniques). Western Georgian contrapuntal polyphony features the local variety of the yodel, known as krimanchuli.
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Mzia and Zezva, Photo courtesy: www.forum.ge

8. Mzia, Zezva and a teenager girl – are reconstructed early human fossils, dubbed Homo Georgicus. They were found in Dmanisi (south eastern part of Georgia) between 1991 and 2005. 1.8 million years ago Homo Georgicus may have been a separate species of human, predating Homo Erectus, and represents the earliest stage of human presence in the Caucasus. 
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Churchkhela, Photo courtesy: www. wikipedia.org

9. Churchkhela and Pelamushi are traditional Georgian sweets. Churchkhela is a candle-shaped candy made of grape must, flour and nuts. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnut are threaded onto a string, dipped in thickened grape juice or fruit juices and then dried. The traditional technology of churchkhela in the Kakheti region (eastern Georgia) was included on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia list in 2015. Pelamushi is a Georgian dessert porridge made with pressed, condensed grape juice. Chopped nuts are poured over the pelamushi.
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Pelamushi, Photo courtesy: www.lagodekhi.gov.ge

10. A lot of tourists say that the first thing they notice when they visit Georgia is the colour black. These days, Georgians are less obsessed with black clothes. Previously when a family member died, Georgians would traditionally wear black clothes for years. The tradition may have turned into an automatic habit due to the continuous deaths from war and the need to mourn for the dead . Fortunately, this negative trend is changing and more and more Georgians are now wearing more coloruful clothing.


First photo courtesy: www.kobaveshaguri.blogspot.com

Related stories:

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Dmanisi Skull and Brand-New Caucasian Democracy

From khinkali to churchkhela: a guide to Georgian food

Georgian church choir performs Radiohead song in an exciting polyphony



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