Common knowledge worldwide says that, the harder you’ve struggled to achieve something, the more you appreciate it once you finally get it.
It’s a common principle that applies to quite a few facets of human life. Athletes rejoice when they achieve the gold medal that reflects their lengthy efforts. Students shed tears of joy when they are admitted to their preferred university. Ex-convicts learn the value of fresh air without constrictions after walking out of prison.
And in Georgia, we relish in everything Georgian now that we can finally experience it to our heart’s content. That’s why it may be odd for others, but we are undyingly delighted of quite a bit of the things we have, do, see, and have lived through.
World heritage treasures and little everyday things merge together and make up for the ultimate list of things Georgians are permanently proud of, and things you can see and do in Georgia as well.
If you have checked our website and blog entries, you must be aware we talk about wine as often as we enjoy it. Which is to say, a lot.
Georgia is proud of its wine, and rightfully so. I could talk endlessly about our unique grape varieties and each of the wonderful wines we make, but it all comes down to one thing: the qvevri. Without it, Georgian wine would never be what it is.
At first glance, qvevri, also spelled kvevri, is simple pottery—an egg-shaped vessel that resembles amphorae or any other basic earthenware. But its simplicity hides the complex flavors it produces.
When buried underground—be it on plain soil or specialized wine cellars—they encourage wine’s aging in a very peculiar way. If the juice is poured with skins, pips, and stalks, the resulting product boasts of a deep color, tannic, and highly stable.
Travel to Georgia, and experience the charms of qvevri wine first-hand.
Talking about Georgian music is talking about Chakrulo, and talking about Chakrulo is talking about history.
The song is native to the Kakheti region, and it stands out as a drinking song performed in ceremonies, events, and at the table during supra. The lyrics take you back to the Middle Ages, amidst one of Georgia’s many wars for its independence. They tell a story of courage, unity, and strength, as the soldiers get ready to battle for their country. The melody is traditional Georgian polyphonic singing, with the highs and lows of the masculine voices performing the song.
Precisely because of this, Chakrulo is a symbol of national unity and pride for Georgians.
These characteristics are what made the song one of the selected tracks on the Voyager Golden Records, two discs sent to space, containing the best of humanity’s musical masterpieces. Which, if you ask me, it’s definitely something to be proud of.
You can now say that there is a piece of Georgian history floating outside in the vast space, forever. Not too shabby, huh?
08. Georgian alphabets
Although the most popular alphabet in the world is undoubtedly the Latin script, many languages have their own unique writing systems to match their phonemes. Georgia is one of such countries, but it stands out as particularly unique.
You see, Georgia has three different writing systems with a common root that is not found anywhere else. These scripts are so unique that they are part of the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The script used in daily life is Mkhedruli, the most recent out of the bunch and also the simplest to understand. However, the older two—Asomtavruli and Nuskhuri—are still recognized nowadays as official scripts, and keep being used by the Church and for artistic displays.
Mkhedruli, Asomtavruli, and Nuskhuri are Georgian. In fact, they are so Georgian that experts cannot find their origins outside of this small part of the Caucasus. They are, essentially, part of our history, identity, and something that identifies us anywhere.
You cannot help but being proud of that.
07. Knight in Panther’s Skin
Many countries have their national epic—a type of poem that transcends the pages the pages it was written in, and becomes a symbol of a land. It represents everything they stand for, turning into an emblematic piece.
For England that is Beowulf, for Spain it’s El Cantar de Mio Cid, and for Georgia, that masterpiece is called Knight in Panther’s Skin.
Written by Shota Rustaveli, Knight in Panther’s Skin is a carefully-crafted allegory to Georgia’s Golden Era, particularly under the rule of Queen Tamar, to whom it was dedicated to. It expresses a lyrical poetry that represents the values of such an era, including honor, chivalric and courtly love, alongside a particular Georgian worldview that remains to this day.
In Georgia we’re proud of The Knight in the Panther’s Skin. It’s not because it’s Georgian, although it represents undeniable characteristics that define us as a nation. It’s solely due to its literary value—it’s nothing short of a poetic jewel that is able to position itself amidst the best of the world.
06. Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet
Every country has its own national ballet institution. However, Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet has quite the misleading name.
You see, this dance company does not specialize in the Swan Lake or The Nutcracker. Instead, its main priority is traditional Georgian folk dancing, and it remains the first and most important dance company in Georgia.
Nino Ramishvili and her husband Illiko Sukhishvili founded the then-called Georgian State Dance Company in 1945, and since then it has successfully exported the beauty of Georgian traditional dances all across the world.
Thanks to the Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet, folk performances such as perkhuli, kazbeguri, and khorumi have graced the most famous stages around the world, including the Madison Square Garden and La Scala.
Beyond breathtakingly beautiful, the performances of the company have kept Georgian dancing traditions alive and invested them with a newfound popularity. Likewise, they merge ancient methods with current trends, creating visually spectacular spectacles worth witnessing.
05. Georgia’s natural beauty
Each country has its charm—their particular flavor of beauty. Whether it is striking beaches, breathtaking mountains or unparalleled sunsets, all countries can boast of something.
In my humble opinion—and that of a lot of other fellow countrymen and women—Georgia can boast of a lotmore than the average nation. Our privileged geographical position provides a unique combination of terrain, altitude, and weather mix-and-match.
The Caucasus Mountains that run across the country and the Black Sea that borders it give us variety—gorgeous peaks, fertile meadows, and paradisiacal beaches merge together in a single country, allowing for vast natural reserves and rich biodiversity to explore.
Due to these reasons, Georgia tourism is considerably focused on the natural beauty of the country, and not without reason.
04. Adjaruli Khachapuri
The easy way out is to say Georgians are proud of our food. Because it’s true—our food is delicious, unparalleled even. Each dish and each region’s version of it provides a little taste of the wonders our country offers.
But let’s be honest, if we had to pick a single recipe, it’d undoubtedly be Adjaruli Khachapuri. Adjara’s version of the popular Khachapuri dish is so distinctive and iconic, that it could single-handedly be named Georgia’s most international dish.
The delicious cheese-filled boat, with its distinctive shape, remain a mainstay in most food channels and networks dedicated to sharing worldwide recipes. With multiple versions available online, it has become our country’s signature dish, and rightfully so.
It’s straightforward, relatively easy to make, and mind-blowingly delicious. And while you can make it at home if so you want, I have an advice for you — travel to Georgia to experience the best khachapuri you can imagine.
Eating is necessary to give our bodies the fuel they need to properly function. We don’t have a say in it—if we don’t eat, we die.
But even if it’s an imperative, there is another side to eating. Sharing a table is sharing the products of our hard labor with others. It’s comradery. It’s friendship. It’s family. Enjoying a delicious meal together make us equals, and allow us to bond through each bite.
In Georgia, we take this to the next level thanks to supra. Hospitality and social bonds are strengthened with food and wine, as each toast honors the past, discusses the present, and blesses the future.
The talented cooks, as well as the tamada leading each toast, unite the table in one feeling—and so, each guest feels welcomed under the roof of the host regardless of any previous differences.
Any foreigner traveling to Georgia, if lucky enough, will be invited by locals to a supra and it’ll be an unforgettable experience. Supra is the Georgians’ hospitality culture wrapped up in a single occasion.
How can we not be proud of that?
02. Fierce history
If the country of Georgia were to be anthropomorphized, the resulting person would be covered in marks. But they wouldn’t be unsightly—they’re be battle scars, proof of her strength.
Georgia’s battle scars are all over the place. In museums, in history books, in our language, and in the way we associate with one another. It’s in our blood. Despite the vicissitudes and struggles, Georgia never stopped fighting against whoever wanted to subdue it.
From being the homeland of the first Europeans, to becoming one of the birthplaces of Christianity in the West, Georgia’s antiquity is full of glory. Georgia’s golden era under David IV and King Tamar developed a splendor of culture and art that we still enjoy today, and all the subsequent wars to defend ourselves reflect a willpower that could be subdued, but never crushed.
Across the millennia, Georgia has had an unparalleled history that shaped us into what we are. We are proud of that, and want to share it with the world. Georgia tourism displays proudly each aspect of our history for visitors to understand who we are and where we came from.
01. Being Georgian
All of the previous entries highlight wonderful aspects of the Georgian experience. Food, drinks, arts, history—tangible components of what makes Georgia a country and a nation.
But what makes them special isn’t just their intrinsic value to humanity as a whole, but simply the fact that they’re Georgian. Taking place within these borders, created by our ancestors, and preserved by ourselves as a testament of what shaped us into what we are. It runs through our veins alongside our blood.
Being Georgian is something that, until not too long ago, was forbidden by many outside forces. Attempts to suppress our culture, our language, and our history were fruitless, and now that we can enjoy the things that makes us Georgian, we cannot help but do so repeatedly.
We are proud of being Georgian, but most of all, we are proud of sharing Georgia with you.