Discover the ancient wonders of modern Georgia
The home of the first Europeans 1.8 million years ago, Georgia is full of historic sites and traditions to discover.
After showcasing the traditions and culture of Georgia at ITB Berlin 2023, offering ‘Infinite Hospitality’ with wine tasting and masterclasses, the destination is shining a light on its historic significance.
It follows the scientific discovery of a 1.8-million-year-old tooth belonging to an early species of human which archaeologists say cements the region as the home of one of the earliest prehistoric human settlements in Europe – and possibly anywhere outside Africa.
We take a closer look at six significant ancient wonders of Georgia.
Homeland of Wine
Georgia is the home of cultivated grapevine, according to archeological discoveries. Research shows that grape pips in the Kvemo Kartli region of South Caucasus date back to 6000 BC. During the Neolithic period, vineyards were planted on Georgian territory and the grapes were used to make wine which played a crucial role in economic life.
Other findings include an ancient wine cellar from the Eneolithic era where a special ‘qvevri’ clay vessel was used to make and store wine. Tourists can also marvel at gold, silver, and bronze drinking bowls have also been found, indicating the highest development of wine production.
Homeland of Wheat
Along with wine, tourists can also learn about the country’s significance as the homeland of wheat with the first examples of farming dating back to the Mesolithic period.
Ancient Greek historians wrote about wheat from ancient Georgia. Researchers noted Asia as the homeland of 12 types of wheat and the south Caucasus as the homeland of eight types.
Some 34,000 years ago, cave communities crafted threat for the first time in what is now Georgia. People had the opportunity to knit or restore their clothes, sew shoes, and create different items, a huge progressive step forward to modern civilisation. Tourists can learn about the 34,000-year-old flax thread discovered in the Dzudzuana cave during their visit.
There are many historical reports and legends on Georgia’s ancient gold mining industry, which existed in the western part of the territory in the 5th century when it was one of the most developed civilisations.
Tourists can marvel at ancient artefacts preserved in the Golden fund of the National Museum of Georgia, including engraved and decorated diadems, jewellery and tools. The country also boasts the world’s oldest gold mine is in the Kvemo Kartli region.
Culture vultures can learn about the history of the Georgian language as one of the oldest writing systems in the world. Its three historical forms come from three different eras – Asomtavruli, Nuskhuri, and Mkhedruli – which are all included in the list of intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.
Some studies claim that the Georgian alphabet was created in III century BC by King Parnavaz I. However, some artefacts prove unknown writings being used in Georgia up to 3,000 years ago.
Cultural heritage monuments
As well as the artefacts kept in Georgia’s museums, tourists can also visit historic monuments across the country including churches, architectural objects, natural monuments, and preserved landscapes. Special routes are available which incorporate such sites around the country.
Another historic themed trip to Georgia is based around its unique villages which are listed among the country’s world heritage monuments. This includes the medieval village of Chazhashi, a part of Svanetian community Ushguli, sitting on 2,160 meters above sea level.
Must-see monuments includes Bochorna village in Tusheti, also one of the highest settlement in Europe. While one of the most unique monuments of Georgian architecture can be found in Shatili – a terraced fortress-village dating back to the 12th to 17th centuries featuring traditional flat-roofed houses and towers.
Tourists can immerse themselves in the folklore of Georgia through its dances and crafts which include some of the rarest carpets, enamel and pottery.