The European Year of Cultural Heritage celebrations have provided Georgia with a special opportunity to explore European cultural heritage, diversity, intercultural dialogue, and community within a large-scale campaign conducted by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia.
Throughout the year, in a busy calendar that included European Heritage Days as a highlight, numerous activities have taken place to explore citizens’ understanding of shared European values and encourage their participation in heritage activities.
One of the most significant projects implemented this year, “Students for Cultural Heritage,” has been based on the active involvement of students in raising awareness about heritage and sharing their views. The project, coordinated by the Ministry, explores younger generations’ views of cultural heritage within the context of the European Year of Cultural Heritage’s theme of "where the past meets the future."
As one example, students from the Faculty of Media Art, Tbilisi State Academy of Fine Arts have started a project which will conclude with the creation of videos and animation infographics based on a wide variety of heritage topics outlined as central to the EYCH. These visual products are examples of successful collaboration between the cultural and educational sectors. Before the end of the year students will create more than 50 pieces of work.
Watch a video on Facebook here
Traditional Blue tablecloths - Restored tradition and regained popularity
Traditional Georgian blue tablecloth was recognized by UNESCO in 2017 as being of special significance. The distinctive blue tablecloth, decorated with amazing birds, deer and beautiful figures and the craftsmanship behind it have been an integral part of Georgian culture for three centuries.
The symbols typically embroidered on the tablecloths carry a wide variety of meanings. For example, the deer is associated with the tree of life in Georgian mythology, the bird belongs to this tree of life, and a fish is used to represent Jesus Christ. The tablecloth is also often decorated with little crosses.
For many years the tradition of decorating tablecloth was forgotten but in recent years passionate people started reviving the technology and bringing it back to everyday use. Nowadays these beautiful tablecloths are very popular in Georgia.
Watch a video on Facebook here.
Georgian sport heritage – Centenary celebrations of the legendary sports society "Shevardeni"
The European Year of Cultural Heritage has also coincided with the centenary celebrations of the creation of “Shevardeni," the first Georgian Independent Sports Society, which laid the groundwork for the development of national sports in Georgia.
Bringing together pioneers such as Julius Grumlick, Barna Pettuciek, Watslaw Couba, Anton Lukes, the society is central to the history of professional sport in Georgia. It consolidated the fitness society "Sokol" and the first Georgian sports society "Amirani."
On August 25 1918 climber Giorgi Nikoladze initiated the unification of "Amirani" and "Sokol". The new society was called "Shevardeni." Thus began the history of legendary sports Society.
The emblem of this new sports community was the symbol of St. George. The aim of the Society was the improvement of the morale and spiritual education of the population and to increase patriotic spirit through sports. After the establishment of Soviet power in Georgia, the government dissolved "Shevardeni” in November 1922.
Georgian State Museum of Theatre, Music, Cinema The and Choreography – Art Palace and the Museum of Georgian Sport at the Georgian National Museum house invaluable collections related to the history of “Shevardeni.”
Watch a video on Facebook here.
Through these initiatives and celebrations, and many more, across such a broad variety of topics, Georgia showcased its cultural richness and today’s creativity through the European Year of Cultural Heritage celebrations. The Year will conclude this month, and its legacy is a significant boost to the heritage sector in Georgia.
Information and images provided by:
Teona Jakeli, National Coordinator of EYCH 2018
Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia