|Art And Culture|
Throughout the centuries, Imeretia has been one of Georgia'a most important political and cultural centers, as well as a trade hub. The kings of the entire country ruled from the capital city of this region, Kutaisi. To this this day, it counts among the crucial political and cultural centers. Thanks to Georgia's strategic location, the country had become and important point in the route between Asia and Europe. This has contributed to the richness and originality of georgian art and culture.
Many cultural sites lay in the heart of the region, in the city of Kutaisi. The city center hosts the Opera, built in 1969. Its rich repertoire is certainly worth attention, and the shows are created with the participation of a ballet group. It is in this very place that the famous "Suliko", Stalin's beloved song, has been performed for the first time. The building's architecture is splendid, with impressive lion sculptures adorning its left, right and center rooftops. Kutaisi is also the birthplace of the famous opera composer Zacharia Paliashvili, and the home city to well-known musicians: Meliton Balanchivadze, Kote Potskhverashvili, Bartolome Kukhiniadze, andg Pilimon Koridze.
One of the district's biggest prides is its theatre, rich by over 150 years of history. Ludo Meskhishvili State Theatre is one of the main cultural centers of Georgia. The first play had its premiere on the 3rd of March 1861. The first play, "The Divorce", was performed by an amateur group. In time, its scene had come to host the greatest personalities of georgian theatre. From the second half of the 19th century on, the theatre was not only a place for arts, but also hosted the georgian national movement. The plays presented on the scene supported the independence movement of Georgia, as the country was under Russian rule. Nowadays, the theatre is a thriving institution, lead by a team of excellent artists.
Among Kutaisi's biggest attractions, especially for those who travel with children, is Jakob Gogebashvili State Theatre of Puppet, opened in 1946. It was named after a famous georgian pedagogue and author of choldren's books. The first play, "A White Pug", had its premiere on the 31st of December 1946. Currently, the theatre's repertoire includes 15 plays.
The city also hosts an art gallery, The David Kakabadze Fine Art Gallery, created in 1976. Its collection includes over 2800 items, mostly from the 19th and the 20th centuries. The most important artists exhibited in the gallery are, among others, G. Nikoladze, R. Sturua, Gigo Gabashvili.
Kutaisi takes pride in its great variety of museums - anyone can find something to their taste. The city is home to, among others, the Museum of Sports, opened in 1970. Country's biggest collection, it includes mainly objects related to Georgia's sport achievements.
Another museum worth visiting is the State Historical an Ethnographic Museum, opened in 1912, with a collection of about 150 thousand exhibits. Counted among the world's most important museums, it includes in its collection artifacts from I-II thousand years BC, numismatic items, jewellery, tableware, historical documents and priceless books. The museum's library counts over 40 thousand volumes.
Yet another interesting museum bears the name of Zachary Paliashvili, a famous georgian composer mentioned above, born in 1871 and deceased in 1933, one of the founders of Georgian Philharmonic Company. The museum exhibits many items related to Paliashvili's work and life.
Besides the above, it is always worthwile to see the Museum of Marial Art, the small Local Museum, the Nike Berdzenishvili Museum or the David Mkheidze Museum, the latter hosting many archives about Imeretia.
Yet, Georgian culture is not limited to material items. The non-material culture of Georgia is also highly valued, which is recognized by UNESCO (among others). In 2001, UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List has included the georgian special polyphonic chant. The roots of this tradiction go 1500 years deep. Nowadays, the chant is mostly performed by church choires or folklore bands. The traditional chant is an absolute must at any georgian wedding party - in Imeretia, the most popular wedding site is the Motsameta monastery.
Georgian literature is one of the richest and oldest literatures in the world. Georgian alphabet is counted amond the world's 46 alphabets. While in Imeretia, if you want to find out something more about georgian writers, you should go to Samtredia to see the museum of a famous georgian writer, Niko Nikoladze. You should also visit the Terjola district to discover the rich exhibit of a museum dedicated to the work of georgian novelist David Kldiashvili, or go to Bagdhati, home to the museum of a famous russian poet and dramatist, Vladimir Maiakovski, who lived and worked in this city. Local museums can be found in Chiatur, Kharagula, Sachkhere, and Zestaponia.
But the list of Georgia's and Imeretia's cultural riches does not stop here. In 2013, the glorious UNESCO list has also included the traditional georgian methot of winemaking. Traditional wines of Imeretia are highly valued troughout the world, thanks to the rare variety of grape vines that can be grown only on special soil, very rare in other parts of the world.
The district itself is attractive for many reasons, not least the wonderfully preserved historical sites and great cultural centers. Imeretia is famous for its excellent food, wines we have mentioned above and incredible hospitality of its inhabitants. It is without a doubt a perfect place for anyone who loves impressive architecture, ancient art and wonderful, traditional georgian culture that gives you a chance to ger to know Imeretia from the inside.