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  • History & Legends

    The Georgians have their own version of the creation of the world. Tired and a bit dizzy, God had worked hard for six days and was looking forward to the seventh day, his first day off. He had given all peoples on earth a place to live, or at least that was what he thought he had done, until a group of merry and light-hearted Georgians all of a sudden jumped out from behind a stone.  “But what about us, God, where are we going to live then?”, they anxiously asked while standing on their tiptoes.  “Oh,no!”, God said to himself! He realised that he had forgotten the Georgians. Then God said:  “I am sorry that I have forgotten you, you will get the land the land that I had reserved for myself”.

    This explains why the Georgians believe, with good reason, that they live in the most beautiful country on earth.
    Georgia can rightly claim to be the cradle of the first Europeans.  The oldest examples of humans found outside Africa were discovered in 1991 in the village of Dmanisi in the region of Kartli in the very south of Georgia. The remains of a historic human, supposed to be 1,8 million years old were found there.
    According to Georgian sources the Georgians originate from Kartlos who was the grandson of Japheth who again, accoring to the Bible, was one of the sons of Noah. Kartlos is the origin of the Georgian name for Georgians – kartvelebi (ქართველები), of the Georgian language – kartuli (ქართული) and to the Georgian name for Georgia – Sakartvelo (საქართველო).
    According to Greek mythology Prometheus stole the fire from the gods and gave it to humans. As a punishment Zeus bound him to a mountain in the Caucasus.   Every day his liver was pecked at and eaten by the eagle of Zeus, but every night the liver grew back. This as a proof of his immortality. Later- according to Greek mythology – Promotheus supposedly was freed by Hercules.
    In the year 337, Georgia became the second country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion.
    The golden age of Georgian history is linked to the time of Queen Tamar who ruled the Kingdom of Georgia from 1184 to 1213. As a queen she was the commander in chief for the armed forces and was frequently fighting wars. As a result Georgia became larger than ever before. The Georgian kingdom then stretched from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. Enormous building activity was initiated during her time on the throne. A large number of churches and monasteries were built. One of these was an impressive cave monastery with six thousand dwellings on thirteen floors in Vardzia. Despite the fact that the monastery was struck by an earthquake in the 13th century, and later looted by the Persians, it is still possible to visit around 300 of these dwellings today.
    From the beginning of the 13th century and until the beginning of the 15th century, Georgians were repeatedly subjected to Mongol invasions. This was succeeded by a period of about 200 years when the Ottoman and Persian empires tried to end Georgian independence and gain Georgian territories from both the east and west. The Georgians went through harsh economic times. Georgia looked for a Christian ally against its muslim enemies and in 1783 concluded an agreement with Russia. Nevertheless, Tbilisi was attacked and burned down by the Persians in 1795. Georgia was soon incorporated in the Russian Empire.   Despite what happened, the Georgians remained friendly towards foreigners. The French archeologist Baron de Baye is in the 19th century supposed to have described the Georgians as a people that believe that guests are a gift from God.
    ln 1918 Georgia managed to re-establish independence and founded the democratic republic of Georgia, but already in 1921, the Red Army invaded Georgia. The Soviet period continued until 1991 when Georgia became a free country.
    Despite the so-called Rose Revolution, and the fact that Mikheil Saakashvili came to power in 2004, the question about the status of the Georgian territories in Abkhazia and around the city of Tskhinvali in the north which had triggered large crowds of refugees during the past years, remained unsolved.    After the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008, the Georgian grip on these areas has become progressively weaker. Today Georgia is heading for full membership of the EU and NATO.