Georgia is a country with ancient and rich original culture which goes back as far as millennia. Georgian monumental architecture, world-renowned art of singing and music, book miniature, rich spiritual and secular literature, colorful dances, jewelry, chasings and paintings along with the hospitable Georgian people are inalienable part of this ancient country.
The first Georgian literary monuments are related to the 5th century AD. It is church literature of early Christianity – lives of the martyrs and saints, various treatises. Later went folklore – legends about heroes and didactic poems.
The blooming of Oriental (Persia, in particular) literature strongly influenced the development of Georgian literature. During the epoch of the early middle Ages epic products of lyrical character about unfortunate love inspired by Firdausi’s creativity and other authors appeared. The symbol of Georgian fiction is the epic poem “The Hero in Tiger Skin” by Shota Rustaveli written in the 12th century.
The most significant contribution to the literary heritage of Georgia was also made by Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani, the author of Georgian thesaurus (the 18 th century), Elijah Chavchavadze, Alexander Kazbegi and Acacias Tsereteli (the 19 th century), Galacteon Tabidze (“The Moon of Mtatsminda”, “The Wind is Blowing”), Constantine Gamsakhurdia (“The Right Hand” – the 20th century).
There are a lot of disputes related to origination of Georgian folklore. Some people believe that Georgian folk music is more than 1,500 years old. Georgians even went to war singing and dancing. Georgian folklore has preserved ritual songs and dances of both pagan and Christian epochs. In 2001 the UNESCO recognized Georgian songs as a masterpiece of oral immaterial heritage. The State Symphony Orchestra and a number of folk song and dance ensembles such as “Erisioni” and “Rustavi” are known all over the world.
Georgia has about 100 museums. In Tbilisi alone there are more than 20 of them. The major museum of the country is the State Museum of Georgia named after Simon Dzhanashia transformed in 1919 from the Caucasian Museum (founded in 1852).
There you will see the largest collection of Georgian culture monuments: material culture objects whose age starts from the epoch of the lower Paleolithic – tools, arrowheads and spears, utensils, ancient ornaments as well as handicrafts from different areas of Georgia, the collection of coins both from Georgia and the countries of the Near East.