From desert to palm trees, mountains to plains – it’s amazing to find so many different topographies in such a small country. When you travel to Georgia for the first time, you will undoubtedly hear the story about how Georgians ended up on this beautiful land. There are different versions, but the idea is, that, when God divided the earth into countries, he called out for all people to come and stake their claims.
Once all was set and done and God wanted to relax, he discovered a man resting under a tree, who didn’t take part in the hustle and bustle before. When God asked him why he wasn’t interested in a homeland for himself, the man replied, he was happy the way things were and that he would be content with whatever God had in mind for him. Impressed by the friendliness and effortlessness, God offered him the paradise he had reserved for himself, which then would become Georgia.
Ana Kordzaia-Samadashvili is a writer, translator, literary journalist and award-winning author of novels and short stories. When I met Ana last year on a warm and sunny September day in Tbilisi’s Vake district, it only took us a couple of moments to be on the same page – I told her about the book project, she talked about her ideas. About the Georgia of the past and the present.
And now I’m very happy to be able to share her beautiful essay „Lost Paradises“ in our book „Tamar, Where Are You?“.
Tagveti (“Village of the Mice” in English) is where Natela Grigalashvili was born and raised, and Village of the Mice is a personal project about memories of her village as it used to be. She left when she was 16, two years later she started photographing with a borrowed camera, and since then she has been photographing her village.
Natela Grigalashvili is one of the outstanding Georgian photographers sharing stories in Tamar, Where Are You? – and Village of the Mice is her story.
A book like „Tamar, Where Are You?“ always is a journey, from the first images to the idea to the finished product. And one never succeeds without the right traveling companions. For Tamar, we are lucky that we were able to already find some great supporters like the Georgian National Book Center, but there’s still quite a distance to the finish line, so we just started our crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.
Have a look and maybe we can spark your interest – or you would like to spread the word and share the campaign, so that we can reach as many people as possible with our book.
What used to be a place for the equestrian sports nowadays is a little paradise in the midst of Tbilisi traffic and construction crasziness, where people come to work out, practise rugby, walk their dogs – or just rest.
It’s in residential Saburtalo – and definitely worth a visit. Better now than wait too long, who knows whether it will survive or have to make way for even more real estate adventures.
Last week, news came that Syria had officially recognized Abkhazia and South-Ossetia as independent countries – a move that has been denounced by a wide array of countries from the western hemisphere.
This brings back a day last September when I was traveling to the occupation line separating Georgia from its former autonomous region Samachablo – now mostly known as South Ossetia or Tskhinvali Region – with members of a group called „Power is in Unity“.
It is where I met Mikhael, David, Alexandra, Lasha and others of the movement. They told me about their cause, that they would be going to the occupation line every day to monitor military movements on the other side, to show presence – and to raise awareness for the situation. Their goal is to reach a point where there’s room for top-level political talks which should ultimately be leading to the unification of Samachablo with Georgia.
The day ended with them demonstrating their conviction that Georgia should be even more integrated into western alliances – and with soft spoken Giorgi quietly sitting down, holding his smart phone to his ear listening to a Georgian song while his gaze reached out to the land that once was home to many of them.
My first trip to Georgia was in 2011 – and ever since, I’ve been working on this project. First out of a fascination for this unknown country – it was like they say, if you come to Georgia once, you will come back. Year over year this fascination grew into curiosity and the wish to know and understand more.
This photograph of an artwork by Rezo Gabriadze was one of the first ones I made – and still is one of my favorites. The original artwork can be found in the old part of Tbilisi, it decorates the wall of the Gabriadze Theater, which is one of the premiere cultural institutions in town.
Welcome to the new web site for our photobook project „Tamar, where are you?“ – an exploration of the country of Georgia through the eyes of one German and seven Georgian photographers as well as three Georgian writers.
From now on you will able to accompany the publishing process of our book here – and find many additional stories about Georgia and the participating artists.