I want to start with saying that the conference which was supposed to be held in Georgia, was postponed, and we found it out only on Georgian boarder and having no other way as it was late to push us on past
Yerevan, we decided to continue our trip. Speaking frankly I was even happy. This meant that I would be free and had the opportunity to go to the places of interest of Tbilisi, which I never managed during my two previous trips. The trip was a splendid one. I was on the front seat next to the driver and chatting all the time not letting him get tired or so. The fairy-like nature in Dilidjan and Idjevan is so enchanting that one cannot drive his eyes away from it. I was open to all impressions and I let my thoughts take colour from what I saw. Enjoy the pictures I took, but don’t judge them, I’m an amateur.
From my first two trips I got the impression that Georgians are nationalists from head to foot. When you ask what the price of a thing is in Russian they whether ignore you, as if you are a ghost, or declare that they don’t understand Russian and that you’ve better study Georgian. Well, in such situations I hardly resist myself and just leave avoiding any kind of misunderstanding. Shall I explain a man of 50 that his attitude is rude or wrong? He will argue with me, as was the case when once I tried to do it, insisting on his blind nationalism. They posses that feeling so deeply, that they even refuse selling anything from what they have. Their “you-don’t-know-georgian-so-go-and-study” attitude awfully annoys me and each time remembering those incidents I nearly go mad. Every time I want to be self-assured that those are only some exceptions and that not every Georgian has that manner, but it must necessarily be me who always faces such situations.
There was a small model of a city with Georgian notes on it in a church. I asked two girls to help me and translate what was written there, they said they cannot read. Well, I don’t think that Georgian girls of about 20 are illiterate as wеll as I don’t think that I have a horrifying appearance of a maniac as to scare them away. Just I speak Russian and everything connected with
Russia is looked down upon and is considered loathsome. Knowing that Georgians have that intense longing for
Europe this time I tried to speak English. But this also didn't help much. We wanted to buy Georgian tea at a well-known supermarket. We asked for it in Russian, but the seller, a girl of about 23, kept deathly-still. I thought she’s dumb. We asked for the second time and she started murmuring some Georgian words. We again asked in Russian and now she started uttering sentences in Georgian. I said that I don’t understand her and now tried to deliver to her my message in English. She again kept silence. Here I came to the conclusion that she does understand Russian, but categorically refuses to speak , she is supposed to know English, but she does not. And this is the case with most Georgians, this is the result of the dark side of nationalism propaganda. And I as a human and not as an Armenian or as a Russian speaking person, I feel insulted and humiliated by the ignorance, by their manner of looking down at you, by the slight and disrespect. Regardless of this fact I am always glad to help people of any nationality, especially when that help is just limited in some telling the time, translating two words or showing the street they want. And I’m sure most Armenians do. So I still hold to my ground that such expression of nationalism is a hectic one and it must be uprooted.
But Georgian nationalism has another aspect which I totally respect and appreciate. It is the fact that they like their country so much and that they are that much nationalists in protecting their city, their cultural values. Probably this sounds extreme if compared to what I wrote above, but this is what captured my mind during my whole trip.
First thing to say, there are NO OPEN CAFES in the center as well as throughout the whole
Tbilisi. Instead, the city is just abundant in alleys of trees, artificial forests and parks. One may say that due to its climate even a stick stuck in the soil will blossom and grow. But one thing that differentiates us from Georgians is the way we treat that stick. We exterminate that stick some 50 years later, because a café table is much more lucrative than a «stick» which now provides nothing but a huge amount of oxygen. But what Georgians do is cherishing every single tree and making new alleys, huge parks with rows of benches, fountains, tennis courts.
I'm not sure whether one can hear forest-birds twittering while roaming about central
Yerevan parks. The only thing you can hear is a combination of rival low quality music coming from all the cafes which fled those parks. But the picture is quite different in
Tbilisi. Parks are meant for what the true sense of the word implies in it. Old people, youth, couples, parents with their children come here to have rest, to enjoy the meditating calmness of the silence of those parks, the soothing melody of birds’ chirping and leaves’ rustle when kissed with wind. This is so unusual that a man is reasoning that he cannot surrender himself to that fine intoxication that comes of motion in the open air, that begins in a sort of dazzle and sluggishness of the brain, and ends in a peace that posses comprehension. While trying to relish thаt true moment of pleasure only one thing captured my mind, which shuttered the peace and quiet. I felt that I was jealous, that I envied, I got angry for that this is not in my city, this is not mine and that now it's too late to change anything…
Along with parks they preserve also the face of the capital. Though new buildings resembling the ones on Northern Avenue in
Yerevan also rise up, but as a rule not an old building is being destroyed. On the contrary, all the buildings along the river Kur are renovated without touching it’s aesthetic and cultural value. One may still find streets with very old buildings which have their own value. I hope they will not have the same future as our central buildings which were the dumb representatives of Old Yerevan.
About Georgian traffic, no arguments, I thought the Armenian is the worst, but it is so angelic in comparison. No rules, no speed limit, no lines, flinging at each other, scraping each others' cars, over exceeding the speed. Thanks God we were not run by some of those vehicles. No wonder that new police stuff and rules were introduced. They have what to watch and I think they do it properly. Incidentally on our way to
Tbilisi they stopped our car. I had a nice chat with the policemen, he wished us God speed and all.
One more thing which caught my attention.
Tbilisi is overflown with churches. To be precise I don't say that they are more or less than in
Yerevan. But they are so evident that when you watch the city from above first thing which strikes you is the multitude of churches. At the sight of a church Georgians christen for 3 times then continue their way. Even taxi drivers christen at every sight of a church, which may happen every five minutes. We were at the church which is being built for several years and I was told it is the biggest in
Caucasus. It is rather a church-complex with two other small churches and with an enormous garden. I liked the architectural design and solutions and it seemed to me much beautiful and alive than our Armenian St. Grigor Lusavorich church. Albeit it rather resembled a museum than a church.
What we saw there was a real shock for us. People were christening all the time and kissing everything in and out of the church, be it a picture, a book, the doors, the walls, candles, the coins they were sacrificing, the floor in the church, the ground at the entrance and even the fences. No, I’m not exaggerating, this is what I witnessed. Parents even lifted their little 2-3 years children so that they kiss all those things. I understand that that they are great believers and deep religious and that this is perhaps part of the devotions of Orthodox Church, but God, isn't this much too much? Is it that the more you kiss the more religious you are? Hmm, I can't get it, for me it seems rather ridiculous. Besides it's even unsanitary, but on the other hand probably it’s useful for that the church doesn’t hire servants to clean around. I wish all people paid more attention to each other than to some material superstitious things.
We were also at an Armenian church built in 1251, where Sayat-Nova, Armenian great writer and guslar-monger is berried. Then we climbed a hill to visit another church surrounded with bulky thick brick-walls resembling a fortress. Then
Tbilisi was at our feet with all its beauty and glory. To sum it up without lingering anymore, I liked my trip and
Tbilisi. I tried to be very objective in my evaluations, because subjectiveness may obscure the reality. This two nations have been neighboring for thousands of years and animosity in every aspect may drive only to the worse. Armenians can study many things from Georgians as well as Georgians may study many things from Armenians, as they did many years ago, but for some reasons we forgot about them, but they preserved. It’s not important who takes from who, it is essential how they treat, preserve and present what they take…