Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Old Georgian Script on a Church in the Caucasus Mountains

Old Georgian Orthodox Church
Although Georgia is a small country, it has its own unique language and script (alphabet) that are unrelated to the major alphabets/scripts now in use (e.g., Latin, Cyrillic, Persian, Hindu, and a handful of others). The alphabet, likely originally influenced by Greek script, has evolved from its origins in the 4th century -- some say it was created much earlier -- to its present day form.
Old Georgian Script on Ancient Church

Probably about five to six million people speak Georgian, including most of the four million or so who live in the country.

The picture to the left and below show an early version of Georgian script that was chiseled onto the exterior wall of the old Georgian Orthodox church pictured above, located on Military Road, not too far from the border with Russia. The church is in the Caucasus Mountains, overlooking a large lake, a peaceful and beautiful setting.

This Georgian Orthodox church building is no longer in use, and is in a state of disrepair.  It was constructed out of locally made brick and at one time was likely quite impressive inside.  Some remaining rements of frescoes on the inside cupola are still visible, but have graffiti (in Russian) written on them. (See the last picture.)

A visit to this area, about 60 miles from Tbilisi, gives a small taste of the interesting elements of isolated Georgia settlements scattered throughout the Caucasus mountains, each with their old  fortifications that no longer serve a purpose and stone churches. The living conditions in the mountains are sometimes harsh and difficult, a throwback to another time. In return, residents have the self-sufficiency and distance from the troubled world that have always attracted mountain people.
More Old Georgian Script

Graffiti on Fresco in the Church

(Photos by Dan Durning)

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