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Friday, August 15, 2014

Berlin Museum of European Cultures hosts Georgian Culture Days

by Nino Sharashidze

15.08.2014. The European Heritage Days in 2014 is dedicated to the love of life. To mark this occasion, the Museum of European Cultures in Berlin devotes its space to Georgian culture. From July 31 until October 5 the museum is presenting an exhibition “Wine – Culture” and degustation of Georgian wine and cuisine.

The Museum organizes similar events since 2000, and it has already hosted days of Polish, Venetian, Tatar, Estonian, Croatian, Romanian, Sardinian and Slovak cultures. 

Along with the Georgian Ministry of Culture, the event is also supported by Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation; Embassy of Georgia in Berlin; The National Museum of Georgia in Tbilisi; The Museum of European Cultures in Berlin; Supreme Council of Adjara; The National Film Center; and National Wine Agency. 

The presentation of Georgian wine culture shows up that eating and drinking are not only a necessity but often a cause for celebration. And the dining culture is an important component of social life. The exhibition displays photographs by one of Georgia’s famous photographers. Dimitry Ermakov (1846 -1916), illustrating the wine-making process in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Wine is known in the region of the Caucasus for 8000 years. To date, this drink with its cultural significance is so connected with Georgia and its people, that UNESCO has included the Georgian technique of fermenting wine in 2013 amphorae its List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The “Supra” – Celebration in Georgian

A richly laid table with food and wine is an essential part of the celebrations. At each Supra a Tamada (table manager) is appointed to lead the banquet tables with toasts, subject to certain rules. The guests empty their glasses after the Tamada has completed a toast, but this can also continue and expand. Such a soulful dialogue can occur, which may be accompanied by singing and dancing.

Eating, drinking, dancing and singing together are an essential aspect of this culture. The exhibition “Wine - Culture” addresses this topic, by historical photographs of Ermakov that provide insights into the wine culture.

Malkhaz Kharbedia, President of the Georgian wine clubs gave lecture about wine culture and showed the documentary “Cradle of wine” by Merab Kokochoshvili, 2011.

The traditional method of wine fermenting takes place in the typical egg-shaped pottery, the Qvevri, in which the wine is fermented and stored. As part of the cultural identity of Georgian communities that tradition plays a major role in daily life and celebrations. This is reflected in a variety of oral traditions, and traditional songs are sung and praised where wine and grape vines. The knowledge of this heritage is passed down from family, neighbors, friends and all those who participate in the harvest and winemaking.

Centuries-long relationship between Georgian and German People

On August 14, Dr Manfred Nawroth gave talk about the centuries-long relationship between German people and Georgians. He said that the first contacts between Germans and Georgians date back to the 12th century. And had developed intensively in 19th and early 20th century, when many German settled in Georgia and helped shape the development of the country.

Upcoming Events

16/08 - Rusudan Gorgiladze will describe the Georgian kitchen and solid tradition in the context of world culture. She will discuss the origin and use of food and spices that makeup the “Georgian taste.”

19/08 - The museum hosts panel discussion about the youth and history in the Caucasus Region. The experts include Archil Abashidze, who works with his students again by visiting the neighboring countries on this issue. Prof. Eva-Maria Auch, who was engaged in better understanding of the South Caucasus and worked on local German tracks. Liana Badaljan, who works at the Linguistic University in Yerevan and tries to confront young people with conflicting images of history. And S. E. Dr. Dr. H.C. Lado Chanturia, Ambassador of Georgia in the Federal Republic of Germany, the former Minister of Justice and former President of the Supreme Court and a DAAD Visiting Professor at the University of Kiel.

21/08 - A lecture by Prof. Dr. Rolf Schrade about Svaneti. Svaneti is an inaccessible region of the Great Caucasus Mountains, where up to now own language received. Rolf Schrade is one of the most knowledgeable of the area. He researched and supported in remote villages the restoration of churches, frescoes and icons from the 10th to the 14th century. In the talk, he presents results of his decades of work from an area with breathtaking scenery.

23/08 - Literary evening, reading with Nino Haratischwili from her novel “My gentle twin” and the recently published “Family Saga.” Nino Kharatishvili, born 1983, is a theater director, playwright and novelist. From 2000 to 2003 she studied film directing at the state school for film and theater in Tbilisi. Then she studied a degree in theater directing at the Theatre Academy in Hamburg that she successfully ended in 2007. She also wrote prose texts and pieces that were published both in Germany and Georgia.

28/08 - Concert Evening with the ensemble Suliko and an introduction to the choral singing by Dr. Susanne Ziegler. The Georgian polyphonic singing has a long tradition. It was included in the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2001.

30/08 - Closing of the Georgian Culture Days will demonstrate songs and dances from Adjara and other areas of Georgia. The presentation will show the diversity of dance and music throughout the regions. As part of the festival culinary delights of Georgian cuisine are offered, and the visitors get books for the present about Georgian culture and literature.

Source (abridged)

    Georgian Wine Catalogue      
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