Just a quick overview of Georgia, of which I knew little prior to my visit.  I will not claim I know much, but whatever I have absorbed, I am happy to share. I am doing so to help me explain or describe many of the images I have taken over the 10 days trip.

Georgia is on the southern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains, forming a natural border with the north Caucasian republics of the Russian Federation. The country stretches along the Greater Caucasus ridge, bordered by the Black Sea to the west, the Armenian and Turkish highlands to the South, and Azerbaijan to the east. The topography is varied. The northern region is characterized by high mountains, and the central and southern parts, while mountainous, are much lower and are covered with alpine fields and forests.

The term “Georgian” is derived from the ancient Persian Gurg or Gorg, meaning wolf, or from the Greek georgios (“farmer,” “cultivator of land”). In the 1990s, the population was estimated to be from five to five and a half million, but reliable figures are not available because of extensive uncounted emigration. Just over half the population lives in urban areas. The majority language is Georgian. Most ethnic minorities in urban areas speak Russian rather than Georgian as a second language. The great majority of the population belongs to the Georgian Orthodox Church, an Eastern (Greek) Orthodox church.

Georgia can be characterized in many ways, but one of the most obvious one is a country which is almost involved in some war. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia declared independence in 1918, but the democratic Republic of Georgia, ruled by a social-democratic government, was invaded by the Red Army in 1921, a few days after it was recognized by European states. The Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia retained formal sovereignty but was a puppet member of the Soviet Empire until its dissolution in 1991. By the end of that same year, Georgia experienced a military coup. The military government, unable to cope with international isolation and an economic crisis, invited the former Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze to become the chairman of the State Council, keeping real power in its own hands. After two years of civil war and secessionist conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Shevardnadze took over the government. A new parliament was elected in 1995, a new constitution was adopted, and Shevardnadze was elected president. The self-proclaimed republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia continue to be source of conflict, but negotiations on their status is ongoing and virtually no military action has taken place since 1993.

Georgians were basically rural people until the beginning of this century, when industrialization caused a mass rural-to-urban migration, especially to the capital. Most families are still linked through kinship relations with the countryside and preserve some traditions of their native localities.

Industrialisation and the urban economy have had a limited influence on the national culture. Today, most of the population is urbanised and works in services or industrial production. Industry has been slow in recovering from the economic crisis of the early 1990s. Agriculture has been quicker to recover and accounts for almost 30 percent of the gross domestic product. A significant portion of exports consists of processed or raw agricultural produce such as hazelnuts, tea and wine. However, the country is not self-sufficient in producing grain as a result of the limited arable land.

Urban architecture bears strong traces of Soviet influence. Government buildings and sculptures from the Soviet era are gloomy and pompous. Since independence, economic crises have precluded the construction of new government buildings. The older quarters in some cities are elegant and demonstrate an attractive mixture of European and Asian architecture. The majority of smaller towns are overgrown villages that show little effort to organize space or create an urban environment.

Rural architecture is typified by two-story stone buildings with large verandas. In the mountains, villages often are dominated by picturesque towers. Stone houses may surround a family tower or be organized in terraces with small gardens or yards.

The systems of social stratification changed significantly because of the increasing income gap between the impoverished masses and former white-collar workers, and the new rich, who have used financial and social capital to accumulate capital through privatisation or trade, or have taken advantage of corruption in the state bureaucracy. Another change is linked to the restructuring of the political and economic system from the Soviet centralized type to a free market, although frequently the same Soviet bureaucrats and Communist officials have become capitalists and advocates of a liberal economy. Much of the new capital is concentrated in Tbilisi, Batumi and thus is dominated by ethnic Georgians.

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One Response to “Batumi – A City Trying to Define itself as Modern; Daylight Images” Subscribe

  1. Gianni December 28, 2015 at 7:00 am #

    very interesting work;by yourself it’s impossible to see different.
    Many many congrats
    Gianni

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