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Dry Bridge from Tbilisi to the past2012-08-03 17:34
Dry bridge is a name, little saying to an uninitiated. But those who have at least once visited the capital of independent Georgia, no this place well. This bridge connects the right and left banks of the Kura River. After the river below the bridge was dried it was named "Dry Bridge". The bridge is roughly 160 years old, and it was built by the project of the Italian Giovanni Scudieri.
In the days of perestroika and in the first years of Georgia's independence, the Dry Bridge was a sight of Tbilisi, a flea market, for the joy of collectors and lovers of antiques, and so on. Tbilisi residents from Dry Bridge remember this time as the most difficult - without gas, with interruptions of power supply, without money and without much hope. In such a condition, having taken from the house the most valuable, the city residents came at the bridge. The first merchants were those who lived nearby. And they sold their own goods and chattels.
Later hard times ended. Some have left, others have grown rich, others died, and the fourth became drunkards. And some have stayed here forever. They are trading here to this day. Many still remember the time, when they came here first time (that time Gamsakhurdia was in power), how they were drove from the Dry Bridge under Shevardnadze, and how they were demanded to install meters and pay taxes under Saakashvili. They have undergone a lot and survived. Now they are merchants and buyer-ups of all rare things.
On the bridge dry law operates. Only temporary sellers who take something from home for sale for booze come here drunk. Frankly speaking, I would like to think that the etymology of the name of this place is connected with the "dry law", but, alas, it is not so.
The concept of nationality is ephemeral here. Everyone speaks Georgian, understands Armenian and Azerbaijani, and not averse to communicate in Russian. The most advanced have learned English. And, in principle, it is needed here, because foreigners from the most distant continents are not uncommon here. We have met here a group of boy scouts from France, who were interested in the Soviet icons and old daggers, a family from China buying silver cups. Two old ladies from Hong Kong were just walking on the Dry Bridge, like in a Museum, and it was obvious that they received a sheer pleasure. A group of Iranians bargained with the Armenian, selling irons and bronze mortars.
Every thing that is being sold here, was made with a particular creative attitude in those times when people preferred the functionality to the beauty. Cups, made from Lemon tree in China in the last century, still keep lemon's aroma: as soon as you fill it with tea, the tea obtains stable lemon taste. Stands for knives of the end of the XVIII century in the form of muscular black slave, courageously holding a dozen of knives above his head; pioneer ties, which slightly differ from the boy scouts' ties; silver frogs with the coins in his mouth as attributes and symbols of abundance of money; movie posters of Minoru Shibuya; gramophones with music from the past - all of this can be found at the Dry bridge. It is a mysterious and fascinating world of things, which have long ceased to be just a household supplies. Special place is occupied by the Soviet attributes. Things that recently were the present suddenly have become mythical. Archetypes have turned into artifacts.