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Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Stumbling stronghold

2013-04-09 13:08

Stumbling stronghold. 29264.jpeg

In Georgia, a historic monument has become subject of political debate. Current leadership is going to remake the Rabat fortress in Akhaltsikhe (South Georgia), restored under the previous government. However, representatives of the "National Movement" that have, as they say, "the exclusive right" to restore the historic fortress, oppose this idea. Secretary General of the UNM Vano Merabishvili has threatened to make "all efforts" to prevent the change of the appearance of the fortress. Why do the current and former governments fail to agree on an issue that should be discussed by the specialist in this field?

"Nationals" and "Georgian Dream" have always been arguing about the present and the future, and now they are arguing rather about the past. This time the struggle is focused on the right of ownership of the monuments. The stumbling block is the Rabat fortress in Akhaltsikhe, the monument of architecture of the18th century. For a long time, this historical complex was in a dilapidated state, but last year the then government after years of restoration loudly announced that the restoration of the monument was completed. On this occasion, they even invited the famous French singer Charles Aznavour (whose ancestors, by the way, comes from these places of Georgia). In the Rabat fortress there was even held a gala concert of the famous singer, which was attended by all the country's political elite.

The people said, that former Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, now Secretary General of the "United National Movement" Vano Merabishvili, who hails from this place, played a major role in the reconstruction of the fortress. It was also said that a number of Georgian businessman had to fork out for the rehabilitation of the historical monument.

The fortress itself has been reconstructed several times. For the first time this place was mentioned in historical annals under another name - Lomsiya. The references are dated the 9th century. In its present appearance the Rabat fortress was built in the 18th century by Akhmed Pasha Jakeli. He built here a bathhouse and a mosque. Rabat fortress was of great strategic importance, so as a result of the invasion of the Turks, as well as many historical conflicts, the cultural monument of architecture was almost destroyed.

Restoration of the fortress was carried out much faster than its destruction. And, as they say, haste makes waste. Just like many other objects, hastily repaired by Mikheil Saakashvili and his team, in the Rabat fortress very soon the roofs began leaking, walls cracked, part of the concrete surfacing collapsed. Although the experts of the Ministry of Culture said that the problems were minor and easily fixed.

But president Saakashvili saw malice intentions of the new government in restoration of the fortress. Through the words of the press speaker Saakashvili has announced his position: "This is a continuation of the trends that we see and hear in recent years - to bulldoze everything that has been built and made in Georgia in recent years," said Saakashvili.

But in a letter to the Ministry of Culture, issued by the president's press speaker Manana Manjgaladze, it was about the fact that the Georgian and Turkish experts were to change the color of the dome of the mosque, to restore the drainage system and fix other defects made during hasty restoration of the historical complex.

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