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Friday, 21 October 2016


Political squabbles are destroying Georgian temples

2013-04-11 15:59

Political squabbles are destroying Georgian temples. 29282.jpeg

For the last few years Georgian experts are sounding alarm about the poor state of the Oshki and Ishkhani temples located in the historic Georgia - Tao-Klarjeti, now Artvin - on the territory of Turkey. With the onset of rains and melting snow the concern has increased. Georgian temples require immediate restoration. Regular rainfall could inflict the ancient monuments of architecture irreparable damage, and then there would be nothing to save. For a long time Georgia and Turkey are negotiating on the restoration but there's no results. The papers were signed, but the work has not begun. It took much time so that the authorities started to act, so the news of the start of work to rescue one of the temples - Ishkhani - was met with particular enthusiasm in Georgia. But the work has

stalled again.

News portals and all Georgian media reported: rehabilitation works of the Ishkhani Cathedral located in Turkey resumed. Turkish company "Anfora Mimarlis restorasion" won the tender for the restoration. They began work before connection of the Georgian researchers and architects. This became possible after Turkey and Georgia have reached some kind of agreement under which Georgian specialists have got the right to freely participate in the restoration.

At a press conference on April 8, Georgian Foreign Minister Maya Panjikidze made a statement: "The political agreement that the restoration of historical monuments would be implemented with the participation of Georgian specialists has been achieved. But I cannot say which exactly expert when and where will depart. This is a prerogative of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection."

Thus, the Turkish company started to work. They started with cleaning the floor of the temple from sand and dirt, revealing mosaic surface. It became clear that experts must study it. And the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia asked the Turkish side to suspend work in the cathedral. Was the discovery of the mosaic floor the immediate cause of the request by the Georgian side? In fact, the workers involved in the first phase of work in the church, the finding posed no value. It is strange that they paid attention to the floor.

The Ministry of Culture doesn't specify the reason of the suspension, but the information released by the press service of the Ministry says: "After acquaintance with the information of the Agency of Cultural Heritage of Georgia on the course of the restoration work the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection held a special meeting with the Minister Guram Odisharia and other heads of the department. At the meeting we scheduled a visit to Tao-Klarjeti to review the progress of restoration work. Georgian delegation was headed by the first deputy Minister of Culture Marina Mizandari."

According to the statement of the historian of architecture David Khoshtaria, the restoration work in the Ishkhani temple was suspended presumably the day before yesterday. This was reported to him by the director of the National Center of Manuscripts Buba Kudava who is now in Tao-Klarjeti.

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