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Tbilisi clings to foreign culture2010-11-26 12:09
Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is used to accusing "separatists" in a global manner - of "ethnic cleansings" for instance. When the stream of bright ideas runs short, ministry employees take out templates of statements and addresses that never look out-of-date. Like, for instance, the latest address to UNESCO on "Georgian monuments" in Abkhazia. Georgian leaders call on the organization to "stop purposeful destruction of Georgia's historic and cultural monuments in the occupied territories".
Georgian ministry of foreign affairs highlights two subjects in the address to UNESCO: first - temples and monasteries are Georgian, second - they are situated in the "occupied territories".
Sukhum was fast to react claiming that architectural monuments are not destroyed but restored and reconstructed throughout the country. As the Abkhaz Orthodox Church replies - Abkhazia is ready to demonstrate all churches and monasteries to UNESCO.
"Presently ancient Christian temples undergo active restoration and new churches are being built. Besides, Abkhazia is particularly attentive to ancient architectural monuments restored under total control of the church, state and public", - was a short reply of the Abkhaz Church.
Church construction boom has been in Georgia for the last few years as the nation's return to its roots. Still, at the time of the war in 1992-1993 everything was different. Georgian militants had much less "awe" to "their" saint places. Bedi and Ilori temples Georgia is particularly keen on were victims of their "special attitude".
Both temples, greatly affected by the wars, are situated in the east of Abkhazia. Georgian guard units stopped some 100 m away from 10th century cathedral of Bedi placed right on the firing line. Abkhaz militia organized a command staff near the temple, and Georgians were shooting at the staff and the temple with equal perseverance. As a result, the poor condition of Bedi cathedral threatened collapse of the unique monument of Abkhaz culture.
The wounds have not been healed yet. Construction workers had to patch holes from shells and reinforce walls. Today the threat of collapse is gone.