Anton Checkov once famously exclaimed that “In Georgia nature astonished one to the point of madness and despair” - majestic sceneries of vast mountain ranges of Svaneti could vividly explain that to its visitors.
But there is another unique aspect of Svaneti - it is known as a cultural reserve and living museum. Astonishing uniqueness of Svaneti is that some of the most ancient beliefs, traditions and rituals going back thousands of years are still very much alive here.
We will attempt to reconstruct folk drama based on the Goddess Dali mythology throughout our tour that offers us access to the very roots of the Svan psyche that is a synthesis of mythos, beliefs, customs, rituals and aesthetic thinking and thus connecting with the past.
Svaneti - a Cultural Reserve
Svaneti is known as a cultural reserve and living museum.
You can feel the gaze of the past from ancient towers, houses and churches and from charismatic village alleyways packed with ruins. But the most astonishing uniqueness of Svaneti is that some of the most ancient beliefs, traditions and rituals going back thousands of years are still very much alive here.
Myths, legends and stories
One of the most mesmerising aspects of Svaneti is its myths and legends. Mythology is the very substance of collective consciousness, the basis and the power of the social fabric. Myths, legends, stories and adventures are the foundation on which the whole Svan culture and belief system stands.
Svan traditions are so old that they reach the depth of primeval existence going several thousands years in time (Chikovani). That archaic mystery surrounding these traditions is precisely what makes them ever so mesmerizingly interesting to explore.
“Svan singing is a polyphony cemented by thousands of years. This is the first form of harmony, rich musical complex, musical thinking different from neighbouring countries or from Europe created by the ancestors of Svan people at least 2,000 years BC”. (Dimitri Arakishvili, famous Georgian composer)
Thus by listening to Svan songs performed in a calm and unhurried manner is an opportunity to experience the most ancient melody and hearing the tunes that were heard thousands of years ago.
And there is another aspect of Svaneti. “It is extremely important when you touch the “material” in the environment of its existence” (Bela Bartok). Svaneti can offer it in abundance - you can feel the soul of the folk music and traditions in their home - authentic spaces full with spirit of the past.
Svaneti - Means of Journeying the Past
That is the essence of Svaneti in our tour: We would like to offer the tour in Svaneti as a means of journeying the culture that is closer to the original state of human existence, to experience the human thinking from which we have been distanced by the developments of the modern world and is in many ways “powerfully revealing and more complex than ours."
Reconstructing a Monmental, Epic Story throughout the Tour
We looked for the most telling, deep and powerful “stroke” on which to build the story-line of our Svaneti tour. When attempting to translate Svan culture into intellectually charged but also aesthetically enjoyable touristic product CreaTour devised the following approach:
We have taken mythology around Goddess Dali, the protector of beasts, as one of the main story-lines for the tour. Dali mythology is one of the most definitive phenomena in Svan psyche and it is rooted into almost every aspect of local life: oral folk, religion, traditions, rituals and, of course, music and dance folk.
This mythology is also linked with the most archaic layer of choreographic folk - hunters’ ritual dance. Sacred hunting culture is a deeply symbolic phenomenon and represents a micro-model of Svan thinking and world perception.
Georgian scientists concluded that numerous songs spread around Svaneti in the form of separate folk samples are, in fact, parts of monumental, epic story, fragments of one whole folk drama and theatricalized folk show.
We will attempt to reconstruct this folk drama throughout our tour and carry out a spectacular performance of this one whole archaic mystery.
Apart from being a means of connecting with archaic aestheticism and oldest tunes, interpretation of Svan folk based around Goddess Dali mythology offers us access to the very roots of the Svan psyche that is a synthesis of mythos, beliefs, customs, rituals and aesthetic thinking. By expanding this wide context of Svan culture we will attempt to produce rich insight and enable the understanding of this old culture and thus connecting with the past.