18 September 2005

Our Georgian-German Kids

Hans (4) and Niza (3)

I am very proud on their new kindergarden: Till noon they speak Russian there, in the afternoon Georgian, 2-3 afternoons a week English. Every second day Georgian Dance Courses. 2-3 times a month comes a Georgian Children Theatre an visit. Thus, the kids are busy !

Pirikiti Alasani in Tusheti, Georgia, Caucasus

How to raise an Army

David IV also known as David the Builder

Source 1: Wikipedia

Problems began to crop up for David now, his population, having been at war for the better part of twenty years needed to be allowed to become productive again. As well, his nobles were still making problems for him, along with the city of Tbilisi which still could not be liberated from Arab grasp. Again David was forced to solve these problems before he could continue the reclamation of his nation and people. For this purpose, David IV radically reformed his military. He resettled a Kipchak tribe of 40,000 families from the Northern Caucasus in Georgia in 1118-1120. Every family was obliged to provide one soldier with a horse and weapons. This 40,000 strong Kipchak-army was entirely dependent on the King. Kipchaks were settled in different regions of Georgia. Some were settled in Inner Kartli province, others were given lands along the border. They were quickly assimilated into Georgians.

Source 2: Academician R. Metreveli, Tbilisi State University

To ensure quick movement King David the Builder increased the number of troops and cavalry detachments; he changed the strategy and tactics of warfare. The King especially favored the stratagem of luring the enemy into an ambush and effecting a surprise attack. Part of the Georgian army still depended upon big feudal lords, their will and wishes, and their relations with the king. At the same time incessant wars kept the most productive part of the population away from home and farming. The country's power depended not only on the organization of the army, but on economic regeneration as well. In view of this the need arose for creating an army of non-local population. The Crown settled some 40,000 families of the Polovtsy on Georgian territory. Presently they became integrated into the local feudal relations and each family gave one warrior, creating an army of 40,000 men. In this way King David sought to maximally limit the political rights of the feudal lords and to strengthen the royal authority. The settlement of the Polovtsy in Georgia in 1118-1120 and the creation of a standing army recruited from them made the king practically independent of Georgian feudal lords and strengthened the country as a whole.

But who have been those Polovtsy ? Those Kipchaks ? They fought endless battles against the Russians in Southrussia. A very good source on the history of those tribes I found here at http://www.redkaganate.org/ by Dmitriy V. Ryaboy. There also can be found a brilliant Timeline of the Russo-Polovetz Wars by Norman J. Finkelshteyn.

What says Wikipedia:

The Cumans, also known as Polovtsy (Slavic for yellowish) were a nomadic West Turkic tribe living on the north of the Black Sea along the Volga. They are identified with the Western branch of the Kipchaks. They invaded Southern Ukraine, Moldova, Wallachia and part of Transylvania in the 11th century and from here they continued their plundering of the Byzantine Empire, Hungary and Kievan Rus'. Full Article here

A few lines from Georgian History 1


In the 1220s and 1230s Mongol hordes appeared on the scene. Having conquered the north-eastern part of China (1211-1215), the Mongol leader Genghiz-Khan marched out against Central Asia, launching an offensive on Muhammad, Shah of Khwarazm (1200-1220).See The detachment of the Mongol army, led by Djebb and Subudai, the same detachment, that had made war on Muhammad and his son Jalal-ad-Din (1200-1231), attacked Georgia several times in the early 1220s. In 1222 the Georgians suffered defeat. Mongol invasions resumed in 1235. Prior to that Jalal-ad-Din, pursued by the Mongols, attacked Georgia. The Georgians lost the battle of Garnisi.(60,000 Georgian against 200,000 the Khwarazmians) The royal court with Queen Rusudan (1223-1245) moved to Kutaisi. A year later Jalal-ad-Din took Tbilisi. The people fought courageously, the city passing from hand to hand. In 1227-1228 Jalal-ad-Din attacked Georgia again. According to the chronicler, over 100 thousand lost their lives when the city fell to the Khwarazmians for the first time. They were compelled to change religion and become Muslims, but no one did it and thus almost the whole population of Tbilisi was assassinated.

From the magnificent History of Georgia by Academician R. Metreveli, Tbilisi State University, see the whole article here

Rustam Razmadze- the Mamluk

Roustan or Rustam, is the nickname of Napoleon Bonaparte's famous bodyguard Rustam Razmadze. Rustam was born in Tbilisi, and was considered to be Georgian. Rustam was kidnapped when he was a child and sold as a slave in Cairo. One of the local authorities presented a young slave to General Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798. Thus, Rustam (French form: Roustan) became a bodyguard of Napoleon till 1814, when the former married Mademoiselle Douville in Dourdan, France and refused to follow the Emperor in his exile to Elba.

Mamluks (also Mameluks, Mamelukes) (the Arabic word usually translates as "owned") comprised slave soldiers used by the Muslim caliphs and the Ottoman Empire. On more than one occasion they seized power for themselves.

After being converted to Islam, they were trained as cavalry soldiers. While technically after training they were no longer slaves, they were still obliged to serve the Sultan. They were kept by the Sultan as an outsider force, under their direct command, to use in the event of local tribal frictions. Many Mamluks rose to high positions throughout the empire, including commanderships. Status remained non-hereditary at first and children were strictly prevented from following their fathers. The intensive and rigorous training given to each new recruit helped ensure a great deal of continuity in Mamluk practices.

Read further on Wikipedia about the fascinating history of the Mameluks

17 September 2005

Shepherders driving cattle near Sagarejo

Autumn, the most beautiful time in Georgia for me. This year on September13th, I have met my first shepherders on the road, between Sagarejo and Badiauri in Kakheti. Those fellows had been very kind, driving 1500 sheep from Bakuriani in the Lesser Caucasus to Gurjani, their winter pastures and homeland in Kakheti. I want to bee a shepherder too, despite the hard life those guys have. End of this month, I will take part in a cattle drive of 2600 sheep from Tusheti down to Kakheti. For the road itself we will need approximatly 6 days. Be sure to get more photos then.

Man, how much I love Georgia and how much I love Freedom and Georgias Freedom. Tavisupleba !

German watching Stalin

Hey, I have rarely seen Germans in Georgia without any interest in the remaining statues of Stalin in various Georgian villages and cities. This one is situated in Zemo Alvani, the main village of the Tushetians in the Kakhetian Valley. It also shows some Tushetians, who died in WW2. I think there have been many more sufferings by Tushetians in that war then the few ones shown there.

11 September 2005

Caucasus Lily from Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park

Dr.Hans Buhr 2005

My father has a brilliant website about Plant Galls. As a Botanic he traveled across Georgia and together we plan to organize a Special Journey through the best places of Georgia for Botanics and Flora Enthusiastics in June 2006. Soon to be more details on my Travel Website http://www.kaukasus-reisen.de about the Journey "Spring Flora Caucasus"

10 September 2005

New Blog: Caucasus-Pictures by Henning Tappe

My friend and former colleague Henning Tappe from Lübeck shot thousands of brilliant photos during his frequent stays in Georgia. He started a new blog now: http://caucasus-pictures.blogspot.com/
to post them and to give some descriptions about their origin. Henning is married to his Georgian wife Tamriko, they have a beautiful 3-years-old daughter Sopiko together.

View on Kuro Range

September 2005

02 September 2005

Georgischer Tanz der Spitzenklasse

Vom 1. Dezember 2005 bis zum 2. Februar 2006 wird die weltberühmte Georgian State Dance Company Sukhishvili in mehr als 50 deutschen und belgischen Städten auftreten. Mehr Informationen zu den Terminen und Veranstaltungsorten auf diesem Blog: http://ballett-sukhishvili.blogspot.com/

New York Post, USA

„Diese wilden Kämpfer der Choreographie, bei denen die Funken buchstäblich von den klirrenden Schwerten fliegen ... sind einfach grandios.“

Republique, Frankreich

„Eine triumphale Vorstellung des Georgischen Balletts. Verblüffende Technik, Eleganz, Geschmack, einfallsreiche Regie.“

Le Point, Frankreich

„Was Sie in Paris erleben werden, sind zwei Stunden majestätischer Rhythmen, des Raschelns von 300 prächtigen Kostümen, kreiert von Suliko Versaladse. Eine echte Reise nach Kolkhis - dem mythischen Land der Argonauten und des Goldenen Vlieses.“