Arts and Artisans of Georgia
A Cultural Immersion Tour in East Georgia
Tuesday, May 15th - Saturday, May 26th, 2018
Filling up (Max 14 participants)
- Arrive-Depart Tbilisi (airport designation TBS)
- Accommodation in high quality boutique hotels specially vetted for comfort and location
- No travel visas necessary for Armenia or Georgia (for US or EU passport holders) - other nationalities check your country's visa requirements
- Package tour includes 11 nights accommodation, 3 meals every day as defined in the itinerary, all-you-can drink wine-beer, chauffeured minibus, airport transfers door to door, guides, entertainment, museum entrances (does not include international airfare, travel insurance)
- $2850 Full package tour
- $450 Single supplement
- Contact us for the invitational tour brochure. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact us for the registration form. Receipt of the required deposit secures your place on the tour, space limited to 14 participants
Kazbegi Highlands (weekend extension tour):
- Join fellow travelers from this and the "Cathedrals of Tao" tour that follows on a special weekend trip to the Kazbegi highlands. We stay two nights in the acclaimed 4-star Rooms Hotel Kazbegi, enjoy fantastic views, visit the 13th century iconic Gergeti Trinity monastery, and generally indulge in some very fine food and wine all while soaking in magnificent views of Mount Kazbegi, a 16,500 foot snow-peaked extinct volcano. Dates: May 26-28. Cost: $590/person ($145 single supplement).
Sounds of the Tour
This newly developed tour program focuses on meeting active artists in Georgia to learn about their various art forms including visual and tactile arts as well as performing arts such as singing and dancing. As Christianity is deeply embedded in Georgian culture, we will have a chance to witness and learn about the revival of Christian arts such as fresco painting, cloisonne enamel work, embroidery, stone and wood carving, as well as polyphonic liturgical singing. Instrument building, modern art and sculpture, and carpet weaving form other strong artistic movements that exist outside the Christian sphere.
Our tour begins and ends in Tbilisi, the thriving cultural and business capital city of Georgia. Our accommodation in the heart of the rejuvenated Old City places us within easy walking distance of many sites including churches, mosques, synagogues, carpet shops, and boutique cafes. We will visit several newly reopened museums featuring high quality exhibits on pre-Christian gold jewelry, medieval Christian arts, and the Soviet occupation. The focus of our travels outside of the cities will be UNESCO-recognized world heritage sites in East Georgia. Two of the most important medieval Christian churches are the Gergeti-Sameba monastery in the highland region of Kazbegi (see weekend extension trip to Kazbegi), and the cathedral of the Life-Giving Pillar in the ancient capital of Mtskheta. Some of the finest architectural masterpieces in the Caucasus take time to find: many are hidden in remote locations. Of these, the rock-hewn frescoed caves of Davit Gareji are among the highlights.
Viticulture is another important aspect of this tour. No trip to the Caucasus is complete without indulging in some of the delicious homegrown wine. Indeed, East Georgia may have been the birth place of cultivated viticulture, as the archeological record dates this activity to 6000BC. In the Alazani Valley in East Georgia, where we will stay for two nights, viticulture is still visibly the culture of the land: many local villagers produces their own wine from their own grape varietals (more than 430 varietals exist in Georgia alone). We’ll visit some local vintners, try their vintages, and take home the best. Every day is a feast of local cuisine with local wine. And as on all of our tours, the leadership team includes singer-instrumentalists who enliven our tour with folk songs, liturgical chant, and instrumental music from each of the regions we visit.
About the Tour Leaders
John A. Graham, ethnomusicologist and Georgian chant scholar (Ph.D. Princeton University, 2015), first visited the Caucasus region in 2003 where he witnessed the political upheaval that led to the “Rose Revolution.” Enamored with the language, culture, history, and music of Georgia since that time, John has been leading uniquely designed cultural tours throughout the Caucasus since 2006. On this tour, John’s co-leaders include a team of singers and artists.
Airport transfers arranged as necessary. If guests plan to stay extra nights in Tbilisi, please contact John to arrange extra accommodation. There is daily liturgy in the Sioni Cathedral at 9am, visitors are welcome to come and go as they like in the cathedral. For those still in the city, we'll organize a lunch meeting near the hotel.