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The Georgian soul: European or Asian?

Cave City of Vardzia  a monastery founded in 1185. Photo: Peter Nasmyth
Cave City of Vardzia a monastery founded in 1185. Photo: © Peter Nasmyth

Surrounded by Russia and Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the Black Sea to its West, Georgia sits (at times awkwardly) as a bridge between Europe and Asia. Nasmyth calls Georgia "an Asian country with European beginnings."

Georgia once held a key position on the old Silk Route and the mountains served as crucial repositories for religious texts and ideas flowing East to West… One of the first accounts of Buddha arriving in the West came via Georgia in the tenth century…

[p. 27]

Apart from sharing St. George with England as its patron saint, Georgia also carried tantalising archaeological and mythological links with our own European background. The so called "Caucasian" races and Caucasoid Man, out of which European Man was once thought to evolve, took their name from this area.

Approached from its Black Sea side, Georgia was regarded by Greeks and Romans as 'the ends of all the earth." Within it Prometheus has been chained to the flanks of Mt Kazbeg, Jason found its Golden fleece beside the mountain rivers of Svaneti in the western Caucasus; and Medea, of the great Euripidian tragedy, reputedly lived with her father, King Medes, in her Colchis home (today the Western Georgian area of Mingrelia).

[p. 8]

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