This is a picture of the monument for Deda Ena (mother tongue). Deda Ena is a book written by Akaki Tsereteli. He created the schoolbooks were used to teach reading and writing some time back in the 19th century.
This is a picture is of Jvari (cross) Church. It’s as old as the hills, but still in pretty good shape. The church looks down on the town of Mtskheta, where the mother church of Georgia can be found – equally as old. Since Tbilisi is only 30 minutes away it is very popular to get married in the lower church then go take in the view from the upper church.
The trip from East to West Georgia is fun because it’s like a drive through Wal-Mart. I didn’t take pictures of it all but will explain: Not far from Tbilisi, people sell sheep meat (mutton) by the roadside. If you’re early enough you can see them kill and cut them. The next town is the same but with pigs instead (pork, bacon etc). Then you go by a town where people hold up puppies for sale. Other than Joseph Stalin, Gori is famous for apples and that is what they sell there. There is a town where no less than 30 families sell hammocks for less than 10 USD. The town after that sells nuts dipped in grape paste. Then you see towns where people are selling everything from cutting boards to musical instruments. This is the “pots town”
In Xobi there is this sports complex. I cannot understand what’s going on here, because it looks pretty big for a town of less than 800.
There are two more buildings in the complex, but they don’t have the artwork.
These pictures are of one of the “peace keeping” checkpoints in the area I have to drive past to get into Zugdidi.
Here’s just one of a few pictures of some mountains that I took on the way to see some of my wife’s relatives. In the foreground is some of the most worthless tea in the world. From what people tell me, tea grew the best in Georgia, but the USSR picked quantity over quality.
The last remaining bust of Joseph Stalin. One of my wife’s relatives tells me that he wants this Stalin bust. The problem is he is almost 75 years old. This summer I think I will liberate it for him. I’m hoping that he’ll give me one of his AKs for it.
We are back in Zugdidi here. These people are my wife’s neighbors, and every time we come home they are killing a pig, cow, or chicken. I have to say I have become good at giving chickens the axe, but my mother in law doesn’t let me touch a cow unless there is a wedding.
Photographs by Chris Koym