National Folklore Center Opens in Ozurgeti

Aregional branch of the National Center of Folklore has been opened in Ozurgeti, covering the western region and all three municipalities of Guria.

Director of the Georgian Folklore State Center Giorgi Donadze, and Minister of Culture and Sports Mikheil Batiashvili, opened the rehabilitated center in Ozurgeti before an audience of government and business sector representatives, folklorists and media.

Minister Batiashvili said he considers the rehabilitated, modern folklore center a unique means of development of the sector.

“Opening this unique folklore center in Ozurgeti is the best opportunity for folklore development in western Georgia. It comes with a concert hall, exposition rooms, and recording studios with all the essential equipment. It will be the perfect venue for international folklore festivals in the region,” he said.

According to Donadze, the Folklore State Center in Ozurgeti will serve the whole of western Georgia. It was opened to promote the development of cultural and educational activities, and the preservation and popularization of Georgian folklore.

“We opened this western regional representation of the Georgian Folklore Center to serve all fields of folklore and we will be working to intensify the direction of folklore in western Georgia,” he said.

During the opening ceremony, Georgia’s best folklore bands, including Shemoqmedi, Shvidkatsa, Basiani, local trio Shalva Chemo and choirs from the town itself, Mestia and Oni performed live for the audience.

“Georgian Folklore is unique worldwide for its polyphonic sound and traditional chanting,” said Donadze. “Guria is even more special in this regard, as its chanting is very specific in tonality. Guria is also the heart of western Georgia and a favorable geographical location for the Folklore Center. Ozurgeti will become western Georgia’s main communicative center. We hope that exhibitions and concerts will be moved from Tbilisi to Ozurgeti and thus the center will help revive the western region of Georgia. In addition, the main concerts of the Black Sea Folklore International Festival will be held in this Center from 2019. I would also like to arrange scientific conferences here, inviting foreign specialists to share their knowledge and experience.”

Another mission of the center is to encourage new generations to become interested in folklore, and to share the accumulated knowledge with them. The center will be able to bring all the traditions into practice and boost interest from local youth as well as providing an interesting stop for tourists.

The Municipal Development Fund of the Ministry of Regional and Infrastructural Development of Georgia was in charge of the rehabilitation works on the administrative building of the Ozurgeti Folklore State Center of Georgia, with financial assistance from the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia of GEL 1.5 million.

“The building was in a dire state and needed rehabilitation,” noted Executive Director of the Municipal Development Fund, Juansher Burchuladze. “We implemented a full renovation of both the interior and exterior walls, roofing, facade, infrastructure and yard.”

The whole building is now adapted for people with disabilities.

By Mariam Merabishvili

24 September 2018 19:33