May 26 – Georgian Independence Day

Sunday, May 26, is Georgian Independence Day. The country will mark 101 years since the adoption of the Act of Independence amidst the chaos of the 1917 Russian Revolution. Georgia was conquered and annexed into the then-Soviet Union in 1921. The occupation lasted just over 70 years, until the collapse of the Soviet Union and the signing of the Act of Reestablishment of Independence on April 9, 1991. The short-lived First Democratic Republic is still a symbol of freedom, hope, and strength, and a point of pride for the nation.

To celebrate the country’s hard-fought independence, every year Georgian cities transform into open-air playgrounds on May 26, with festivals and events that are enjoyed by both locals and tourists.

In Tbilisi, where the largest Independence Day celebration is held, the central Rustaveli Avenue is shut down to vehicle traffic and lined with vendors selling homemade jewelry, accessories, toys, gifts, cosmetics, and clothing, alongside wine, chacha, churchkhela, and other treats. Over the holiday weekend, there will also be a variety of historical exhibitions, music and theater performances, and displays of Georgia’s military might. At 12 noon, on Tbilisi’s Liberty (Freedom) Square, new military conscripts and officers will take their official oath of service, while in the evening, the stages will give way to song and dance. See below for full details and timings.

Celebrations are also held outside the capital, including in Batumi, Kutaisi, Telavi, Akhalkalaki Kazbegi and Mestia. Even the Russian border crossing point in Kazbegi municipality will celebrate the holiday. In Batumi, a model ship will be assembled in the city center for visitors to learn about naval activities and try out a digital simulation steering a naval ship. Guests can also listen to music from the band of the Batumi State Maritime Academy, which is sponsoring the exhibition.

In various cities, local universities, startups, and tech-centered companies will invite the public to see inside their operations, presenting their products and visions. There will also be exhibitions celebrating Georgian inventors and entrepreneurs throughout history and noting major academic and scientific achievements. In the capital, Tbilisi State University will sponsor a replica of an archeological site. Guests who stop by will be able to dig for their own mock historical discoveries. Tbilisi State University has been one of the institutions at the heart of major archeological discoveries in Georgia in recent years.

The Georgian National Wine Agency will also have a booth, featuring traditional winemaking techniques, information about the country’s different grape-growing regions, and tastings. Telavi, the capital of the eastern Kakheti region, the heart of Georgian winemaking, will center its celebrations around wine, chacha, and the harvest season.


May 26

Rustaveli Ave.: 12:00-21:30

Exhibitions of the Georgian Defense Ministry Armaments and Ammunition,

Expo of ‘Smart’ Products,

Photo Expo,

Puppet Theater of the Theatrical University, Puppet Expo, ‘Ptskala’ Puppet Theater,

Musical program: Street Musicians, Children’s Quintet, Tbilisi State Conservatoire Jazz Band, David Iluridze Band, ‘Brass Band’ Led by Irakli Cholokashvili, Performances by the pupils of Musical School for Gifted Children and Evgeni Mikeladze School of Music,

Expo of works by the students of A. Kutateladze State Academy of Arts, Master Classes,

‘Kimerioni Café’, Book Festival, Wine Festival,

Exhibition of Street Painters,

Exhibition of Agricultural products, Flower Show.


Liberty (Freedom) Sq.: 12:00-21:30

Airplane-show and performance by the Defense Ministry Brass Band,

Concerts by the Tbilisi ‘Big Band’, ‘Retro Band’, ‘Georgian Brass’, Mime Theater Company,

Ensembles: ‘Rustavi’, ‘Martve’, Erisioni’, ‘The Sukhishvilebi’, ‘Abkhazia’, ‘Orbi’, ‘Mzlevari’,

Sport Events,

Exhibitions of Ancient Arms.


Gldani Park: 12:00-21:30

Exhibitions of the Georgian Defense Ministry Armaments and Ammunition,


Sport Events,

Musical and entertainment Program,

Beer festival


Varketili Sq.: 12:00-21:30

Exhibitions of the Georgian Defense Ministry Armaments and Ammunition,

Musical and entertainment Program,

Puppet Show,

DJ Performances,

Beer festival


By Samantha Guthrie

Image source:

23 May 2019 16:10