Spectacular Georgian fortresses, castles and towers are the focus of a parliamentary thematic inquiry that studies the potential to revitalize disused historic monuments. The inquiry looked into ways to bring new life to historic sites, using their cultural value for redeveloping surrounding areas. It explored policy approaches for sustainable protection and preservation of historic heritage and studied the role of national and local authorities, the private sector and civil society in designing conservation and management tools.
Initiated by the Parliamentary Culture Committee with assistance from the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the inquiry engaged leading Georgian experts and representatives of the public, private and civic sectors.
The results of the four-month exercise were discussed on 18 October, at a presentation and a photo exhibition event attended by representatives of Parliament, Government, civil society, business and international organizations.
Parliament Chairperson Shalva Papuashvili; Chairperson of the Parliament Culture Committee, MP Eliso Bolkvadze; and UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Georgia Anna Chernyshova addressed the participants, and MP Alexander Elisashvili and invited expert Tatia Ghvineria presented key findings and recommendations.
Following this discussion, the final report of the thematic inquiry will be published at the end of October.
“Every inch of the Georgian soil is filled with ancient history dating back thousand years,” Chernyshova noted. “Some key cultural landmarks already make Georgia stand out globally and attract millions of tourists a year. Some others require restoration and preservation for generations to come. Parliament has a significant role and effective mechanisms to ensure that economic and redevelopment initiatives associated with historic heritage help protect and conserve priceless landmarks and raise public awareness about their value.”
The Parliament of Georgia introduced thematic inquiries in 2018, aiming to strengthen its oversight function and engage civil society, academic research institutions and expert communities in parliamentary activities. Since then, thematic inquiries covered a range of important areas, including environmental concerns, business development, pandemic response, and cultural heritage. The EU and UNDP are assisting this effort as part of their broader support for parliamentary democracy in Georgia.