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The National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia held a presentation of its annual report, which was attended by Minister Mikheil Chkhenkeli. The event was held in Vardzia, where the head of the agency, Nikoloz Antidze, addressed the public with the current projects implemented in 2019. The event was attended by Nikoloz Chkhetiani, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Cartu Foundation, Sozar Subari, Advisor to the Prime Minister, and various representatives of the local and other regional authorities.
Nikoloz Antidze noted that about 20,000 immovable monuments of cultural heritage have been registered in Georgia, three of which - "Historical Monuments of Mtskheta" - "Gelati Monastery" and "Upper Svaneti" are included in the list of world cultural heritage. The list of intangible heritage of mankind includes four elements from Georgia in the form of "Georgian polyphony", the ancient Georgian traditional method of making Qvevri wine, three subcultures of the Georgian alphabet and Georgian wrestling. Grand renovation projects such as Mutso, Village Chazha, Vardzia, Uplistsikhe, Nokalakevi Town, Kumurdo, Atskuri, Gelati Cathedral, Dadiani Complex in Zugdidi, Senaki Theater, etc. have already been implemented and will continue to do so.
The renovation of the Vardzia complex and the conservation of the wall paintings of the Vardzia Church of the Virgin Mary is particularly noteworthy. The long, scrupulous process of clearing unique frescoes covered with deep layers of soot, including the image of Tamar, has been successfully completed. International specialists also participated in the process of restoring the wall painting.
Nikoloz Antidze, the head of the agency, thanked the main partner of the state – Cartu Foundation in the process of caring for the cultural heritage of Georgia, whose funding share exceeds the share of state funding.
In 2019, the National Agency for the Protection of Cultural Heritage funded 51 projects for the restoration-conservation and infrastructural arrangement of cultural heritage sites, and with the efforts of the Cartu Foundation, 75 cultural heritage sites were renovated, amounting to a total of 126 monuments.
For a proactive protection and conservation of rock monuments, a monitoring and strengthening project of Vardzia complex was carried out, as well as commissioning a study of hydro-geological rock stability of Vani Caves, Uplistsikhe rocky tracts, and Davit Gareji complex.
It is also noteworthy to mention the international success of the implemented projects. The Mutso renovation project has won the European Heritage and European Nostra Society's Choice Award. The project has gained the active support of the European multimillion-dollar society. The Council of Europe's 21st Golden Age of Best European Heritage Experience includes two of the Agency's cultural heritage programs, the United Information Base and the Children's Archeology program.
Archaeological excavations of Georgian religious-educational centers in the Holy Land of Israel and Jordan began in 2019. Whereas, the process for preservation of the Georgian cultural heritage continues in the Republic of Cyprus. Moreover, a successful exhibition of Niko Pirosmani’s paintings were held in various European countries.
In 2020, the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation will implement the following projects: The restoration of Gremi, Lesia Ukrainka Museum, Enguri Tourist Zone and Nokalakevi and Alevi Complexes. Additionally, there are archaeological excavations underway at 18 cultural heritage sites. The four-year program (2018-2021) agreed between the Agency, the Georgian Patriarchate, and the company "RMG" continues, and entails the renovation of the monasteries of Alaverdi, Chelishi, Old Shuamta, Samshvildi, Satkhesi Church and Bolnisi Sioni.
Furthermore, the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation created services on the International Platform of the Unified Database of Cultural Heritage of Georgia, which provides interested citizens with information about cultural heritage in an interactive mode. Also, a virtual-cognitive tours of Georgian monuments were launched.
Children’s educational lessons have expanded and have become an effective way to enrich the perspective of Georgian communities and citizens living in different European countries.
Georgia has also applied to include Georgian Supra Tradition in the UNESCO list of intangible heritage, which will be discussed in 2020-2021, according to the convention.