MUSEUMS IN GEORGIA (Muzea w Gruzji)
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The Caucasus and especially Georgia, situated on the Caucasian Isthmus, remain an extraordinary site. Location on a crossing of communication routes, rich mineral deposits, and excellent climate favour cultural development. On the one hand, the natural geographic boundaries between the Caucusus Mts., the Black Sea, and the Sea of Azov have precisely defined the native area and united the tribes which arrived here already prior to twelfth century B. C. On the other hand, the fate of the inhabitants of the 'Corridor', the centuries-long onslaught of powerful states, the different cultures and customs have augmented national consciousness. This process was favoured especially by the memory of a flourishing mediaeval state. After the loss of independence and annexation by Russia in 1801, the local intelligentsia expressed a need to seek and document its cultural identity. Today, despite serious economic problems, this mission is being continued. The activity pursued by the National Museum of Georgia and its branch - the Museum in Vani, in the region of the former Kingdom of Colchis, is a highly interesting undertaking. Apart from amassing its collections and holding exhibitions, both institutions also fulfil the function of research centres involved in popularising knowledge. Prof. David Lordkipanidze, director of the National Museum, declares that at present the museum enjoys an opportunity to become a truly dynamic institution thanks to skilful cooperation with the media and assorted sponsors as well as the ability to co-work with businessmen and statesmen. Consequently, it has at its disposal a much greater scientific potential than all other institutions of its sort, as evidenced by the international excavations conducted by the Museum in Dmanisi, which have unearthed traces of Earliest PreHumans Out of Africa, dated as 1.8 million years old. The Museum in Vani was established at the beginning of the 1980s on the site of an ancient temple town situated within the former Kingdom of Colchis. Ancient Greek mentions of Vani rich in gold proved to be true - excavations conducted for more than 110 years have discovered priceless monuments, including numerous objects made of gold. The museum was founded for the purpose of presenting the collections, their conservation, studies and the creation of a basis for excavation teams. Its building was designed as an outstanding complex, and in the course of the passing years has merged into the surrounding landscape. It now comprises an integral part of the locality, whose residents consider the excavations to be their heritage, also thanks to various popularisation campaigns. Each year, a day-long exposition is held specially for them at the end of the excavation season. Together with the research team, the museum also holds international congresses about archaeology in the Black Sea basin. The difficult economic situation calls of applying various methods of winning funds, but despite the existing obstacles and numerous restrictions, the outcome of the research remains impressing.
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