Second attempt: Georgian National Museum

Having taken it slow these past few days to recover from four weeks of nonstop traveling, I had meant to go see the Georgian National Museum yesterday, which is just around the corner of my hostel. Of course, I had once again overlooked that it was a public holiday, which somehow always seems to be the case when (every once in a while) I decide to visit a museum..

Anyway, my second attempt today was more successful and I am quite glad I went. The Georgian National Museum was opened only in 2004 and its exhibition design is quite modern – spacious with only a few well-chosen exhibits which thankfully are labelled both in Georgian and English!

Having explored the treasury, which exhibits very beautiful gold jewellery originating from third century BC to the fourth AC, it was a bit of a shock when I went up four stories – and two millenia – and entered the “Musuem of Soviet Occupation”, suddently standing in front of one of the train carriages in which the participants of the national uprising of 1924 were executed.

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The museum is dedicated “to the history of the anti-occupational, national-liberation movement of Georgia and to the victims of the Soviet political repression throughout this period” (1921-1991). It’s not the first museum of this kind I have visited but every time anew I am amazed at the courage of those who dare to stand up against repression, fully aware that they (and those close to them) risk exile, torture and death. I ask myself whether I would have that courage – I do hope so, but, to be honest, I doubt it.

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Continuing in on a lighter note, I also took a look at the “New Life of Oriental Collections” exhibition (despite its title). It was actually interesting to learn about how repair and preservation works and how the Oriental collections have been moved to new storages. Here you can see what the exhibition space looked liked still in 2010:

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And this is today:

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Quite a difference, isn’t it?

So much for my highlights of today from the Georgian National Museum. If you ever make it there, don’t forget to stop by the nice but easily overlooked courtyard terrace of the museum’s café where you can continue to muse about the long past and more recent history of the region over a coffee or tea.

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