“Creative cities and regions”: what are ambitions and capacities of Mtskheta-Mtianeti region?

Inhabitants of one of the most ancient and beautiful regions of Georgia – Mtskheta-Mtianeti have already got to know about the Initiative of “Creative cities and regions”. This region of Georgia, along with other five regions and cities of Eastern Partnership countries, has been selected for participation in the project “Creative cities and regions” of the EU Program “Culture and creativity”, which is focused on growth of creative potential.

Why is it important?

The project “Creative cities and regions” first took place in London, in 90-es of the 20th century, later is spread throughout Europe. Soon, all subsectors of the creative industries – performing art, music, cinema, photography, design, architecture, advertising, computer programming, literature and publishing, media – became not only models of art and creativity, but also significant contribution in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country and in job creation. For example, in 2014 this sphere contributed 84.1 billion pounds in the budget of Great Britain.    

The chief expert of “Creative cities and regions” in Georgia, Zviad Mchedlishvili, considers that it is important to be aware of the benefit and real value of the Initiative. “First, it should be noted that the contribution of creative industries is 4.5% of GDP of Georgia. Second, about 20 million people of the planet are engaged in the sphere of culture. Third, which is quite notable, creative industries develop faster than the sphere of production and service, i.e. its rising coefficient is comparatively high. Finally, this segment plays an important role in attracting of tourists”.  

How does it work?

All is cognized in comparison, therefore, the target audience of Mtskheta-Mtianeti region – local authorities, experts in culture, representatives of the creative sector – were shown the work of the project “Creative cities and region”.

One of the models is Aquileia – an ancient Roman city in North Italy. It was founded in 183-181 B.C. Now Aquileia is a community with about 3 thousand people. Since 1998 the archeological zone of Aquileia with medieval basilica has been recorded in UNESCO World Heritage list. Having become a participant of the “Creative cities and regions” Initiative and being financed by the state, Aquileia focused on digitalization of the architectural complexes and audio-visualization of monuments, as well as software. During the project, there was specially founded an Archeological festival in the city, were organized annual theatre performances of the historical Roman period, was established an education center “Aquileia Laboratory”, where children could get knowledge about the history of the region, besides, there were developed mobile programs with 3D image of the historic routes of the city, so that tourists could compare ages of the past and the present. The carried out work attracted a great number of tourists to Aquileia and raised the image of the city on the world map.    

What are ambitions and capacities of Mtskheta-Mtianeti?

Mtskheta-Mtianeti consists of five municipalities – Dusheti, Tianeti, Mtskheta, Kazbegi and Mtskheta-town. Should we mention how rich, diverse, interesting and powerful this region of Georgia is.

At the meeting, which was designed to inform the interested parties about creative and cultural industries, international practice in the creative sector development, planned studies within the framework of the program and the information on methods of the work plan development – the authors of the projects listened to the potential participants of the project – representatives of Mtskheta-Mtianeti.

We have an amazing region. Take, for example, an ancient tradition and technology of cheese making – dambal-khacho, or famous Pshav-Khevsuri song and verse contest. There is a christen place on the way from Tianeti to Tbilisi, where St. Nino baptized Pshavi and Khevsuri people and stayed there all night. There are underground caves, which have not been studied yet. All this wealth and mystery should be revealed to the world”, - said the head of the public organization “Chveni Pshavi”, Mariam Khutsurauli.   

Traditional cuisine, ancient ceramic handicraft, archaic traditions of Pshavi, Khevsureti, Khevi, a lot of monuments of nonmaterial culture – Svetitskhoveli, Jvari, Samtavro, Ananuri and others – they all are strong and attractive factors of Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, as considers the director of Mtskheta-Mtianeti regional development Agency, Shalva Givishvili. “We have a great potential in archeological zones, where we can arrange fascinating archeological tours. Moreover, our region is not completely studied – there are some uninhabited territories, abandoned cities and regions, which are unknown even to scientists. All these should be investigated, and the process of investigation should attract tourists” – noted Mr. Givishvili.   

In the nearest future, cultural and creative resources of Mtskheta-Mtianeti and other selected cities and regions of EU Initiative “Creative cities and regions” will  be studied, and the creative sector development plan will be worked out. After the final approval of the recommendations on promotion of the region, the main and important stage will start – implementation of the development idea and introducing of the most beautiful regions of Georgia to the world.  

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