Out with the old; in with the new

Anyone walking in Old Tbilisi will notice that it is enchanting and it is crumbling. I particularly like this description from Architectural Review: “It is a jumble of ancient potholed crooked streets, crumbling walled courtyards, wonky overhanging balconies, amazing wrought-iron gates and doors, higgledy-piggledy spiral stairs and fine (if peeling and battered) examples of art nouveau and neo-classicism. But charming as Old Tbilisi may look, the fact remains that it is in a terrible state. After decades of neglect and an earthquake or two, some historic churches and houses have already collapsed and been lost. Residents are leaving, adding to the sense of abandonment. Houses leak and lack proper water, gas or electricity supplies.” http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3575/is_1364_228/ai_n55857225/\

You’ll also notice dust and noise from the many (re)construction crews. But I worry that preserving Tbilisi’s cultural heritage is a lower priority than making quick and cheap changes to impress tourists and investors. Why? I think that Georgian officials want to show the world –tourists and investors – that Georgia is a modern European country, which it is becoming, but please don’t throw out the old in your haste to create the new. http://www.evolutsia.net/disastrous-reconstruction-works-in-old-tbilisi/

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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