“I’ve learned more from toilet walls than I’ve learned from these words of yours.” – Los Campesinos: My town of Martvili

Since this is on the web I guess this is entry 2.0, or something of the like. This entry was going to deal with the regions and the Black Sea and all of Western Georgia but I thought better of it. Baby steps. So, time instead to simply learn about my specific town.

He is an independent thinker because he isn't on the road where most are.

I currently live in an idyllic little town called Martivili. The population is somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000, though on some days you feel it is no more than 19. However, if one were to take into account the cows, pigs, and stray dogs found running the streets & school yards my official estimate would double.  Now this is not to say Martvili is rural.

While it would be daft to compare it to the ‘city’ (Tbilisi), and it is not the size of some other large-ish towns, it does have several amenities that do not exist in some smaller villages. Proof of cosmopolitanism in the air is that after a 10 minute walk I can go to the local café, stroll along main street, and sit next to the fountain. The fact that these three things are literally all within a 20 meter radius is of no matter; like Bret from Flight of the Conchords, Martvili’s got it going on.

One side of Main Street (real name...hang on)...that's the fountain & the Cafe

My favorite thing about Martvili’s history is the name itself. This, if I understood correctly, comes not from Georgian but rather Magrelian (different language, not dialect). In the old, olde, days, the locals would sacrifice their first born to a local tree they considered holy. This pagan ritual would not be complete without saying three words: “Mart vi li.” Amazing.

Now, the only thing besides the city’s namesake that nearly goes back that far in history is the city’s beautiful monastery. Built in the 7th century it overlooks the town on a steep hill with a great view of the surrounding hills, mountains, and river. It’s a truly impressive building and was where I witnessed the ritual of monks getting their robes and beginning the path towards full monk-dom…or something like that. Thankfully, there were no trees involved during this ceremony.

The Martvili Monastery

Few final fun facts about Martvili. It has a well-stocked supermarket which is basically a microversion of a Wal-Mart. The store is also seemingly divided into little stores and you never really know what will be open. However, the best part about it is the name? BOOM! I hope to teach the locals that instead of saying “I’m going to Boom” they will simply say, “goes the dynamite.” (Directed shout out to Chelsea-it’s crossed my mind about using boom instead of full stop here as well but figured that could be additionally confusing)

Also, in the summer Martvili has a ‘disco.’ Immediately throw out any preconceived notion of a ‘disco’ and now imagine a park with a large building radiating music from it. Around this building are children, ages 3-75 running and playing on playsets. The music ranges from trance to well, again I didn’t really pay attention because I felt like I was in some sort of 1984 state controlled fun experiment. That said, Martvili has a disco…alas no photos. Finally, for those up on your Georgian history, King David the Builder (KDB to his friends) was educated here. Wasn’t really sure where to put that, but whenever I hear about KDB in Martvili I imagine him having a great time at the disco.

At the end of my street/running next to Martvili is the Abasha River...see first entry: ROCKS.

So again, don’t wish to overwhelm so that’s it for now. In the upcoming entries I promise I, like Sherman, will detail a march to the sea through various regions of Georgia. I however hopefully have left a much better impression than he…and once more for anyone still reading who may not have noticed, I’m not in that Georgia anyway. Have a good weekend.

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4 Responses to “I’ve learned more from toilet walls than I’ve learned from these words of yours.” – Los Campesinos: My town of Martvili

  1. heypgh says:

    Hello! Saw your post linked on facebook. Great writing. Always knew you were a wordsmith. And yes, I have a blog too. Ha!

    Looking forward to reading more.


  2. kasia says:

    i wonder, maybe boom means something in georgian, apart from, well, boom. have you checked? and i think im not the only reader here who could do with some more pics of, say, yourself going to boom (sorry, just couldnt resist…). extra points for los campesinos (i dont mean the quote), funny.

  3. Looks like a sweet place to live man. You lucked out there

  4. raughley says:

    The Sherman bit has me in awe. Well done, sir. I am using my time locked in Marissa’s apartment to catch up on your blog. It’s good reading!

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