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.
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.
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.
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.
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.