This for now my 4. accommodationt in Tbilisi. On the photo below it is the window above the AirCon.
And again I’m fascinated by how rotten and broken a house with a hallway etc. is – but how pleasant it looks behind the appartement door. I have a small room with huge walls. If you were to turn it over once, the area would probably be bigger than how I have it now. The owner has fixed it up perfectly with 5 pleasant rooms, shared bathroom, shared kitchen with all the necessities and very clean.
I had some work to do on the laptop so I used the mornings for that, went out for lunch and then strolled around. And I did it super slowly to have a pretty good look at all the buildings. And I noticed: soooo much beauty! So many details, decorations, sizes, additions, conversions and new buildings, different materials, combinations. Very little looked the same.
Until now, I thought the house and interior decorations in India were the most beautiful. Tbilisi is scratching that itch. And I realise: beauty moves me. I am actually close to tears. Can it be? Does decay play a role? So much is broken. Or in the process of being broken. And this decay, it’s also so beautiful. Such a peeled wall with mortar cracks and bursting wood – I like that. And thirdly, lots of graffiti. They show me that there are people who are in contact with their surroundings, interacting with them, sending messages, embellishing, making themselves noticed.
At first I thought such photos were stupid – too much to see, too easy to photograph. But then I thought: yes, I would like to capture it and keep it for myself. And so, for the time being, there are plenty of houses to look at:
All this and much more is now just west of the river. There is still a lot to the east and I haven’t walked down every street here yet, but I’m walking slowly and don’t have that much time. I have picked out details of some of the houses:
If you’re not careful, it might really collapse in the foreseeable future. Some of it has already been demolished and rebuilt. But how do you make it stable without losing its character? Maybe like this?
But the houses are not only remarkable from the outside, some I could enter:
The last two are from the Museum of Books. There was also a small exhibition and this corridor:
And the colonnade outside looks like this:
There’s another big building here, but I don’t know what it is or was. Anyway, stuff is sold on the front steps – and I’ve seen it since at least 2008.
Apart from the buildings one encounters also other things in the city:
What I also like about Tbilisi is that it es clearly a cot-city. There are also dogs, but especially many cats:
And then you also encounter surprises. People walk under a motorway bridge and there was a photo exhibition that I looked at closely. It was all photo projects from the Kolga Photo Award. Some Germans were also in between like Andrea Diefenbach. However, I found the best and also again most touching the project by Valery Poshtarov, who for his project “Father and Son” asked both to hold hands while posing for a photo. So beautiful pictures!
At the end there was an underpass, in which there were many graffities and a man playing the guitar, which also went to my heart. I gave him coins, he asked where I was from, spoke a few German words – his wife was a German teacher – and played me a German song: “Oh christmas tree”. We both laughed.
I also had dinner with Nicki, who took me to an unphotographed, super nice place with super tasty khinkalis. We thought about Georgia. She was upset about the new Minister of Culture, who fires capable good people and replaces them with “more loyal” ones. Dismissals are the order of the day and there is fear. There was supposed to be a demo that day against the dismissal of a very popular “minister” for cinema (what is the name of the post?) who even got another award from the Goethe-Institut. The intended successor had prisons under him and rather little idea of culture. However, no one came.
We also talked a bit about the “Georgian search for self-determination”. 70 years of the Soviet Union have a deep impact. Who are they apart from the attributions that Russia had made? And what kind of society with what kind of people with what national identities do they want to be?
I myself notice how my world order is still confused. I grew up with the Europe-Asia border on the Bosporus. Everything east was Asia for me. How can Georgia want to be European? But then the houses fit me more into Europe than into the Middle East or something. But how “Asian” is Russia itself? Russia is just Russia and somehow something of its own. I notice my need to divide and sort the world – but that’s something I’m actually reluctant to do. I also notice easily how very “West German” I am in my thinking and how I (fortunately) lack experience with totalitarian regimes. I am also still trying to really understand Russian imperialism. And how one might have experienced in the forced Soviet Union. And how one reorganises oneself afterwards – or rather, probably struggles to do so. In any case, it all makes me quite confused – which is probably part of my touched feelings.
I still have a little time. Tomorrow I’m leaving with two people for a week in a new area and I’m already very excited!