Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati
Back to index
|The construction of Bagrati Cathedral, named after Bagrat III, the first king
of united Georgia, started at the end of the 10th century and was completed in
the early years of the 11th century. Although partly destroyed by the Turks in
1691, its ruins still lie in the centre of Kutaisi.
|| The Gelati Monastery, whose
main buildings were erected between the 12th and 17th centuries, is a
well-preserved complex, with wonderful mosaics and wall paintings. The cathedral
and monastery represent the flowering of medieval architecture in Georgia.
Origin of the name Georgia
Georgians call themselves Kartvelebi, their land Sak’art’velo, and their language Kartuli. These names are derived from a pagan chief called Kartlos, who is said to be the father of all Georgians. The foreign name Georgia, used in many languages of the world, is derived from Persian Gurji via the Arabic Jurj. Because the spelling was influenced by the Greek root geōrg- indicating farming, the word has been mistakenly supposed to have come from a cognate such as St. George, who is the country's patron saint. Gorj, the Persian designation for the Georgians, is also the source of Turkish Gürcü (pronounced "Gürdjü") and Russian "Gruzin".
The name of the country is in Persian Gorjestan, in Turkish Gürcistan, and in Russian and Hebrew Gruziya. The Persian name is probably related to the wolf [gorg], the old cult of Caucasian peoples, hence Gorjestan - the land of wolves. The Armenian words for Georgian and Georgia are Vir and Virq, and derive from "Iberia", with loss of the initial 'i'- and substitution of 'w' or 'v' for the 'b' of "Iberia".
The ancient world knew the inhabitants of eastern Georgia as Iberians, from the Caucasian kingdom of Iberia, thus confusing the geographers of antiquity, who thought this name applied only to the inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and Gibraltar). There may also be an an etymological connection between the name "Iberia" and the historic province of Georgia called Imereti.
Sources and links:
Other World Cultural Heritage sites in Georgia (on this web site). For more information about Georgia, please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Georgia-section
Back to index
Click the banner to return to Heindorffhus
Revised 21 jul 2006