Adjara – Kingdom of the Colchis


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The Colchis Kingdom

It was the Colchis Kingdom that Jason along with his Argonauts sailed to looking for the Golden Fleece. According to Greek mythology, Colchis was a fabulously wealthy land situated on the mysterious periphery of the heroic world. The Amazons also were said to be from Colchis. It was here that the earliest vestiges of the Georgian culture began. Herodotus believed that the Colchians were from Egypt. No matter their origins, their history ties them to Greece, the Arabs, and even Byzantium.

 

Herodotus on Colchis:

[2.104] There can be no doubt that the Colchians are an Egyptian race. Before I heard any mention of the fact from others, I had remarked it myself. After the thought had struck me, I made inquiries on the subject both in Colchis and in Egypt, and I found that the Colchians had a more distinct recollection of the Egyptians, than the Egyptians had of them. Still the Egyptians said that they believed the Colchians to be descended from the army of Sesostris. My own conjectures were founded, first, on the fact that they are black-skinned and have woolly hair, which certainly amounts to but little, since several other nations are so too; but further and more especially, on the circumstance that the Colchians, the Egyptians, and the Ethiopians (Nubians), are the only nations who have practiced circumcision from the earliest times.

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 Ajara Culture

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Three to four thousand years ago in Georgia and Ajdara musical instruments appeared and became a very important part of their culture. These same instruments are seen today in their folk festivals. In Adjaran folklore many of the old Georgian songs were preserved and used in the festivals. There are tfour main festivals a year starting with Shuamtoba and Colchoba in August, then in September Machakhioba and Tbeloba are held.

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The festival ‘Colchoba’ has a special meaning. As it is known Jason along with the Argonauts with the help of King Ayet’s daughter Medea stole the golden fleece. In their escape from the king they kill Aphsyrte who was the heir to the throne, Medea left with them on their return home. This famous Greek and Adjaran myth is the setting for “Cochoba” a theatrical play also know to the locals as “Kvaomkhazoba”.

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The oral folklore traditions of the Adjara hold fascinating interest as well. Separated from the Christian world during Arab rule they went through great religious persecution. The Adjarans strove to keep their Christian faith. This caused them to turn biblical stories into legends and fairy tales to preserve them for future generations. For more information on Adjara  click the following link. Adjara Culture and Folk.

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