The Akhaltskha region, which lies north of Armenia’s Lori province, has a long Armenian heritage. It was first incorporated into Armenia in the second century BC, gained independent status in the 13th century AD, and remains populated mainly by Armenians even today, although Akhaltskha city and its adjacent settlements are now part of present-day Georgia.
The region is peppered with beautiful monuments and historic buildings that have drawn the attention of scholars and tourists since the mid-19th century. Many of these monuments are Armenian, as is to be expected, but they are too often overlooked or else incorrectly claimed as Georgian.
Historically, Georgia’s social policy toward its minorities has been lacking, and today Akhaltskha features many backward, underdeveloped zones. Unfortunately, this state of affairs is not sufficiently recognized: With Armenia’s economy depending on Georgia as a transit zone for fuel and goods, Armenia’s authorities are especially careful to avoid any possible tensions. As a result, the Armenian heritage of Akhaltskha continues to be neglected.
To address this need, the Research on Armenian Architecture (RAA) NGO in 2006 published a lavishly illustrated book covering the region’s Armenian monuments. The product of two years of research, the book features extensive photography and scholarly texts. It is designed as a resource for social scientists studying the area, and should help reinforce all Armenians’ identification with this land, without jeopardizing Armenia’s political stability. In particular, the book explores the cultural traditions and social conditions of Akhaltskha, and how these are associated with the historical monuments found throughout the region. As such, the book will help residents and non-residents alike in viewing themselves as inheritors of this long and proud heritage.
The Tufenkian Foundation is proud to have sponsored this publication.