The lands of the Transcaucasus, encompassing Georgia and Armenia, have rarely been at peace. Nonetheless, in one of the most remarkable testaments to human creativity, both countries have succeeded in producing a unique legacy in which landscape, architecture, history and culture are inextricably linked. Dr Koller will show how the region’s great monuments and their spectacular settings have become an expression of both the national consciousness and spirit of the peoples of Georgia and Armenia.
Armenia is a land of stone but also a land of faith. The country has produced such a variety of building forms that some scholars see it as the source of European medieval architecture. Conversely, in Georgia the diversity of the landscape is expressed in sites as varied as troglodyte towns, tower dwellings, early Christian basilicas and hybrid Russo-Ottoman town houses.
It is no coincidence that some of the most breath-taking views of Georgia and Armenia are an almost ethereal mix of landscape and architecture. But beyond this beauty, these sites share histories of danger and persecution; maybe a last refuge after a foreign invasion or even a place for the confinement of the Apostles. At this mountainous crossroads of cultures, the highest architectural and artistic aspirations go hand in hand with the human tragedy of suffering and banishment. What does this unique interaction tell us about the peoples of Georgia and Armenia today?
This talk is part of the Oxford and Cambridge Universities Alumni Travel Programme and is organised by Distant Horizons who will be arranging the alumni tour to Georgia and Armenia with Dr Alex Koller in September 2022.
This event will be recorded.