5 Davit Guramishvili St, Gori, Georgia
Georgia has been rich in textile techniques for centuries. Different technological and artistic methods were developed over time, including knitting and weaving, felting, needlework, and block printing amongst others. Craft making was the indispensible part of women work; hence they were skilled in knitting, sewing, embroidery and other textile techniques from the very childhood. Use of natural dyes for coloring wool, silk and other products was very typical.
The origins of felting techniques can be traced back to ancient times. It was especially popular in the highland regions of the country (Tusheti, Khevsureti, Pshavi, Svaneti, Mountainous Racha and Javakheti). Felt products from Tusheti, where the special type of wool with healing qualities is produced, are famous for their simple, though elaborate ornaments. Textile and rug production has an important place in the Georgian cultural heritage. Precious rugs, kilims and other textiles were manufactured in Georgia from the Neolithic time. This is demonstrated through the finds of Ilto dwellings, dated third millennium BC, where a vertical weaving loom and a comb for weaving were discovered. So too, at the burials in Bedeni (19th c. BC) different types of textiles - felt and rug fragments were found. There were numerous folk rug weaving centers in Georgia, amongst these in Kakheti, Tusheti, Khevsureti, South Georgia (Akhaltsikhe). The rugs and carpets from eastern highlands are marked by dark, restrained palette, contrary to carpets from Khakheti. The latter marked by oriental influences. When speaking bout textiles, the rich traditions of silk production in Georgia are worth of special mentioning. Its traces go back to 5th century AD. In medieval times Georgian silk was traded on Persian markets. Silk production was further enhanced in 19th-20th centuries, when its export had a significant share in country’s economy. Amongst the widespread types of textiles in 19th century Georgia was the traditional table-cloths executed in the indigo blue dyeing “negative” block printing technique. The imagery of the tablecloth: the zoomorphic (dears, stags, lions, fish, birds) and anthropomorphic images juxtaposed with ornamental patters often draw on ancient folk imagery with symbolic and sacred meaning maintained for centuries. This type of tablecloth was used only for special occasions. Marked by the restraint palette and delicate color combinations Georgian textiles are an indispensible part of country’s cultural heritage.
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