UNESCO-listed Georgian alphabet showcased by Google Arts and Culture

  • The modern Mkhedruli writing system, featured in a 1850 travelling accessory of Georgian publicist and translator Dimitri Kipiani. Photo: Art Palace.

Agenda.ge, 15 Apr 2019 - 17:03, Tbilisi,Georgia

The story of the UNESCO-recognised writing systems of the Georgian alphabet is now on display at Google Arts and Culture, a major online repository of museum exhibits and cultural phenomena.


Illustrated with photographs and drawings detailing their history from ancient eras to medieval epoch and modern times, the three writing systems — Asomtavruli, Nuskhuri and Mkhedruli — are introduced on the platform from the collections of the Tbilisi-based Art Palace museum.


Presented in an entry titled Alphabet as a History, the digital display details the rough timelines and evolution of the distinct typefaces and their visual peculiarities.


Photographs of historical examples, from 5th century wall inscriptions to later medieval frescoes and manuscripts, follow the brief facts on the alphabet and its development.





The earliest inscription featuring Georgian alphabet, dated back to the 5th century and discovered by Italian Archaeologist Virgilio Corbo in the Judean Desert. Photo: Art Palace.


It is capped with the history of the first printed publication featuring the Georgian writing and the maiden printing press in Georgia proper.


Asomtavruli, Nuskhuri and Mkhedruli were inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016 as the “living culture of three writing systems” of the Georgian language.


The alphabets coexist thanks to their different cultural and social functions, reflecting an aspect of Georgia’s diversity and identity. Their ongoing use in a cultural sense also gives communities a feeling of continuity,” UNESCO said about the inscription.

The Georgian alphabet — granted the status of national cultural heritage in 2015 — also became subject of a UNESCO booklet introducing alphabets from across the world and of recent isplays at the Klingspor Museum Offenbach and the Council of Europe, among other venues.





A 17th century gospel in Nuskhuri writing system. Photo: Art Palace.


The news on Google’s addition of the new showcase to its platform was revealed on April 14, marked as Mother Language Day in Georgia. Art Palace director Giorgi Kalandia told Imedi TV hosts the online exposition for the alphabet had also been uploaded on the Google platform to mark the day.


Art Palace collections have served as basis for a number of digital exhibitions on Google Arts and Culture over the recent years.


The displays include entries on painter, art researcher and technological pioneer David Kakabadze, contemporary artist Tamara Kvesitadze, theatre designer Petre Otskheli and Georgian costumes preserved at the Tbilisi venue.