Vani Archaeological Museum to showcase Colchis culture riches after renovation

A view on the newly renovated and updated museum in Georgia's west. Photo: Tbel Abuseridze/National Geographic Georgia., 22 Oct 2020 - 17:11, Tbilisi,Georgia

Riches of the ancient Colchis Kingdom in Georgia's west have a new home as the Vani Archaeological Museum opened on Thursday following the first major renovation on the venue in 35 years.

The Georgian National Museum network, of which the reopened Vani museum is a part of, said it would host visitors free of entrance fee for the first two months to mark the occasion. The GNM also celebrated the date by saying the opening of Vani and Bolnisi venues had made Georgia the only country across Europe where two new museums launching during the pandemic.

Using installations and modern tech for displays, the Vani Museum showcases findings in goldsmithery on the territory of the historical Colchis Kingdom that saw the town of Vani as its religious hub between the 8th-1st centuries BCE.

Beside displaying the items created by goldsmiths of the kingdom, the museum will for the first time show how they were produced by locals using their knowledge of mining and developing raw gold material.

See GNM director David Lordkipanidze speak about the Vani expedition and museum:

In another first, the space of the renovated venue will bring "unique examples" of Hellenic-era oil lamps made of copper and used in monasteries before being hidden away as a treasure, a GNM release said.

While halls of the museum will host permanent exhibitions on the Colchis subject, plans also involve a renewal of Vani International Symposiums, a series of scientific gatherings that involved local and foreign professionals in discussions of Black Sea archaeology and history since the museum's 1985 opening.

The museum was established as one of the first such venues on remains of ancient settlements, and was built based on a plan by architect Giorgi Lezhava, and on initiative by Otar Lortkipanidze, the head of the Vani Archaeological Expedition.

Located 40km south-west of Kutaisi, the venue is named after Lortkipanidze, who made major contributions to studies of the Vani ancient site.