Georgia’s ancient culture can be read on its carpets. The tradition of carpet weaving dates back to immemorial times when Georgian artisans were the heirs of Byzantine masters. Modern experts note that handmade Georgian carpets are original and distinctive. Unlike the Eastern style, a colorful, ornamental and expressive composition is a characteristic feature for Georgian carpets, which are also famous for their durability and preservation of their authentic look for a century or more thanks to the method of thread weaving.
It takes more than seven months to weave a carpet and handmade carpets are as usually most durable. Consequently, these distinctive works of art, with their artistic values and high quality, are extremely popular among visitors of the country.
You can check out a versatile collection of old and modern carpets in Old Tbilisi, near Freedom Square, Kote Apkhazi (Leselidze) Street, near the Dry Bridge – flea market and Vorontsov territory. Prices of carpets range from 200 to 5000 GEL and prices of rugs usually start from 50 GEL. Along with Georgian carpets, you may view Persian, Indian, Turkish and Chinese carpets and rugs, bags, and sacks made from different carpet fragments.
If you decide to purchase a Georgian carpet, you should first pay attention to the quality of weaving and the number of knots. 75 000 to 800 000 and from 90 000 to 175 000 knots in one square meter is a sign of good quality.
There is one more point: an at-first-glance shabby carpet may cost thousands of GEL, when a new one can be purchased at a considerably low price. Quality and price of a carpet reflects not only its antiquity, but its weaving technique (handmade is more expensive, being rare and original), colors, ornaments, quality of wool and also whether made by real masters using threads colored with natural dyes.
Traditions of carpet weaving are better preserved in mountainous Georgia and consequently carpet shops are mostly supplied from these regions.
Masters from Tusheti are regarded as among the best weavers and improvisers, learning their craft from childhood.Carpets and rugs from Tusheti have preserved their distinctiveness and display ornaments full of freedom and jubilance even today. Black is a dominant color for Georgian and Tushetian carpets, but they may be also multicolored – but more duller tones.
“Caucasian Carpet Gallery” is home to the most versatile collection of carpets in Tbilisi. Tourists have an opportunity to check out Caucasian production as well as an Eastern collection in the gallery. There are carpets from Tusheti, Kakheti and Svaneti, as well as production from Azerbaijan, Dagestan and Iran – a sign that Tbilisi historically used to be true crossroads of European and Asian cultures.
Tbilisi’s carpet shops usually collaborate with experts who can confirm the quality and longevity of a work. It is also possible to restore a damaged carpet in order to return it to its original look. It is recommended to apply to a qualified consultant when choosing a carpet.
Sometimes owners of carpet shops venture to different regions of Georgia in order to find experienced and talented weavers. Omalo and Akhaltsikhe regions are famous for such artisans.
If Georgian carpet has captivated your heart, try to find time to visit one of the largest national craft centers in Dusheti, where you will be able to observe how old traditions of carpet weaving are preserved. It is also home to clay works, souvenirs, modern clothing with traditional ornaments, cloisonné enamel accessories and more.
It is also possible to catch a glimpse of beautiful carpets in Kakheti and Akhaltsikhe regions, where traditions of weaving have been passed from generation to generation. There are special art studios in these regions producing carpets according to Georgian traditions, and here you will be able to hear different stories about unique carpets made from wool and silk.
Today, you can come across Caucasian and Georgian carpets in every corner of the world, but the most authentic carpets at appealing prices, can most often be found in Tbilisi.