Culture

On the language

Abkhaz language is one of the most ancient languages in the world and is part of Abkhaz-adyg language group. Its setting as an independent language started in subsoil of protoabkhaz-adyg language, after disintegration of which, Abkhaz language started developing independently.

The disintegration of protoabkhaz-adyg language started 5 000 years ago and separated into three language branches – Abkhaz, Adyg and Ubikh. Thus, abaza, adyga (circassian), ubikh (today extinct) languages.

Abkhaz language is prevalent mostly in Abkhazia and Turkey, where a lot of Abkhazians (descendants of makhadjirs) leave, and also in the countries of the Middle East (Jordan, Sirya, Iraq), in Russia. It is represented by abjuy and bzib dialects. 

Literary Abkhaz language is based on abjuy dialect. Abkhaz written language is based on Cyrillic. The first attempt to put together Abkhaz alphabet on Russian graphic base was made in 1862 by Russian linguist P.K. Uslar. Although ancient words “to write”, “to read”, “to cross out”, “to sign”, “book”, etc testify the existence of written language in Abkhazia. The antiquity of these words is confirmed by compliance with abaza language. 

These compliances prove that those words existed in protoabkhaz language long before the allocation of abaza language from it.

 The first Abkhaz primer was published in 1865.

 In 1892 the renewed and corrected “Abkhaz ABC” was published by D.I. Guliya and K.D. Machavariani.

 In 1926 (or 1928) the written language was converted to Latin graphic basis,

In 1938 –to Georgian graphics, in 1954 – back to Cyrillic.

 Abkhaz language has 6 vowels and a lot of consonant phoneme: in literate language – 58, in abjuy dialect – 60, in Bzib dialect – 67.

 Since 1994 Abkhaz language is a state language of the Republic of Abkhazia.

 The law “on the state language of the Republic of Abkhazia” is adapted in 2007.

Abkhaz state museum.

In the beginning of 60s of XIXth century the amateurs of history and nature of Abkhazia initiated the creation of a museum in Sukhum. The collection of materials that possessed cultural and historical value was organized. Before Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878 numismatic, ethnographic, archeological exhibits and materials of natural history of Abkhazia were removed from Abkhazia and subsequently lost. In 1915 the “Society of amateur and explorers of nature and population of Sukhum neighborhoods” is created. Its representatives the front line Intelligentsia again making efforts to create the museum, the official opening of which was conducted on 17th of May 1917.

The memorials of history and culture of Abkhazia, Caucasus, ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Turkey, Byzantine, Sassanid Iran, documents of the October revolution, Great Patriotic war, the Patriotic war of the people of Abkhazia of 1992-1993 are kept in the funds of the museum.

The pride of the museum is the ancient Greek marble stele and the bust of the antique period from the bottom of Sukhum bay, cultic aigrette with the horseman and a dog of late bronze epoch, Assyrian bronze shield in the form of the griffin (VI century b.c.), Greek helmet and shield (IV-V century b.c.).

The national picture-gallery.

In 1963 the Picture-gallery was created in Sukhum as a branch of Abkhaz state museum n.a. D.I.Guliya. The official opening of the picture-gallery was conducted in 1964.

The greater part of the collection of the doctor I.L Fishkov, which he collected since the end of the twenties, became the bases of the fund and the exposition of the gallery. He donated part of his house to the city, where the art pieces were initially exhibited. Paintings, graphic art pieces and easel sculptures of Russian, Soviet, Abkhaz and Georgian artists of elder and middle generation of that period became part of the initial exposure of the gallery.

Today more than 4 000 art pieces of painting, graphic art, easel sculptures, ceramics is stored in museum funds. The works of such artists as A.K. Chachba-Shervashidze, B.L. Petrov, V.S. Kontarev, V.D. Bubnova, G.D. Guliya, M.E. Eshba, O.V. Brendel, H.T. Avidzba, T.A. Ampar, T.A., Jinjolia

Z.K. Ivanba, V.I. Khurkhumal, V.V. Gamgia, J.V. Chkadua, V.A. Tsvizhba,  etc are represented. Under the will of the wife of A.I Pisarchuk 312 paintings and graphic art pieces of the artist were presented.

Abkhaz state drama theatre n.a. S. Chanba.

The creation of Abkhaz national theatre is related to the name of pedagogue-enthusiast Platon Shakril, who put a self-written three-act play “From the darkness and into the light” to a stage in Ochamchira in January 1918.

In 20ies of the previous century a rich entrepreneur Aloizi organized a theatre “Aloizi”, that was nationalized in 1921 and transferred to Narkopmpros entitled “First state theatre”.

 In an effort of propaganda of new socialistic ideas and raise of awareness of workers the first mobile Abkhaz theatre was organized, D.I. Guliya, who was one of the most well-educated representatives of Abkhaz Intelligentsia, became the head of it. In July 1928 the opening of Abkhaz theatre was conducted in Sukhum. The troupe consisted of 20 people. K.Dzidzaria and V. Krivtsov continued the activities that D.I. Guliya began.

Touring geography of the theatre: Montre (Switzerland), Plovdiv (Bolgaria), Sibiu (Romania), Moscow, Saints-Petersburg (Russian), Kiev (Ukraine).  
Artistic director of the theatre – People’s artist of the Republic of Abkhazia Valery Kove.

State Russian drama theatre. 

In 1981 the State Russian theatre of young spectator was founded. In 1990 it was reinstituted to the Russian drama theatre of the Republic of Abkhazia. During the first decade of existence of the theatre the artistic management over the staff was implemented by M. Markholia, G. Nikolaev, D. Kortava, A. Kove. Since 1995 the artistic leader of the theater is N. Balaev.

The Georgian-Abkhaz war interfered into the establishment of the theatre. The troupe and the building were lost due to the war. However, despite the economic difficulties, the “construction” of the theatre was resumed. The after-war generation of actors was created by studios (in 2000 and 2007). The troupe is not numerous, but it consists of bright personalities.

State honored ensemble of folk song and dance of the Republic of Abkhazia.

State honored ensemble of folk song and dance of the Republic of Abkhazia is one of the most popular collectives in Abkhazia. The ensemble was created in 1931 upon the initiative of N.A. Lakoba on the basis of the best regional choirs. Its first leader was an outstanding singer and expert of folk songs – P. Pantsulaiya. I. Lakerbaya, A.Ch. Chichba, R.D. Gumba, K. Gegechkori, E. Bebiya were all the chairs of this ensemble.

  In 1970 the ensemble was awarded a high title “Honored”. The state honored ensemble of folk song and dance is one of the brightest and original collectives not only in Abkhazia, but in Caucasus.

State ensemble of folk dance “Sharatin” n.a. E. Bebiya.

The state ensemble of folk dance “Sharatyn” n.a. E. Bebiya is one of the most popular collectives in Abkhazia. It was established in 1970 by devotee of choreography, graduate of  SITA (State Institution of Theater Art), people’s artist of the Republic of BAkhazia Eduard Bebiya.

 The ensemble “Sharatyn” is the prize-winner of the XI worldwide Carthaginian festive in Tunis, the winner of International festive of folk dance in Turkey, diploma holder at XII worldwide festival in Moscow.

 The touring geography – Russia, Frnace, Germany, Finland, India, Sri Lanka, Greece, Algeria, Austria, etc. Folk, ceremonial, ritual dance and the dances of the peoples of Caucasus are in the repertoire of the ensemble.

 Artistic director and chief ballet master is the Honored artist of the Republic of Abkhazia  Ruslan Bebiya.