The Georgian National Museum has opened its doors again after a six year refurbishment with a glittering exhibition of ancient gold from the fabled land where legend has it that Jason and the Argonauts searched for the Golden Fleece.
They are some of the most important artefacts from Georgia’s long and varied history dating back thousands of years.
More than 100 exhibits give a unique glimpse into the region that lay between ancient Greece and Persia.
Museum director David Lortkipanidze said: “I think everyone knows that Georgia is the country of the Golden Fleece, Georgia is the country of very early metal. And archaeological remains are proving it. Now we prepare the treasure which will highlight all these finds. One part will be very earliest metallurgy, very earliest gold – (it) starts around 5,000 years old.”
Some of the treasure found at Vani has toured to museums around the world. The new exhibition in Tbilisi includes items never before shown to the public.
Georgia’s culture minister believes the museum will be vital in teaching the country’s children about their heritage.
Nikoloz Rurua said: “We also are determined to make the museum as a part of our elementary education. So a lot of school-children will see all the significant artefacts from their history which will help them to understand what it is like to be Georgian. Because they will develop a sense of history which is, in my opinion, extremely important for any and every citizen of any country, including this one.”
Fearing a Bolshevik attack, Georgian authorities sent the golden treasures to France in 1921 to keep them safe. They returned to Georgia in the 1950s.