Georgia Borys Romanowski — paintings of Georgia Borys Romanowski — paintings of Georgia

Paintings of Georgia by
Borys Romanowski, 1925-1947

Most beautiful place on Earth

Why does Tsarina Tamara is sneaky and evil? My mother told me such interesting stories about her… that she was not only beautiful, but also wise… But why we suddenly travel to some remote country? Isn't it better to stay in that well known place? Natalia, however, didn't want to return to that fairy-tale, she tells different one, about a mysterious woman ruler of her distant country, that country that she loved in a dream as if it were a part of herself. That fiery feeling was planted in her by her father. It happened very early, when Natalia was a child and was spending most of the time with her father — always sad and hidden behind his thoughts. He was a beautiful man. He seemed to be a stranger in that big house, among the so many people living there, family, servants, countless guests. And little Natalia subconsciously understood his sadness. She didn't know what caused his state, but she realized, that a smile returns on his beautiful face whenever she sat on his knees, or put her little palm in his big and rough hand, inviting him for a walk to the barn, to the garden, or maybe farther, to the bank of the river…

“This is my father, your grandfather” — I still can hear Natalia's voice, however the details suddenly stop match the story about beautiful Tamara. Everything starts to tangle, become confused; only my mother can tangle the simplest story in that way. And she starts her tale about some remote country, the place where her father was born. He told his little daughter countless stories about high mountains almost reaching the sky, about old castles and almond-eyes, slim princesses living there, about brave knights that being desperate in love with their chosen ones, had to leave them constantly to defend their beautiful country. So many invaders tried to conquere it, Mogols, Persians, Turks. And in the end Russians took that country under their boot. However none of them posessed it completely, none made the proud, freedom loving people, fully subordinate. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Tamerlane[1], the cruel master of the half of the world seven times during 25 years, invaded little Georgia. Although he left seven hundred cities in ruins, burned to the bottom almost all the churches, destroyed multicentury heritage of literature and fine arts, he didn't make to rule that country. When Tamerlane was dying, he was supposed to say: “I used all my power to conquere Georgia and I failed”.

And I can hear yet another fairy-tale. Moreover — I will return to it in the very last hour of my earthly travel. It is beautiful and extraordinary, like everything that had been told by my mother:

“The old legend from Georgia says, that God gathered all the nations and announced the division of the Earth globe. Terrible rush started: every nation wanted to get the best place. Only Georgians, who don't like big crowds, were sitting under the tree, sipping wine, singing songs and waiting for the decision. Suddenly God realised that all the territories have been divided already, and he forgot about singing Georgians. He felt pity about them. Worried, he said: «I have divided all the territories on Earth. The only place left, is very small however it is the most beautiful. There are vivid mountains full of crude ma­ter­ials, rich lowlands, breathtaking views and out of this world sea shore. I wanted to save that country for myself, but looks like I forgot about you, so that land is now yours…»”.

And that was how the Georgians became habitants of the most beautiful place on Earth.

It was the frosty day of January 1969. I still think of conversations with my mother, of her tales to which we returned for so many weeks, starting from November 68, of her memories related to her unusual life, not only as wife of Konstanty, but as well earlier, when she was beautiful Mrs. Nata from secondary school among her school friends, in the school theatre, among her first admirers, on the travels which she organized, fencing lessons, horse rides, boat trips on the beautiful, romantic river Prosna. However she didn't talk much of her childhood, colorful days full of happiness, as if she didn't have much to say. As if returns to those Kalisz[2] days didn't please her as the antidose for the gloomy view outside her window. I had to wake her memory almost every image from the past frozen under my eyelids, sometimes I had to use a deceit to push her to continue our talk. I still can't find a key, that would open her, make her became an active part, shine in the conversation, what she could do so easily, rather than just answering my questions. To became a teller of her life, which for me, her daughter, still has many hidden moments. We've been talking for so many weeks, but to tell a truth, we're still in the same point, circling around some banals. What should I do?

I still had mixed feelings. Growing number of filled notebooks and nothing of live Natalia there. And suddenly, some of my friends brought me a little book, written by the author whom I didn't know then, Ryszard Kapuściński[3]. It had a very promissing title “The Kirghiz Dismounts”, a collection of essays and articles about (at that time) the Asian and Caucasian Soviet Republic One of the first stories tells about distant country of Natalia's ancestors.

“Indeed, Georgia is a beautifull country.

One can see mauntains from every place. Skyline of Caucasus, green hogback of Suram. Sunshine falls on the snowy Caucasian peaks, reflects from them and lightens the whole Georgia. That's why sun rays, tinted by the colour of the snow, are not golden, but silvery as if a cover of an old icon.

Georgia is a small country, four times smaller than Poland. However that comparison never comes to mind there. A feeling opposes the facts, because the omnipresence of the mountains changes the optics laws. Georgia seems to be huge, like an ocean. The mountains multiply the landscape. In some space, plateau offers only one view. In the same space, monuntains shows tens, or even houndreds views. One only need to move a kilometer ahead, pass some slope, climb a rock or descent to some valley. The view will grow, will cross the boundaries, will have new dimensions; and, in the end, while revolving almost in the same place, we start feeling that we traverse infinity. […]

Mountains form the nature of a Georgian. Georgian protects the mystery of the mountains and believs that mountains are to be understood. He is aware, that being born as a guardian and protector, he gets the deepest satisfaction from this. That's why Georgian has nothing from a citizen of the world. He goes abroad without a pleasure and settles in other countries with reluctance and unwillingness”.

For me that sentence is a revelation. I know so little about this country. The official sources bring only deadly boring information; I couldn't get to the original writings, and on the top of that — my mother is silent. And now — few pages from someone who went there, saw something different, that other reporters failed to discover. He didn't follow the typical routes, didn't put himself into typical patterns of the same paths and interviews with the same people. Kapuściński even referred to old Herodotus[4], that incidentally had mentioned the distant past of Kolchis[5] and Iberia…

  1. Tamerlane, Wikipedia source.
  2. Kalisz, Wikipedia source.
  3. Ryszard Kapuściński, Wikipedia source.
  4. Herodotus, Wikipedia source.
  5. Kolchis, Wikipedia source.