For a few years, I travelled to Crimea with the University of Warsaw’s archaeological department but when Russia annexed the peninsula, our expedition had to change the excavation site to explore.
It was great to hear that we’re going to go to Georgia as there’s been rumours going about it for a couple of years and I really wanted to experience this Caucasian country at the crossroad of Europe and Asia.
Home away from home
Our archaeological base in Gonio is very close to where we excavate and the shortest route takes us through a housing estate.
Being raised in Poland where communist-era housing estates surround every city, I really appreciate the atmosphere that this type of architecture evokes. However, while in Poland it’s dominated by greyness and austerity, in Georgia, I had a chance to experience something completely different.
The magic of the housing estate in Gonio
I had enough time to stare at the Gonio estate everyday and I really came to appreciate the sense of freedom that it evoked. Freedom in arrangement of the apartments, freedom to do whatever you feel like at home and outside.
This seemed contradictory to what I knew about the estates in general. Aren’t you supposed to be miserable when you live in a large housing estate? Isn’t your life limited by the concrete walls in which you are entrapped? Isn’t it a cage?
The intricate simplicity of life
Everything that I observed around proved otherwise… Children playing in the street – a sight that I rarely see in the Western Europe nowadays. Laundry hanging from every window without any shame. People going out of their homes and socialising in the evenings outside their blocks. Cows grazing in the grassy squares between the buildings and cowpats in the streets. Tiny shops and bakeries hidden in the basements of the buildings. People smiling to you just because.
Being surrounded by this magic it was easy to become one with the surroundings. Even if for a moment.