Whenever I ask someone what they love about Georgia, they always start with cuisine, for obvious reasons, and then they say people.
It has been like a mystery to me. Why are Georgian people different from others, what makes us so different? And some thinking later, I figured it out.
In most countries, when someone knows what your neighbor’s underwear looks like, it mostly a bad sign. It either means you are lovers or you are just a creep who goes through someone else’s laundry basket. But not in Georgia, well, to be more exact – in “Tbilisian yards”. I was born and raised in so called “Tbilisuri Ezo (yard)” and I know exactly what my neighbor Tika’s underwear looks like and no, we are not lovers and I am not the creep. Okay, before I tell you why I know what her underwear looks like, let me tell you how Tbilisian yard works.
So imagine Colesseum – with huge square and numerous balconies. Tbilisian yards are like that, but way more complicated. Picture 10 different families, each with individual personality and problems, sharing one yard. Yeah, it’s difficult. Yard is where everything happens though: where people hang out, share dreams and aspirations, drink all night and wake neighbors up to count them. People are watching that performances from their windows and if they are privileged, from balconies. It is a fun show. Whenever you hear people talking in the yard, make sure to grab yourself popcorn, get cozy in front of window and wait for something unpredictable to happen.
We also have weddings in Tbilisian yards. Families lay the table with food and wine (we call this table Sufra) in the middle of yard, get around it, grab the guitar and start celebrating. If you are not invited or you randomly get there by just following the voices of people cheering and laughing, the moment someone notices you, there’s no getting out of it. You will eventually become part of the celebration. So be attentive when you get here and try not to miss this wonderful opportunity.
If you are someone, who loves movies and decides to watch any movie shot in Georgia, there is high chance that most scenes in movie will take place in Tbilisian yards. Reason behind it is that these yards are like cities, where every street and every resident is different. So you get to see individual and colorful personalities all at once.
And to get back to Tika’s underwear – Yard is also where we line dry our clothes. This means that all of us know what each other’s underpants and bras look like. If you mistakenly grab someone else’s underwear, you have to either announce it out loud in the yard, or go and check in every family. First one is more common.
So for all of you reading this and getting confused or grossed out, let me tell you that privacy just doesn’t exist in Tbilisian yards and people are used to it. Also when you know all of your neighbors dirty little secrets, knowing their underwear should be the least of their concerns.
If you want to see what Tika’s and many other’s underwear looks like hahaha, make sure to follow us on free walking tours. I am sure we’ll definitely be able to find some beautiful Tbilisian Yards. 😀