Project information
Contested heritage in the South Caucasus

Project Identification
Project Period
1/2024 - 12/2025
Investor / Pogramme / Project type
Masaryk University
MU Faculty or unit
Faculty of Arts

The project will investigate the role of medieval cultural heritage in the construction of identities in the highly conflictual South Caucasus region. It will delve into the intersection of art history with territorial disputes involving Georgia and Russia, spanning the past 150 years, focusing mainly on the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Within these regions, medieval monuments have been subject to a wide array of historical interpretations and contemporary alterations (architectural reconstructions, cancellation or rewriting of monumental inscriptions), often characterized by an underlying intent of national appropriation. These interpretations and alterations have often entailed the denial of the notion of superposition, juxtaposition, or syncretism of different historical and cultural layers preserved in the monuments. Such dynamics have been further exacerbated by the shifting or non-existent borders on territories where numerous ethnicities cohabited in the past. Therefore, this project will critically examine how art history has been entangled in these intricate narratives and practices, shedding light on the multifaceted role that medieval monuments have played in the broader context of territorial disputes, ultimately leading to armed conflicts.

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