MIGRATION PROCESS INFLUENCE ON THE CONSTRUING OF SACRAL SPACE
Processes of migration and the transformations resulted after them represent the most topical issue for modern Georgia and the world. How do migration and new housing environment impact on the construing of sacral space among migrants? This article focuses on eco-migrants that migrated from highland zone of Georgia, Svaneti to the lowlands in last quarter of 20th century. We will represent different examples of construing sacral spaces among eco-migrants depending on the type of settlement in new areas. Purpose of the research is, on the basis of study of migration process ongoing in Svaneti, to reveal and study the psychological-mental relation, which connects the personality with origin place. This relation, besides material culture, especially clearly is shown in spiritual culture of the population.
Migrated population continues to live in the multiethnic society of the lowland in terms sharply different from the highland conditions. It becomes a member of this society and establishes some relations with it. The migrants coming to the lowlands bring about those psychological-mental sentiments, which connect them with their origin place. These sentiments were reflected in urban planning of the new environment, in distribution of housing and sacral space. Events appear quite unusual for Svaneti traditional life. It is known that the Svan towers had a defensive significance in origin place but in some places migrants started to build miniature tower-like constructions on the graves to identify their origin. Migrants try to observe the principle of settlement, which existed in Svaneti traditional life. Housing and sacral spaces in places of their new settlements is organized by taking into consideration the environment terms and psychological-mental thinking of the migrants. This process outlines many interesting and yet-unstudied nuances.
Some scholars consider that shrines and ritual practice of Svaneti life originates from the Christian traditions. In new settlement places the migrants met old, abandoned Christian churches or ruins of shrines. They consider it their obligation to restore the shrines, to take care of them with reverence, though it is interesting that in most cases the migrants do not continue to hold folk holidays and rituals around these shrines. Unfortunately, in some cases of arbitrary restoration of these shrines, resulted in loss or distortion of cultural heritage. Next to the old shrines they start to build new ones. At the same time, the migrants try to build separately those shrines of their villages or their families, which were considered to be the strongest sacral centers in the places of their old settlement. The person, knowing traditional construction technologies, usually builds these shrines exactly by the architectural nuances preserved in the first dwelling. Despite this, these new shrines still fail to replace old ones being in mentality of the migrants, which is clearly reflected in their emotional sentiments. On the other hand, this is not true for all eco-
migrants living in Kvemo Kartli. In Tsalka district of Kvemo Kartli eco-migrants tend to continue their folk holidays around old churches or restored small shrines. Why do we have two main different ways of construing sacral spaces and performing religious rituals around them?
Keywords: Migration, Transformation, Identity, Culture, Sacral spaces.