Folklore House Zugdidi
Architecture, exterior and interior of „Folklore House Zugdidi" reflect the innovative thinking and creativity of its founder and host, Beso Chitanava. Mr. Beso has a knowledge in many fields. He is a choirmaster, gardener-decorator, embroiderer, cook and a designer. "Folklore House Zugdidi" with the ancient items located in one space revives the history, ethnography and the old culture of Samegrelo. Of course, the best narrator here is Beso Chitanava himself who loves each item particularly and often uses some of them when hosting foreign tourists.
Mr. Beso designed and constructed a third-storey house with a tower. Currently, his farm includes 2 residential houses and the adjacent yard (600 square meter yard and 128 square meter residential house), as well as a nursery arranged on the area of 3200 square meters. Mr. Beso grows plants in the nursery which are used for landscaping of yards.
Mr. Beso expanded the hotel offers to receive visitors. In his opinion, this sector is inexhaustible and allows for offering many novelties. Therefore, it is always open to new ideas. Innovative nature of the activities lies in the comprehensive nature of the offer. It includes familiarization with Megrelian songs, hospitality, cuisine, handicrafts (embroidery), interior and exterior. Visitors are also impressed by making mint sauce for one of the distinguished dishes of the Megrelian cuisine – Gebzhalia which has a special flavour.
According to the host, good impression is the best recommendation. Most part of their tourists are sent by their previous visitors. Significant role was played by the interest of local and national TV companies and international organizations and their coverage in media. Awareness and accordingly, the number of visitors, including local visitors residing in Georgia was increased.
Customers are mainly European, American and Australian visitors. The number of French-speaking visitors is particularly high. The host speaks French and has many friends in France. Visitors contact him by email or phone in advance and book a visit.
Besarion Chitanava manages the entire visit mostly on his own – organizes a culinary masterclass, teaches songs. He holds a different niche in Samegrelo and therefore, he has no rivals actually.
Mr. Besarion used to be the director of the Folklore House, but the organization did not have any premises and was provided a shelter by other institutions. Finally, he built a building with the assistance of his friends and made the Folklore House. As he had been keen on cooking since childhood, he decided to familiarize visitors with the part of folklore called "Megrelian Culinary Art" in the same space. He has never used a grant.
Success factors and challenges
According to Beso Chitanava, key to success is doing what you like and believing that you can succeed in everything. Direct communication with visitors and engagement of each of them in the creative process predetermine the fact that all visitors leave the "Folklore House" satisfied.
Plans for the future development
Considering the increasing demand, Mr. Beso decided to offer visitors the opportunity to stay overnight. Construction is currently underway. The kitchen is located on the first floor and finally, a mixture of the folk and classic styles must be created. There is a dining room on the second floor, which will be occupied in case of arrival of large groups. Bedrooms and WC/bathrooms for visitors will be located on the second and the third floors (it will be possible to accommodate 18 visitors). A wine cellar is being constructed in the yard. As one of the processions of Mr. Beso is related to gardening, the yard and the surroundings will be landscaped.
Source of the images: Google
Ethno-tourism, folklore and culinary