Making hay is a matter of survival in mountains, as when the snow is there, the cattle has to be fed, everybody knows that! These beautiful cows (picture 1) will need food in winter and people have to cut the grass and make stacks (picture 2) before carrying (carrying, because no vehicles come on the mountain) the stacks down to the barns and cowsheds; ah, even haystacks are interesting to look at, with the devices used to carry them (picture 3).
Survival for the cattle as it is key for survival for human, but this chap here (picture 4) will not survive the winter but become ham, sausages and other delicatessen, food for people isolated in their mountains.
I love the mountains, every where on the planet, may be because I grew up in a flat area, and I am always impressed by the way people adapt to the mountains, and even how they change the landscape of the mountain; here in the Caucasus, there were wide fields areas on the river banks, moraines and alluvium; from far you can see the walls which delimited the fields (picture 5), but they are not anymore in use.
As with other Orthodox Churches in Georgia, if you're female, you need to cover your head before entering a church. At the Holy Trinity Church, however, not only do you have to cover your head, you also have to wear a skirt. Well, I don't wear skirts, and I certainly wouldn't wear one when hiking up a mountain.
The nice priests know this too, and they have these navy blue wrap around skirts for the female visitor to use when entering the church buildings. It's not all that bad, since it adds an extra layer of warmth!
Also, as I learned, do NOT smoke anywhere on the church complex.
When I walked up to visit Tminda Sameba church, I took a few shortcuts on the steep wood covered slope of the mountain, and in a clearing where to ground was almost flat I came across a few people who were preparing a nice lunch and afternoon.
The vegetables were already in the water of the cauldron, and if you look on the right side of picture 1, you see a guy preparing the meat. The lamb is skinned, it will be prepared for a sort of a barbecue; look how seriously the guy does his job (picture 2).
There were only men when I passed by, the guys were not hostile, but not friendly aswell, just were doing what they wanted to do and not caring a lot about the tourist who passed by. I am sure if I had come two hours later, with full stomach and vodka, it would have been different.
I have seen that sort of gathering in Georgia and Armenia several times, with big families, and I had to give proof that I was a strong vodka drinker! People like a lot picnics, barbeques, and they enjoy them in the “rough way”. A real good local custom.
According to ancient Greek mythology, Prometheus the Titan, the father of the Greek Noah, is considered the benefactor of mankind.
Zeus assigned Prometheus the task of forming man from water and earth, which he did, but in the process, Prometheus became fonder of men than Zeus had anticipated. Zeus didn't share Prometheus' feelings and wanted to prevent men from having power, especially over fire. But Prometheus disobeyed Zeus and allowed mankind an attribute of the Gods, the gift of fire. As a result, Prometheus was punished by Zeus to be chained on a rock on the Kazbeg mountain, where an eagle ate his liver every day.
Trekking Mount Kazbeg in search for the rock where Prometheus was chained has become very popular.
It just happened that my day at Tsminda Sameba church coincided with an important religious celebration, apparently the Maria Madloba. Dozens of cars, carriages and trucks full of people started to appear on the plateau. In a few hours, the peaceful atmosphere from early morning has gradually turned into a crowd, where hundreds of families started queuing up to enter the church, give it a tour and afterwards stop on the plateau for lunch. Some families have even brought lambs and started to kill and cook them. An afternoon rain dampened the
festivities a bit, which was good news for the lambs......