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Chokhatauri (Municipality, Georgia)


Last modified: 2018-12-26 by ivan sache
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Flag and arms of Chokhatauri - Images by The State Council of Heraldry at the Parliament of Georgia, 25 January 2011

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Flag of Chokhatauri

The flag and arms of Chokhatauri are prescribed by Decree No. 189, adopted on 17 November 2009 by the Municipal Council.

The State Council of Heraldry at the Parliament of Georgia, 25 January 2011

The flag is vertically divided green-red, in canton a hawk on a fist and an eight-pointed star, all white.
The flag has been derived from the municipal coat of arms, "Per pale vert and gules all over a hawk on a fist argent a star of the same in chief three fesses wavy argent in base three fesses wavy of the same. The shield surmounted by a three-towered mural crown argent fimbriated sable. Under the shield a scroll argent fimbriated sable charged with the name of the town in Georgian capital letters sable".

The charges and colors (vert, gules, argent) of the coat of arms represent nobility, aspiration to freedom, dignity, courage and hope for the future of the residents of Chokhatauri.
The hawk is a symbol of spiritual power, hope and aspiration to freedom. Moreovoer, Chokhatauri is home of the the Centre of Hawk Training, where an international contest amongst trainers is held annually.
The colors of the flag and arms are taken from historical documents of the 18th-19th centuries, mostly the coat of arms designed for the region by Vakhushti Bagrationi.
[State Council of Heraldry at the Parliament of Georgia]

Falconry in Georgia is an age-old tradition, deeply entrenched in culture. According to legend it was in the fifth century AD that King Vakhtang Gorgasali founded the capital of Tbilisi, next to the ancient town of Mtskheta. The King chose this site in honour of his favourite falcon, which perished there after striking a pheasant and falling into a hot spring along the Kura River. Archaeological artefacts excavated in Mtskheta indicate that falconry was practised long before this event.
Another aspiration of falconers is to triumph in the local and national falconry competitions, held around the end of October. Falconers assemble at these competitions to proudly display and perform with their hawks. In 1998 the national competition was held on 24 October in Chokhatauri, one of the traditional falconry centres.[...] Teams from each falconry centre, comprising the best five falconers from the previously held local competitions, compete against each other. Three generations of falconers can take part during this competition. All of the falconers in Chokhatauri were men, but the competition is also open to women. Traditionally there are three events. The falconer lines up with his hawk at the start of the competition and the jury, according to the nomenclature described earlier, makes a judgement of beauty. However, this event was recently abolished by the Georgian Falconers Association to stop the excessive catching and selection of sparrowhawks for one extraordinary bird. Despite this change in the statutes, many falconers still engage informally in this practice before the start. The authors encountered the display of unusual hawks in Chokhatauri, and excessive trapping by some falconers in the Adjarian foothills. The informal beauty competition is followed by a formal event called sakhnieri, wherein the falconer is required to recall his bird from a distance of 50 meters. Loyalty of the bird to its owner is tested, as well as the response time to the falconer’s whistle, flying from perch to hand. In the third and final event the predatory instinct (i.e. fierceness) and hunting skills of the hawk are challenged according to the Gurian style. A quail is released by the referee from a hide or by using a sling, situated 15 m away from the falconer. The hawk’s ability and speed in catching the fleeing quail within the boundaries of the arena is recorded and points awarded. Winners have their names engraved on the challenge cup.
[E. Van Maanen, I. Goradze, A. Gavashelishvili, R. Goradze. 2001. Trapping and hunting of migratory raptors in western Georgia. Bird Conservation International, 11:77-92]

Ivan Sache, 8 December 2018