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Akhalgori (Municipality, Georgia)


Last modified: 2018-12-08 by ivan sache
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Flag and arms of Akhlagori - Images by The State Council of Heraldry at the Parliament of Georgia, 25 January 2011

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Presentation of Akhalgori

The municipality of Akhalgori (7,703 inhabitants in 2002, c. 2,000 in the town proper; 1,011 sq. km) is located in South Ossetia. Since 2008, the territory has been under Russian-South Ossetian control. The town was renamed Leningor, the name used in the Soviet period. The new municipal administration, not recognized by Georgia, was established on 17 August 2009.

In the 1920s, when Georgia became one of the Soviet republics, this territory became part of the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast, and the regional centre received the name of Leningori. The mountain range separating it from Tskhinvali meant that this eastern region was only formally part of South Ossetia. The only road went to the south, towards Tbilisi, and to reach Tskhinvali, you had to take the central Georgian highway. The population was 80% ethnic Georgians, and Ossetians mainly lived in mixed families. So when the city was renamed Akhalgori in the early 1990s, and almost all the territory was transferred to the administrative jurisdiction of the Mtskheti region of Georgia, no one objected: neither in Tbilisi nor Tskhinvali, which had proclaimed its independence.
In 2006, the Georgian authorities tried to resolve the South Ossetian conflict by creating an alternative pro-Tbilisi government in the republic, which had seceded. This was headed by the former prime minister of the separatists Dmitry Sanakoyev. A Saakashvili decree restored the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast and the Akhalgori region was included in it, so as to increase the number of voters at the alternative elections. The temporary administration of the Autonomous Oblast was located in the village of Kurta, six kilometres to the north of Tskhinvali and under Georgian control. After the August conflict, the pro-Georgian officials were forced to move to the centre of Tbilisi, where they were established in the "Chess Palace".
On 16 August Russian soldiers entered the Akhalgori region, which Tbilisi itself had recognised as part of South Ossetia in the internal political game. At the same time, local residents began to leave. Initially only a few left, but by the end of August - when television showed villages in the Gori region that had been burnt down and looted by the Ossetian militiamen following after the Russian soldiers - there were more than 2,000 refugees from Akhalgori. Almost two thirds of the population has left the region where no more than 9,000 people had lived.
[oDRussia, 25 November 2008]

Ivan Sache, 29 May 2012

Flag of Akhalgori

The flag and arms of Akhalgori are prescribed by Decree No. 4, adopted on 26 April 2010 by the Municipal Council in exile.

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

The flag is horizontally divided white-red, in canton a red cross patty with an extnded base.
The coat of arms is "Per fess serrated, 1. Argent a cross patty fitchy gules, 2. Gules an armour argent. 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 colors of the arms are based on historical documents from the 18th-19th centuries, especially the two atlases published in 1745-1746 by Prince Vakhushti (Vakhushti Batonishvili, 1696-1757), which depict several historical coat of arms.
The cross is modelled on the finial of an historical war flag found in Akhalgori. The serration represents the two mountains depicted on the coat of arms of the Dukes of Ksani, according to Vadbolsky's Sakartvelos heraldikuri simbolika. In the medieval times, the Dukes (eristavi) of Ksani struggled with their neighbours, the Dukes of Aragvi, for the control of the eastern Georgian mountains. Akhalgori was then a fortified town; the Duke's palace (photo) still stands in the town.
The cross and the mountains symbolize faith and power. The armour argent also symbolizes power, as well as the commitment to defend the homeland.
[State Council of Heraldry at the Parliament of Georgia]

Ivan Sache, 29 May 2012