- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
76

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
76
named; it is said to have been set up there by
Queen Tamara. Up here in the mountains, too,
her nåme still lives. In many places there are small
old stone churches, or the ruins of them, and tradi
tion says they were built by her. It is said that she
herself at the head of the warriors penetrated into
the high mountain valleys, subdued the savage
mountain tribes, and brought them Christianity.
This still lives in song on the people’s lips in
Svanetia :
. . . and the mountains bowed before her.
Tamar came to Svan-land, wearing her crown.
Tamar’s eyes were like precious stones.
Over her silk kirtle she wore a coat of mail.
Tamar had a belt of gold ;
Tamar wore her royal sword at her side.
It is quite likely that this remarkable woman, mild
yet strong, did reach the high mountain valleys in
her expeditions.
Wc were now standing on the watershed between
the basin of the Kura to the south and that of the
Terek to the north. Wc said good-bye to Georgia’s
lovely valleys with all their memories, to its people
that for two thousand years has fought for its freedom
and culture, and to that soil soaked with the blood
of its noblest sons. But the sons of Georgia still sing :
Thou art not yet dead, home of my fathers,
thou dost but sleep, awaiting the morrow ;
then shalt thou deck them with the victor’s wreath,
who for thy sake have kept their watch among the dead.1
1 From the Gcorgian poet, Akaki Zercteli, translated (into Danish)
by Alfred Ipscn.

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