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Movement Is Dangerous In European Sighnaghi

March 25, 2010

Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti


 Water is leaking and making ponds in the

renovated house of Giorgi Pashalishvili

“Sighnaghi is the most beautiful city in Europe. Neither Chinese, nor Americans, nor Turkish people can build the houses so fast, with such a high quality and enthusiasm, like we did it”, stated president Mikheil Saakashvili at the pompous presentation of renovated Sighnaghi. A year and a half later, in Sighnaghi, residential houses in several streets of the city are pulling down. Reconstructed balconies have the paints removed and need repeated repair-works. Moving around the city is life threatening because of poorly done work by the construction companies, electricity wires in Sarajishvili and Chavchavadze streets are scattered on the streets and they can kill a person at any moment.

“There is no street sewage system in the city, and during rain the water brings sand. Electricity wires lie on the ground and the communication network remains on the top; so we are afraid to go out. We do not allow our children to go out at all before the wires are buried deeply in the ground,” said resident of Sarajishvili Street Zeinab Kokiashvili.

During reconstruction, construction workers removed the roofs of the houses in Baratashvili, Rustaveli and April 9 Street without permission of the residents and covered them with ceramic plates from where rain water leaks into the houses.

“During the renovation works, they removed tin plates from my roof and covered with ceramic plates; now rain is leaking into the house and making ponds in the rooms. We appealed to the administration of the construction companies and they promised to resolve the problem if we do not make it public, but they deceived me. Then I petitioned to the regional governor’s administration but all in vain,”


 Life threatening electricity wires in

Sarajishvili Street

said resident of Rustaveli Street N 14 Giorgi Pashalishvili.

During the renovation, the houses of the April 9 Street Marine Chabashvili residents Zaira Kokilashvili and Lela Ghviniashvili were also damaged.

Zaira Kokilashvili: “My house is in fact pulling down. The water is leaking from the ceramic plates. The walls are damaged; the floor is damp and the rooms got moldy. The electricity system has already been damaged. I am a lonely person; I petitioned to the construction company several times and asked them to return my house in the position it was before the reconstruction. However, nobody pays attention to me.”

Marine Chabashvili: “My house was damaged during the reconstruction activities too. The water is leaking into the rooms. The walls are damp; the floor and furniture are damaged. The director of the construction company “Color” Zviad Cholokava has been promising me to repair the house, but he lies. My mother died because of nervousness.”

After the renovation activities, people who were harmed appealed to the Sighnaghi district administration several times.

“We have sent several appeals to the district administration where applicants state that their houses were damaged after tin roofs were replaced by ceramic plates and rain started leaking into the houses. Employees of the corresponding departments of the district administration drew up defect protocols on the place, which were sent to the construction company “Tbilisi” several times. In 2009, I petitioned to the head of the company two times and requested them to repair the houses; however, nothing has been done yet,” said Sighnaghi district governor Nodar Kochlamazashvili.

Director General of the construction company “Tbilisi” Goneri Kurashvili claims that they cannot repair the houses because of lack of fund. “Although we ordered to repair the houses, our branch company “Color Ltd” could not carry out the reconstruction activities because of financial problems,” said Kurashvili.

Construction companies declared that the reconstruction of the Sighnaghi city was completed though many things were not completed. For example, sewage wells were left without lids.

On September 24, 2008, 18-year-old Eter Chitinashvili fell into the well in Sarajishvili Street. Her brother found her unconscious in the well. The girl had serious injuries. Family members sold everything for medical treatment except their house. They petitioned to the district administration for assistance but nobody assisted the family at all.

The building of Sighnaghi district administration building is in poor conditions. Water is leaking into the rooms. The floor is so damaged that citizens cannot walk


 Interior of the Sighnaghi District Administration


properly. The holes in the floors are hid under tables.

The staircase of the Stepantsminda Church is also damaged though almost every visitor of Sighnaghi city climbs this staircase to view the landscape.

The reconstruction activities in Sighnaghi started in 2007. District governor Nodar Kochlamazashvili said 22 million GEL was spent on the work.

The Foundation for the Cultural Heritage of Georgia coordinated and observed the renovation program of Sighnaghi. We asked the executive director of the foundation Archil Gogsadze why stones are popping out from the recently-repaired pavement and he answered: “Sighnaghi is a city with complicated shape. When it rains and water collects in one place, the pavement might be damaged. Corresponding service should repair it the next day. As for the faults on the carried out rehabilitation activities, they are improving everything timely.”

On March 15, the second stage of Sighnaghi renovation program started. 286 000 GEL will be spent on the purpose. Nodar Kochlamazashvili said they plan to build a second public toilet; two fountains for drinking water; and a ground for circus and sideshows.