Thursday, July 2, 2015

Dinosaurs in Noah’s Vineyard?

DINOSAURS IN NOAH’S VINEYARD?

by David C. Lewis
Published in Creation magazine, Volume 37, Issue 2
April 2015

Wall carving on Gergeti Sameba, Kazbegi
THE CARVING depicted here, which appears to show two dinosaurs, is on an outside wall of the bell-tower of a fourteenth century church in the Republic of Georgia. Holy Trinity Church (also known as Tsminda Sameba) is on Mount Gergeti, near Stephantsminda village, in the Mount Kazbegi area – close to the borders with North Ossetia and Ingushetia.

When I visited this area in 2006 and saw the carvings, I asked a Georgian cleric at the church what they depicted. He commented that they looked like dinosaurs, and he had no idea when or why they were carved on the bell-tower.

However, there is no reason to believe that they are later additions. The carvings are integral to the whole window and have evidently been weathered to the same extent as the surrounding brickwork. Moreover, local people would likely have resisted any defacement of the church. The church is so highly regarded that in the eighteenth century the cross of St Nino and the treasures from Mtskheta were brought to this church for safekeeping.1 Even when a cable-car was built next to the church by the Soviet authorities in 1988, it was destroyed by the locals because it was felt to be defiling a sacred place. So the carvings most likely date from the fourteenth century, when the church was built.

Gergeti Sameba in Kazbegi
 ARE DRAGONS AND DINOSAURS CONNECTED?
Others have also commented that the carvings look like dinosaurs.2 Inside the church is also an icon depicting St. George slaying a (snake-like) dragon. This is a very common motif in Georgia (and also in neighbouring Ossetia), where St. George has been revered since the fourth century.3 Are the apparent dinosaur carvings above the window of the bell-tower in any way related to the tales of dragons that are widespread in many parts of the world?

Creationists have often suggested that many stories of “dragons” (also often labelled “serpents”) are likely inspired by actual sightings of living dinosaurs, distorted through time and retelling.4 If so, these carvings from Georgia are consistent with medieval engravings and sculptures, from as far away as Britain and Cambodia, showing what look just like known types of dinosaurs.5

Just as dodos, mammoths and other well-documented living creatures that were contemporary with humans subsequently became extinct, the same happened to the descendants of the various kinds of dinosaurs that were on Noah’s Ark.

The Ark came to rest on the “mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4). The Bible also refers to Ararat as a state (2 Kings 19:37; Jeremiah 51:27), which Assyrian sources referred to as Urartu. It was centred around the Lake Van region of what is now Eastern Turkey, and, besides all of what is now Armenia, also included substantial portions of modern-day Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Agriculture had already been practiced before the Flood (Genesis 3:17–19; 4:2–3) but was reintroduced afterwards by Noah and his sons. There is widespread archaeological agreement that the first domesticated varieties of wheat, barley and other crops occur in Middle Eastern sites located in upland areas of what are now Eastern Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran and adjacent territories. (Within a biblical timeline of history, these would be the “first” domesticated varieties reintroduced after the Flood.) This is the same general region as that in which Noah’s Ark came to rest.

THE FIRST (POST-FLOOD) VINEYARD
Many scholars also consider this the region where grapes were first cultivated and wine first produced.6 Genesis 9:20 states that Noah planted a vineyard, presumably the first cultivation of grapes after the Flood.

Nowadays the Republic of Georgia is famous for its wine. Seeing the dinosaur carvings makes one pause to consider; the local varieties of vines might even be descended from those originally cultivated by Noah, in this same region of the world.

REFERENCES AND NOTES
1. As per eurasia.travel, accessed 25 August 2014.
2. E.g. eurasia.travel and the Lonely Planet Guide to Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, 2008, p. 102.
3. St. Nino, the woman from Cappadocia who in the fourth century brought the Christian gospel to the Georgians, is said to have been related to St. George on her father’s side: en.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/555366; absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Saint_Nino; dictionary.sensagent.com/Saint_Nino/en-en/, all accessed 26th August 2014.
4. Entering ‘dragon’ in the search engine on creation.com gives a host of examples.
5. See e.g. creation.com/bb and creation.com/angkor-stegosaur.
6. E. Hyams, Dionysius: A Social History of the Wine Vine, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1965, p. 28; R. Jackson, Wine Science: Principles and Applications, Burlington, MA; London; San Diego: Academic Press, third edition, 2008, p. 23; Bakhtang Sh. Ayba (Вахтанг Шутиевич АйбаАборигенные сорта винограда Республики Абхазияагробиологическая оценка и перспективы производства [Aborigennye sorta vinograda Pespubliki Abkhazia—agrobiologicheskaya otsenka i perspektivy proizvodstva] (Krasnodar: Agricultural Sciences PhD. thesis synopsis, 2011; available at www.dissercat.com, accessed 4 July 2014.

DAVID LEWIS, M.A. (Cantab.), M.A. (Econ.), Ph.D., FRAI is a Social Anthropologist who has taught at universities in England and East Asia. For more: creation.com/david-lewis

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Kazbegi day trip - from our guide's perspective

Gergeti Holy Trinity Church, Kazbegi

So we have just arrived from Kazbegi day trip. I love to do this tour all year around, in summer, in spring, in autumn and especially in winter, when there are just few travelers around.
See the tour details here: Day trip to Khevi province – Kazbegi
In early morning the shower started pouring. Before the trip I checked the weather forecast for Georgian Military highway, Gudauri and Kazbegi: it said full day rain and minus 8 degrees Celsius at the skiing resort! WOW, how is it possible to rain when there is 8 degrees - that was my question. I washed the jeep salon only inside and we started the day.

Friday, November 28, 2014

This is a letter we got from one of our partners and we loved it :)

Georgian Holidays testimonials
Новогодний винный тур












This is a letter we got from one of our partners and we loved it :)

Dear Natia,
Two weeks after returning from our tour through Georgia and Armenia I want to send this mail to you, as tourleader and as friend. We (the group) had a wonderful and very interesting week in your country and the participants were very satisfied, especially the pleasant way of guiding.