Today we travel to the Guria region, to the village of Shroma. It is here that one of the most luxurious meeting rooms in Georgia is hidden in an annexe of the school building. Inside, the décor is realistic, with paintings depicting ‘Gurians‘ in their national dress celebrating the harvest. Above the stage, a bas-relief of a man and a woman with the coat-of-arms of the Georgian RSS crowns it all.
To my misfortune when I visited the cultural centre, the meeting hall was completely closed, but I still had the chance to visit part of the building’s interior.
The birth of the village of Shroma
In the village, there was a stone church dedicated to the Archangels. For this reason, the village and then the community were called Mikelgabrieli.
According to popular tradition, the construction of the temple is connected to the monk Ise Bolkvadze, who chose a sparsely populated place to build a chapel there with stones taken from the Sefisskali River. Later, a large wooden temple was built. To the west of the Church of Michael Gabriel, about one kilometre away on a rise, there must have been another temple, probably dedicated to the Saviour.
In 1863, Mikheil Nakashidze founded a school that was only closed after 8-9 years. In 1883, Nakashidze’s son opened a second school consisting of one class. In 1892, it turned into two classes and Theophile Kalandarishvili became the school’s first teacher. In 1902, a library was built. At that time, the community of Michaelgabrieli comprised five villages and was populated by 3391 people. In 1912, a credit cooperative was established in the village and 2000 people joined it. In 1917, two more classes were added to the school and a high school was built in 1939.
During the Soviet period, Shroma was used for tea planting and production. The collective tea farm, named after Sarbe Orjonikidze, was the richest in the district after the one in Nataneb. A municipal hall was built in 1956 and a country club at the same time. On 17 November 1978, the Memorial to Glory and Friendship in Battle represented by a tank was opened in the centre of the village. The vehicle, however, was purchased by workers for the front during the Great Patriotic War.