Sayat-Nova

Sayat-Nova (Սայաթ-Նովա, საიათნოვა, Саят-Нова) was an Armenian troubadour poet and musician. He is an important figure in the history of Armenian literature, but he composed songs in all the major languages of the South Caucasus and maintained friendly relations with Georgians and Azeris. For this reason, it has become something of a cliche in writings about the South Caucasus to invoke Sayat-Nova as a symbol of peace and ethnic neighborliness. Besides his intrinsic importance, Sayat-Nova was also the quasi-subject of Sergei Parajanov’s brilliant film The Color of Pomegranates.

sayat nova sofiko chiaureli

Sayat-Nova as portrayed by Georgian actress Sofiko Chiaureli in The Color of Pomegranates

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Turkish Money

The Turkish currency is called the lira. This, of course, is an anagram of the Georgian currency, the lari. I have yet to stop mixing these words up. As far as I can tell, most Anglophones use lira as both singular and plural, which they also do for the lari. To my ear this smacks of Orientalism, and I prefer to use regular English plurals: liras and laris.

The current lira regime was introduced in 2005, when the “new lira” replaced the “old lira”. The “old lira” had become grossly inflated, and was exchanged for “new liras” at a rate of 1,000,000:1. At the time of its demise, the old lira was being issued in denominations as high as twenty million.

old turkish lira twenty million

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