Marula - an equestrian festival
The “hippodrome” in the tiny town of Senaki is jam-packed with spectators. Despite being overwhelmed by the heat, they are full of cheer, watching the race intensely. Most of them are local residents, but there are many out-of-towners here as well, people who’ve come from elsewhere in Samegrelo and from other regions in Georgia.
They shout their encouragement and applaud. A short distance away from the racecourse are a group of stalls showcasing and selling traditional megrellian food, handcrafts and agricultural produce. A short tradition Georgian dance performance preceded the race.
Forgotten and overlooked for far too long, Senaki was glorified in the hustle and bustle of the day.
Marula, a horserace that’s become a cherished tradition for the region, has resumed after a long hiatus.
The very first time the equestrian festival took place in Senaki (called Tskhakaia back then) was almost ninety years ago, in 1927. Marula has since become an annual event attended by hordes of sportsmen and fans.
Senaki’s infrastructure decayed and crumbled by early 1990s, primarily due to the crime that was widespread in Samegrelo at the time, as well as to the region’s proximity to the war that broke out just 70 kilometers away from here in Abkhazia.
After such a long pause, this festival is especially welcome.
Published on 27.06.2016