(Telavi municipality.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–A 900 years old plane tree next to the palace of King Erekle II (1762-98) is slowly dying, and the local municipality of Telavi is calling on the assistance of a German expert to help save it.

In Telavi, seat of the 18th century king of Kartli and Kakheti, it is customary for newlywed couples to have their picture taken next to the 40 meters tall tree, whose trunk measures 3.6 meters in diameter and 11 meters in circumference.

But for the past couple of years, the tree has started to rot. Worms are eating away at its trunk and slowly drying it out.

In November, 2014, the local municipality asked the Environment Ministry to send experts and evaluate its condition.

Later, they asked environmental experts in Germany for help. According to Vice Mayor of Telavi Tengiz Mtvarelishvili, a German expert plans a trip to Georgia in spring.

“It is necessary to prolong the life of the tree. I was in Germany and met with the high-level expert Dietler Koch. He once was here and saw the tree. He will come back in March and start work,” Mtvarelishvili told Information Center of Kakheti.

The expert has to identify what is affecting the tree and how to eliminate the problem, he added.

The vice mayor said that rescuing the tree will require GEL 35,000. Biberach in Germany, a twin town to Telavi, will cover 90% of the expenses, while the rest will be covered by the local municipality.