Ilia Chavchavadze, 1860-1890 years

Audio: song for the film "Glakhis Naambobi". Composer Revaz Lagidze, 1961.

Ilia Chavchavadze was born in Kvareli on November 7, 1837 (October 27 in the old style).

The poet's grandfather Paata Bespazi's son was a prominent person during the Erekle second. Ilia's father, Grigol, was a military officer, and Ilia's mother was Mariam (Magdane) Beburishvili.

Record of the Church of Ioane the Baptist in Kvareli about the birth of Ilia Chavchavadze. According to the record, Ilia was born on January 20, 1837 and was baptized on the 26th of the same month, although the writer writes in his autobiography that he was born on October 27.

After the death of Ilia Chavchavadze, in order to clarify this inconsistency, a question was addressed to Ilia's sister - Elisabeth, who answered: "It is a lie, as if my brother was born in January... in our family, there was a gospel in which my father wrote the birthdays of all his children with his own hand. I remember very well that it was written about my brother I. Ch. that he was born on October 27" (Memoir of Elizabeth Chavchavadze, Literary Heritage, Vol. 1, 1935, pp. 552, 555).

From the autobiography of Ilia Chavchavadze:

"My father was a somewhat educated man, he served as an officer in the Nizhegorod Dragoon Regiment and knew Russian well. My mother perfectly knew the Georgian writing of that time. She had learned by heart almost all the poems and all the old stories and novels, which were found either in print or in manuscript.

In the photo: Ilia's house in Kvareli

In the evening, he would watch over us children and read us stories and news; After reading, he would tell us the content and the next day in the evening he would ask us: Well, who can tell me better what you heard yesterday. Those who spoke well praised us, and we greatly appreciated this praise.

At the age of 8, I started studying Georgian reading and writing with the headman of our village. The chief knew Georgian very well and had the name of a famous reader of good divine books. And his most important virtue was that he knew how to tell stories charmingly. He told us in a humble way and in a language that is easy for a child to understand, the stories of the history of the more divine and homeland country, who did what heroism, who did what bravery, who did what merits and goodness sowed for the benefit and protection of the homeland and faith.

Many of these stories stuck deep in my heart, and I used one of them - "Dimitri Tavdadebuli" - as a theme many years later. I wrote another little Christmas story. In my "Glakhis Naambobi" some clearly noticed traces of the influence of the prince's news.

In the photo: Ilia's house in Kvareli

10-year-old Ilia's mother died. Aunt Makrine Chavchavadze-Eristavi took care of raising the nephews. At that time, Ilia's family moved to Tbilisi.

"When I turned eleven, my father took me to the city and gave me to the Raevsky and Hakke boarding house. This boarding school was better than all private schools in Tbilisi at that time. I was 15 years old when I entered the Tbilisi gymnasium from this boarding school," Ilia wrote in his autobiography.

Ilia created his first poetic texts- „Rtsyiltagan Tanjvai da mati anbavi ” and „.. davswer soflisa qebasa” at the age of 14. Both poems are written about the village of Chalauban. As can be seen from the memories of Ilia's friend Kokhta Abkhazi, he and Ilia Chavchavadze ended up in this village due to an unforeseen accident:

"We were in Kardanakh in our village [both Gemnazis]... Twenty or fifteen verses away, my father had a paternal grandfather. We also went there... In the evening, we returned to the house, and we had to travel 7 verses from Kardanakhamdin. There was no other way, we returned to the nearby village Chalaubani and spent the night there. But the whole night is not counted. One of us slept in a peasant's house and we were attacked by so many biting (fleas) that night that we ran out at dawn."

Ilia's first publication - a translation of the poem "Chiti" was printed in the magazine "Ciskari" in 1857.

At the age of 15, Ilia also lost his father. Because of this tragedy, he wrote one of his first poems, "Motkma Satsklisa".
After finishing high school, in 1857, Ilia left Georgia and started studying at the Faculty of Law of St. Petersburg University.

At that time, about thirty Georgian students were studying at St. Petersburg University. The Georgian student body gathered around Ilia was the nucleus that formed the "first troop" of Tergdaleuli people after returning to Georgia and laid the foundation for the national liberation movement.
Memoir of Kokhta Abkhaz (Ilia's sister's husband): "At the university, Ilia was especially interested in political and economic scientific subjects... We students often gathered and discussed both public questions and the future of our bereaved homeland. We often read Georgian books".
The period of studentship was abundant for Ilia Chavchavadze in terms of creative productivity. The poems "Achrdili", "Qartlis deda ", "Kako Kachagi" belong to this period - "Ramdenime Surati Anu Epizodi Kachagis Tskhovrebidan"; poetic translations (of works by Schiller, Heine, Rueckert, Byron, Scott, Shenier, Pushkin and Lermontov); The largest part of Satrfialo's lyrics, as well as poems imbued with national ideals: "Gutnisdeda", "Elegia" (1859), "Mesmis ,Mesmis" (1860), "Poeti" (1860), ("The forest shed a leaf"..., 1861) and others .

In the photo: Ilia Chavchavadze with Georgian students from St. Petersburg. Petersburg, 1859.


1861 year.

Autograph. Photocopy.

The name of Ilia Chavchavadze was recorded in the history of Georgian theater. In 1859, temporarily returning to Tbilisi from St. Petersburg, Ilia staged "Tsotskhali Suratebi" from "King Lear" and "Dzveli Aghkmidan" in the Tbilisi Boys' Gymnasium.

Participating in the production: his sister Elisabed, relative Niko Chavchavadze, Elene Andronikashvili-Cholokashvili, Giorgi XII's granddaughter - Vera Bagration-Gruzinskaia, Alexander Chavchavadze's daughter Sofia and son Davit and others. Ilia played the role of King Lear himself.
After the performance, the participants took a photo.

Tbilisi, 1859. Reproduction. 

Ilia left St. Petersburg University without completing his studies. In his autobiography we read:

"In 1861, I was already in my fourth year, but I left the university because of the university riots at that time.

In 1863, I founded the magazine "Sakartvelos Moambe", which lasted only one year.

magazine spreading political, literary and aesthetic ideas of the Georgian 60s. It published the works of Ilia Chavchavadze, Giorgi Eristavi, Samson Abashidze, Giorgi Tsereteli, Kirile Lortkifanidze, Petre Nakashidze, Vakhtang Tulashvili, Ivane Okromchedlishvili, Dimitri Kifiani and others. He left his mark on the development of the Georgian press and journalism.

In 1864, Ilia Chavchavadze started working as an official of the special powers of the General Governor of Kutaisi. He supported the process taking place during this period - the release of serfs - which caused the heartache of the nobility itself. He returned to Tbilisi in November 1864 and was appointed as a conciliatory mediator in the process of rural reform in Eastern Georgia.


In 1868-1873, he worked as a conciliation judge of Dusheti Mazri.


During these times, he wrote "Glekhta Gantavisuflebis pirveli Droebis Scenebi" (1865), revised "Kartlis Deda" (1871) and "Achrdili" (1872), completed work on "Mgzavris Tserilebi" (1871) and "glakhis Naambobi" (1872), at the same time During this period, he created sharp satirical poems - "Ra Vaketet, Ras Vshvrebodit anu Sakartvelos Istoria Meckhramete Saukinisa"and "Bednieri Eri" (both 1871), important works of Georgian patriotic lyrics - "Chemo Kargo Kvekanav Razed Mogitskenia" (1872); Satirical publicist poems "Gamotsanebi", "Kidev Gamotsanebi" and "Pasukhis Pasukhi" (1871-1872).

Ilia Chavchavadze with Dusheti Society, 1873

 At the end of the 1860s, Ilia Chavchavadze, together with his associates, started working on the establishment of the Tbilisi National-Deputy Bank. In 1873, the charter of the bank drawn up by him was sent to Russia for approval, and in the same year, Ilia himself came to St. Petersburg to resolve the issue.



From the autobiography: "For the sake of this work, I resigned from the state service and went to St. Petersburg. The charter was approved by the government in 1875 as a special feature of the above. This year, the bank started to operate and, although it had 240,000 rupees as the principal amount, today it has reached the point where it makes a profit of more than 360,000 rupees every year. In addition, the capital amount, brought from the nobles themselves to establish the bank, has already been returned to each of the founding members. At present, one private gymnasium is maintained by the profit of the bank, and although the gymnasium also has a boarding school for the children of the poorest nobility, children of all ranks study in this school. In addition, with this profit, one agricultural school is maintained, which also accepts children regardless of rank. I have been the chairman of the board since the establishment of the bank. This position is by choice, and everyone is chosen once in three years."

Ilia Chavchavadze's speech on the importance and functions of the Gentry Bank during his speech at the meeting of the nobility of Tbilisi. fragment.
"The bank... by lending money, it is both the builder and the destroyer of a man. Those who are smart and courageous, who have a mind, a desire to work diligently and lack only money to carry out their work, God's grace is on you, so that the bank Let it be a savior for all. Moreover, no cruel law for a man, laid as a cornerstone of the bank's inheritance, cannot hinder him, cannot threaten him... A man with a good character, strong, and hardworking will add as much to himself with the help of our bank, as much as he will add to our country..."
"Droeba" newspaper, February 5, 1875.

Ilia Chavchavadze together with the employees of Gentry Bank. Tbilisi, 1903.

In his autobiography written in 1902-1903, Ilia Chavchavadze wrote that one private gymnasium and one economic school were kept with the profits of the Getry Bank, in which children were admitted regardless of rank. 

From the day of the establishment of the bank until 1906, before the election to the State Council, Ilia Chavchavadze was the chairman of its board.

In 1906, Ilia Chavchavadze was elected as a representative of the Georgian nobility in the State Council of the Russian Empire, and he had to leave his position in the bank.

The participants of the dinner organized by the employees of Tbilisi Sathavadaznauro Bank in connection with the election of Ilia to the State Council at the "Edemi Baghi" restaurant.

Sitting from the left: Konstantine Makashvili, Gabriel Sakvarelidze, Levan Cherkezishvili, N. Meskhisvili, Niko Tsvedadze. M. Bagration-Gruzinski, Mikhailov, Ilia Chavchavadze, Iakob Gogebashvili. Mikheil Vezirishvili K. Nasidze, Saatnazov, R. Gvamichava

Standing in the first row: Anton Furtseladze, G. Javakhishvili, Orbeliani, Kote Abkhazi (niece of Ilia Chavchavadze), unknown person, Aleksandre Kartvelishvili, G. Dubin, Alexandre Zizimkreli, Ivane Ratishvili, Z. Goliashvili, N. Jorjadze, N. Eristavi, Tsitsishvili, L. Meskhisvili, E. Antonovskaya, N. Guladze, L. Kobakhidze.

Standing in the second row are: K. Kartvelishvili, Al. Saginashvili, I. Corintheli, R. Tsitsishvili, Abashidze, Kazakhishvili, G. Jajanashvili, b. Mchedlishvili, Mirotadze, M. Arjevanidze, Simon Kldiashvili.

In the foreground: G. Klimiashvili and G. Garakanidze.

In the background, the owner of Eden Garden, Konstatine (Kotsia) Machavariani, leaning on the railing.


Tbilisi, 1906.


Ilia Chavchavadze's contribution to the development of the Georgian periodical press is great. Under his editorship, the first issue of "Iveria" newspaper was printed on March 3, 1877.

The newspaper did a good job of strengthening the national self-awareness of Georgians. A great deal of space was devoted to issues of public education, school, teachers, government policy in the field of education and the education system.

"Iveria" played a special role in the development of Georgian writing. Collaborated with the publication: Akaki Tsereteli, IaKob Gogebashvili, Vazha-Pshavela, Alexandre Kazbegi, Niko Lomouri, Ekaterine Gabashvili, Sofrom Mgaloblishvili, Stefane Chrelashvili, and others.

In 1885, after the censors closed down "Droeba", "Iveria" was converted into a daily publication. "Iveria" also had problems with censorship, although it was still possible to promote Georgian national issues. Imperial censorship in Georgian newspapers mainly blocked articles about nation and nationality; the theme of restoration of the Georgian liturgy in the churches of Georgia; Information about the revolutionary movement, etc.

In 1879, under the initiative of Ilia Chavchavadze, the "Qartvelta Shoris Tsera-Kitkhvis Gamavrtselebei Sazogadoeba" was created.

The first meeting of the board of the "Qartvelta Shoris Tsera-Kitkhvis Gamavrtselebeli Sazogadoeba" was held on May 15, 1879. At this session, the chairman's comrade (deputy), treasurer and secretary (secretary) were elected.

The "establishment" is signed by the chairman of the society Dimitri Kifiani and the members of the board: Ilia Chavchavadze, Iakob Gogebashvili, Ivane Machabeli, Niko Tsvedadze and Rafiel Eristavi.

Immediately after its establishment, "Qartvelta Shoris Tsera-Kitkhvis Gamavrtselebeli Sazogadoeba"" began active activities throughout Georgia.

The main goal of the society was to return the Georgian people to the Georgian consciousness. In a country where signs of statehood were gradually lost, the only way to survive was to spread education.

According to the archival material, it becomes clear that the educational activities took place from Abkhazia to Saingilo.

Ilia Chavchavadze had outstanding relations with foreign writers. His friendship with Marjorie Wardrop and Arthur Leist is especially noteworthy.

Georgian writer's friendly relationship with German writer Arthur Leist is known. In 1884 Arthur Leist visited Georgia. He was hosted by Ilia Chavchavadze in Saguramo.
The newspaper "Droeba" printed Ilia's speech about the German guest: "Today, a stranger and a guest are among us, a stranger and a guest only because he has come, and he is close to us in soul and heart... Arthur Leist he He is a man who has put his neck in our name to act as an intermediary between us and Europe, who has carried the word that grew in our hearts, the voice of our wit and mind, and his spiritual effort to inform the people who are the leaders and leaders of the country's success path.

"...if we used to watch Mr. Leist from afar, today he came here to get to know us up close. It is hoped that the Georgian who gets to know him will fall in love with himself more. It is hoped that this lovingly conceived personal word of Mr. Leist's will spread to the whole educated country the news that somewhere far away there is a little paradise called Georgia, and in that little paradise, there lives a little nation, which suddenly has a big heart for the success of humanity, goodness and for happiness God bless Mr. Leist!"



In the photo: Ilia Chavchavadze, a photo gifted to Artur Leist. March 3, 1900.

On September 15, 1899, the German literary magazine "Das LItterarische Echo" published the Arthur Leistian translation of Ilia Chavchavadze's "Poet" and a discussion of the poem. In the same newspaper, Artur Leist dedicated an extensive letter to Georgian periodicals, including Ilia's contribution to the development of Georgian journalism

For Ilia Chavchavadzi, Iliaoba was a special holiday. On July 21 (August 2 in the new style), the writer and public figure hosted guests in Saguramo. A number of photos taken on the holiday in different years have reached us.

Ilia Chavchavadze and Olgha Guramishvili in Saguramo. Iliaoba, July 20, 1896 (August 2).

Iliaoba in Saguramo. Ilia Chavchavadze is standing in the middle (in a white shirt), priest Giorgi Asatiani is behind him, and Niko Nikoladze and Aleksandre Kipshidze are on the left. July 20, 1890.

Iliaoba in Saguramo. Marjorie Wardrop visiting Ilia Chavchavadze. Ilიa is standing on the stairs in the center, Marjorie Wardrop is on his left, Bishop Alexandre Okropiridze is next to him. July 20, 1896.

Portrait of Ilia Chavchavadze with an inscription dedicated to Ekaterine Sarajishvili (David Sarajishvili's wife):

Alexandre Roinashvili's photo. Photocopy.


Ilia Chavchavadze's works became the basis of many films, plays and songs.

"Otaraant Qvrivi", 1958. Shooting field. Directed by Mikheil Chiaureli.

Luarsabi (Vaso Godziashvili) and Darejani (Sesilia Tsutsunava)

Excerpt from the play "Chatekhili Khidi" staged in the Marjanishvili Theater based on the works of Ilia Chavchavadze, 1935

“Katsia adamiani?!” - Ilia Chavchavadze. Reading: Giorgi Gegechkori and Elene Kipshidze, 1968

Feature film "Katsia adamiani?!", 1979. Nodar Margvelashvili (Luarsabi) and Leila Shotadze (Darejani) on the set


On August 30, 1907 (old style), Ilia Chavchavadze, who was traveling with his wife in a carriage to Saguramo, was killed near the village of Tsitsamuri, and his wife, Olgha Guramishvili, was wounded with a rifle butt.

It was established that members of the "Red Squad" - Giorgi Khizanishvili, Pavle Pshavlishvili (Aptsiauri), Gigla Berbichashvili, Ivane Inashvili, Ilia Imerlishvili, Aleksandre Oziev - participated in the murder. Their co-participants were Meetle Tedo Labauri and Ilias Mouravi Dimitri Jashi.

Ilia Chavchavadze was wounded in the heart by a bullet fired by Ilia Imerlishvili and died on the spot.

Gigla Berbichashvili was tried in the Soviet period, in 1941, and other participants in the murder were executed in 1909.

Ilia was buried in Mtatsminda pantheon of public figures

The decision of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Georgia to canonize Ilia Chavchavadze for his great service to the nation and the Church.
June 25, 1987.