Memorial museum of Al.Chavchavadze in Tsinandali

The history of the Tsinandali Manorial estate of Chavchavadze dates back to the XVII century, when King Erekle-I moved the ancestors of the Chavchavadze family here from the village of Chavchavi (Mtiuleti) in order to establish a strong presence in the area. So, he settled them in Tsinandali and gave them a noble rank. Later, king Teimuraz-I bestowed upon them the rank of gentry and gave them royal vineyards with servants. Finally, King Erekle-II changed their name to Chavchavadze from the original Mamuchishvili. This is how the Tsinandali estate became the property of the noble family of Chavchavadze.

In 1818 Al. Chavchavadze built a new palace at Tsinandali.

By 1831 here were alredy two palaces in Tsinandali, described by Vakhtang Orbeliani in his poem “Two buildings”, < In the month of June Tsinandali looks like a palace of fairies: everything here mixes together: flowers, grapes, pomegranates, lemons, tangerines, genistas and roses. Plants and fruit blossom and ripen at the same time. The air is saturated with a mixture of various aromas>. Tsinandali garden is still considered to have a unique abundance of diverse exotic vegetation of western, eastern and American origin. Its layout is also unique. Some experts compare it with English gardens such as Richmond and Kew. The garden covers 12 hectares.

In 1835 Al. Chavchavadze built one of the first wine-cellars in Tsinandali, where there is a unique depot with 20.000 different kinds of bottles from many countries. There is as well the first bottled wine in Georgia bottled by Al. Chavchavadze.

The Chavchavadzes were in the center of public attention from the very beginning and were very popular among the aristocracy. While in Garsevan’s (Alexander’s father) time the palace was mostly visited only by aristocrats and diplomats, in Alexander’s time visits by artisans, writers, poets and public figures made the family even more popular. Alexander Griboyedov read his “woe from wit” for the first time to the society gathered in Tsinandali. Poems by Nikoloz Baratashvili dedicated to Catherine (daughter of Alexander) were also read first in the salon of Tsinandali.

After Al. Chavchavadze’s death in 1846, the estate was inherited by his son David.

In July 1854 forces of the North Caucasus commander Imam Shamil attacked the palace, set it on fire and kidnapped Lady Anna Chavchavadze together with her children and their nannies but later they were all freed. David Chavchavadze managed to restore the burnt palace.

During the construction works of the new palace, remnants of the old palace were conserved and included in the structure of the new building. The new conception of the complex, which is distinguished by its common artistic style, belongs to architect Alexander Ozerov.

Also there was an urgent need to complete the alterations of the garden for a coming visit of Emperor of Russia Alexander-III in 1887. Arnold Regel, a great master of landscape art from St. Petersburg, was invited to plan the layout of the garden.

After the Bolshevik invasion in 1921, the Tsinandali Estate was managed by the Soviet government. The palace became a hotel for the wine factory.

In 1946, in connection with the 100-year anniversary of Al. Chavchavadze’s death, the palace was transformed into a House-Museum by George Leonidze’s initiative.

Extensive renovations were carried out in 2008.


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