About History – Ilia Chavchavadze

Ilia Chavchavadze is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of modern Georgia. Revered as Pater Patriae (Father of the Fatherland) of Georgia, he spearheaded the revival of the Georgian national movement in the second half of the 19th century.

Ilia Chavchavadze

Ilia Chavchavadze

Chavchavadze championed the revival of the use of the Georgian language, the cultivation of Georgian literature, and the revival of Georgian statehood, which had ended when the country became part of the Russian Empire.

Ilia Chavchavadze in Tbilisi

Ilia Chavchavadze in Tbilisi

Chavchavadze founded and edited the newspaper “Iveria”, which focused on the national liberation movement of Georgia in the late 19th century.

The front page of the first 'Iveria' newspaper published in 1877

The front page of the first ‘Iveria’ newspaper published in 1877

He was murdered in an ambush in 1907 whilst travelling from Tbilisi to Saguramo. A later investigation undertaken by Soviet authorities concluded that the Tsarist secret police had been involved in the assassination but recent archive discoveries suggest that it was a joint operation by both the Menshevik and the Bolshevik wings of the Social Democrats, due to Ilia’s condemnation of their revolutionary views.

Statue of Ilia Chavchavadze at Saguramo, near Mtskheta.

Statue of Ilia Chavchavadze at Saguramo, near Mtskheta.

Ilia Chavchavadze's funeral procession in Tbilisi in 1907

Ilia Chavchavadze’s funeral procession in Tbilisi in 1907

He was canonized as Saint Ilia the Righteous (წმინდა ილია მართალი) by the Georgian Orthodox Church in 1987.

Ilia Chavchavadze's tomb in Tbilisi's Mtsatsminda Pantheon.

Ilia Chavchavadze’s tomb in Tbilisi’s Mtsatsminda Pantheon.

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  • Traditional Tushetian balconied house (“Karseani”).

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  • Page from the Illustrated London News dated 1873 - entitled 'Betrothal in Georgia'

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