About History – Freedom Square in Tbilisi

Freedom Square (Georgian: თავისუფლების მოედანი) in the center of Tbilisi has undergone several name changes in its 200 year history. Built in the early 19th century in a neo-classical style with Moorish architectural elements, it was originally named Pashkevich-Erivanskaya Square (Georgian: ერევანსკი მოედანი) in honor of Ivan Paskevich, a Ukrainian general of the Russian Imperial Army who had conquered Erivan (present-day Yerevan in Armenia) for the Russian Empire.

Pashkevich-Erivanskaya Square in the early 20th century. Also known as Erivan (or Erivanskaya)

Pashkevich-Erivanskaya Square in the early 20th century. Also known as Erivan (or Erivanskaya)

In 1907, the square was the location for an audacious and bloody bank robbery, involving Joseph Stalin, which netted the equivalent of 4 million US dollars in today’s money.

Pashkevich-Erivanskaya Square in 1907 was the scene of a bank robbery involving Joseph Stalin

Pashkevich-Erivanskaya Square in 1907 was the scene of a bank robbery involving Joseph Stalin

Following the collapse of the Russian Empire the square was re-named Freedom Square during the foundation of the First Georgian Republic in 1918 but renamed, first “Beria Square”, and then “Lenin Square” during Soviet times.

Beria Square in Tbilisi in 1941

Beria Square in Tbilisi in 1941

In 1956, a statue of Lenin was erected in the centre of the square.

Statue of Lenin in Lenin Square, Tbilisi

Statue of Lenin in Lenin Square, Tbilisi

The statue stood until 1991 when it was removed following Georgia’s independence from the Soviet Union.

The large statue of Lenin in Lenin Square, Tbilisi

The large statue of Lenin in Lenin Square, Tbilisi

Following the restoration of Georgia’s independence, the square reverted to the name given to it in 1918 during the foundation of the First Georgian Republic – Freedom Square. In 2006, the Freedom Monument (Georgian: თავისუფლების მონუმენტი), commonly known as the St. George Statue, was erected in the centre of the square. Designed by Georgian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, it is dedicated to the freedom and independence of the Georgian nation.

The St. George Statue in Freedom Square, Tbilisi. Photo by George Kvizhinadze via Wikimedia Commons.

The St. George Statue in Freedom Square, Tbilisi. Photo by George Kvizhinadze via Wikimedia Commons.

Freedom Square has been the site of various mass public celebrations and demonstrations, including those that took place during Georgia’s Rose Revolution. In 2005 the square was the scene of an assassination attempt on U.S. President George W. Bush. who had come to Georgia to take part in the 60th anniversary celebration of the end of World War II.

Today, Freedom Square is an enduring symbol of Georgia’s desire for freedom and independence.

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  1. […] Transnistria exclave in Moldova and the South Ossetia and Abkhazia mini-states in a Georgia. The newly militarized statelet in Donbas is far more dangerous—an engine for a permanent war […]



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