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Near Telavi is located the museum of the prominent Georgian poet and public figure, Alexander Chavchavadze (1786-1846). His father, Garsevan Chavchavadze, was the ambassador of the king of Kartli and Kakheti Erekle II to Russia. When Alexander was a small boy he was baptized by the Empress of Russia, Catherine II. Therefore, from his boyhood he had to be in the environment of aristocratic society. European education and way of life can be traced in the estate arranged by Alexander Chavchavadze. He was the first who introduced carriage and grand piano in Georgia. He laid out Tsinandali garden extending to 12 ha and comprising numerous exotic plants of European, Asian and American origin according to the plan of European designers. Alexander Dumas called Tsinandali park Garden of Eden.

Alexander Chavchavadze, his spouse Salome Orbeliani and four children (David, Nino, Ekaterine and Sopio Chavchavadze) were noted for their hospitality. Tsinandali was in various time visited by: Alexander Dumas, French historian Mari-Felicite Brosse, Russian poets Alexander Pushkin, Mikheil Lermontov and Alexander Griboedov.

By introducing European technology of brewing wine Alexander Chavchavadze renewed the millenium-old tradition of production of wine in Georgia. He improved the quality of Kakheti wine and introduced and developed original technologies for production of champagne wines and brandies. Alexander Chavchavadze was the first enologist in Georgia. In Tsinandali he built winery, shop for distillation of vodka and huge underground wine cellar where he placed big vats and opened a shop making barrels. In the wine repository of Tsinandali today is preserved personal collection of wines belonging to Alexander Chavchavadze which included 16 500 bottles of 70 brands of wine.

After demise of Alexander and his spouse, in 1846-1847, Tsinandali estate was managed by their children, at first Nino, later David. On July 4, 1854 Shamil’s troops cracked down on Tsinandali Palace. Later David Chavchavadze tried to develop estate of Tsinandali and took a loan from the bank. However, he did not appear to be as successful mamager as his father, and he collected debts. Tsinandali estate was handed over to the Russian government, and lands belonging to the family of Chavchavadze were sold.

In Soviet period Tsinandali was a government residence. From 2007 Silk Road Group purchased Tsinandali estate and restored its museum. It gained the function of a contemporary museum. Part of the museum is used for private or government events. Tsinandali after restoration consists of 4 parts: museum, park, hotel accomodation and wine repository (winery and wine cellar).

100 Sights of Georgia

Edited by Manana Baliashvili
Design and layout by
Irma Liparteliani
Elene Varamashvili
Translation by
Guram Abashidze
Images by N. Elizbarashvili, B. Kupatadze, G. Dvalashvili, 
Agency of Protected Areas and Association “Nekresi”
Copyright © 2011. N. ElizbaraSvili, B. KupataZe
Copyright © 2011. Publishing House “Clio”

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