Ilia Chavchavadze State Museum

Immerse yourself in Georgian history at the Ilia Chavchavadze State Museum, a must-visit memorial in the Kakheti Region. Established in 1937 and operating as a Legal Entity under Public Law since 2008, the museum breathes life into the story of the esteemed Georgian poet and public figure, Ilia Chavchavadze (1837-1907).

Housed in the historic family castle and home of Ilia Chavchavadze, the museum complex exhibits an impressive collection of over 1346 items. You'll find the poet's personal belongings, manuscripts, family coat of arms, and even the sets of periodicals he founded. Rich collections of photographs, archive documents, and editions of the poet's works in multiple languages offer an intimate view into his extraordinary life.

The museum’s exterior alone paints a vivid picture. The entrance ushers you past a five-century-old walnut tree, under which Ilia often sat, penning the folk tales shared with him by local peasants. Further in, a 17th-century three-story tower stands tall - a silent testament to the invasions it has weathered, providing refuge to women and children.

Chavchavadze’s birthplace, a modest three-room house on the museum grounds, showcases an ornate balcony and an added family wine cellar. Remarkably, the cellar is still in use today. It houses 37 Qvevris (traditional Georgian wine vessels), where, on Iliaoba (November 8th), the oldest grape varieties in the world - white Rkatsiteli and red Saperavi - are transformed into wine. Should you find yourself in the country around this time, joining the celebration is highly recommended.

Nearby, a watermill functioning on the Duruji River adds to the rustic charm of the area.

Inside the exhibition hall, a multitude of roles Chavchavadze embraced during his lifetime are presented: a writer, a public figure, an editor, a publisher, a banker, and a politician. Through various paintings inspired by his works, household objects, 18th-19th century weapons, and furniture, a richer understanding of Chavchavadze's contributions to Georgia unfolds.

Nestled in Rustaveli Street 2 in Kvareli, the Ilia Chavchavadze State Museum promises a deep dive into the life of the man fondly known as "the King of Georgia without a Crown".

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