Georgia celebrates 162nd Birth Anniversary of Ekvtime Takaishvili

Georgia commemorates the 162nd birth anniversary of Ekvtime Takaishvili on January 5, 2024. He was a prominent historian, archaeologist and public activist who devoted his life to preserving and protecting the Georgian cultural heritage.

Takaishvili was born in 1862 in the village of Likhauri, in western Georgia. He graduated from the Tbilisi Theological Seminary and the St. Petersburg University, where he studied history and archaeology. He became one of the founders of Tbilisi State University, the first national university in the Caucasus, and a professor of Georgian history and archaeology.

He was also a member of the Founders’ Association of Georgia, a political organization that advocated for the independence of Georgia from the Russian Empire, and an academician of the Georgian Academy of Sciences.

Takaishvili’s most remarkable achievement was saving and safeguarding the Georgian National Treasure, a collection of priceless artefacts, manuscripts, icons, and relics representing Georgia’s centuries-old history and culture.

From 1889 to 1921, Takaishvili conducted numerous expeditions and excavations across Georgia, discovering and documenting thousands of historical and archaeological objects. He also organized and supervised the transfer of the National Treasure from Tbilisi to France when the Georgian government went into exile after the Soviet invasion in 1921.

For the next 24 years, Takaishvili lived in Paris, where he kept the National Treasure in his custody, refusing to sell or surrender it to anyone. He also continued his scholarly work, publishing several books and articles on Georgian history and culture. He also participated in various international conferences and exhibitions, promoting the Georgian cause and raising awareness about the plight of his homeland under the Soviet regime.

In 1945, after the end of World War II, Takaishvili returned to Tbilisi, bringing the National Treasure back with him. He donated the entire collection to the Georgian State Museum, which is still displayed today.

He was hailed as a national hero and received numerous honours and awards for his service to the Georgian nation. He died in 1953 at 91, leaving a legacy of patriotism, scholarship, and devotion.

On his 162nd birth anniversary, Georgia pays tribute to Ekvtime Takaishvili, the guardian of the Georgian National Treasure. It celebrates his remarkable contributions to preserving and promoting the Georgian cultural heritage.

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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