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Tbilisi (Georgian: თბილისი; Armenian: Թիֆլիս/Tiflis or now Թբիլիսի/Tbilisi) is the capital city of Georgia.
The Armenian history and contribution to the city of Tbilisi is very significant. After the Russian conquest of the area, Armenians fleeing persecution in the Ottoman Empire and Persia caused a jump in the Armenian population until it reached about 40% of the city total. Many of the mayors and business class were Armenian, and much of the old city was built by Armenians. Until recently the neighborhoods of Havlabar and the area across the river were very heavily Armenian, but that has changed a great deal in the last two decades.
There are still two working Armenian Churches in the city, and an Armenian Theatre. The Armenian "Pantheon", where prominent Armenians are buried has the tombs of some of Armenian's favorite personalities ever, including Raffi and Hovhannes Tumanian. The adjacent Armenian cemetery was taken over by the Georgian Church and their new national cathedral was built upon it (please confirm). The remaining space in between the Pantheon and the new Georgian cathedral is now the construction site of what appears to be a Georgian Seminary. Again, the Armenian tombs here are being ignored, and human bones are being moved around like dirt.
A number of Armenian churches have been confiscated by the Georgian State/Church as documented by the United States State Department: "The Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic Churches have been unable to secure the return of churches and other facilities closed during the Soviet period, many of which later were given to the Georgian Orthodox Church by the State. The prominent Armenian church in Tbilisi, Norashen, remained closed, as did four other smaller Armenian churches in Tbilisi and one in Akhaltsikhe. In addition, the Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic Churches, as with Protestant denominations, have had difficulty obtaining permission to construct new churches due to pressure from the GOC." April 7, 2005
The older Armenian neighborhood of Tbilisi, on both sides of the river between Freedom Square and Havlabar has a some streets with Armenian names, including Tumanian, Abovian, Akopian, Alikhanian, Sundukian, Yerevan, Ararat and Sevan.
S Gevorg Cathedral in Tbilisi
see S Gevorg Cathedral (Tbilisi) article for more information This church is where the primate of Georgia Diocese of the Armenian has his offices. Near the baths, under the fortress. In front of the church is the tomb of the famous bard, Sayat Nova.
Ejmiatsin Church in Tbilisi
see Ejmiatsin Church (Tbilisi) article for more information
(not to be confused with the main Ejmiatsin Church in Armenia)
In Havlabar, this church was recently renovated thanks to the Armenia Fund.
Norashen Church in Tbilisi
see Norashen Church article for more information
Norashen Church is located on Leselidze Street, flanked on the left by a Greek church, now transformed into a Georgian orthodox one, on the right by the Georgian Church Sioni and a few more meters further down the synagogue the mosque.
Norashen was founded in 1467 and renovated in 1650 by Nazar. At this time, the great cupola was rebuilt by Master Petros. A series of renovations followed in 1795, 1808 and in 1875. The Lidatamashian and Vartanov families and Katarina Pridonian are buried next to the Church. During the Soviet era, the church was transformed into an archive.
There is a 17 year old conflict relating to Norashen Church, one of the Armenian churches in Tbilisi. A Georgian priest has been waging a destructive campaign to erase any evidence of the church having been Armenian and negotiations over the fate of the church continue. The Archbishops Garegin and Grigoris came from Armenia to Tbilisi, where they met with Iliad II, the Georgian Patriarch and it was decided to stop all actions until the advent of better times. The church has been closed since.
see Vank Cathedral (Tbilisi) article for more information
This belltower is all that is left of what was once a large Armenian church, which was demolished by the Soviet Georgian government.
S. Gevorg of Mughni Church in Tbilisi
see S Gevorg of Mughni Church (Tbilisi) article for more information
This Armenian church with a tin roof and blue glazed crosses is under the control of the Georgian church and is about to crumble (as of November, 2006).
S. Astvatsatsin Church of Bethlehem in Tbilisi
see S Astvatsatsin of Bethlehem Church (Tbilisi) article for more information
This church has been taken by Georgian Orthodox Church and reopened as a Georgian Church. Has an Armenian inscription on the side.
S. Stepanos Convent in Tbilisi
The crypt/tomb of a wealthy Armenian benfactor has been destroyed.
Karap S. George Church of Tbilisi
Small Armenian Church now being used as a Georgian Church. Karap is the name of the neighborhood, meaning Stoneside (Kar-ap, the neighborhood abuts stone mountainside).
S. Nshan Church of Tbilisi
see Surb Nshan Church (Tbilisi) article for more information
Surb Nshan Church (Tbilisi) of 1701 has green roof tiles and blue crosses on the side. It is in very critical condition. It was filled with books, but a fire burned them and the floor is still littered with the remains. The Armenian Church is still not allowed to use this property. Many Armenian inscriptions, graves and some khachkars remain. Most of the graves outside have been swallowed up by the garages of neighboring houses. The Municipality of Tbilisi started restoration works on the church.
S. Minas Basilica of Tblisi
see S Minas Church (Tbilisi) article for more information
Small old basilica in Havlabar which may have been Armenian. Was used as a small production/factory space during Soviet times, thus the green and white interior paint.
Karmir Avetaran Church of Tbilisi
see Karmir Avetaran Church (Tbilisi) article for more information
Massive Armenian church located in Havlabar, 1 block from the metro (away from the new Georgian Cathedral). Numerous Armenian inscriptions. Said to have been blown up in 1989 by Georgian nationalists.
Peter Adamian Tbilisi State Armenian Drama Theatre
see Peter Adamian Tbilisi State Armenian Drama Theatre article for more information
Peter Adamian Tbilisi State Armenian Drama Theatre was established in 1858 by the great Armenian theatre figure George Chmshkian. The first staging was "Adji Souleyman" performance. From 1922 through 1936 before building of the new current theatre building the theatres name was "Artistic theatre". In 1936 was built a new theatre building which was named Stepan Shahumian Armenian Theatre. The first performance was Mkrtich (Nikita) Djanan's performance "Shakh Nane". On this stage was grown a number generations of the great Armenian actors.Here were worked the world's famous actors: Peter Adamian, Siranoush (Merobe Kantarjian),Vagram (Bartholomew) Papazian, Ivan Abelian, and also our outstanding actors: Olga Maysourian, Isaac Alikhanian, Mariam Mojorian, Artem and Maria Beroians, Artem Lousinian, Babken Nersesian, Darius Amirbekian, Ashot Kadjvorian, Emma Stepanian, Armenian directors: Arshak (Arcady) Bourdjalian, Leon Kalantar, Stepan Kapanakian, Alexander Abarian, Ferdinand Bzhikian, Hayk Umikian, Mickael Grigorian, Ivan Karapetian, Roman Chaltikian, Roman Matiashvili, Robert Yegian. Music for theatres often was written by Aram Khachatourian, Armen Tigranian, Alexander Spendiarian, Gourgen Shakhbazian and others.
Nowadays Peter Adamian Tbilisi State Armenian Drama Theatre is the main spiritual and public center of Georgian-Armenian community and it continues the work of the great predecessors. (Source: http://amtheater.gq.nu )
see Khojivank article for more information
The large Armenian cemetary of Khojivank was destroyed in order to build Tbilisi's huge new Georgian cathedral. It was done against the wishes of the Armenian community, leaving only one small, far removed section where some of the most famous Armenians in history are buried.
Armenian Pantheon of Tbilisi
see Armenian Pantheon of Tbilisi article for more information
Adjacent to the huge new Georgian cathedral, but very hard to access (you must go past it, then back over a bridge, near the big antenna). The Armenian Pantheon of Tbilisi has the tombs of many famous Armenians including Hovhannes Tumanian and Raffi. Most of the tombstones were removed in 2002 and replaced with uniform black squares with names and dates.
Once formally known as Paskevich Yerevanski Square, then Lenin Square, it was commonly called Yerevan Square. Paskevich Erevanski (pronounced Yerevanski) was a Russian general and was called Paskevich of Yerevan in honor of his taking of Yerevan for the Russian Empire. Abutting the north side of Freedom Square is a small open space with a fountain. Buried between the bust of Pushkin and the fountain is Kamo (Simon Ter-Petrosyan). Kamo was once a celebrated communist, but now his grave has been paved over and is unmarked.
Armenian Street Names
The heavily Armenian old neighborhoods of Tbilisi still have many Armenian street names, though some have been changed over time. Leselidze Street was once called Armenian Bazaar Street.
In February 2005 the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church in Georgia initialized erecting a khachkar (cross-stone memorial) in Tbilisi in memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Armenian Cooperation Centre of Georgia supported that initiation with gathering of necessary funds and organizing preparation of the monument. By February 2006 the monument is technically ready to be erected, but the Diocese still didn't receive the answer to its request. Thousands of genocide refugees settled in various parts of Georgia after 1915.
Armenians born in Tbilisi
Marshutni service to Tbilisi departs Yerevan from the Kilikia Bus Station at 8, 9, 10 and 11am. Cost is 6,500 AMD (as of November, 2006). Marshutnis also depart from Vanadzor, Gyumri and Artik in Armenia.
Red Cross is an Armenian Church that remains Armenian. Orange Cross is an Armenian Church that was taken by the Georgian Church without permission after the USSR collapsed and altered to seem Georgian. Brown Cross is one of 11 Armenian Churches that were destroyed by the Georgian Communist government by orders of Beria.