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Khojivank - the cemetery and walled church at the back of the photo
Khojivank - closeup of the church
Khojivank- Pulled out of the ground tombstones, which were loaded into trucks and taken away
Khojivank - Saved tombstones in the yard of St. Gevorg
Khojivank - Around Sameba Church during construction there were whole hills of skulls and bones

Khojivank (also known as Khojavank) was a massive Armenian cemetery and church complex in the center of Tbilisi. It was destroyed by the orders of Beria in Soviet Georgian times and turned into a park - though the bones were never removed. After Georgian independence, a massive Georgian church known as Sameba was built in the exact spot the Armenian church had stood and thousands of peoples bones were dug up and tossed aside by construction crews.

This plot of land with a very long time belonged to the ancestors Ashharbeka Bebutov (aka Aslan Melik-Bebutov) - Treasurer of the XVII century Georgian King Rostom (1633-1658 gg. - Pandukht) and was originally the family cemetery Bebutov. Letter about it from the Shah Abbas back in 1621 was his father - Bebutov bey. Georgian King appreciated the dedication and honorable service to Ashharbeka and thus began to call him Hodja Bebutov (lit. big Bebutov). Ashharbek, his king on the right, expanded cemetery, laid pipes to raise the water here, planted trees, and in 1655 built the cemetery church Astvatsatsin that people began to call "Khojivankom", that is the abode built by Hoxha. Subsequently Khojivankom became known as the entire cemetery. Remained composed in Georgian and Persian King Rostom charter, under which zarabtuhutses (that was over the chasers coins) Hodge Bebutov appealed to the royal court for permission to build a church in the family vault, located "in the town cemetery in the direction of Avlabari, under a mountain of Mahat." Growth, in addition to being granted a government man and his garden, located next to the church above the tomb Bebutov.

The Georgian version of ratification is made by hand-mdivan mtsignobara Birtvela Tumanishvili and dated 1654 year. As is clear from reading and writing, in a given year, the church has been built. Persian edition is made up 3 years later - in 1657, so there's basically it is a recognition of the planted garden and cemetery property Bebutov. Nothing in it is said to build a church, because it had already been completed. The church building is preserved and an inscription now in the Historical and Ethnographic Museum of Tbilisi. It reads: "In the summer of Armenian 1104th, by the will of God, I Bebutov Hodge, and my brother Hatin, and my wife Lali built this holy church of pretty Aslan."

Subsequently, the charter was renewed and confirmed by King Teimuraz II-m. Still later - in 1756 - it was confirmed by Irakli II-nd. According to historical descriptions, Astvatsatsin church, dedicated to "all-holy Mother of God crimson," was "a magnificent dome," "encircled a fence," and "repeatedly renewed," had a beautiful wall, the side adjacent to it a blooming garden.

As is common in many other places of worship in the church walls were inserted Khojivanka khachkars equipped with memorial inscriptions. Available in the Historical and Ethnographic Museum two cross-stone, appear to have been built into the process of further building renovations at the turn of the XVII-XVIII centuries. However, the right to be buried in this church had only representatives of the Bebutov.

As time stretched around the church cemetery has expanded beyond the generic and turned into the largest, well-known and rich - the main Armenian cemetery in Tiflis. According to the accounts of Tiflis Armenian veteran - these unique chronicler of the city - it was a real open air museum, where, along with prominent personalities and the classics of Armenian culture finds its last refuge, and quite ordinary people. For large and small epigraphic inscriptions on countless tombstones, carved in stone on the images and ornaments can be a variety of information about the old Tiflis, its Armenian inhabitants, labor, families, and their classes, on various aspects of social life.

Here were buried the representatives of prominent Armenian families - Bebutov, Karganova, Sarajev, Kalantarova, Kuzanov, Amirov Sharoeva, Agajanova, Ter-David, Beriev, Muradovs, Ter-Ghevondyan, Amiragovy, Pitoevy, Tarkhanov, Tumanov, including the founder of Khojivanka Ashharbek Bebutov, General Vasily Bebutov (d. 1858), a famous Georgian poet, the first translator of Pushkin into Georgian Prince Michael of Mist (d. 1875), organizer of the Georgian theater and Tiflis Polytechnic Society, editor of "New Review" Prince George Mist (d. 1920), the hero of the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878. Lieutenant General Nikita Shahnazaryan, educator and philanthropist Isaiah Pitoev (1904). Here lie the most prominent public figures and leading figures of the Armenian culture - the scholar, physician, social activist, researcher and publisher of the songs of Sayat-Nova Gevorg Hakhverdyan (1892), poet Hagop Agababov (1926), poet, novelist, essayist, teacher Gazaros Aghayan (1911) , essayist, critic, literary and social activist, editor of "Mshak" Gevorg Artsruni (1892), a classic of the great Armenian poet, novelist, literary and public figure Hovhannes Tumanyan (1923), poet and translator Alexander Tsaturyan (1917), novelist and Publicist Tserents (1888), writer and playwright Muratsan (1908), writer Nar-Dos (1933), artist Stepanos Nersisyan (1884), writer and educator Perch Proshyan (1907), novelist Raffi (1888), playwright and social activist Gabriel Sundukyan (1912), Gus and poet Jivani (1909), composer, conductor and teacher, Makar Ekmalyan (1905), historian and archaeologist Alexander Yeritsyan (1902), artist Hodzhabekyan Vano (1922), Mayor Gevorg Evangulyan (1901), one of the founders Dashnaktsutyun Zavaryan Simon (1913), the commander of Carey (1916), writer Bagrat Ayvazian (1937), poet Hakob Hakobyan (1937), one of the most famous artists of his time fresochnikov Ovnatan Nagash (1722), another representative of the school Ovnatanyanov - Mkrtum ( 1846), actor, People's Artist of Armenia and Georgia Alikhanian Isaac (1946), actress Olga Maisuryan (1931), national hero Nikol Duman (1914) and many others. Also worthy of mention mausoleums, tombs, erected on the graves of Hovsep Hanuntsa (1904) and Ter-Arakelyan Smbat.

The search Khojivank epigraph to the first decades of the XIX century to tangible results have not led. The first researcher and publisher of the heritage of Sayat-Nova G. Ahverdyanom published an epigraph wife of the poet, buried in Khojivanke "Hronikona 456 (1768 G.). In this tomb am the spouse of Sayat-Nova Marmar, bless. " Professor LM Melikset-Beck in the 20s of last century in the oldest part of the original epitaph Khojivank looking wife of Sayat-Nova and did not find her, but he read another epitaph and published in the Georgian language from the same old Khojivank: "Here am the wife of Archpriest Mugnisskoy Church Ter-David Marmara. Who will read - remember me. In the summer of 420-e (1732). " Georgian from Tiflis epitaph does not indicate the Georgianization of Armenians, but rather they serve as proof of belonging to Georgian culture. A typical illustration of the many texts can serve as inscription XVIII-XIX centuries. When the construction and carved memorial inscriptions, epitaphs were composed birth, if you choose the language they must consider the important point. Epitaph was buried in the family vault Khojivanka Joseph Bebutov made in the Georgian language, as an epitaph which is next to him his wife Mary, daughter of Joseph Amilakhvari Korganov is presented in two languages ​​- Georgian and Armenian (both are in the tombs Historical and Ethnographic Museum). Preserved the text of the epitaph of the builder and the archpriest of the church Echmiadznetsots Voskerchyantsa John, who was buried here.

In the XIX century Tbilisi became the center of culture and social life of the Armenians of the Caucasus. In order to maintain cleanliness and order around quite overgrown at this time Khojivank cemetery in 1899 was built on a strong circumferential wall. Every day, starting at noon, with a beautiful memorial cemetery heard the music.

Armenians has long been invited by the Georgian kings, specifically as a "city-forming element," many of them were the honorary title of "mokalakov", they developed the production, trade, and other urban structures, without which a normal city can not exist. And it is quite natural that wherever Armenians lived, they did not lose their culture, opened schools, built churches, kept their language and literature. They worked diligently, faithfully, had, of course, a cemetery, not doubting that, after death, have everlasting peace in accordance with the Christian traditions of piety. But expectations were deceived: Their graves were temporary.

Since the late 20s of the twentieth century by the decision of municipal authorities to bury Khojivank virtually ceased. In 1934, after the order of the notorious Lawrence Beria, the cemetery began to actively destroy, buildings were blown up by the Armenian monastery Khojivank, which was located in the cemetery, destroyed all the chapels and crypts (in a paper devoted to the history of development and building of Tbilisi indicates that the church was destroyed according to plan " restructuring of the city "). The graves were razed to the ground, unique tombstones, representing the true value of the museum, including stones and tombs of the Armenian princely family Bebutov were confiscated by the Soviets and the Georgians have been used as a building material for shoring walls, stairs, fences, wall, etc. were destroyed by the rich monuments of the rare kinds of marble headstones and humble poor, marble and stone cross stones. Gone are the metal lattice work fine blacksmith. Special brigades of the NKVD of Georgia, subject to Beria, day and night sneered at the graves, looting, looking for treasures in the tombs. Cemetery land leveled. All this continued until 1938. So rock record ceased to exist. Only a small part of the graves have been saved by moving the remains to the other (mostly Petropavlovskoye) cemetery. Were saved, in particular, tombstone from the grave of Tumanyan and Raffi obelisk. Despite the abundance of vegetation, made additional afforestation and deforestation, have organized a track. The plan of the city of Tiflis in 1934 Khojivank place called - "Recreation Park District 26-commissioners." But in the end, on-site cemetery appeared Tbilisi city park with a mocking name of "friendship" in which the railings of stairs and bypass walls were lined with decorated ornaments of the Armenian gravestones, broken coffins, fragments of gravestones carved with inscriptions. Many headstones, gravestones and khachkars carts constantly been gathered for the construction and decoration of the halls of the Institute of Party History - a branch of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, which on Rustaveli Avenue (now - the building of the Georgian Parliament), other, mostly of black marble, had been "decorated" the walls of the lavatory in the house on the street Machabeli Beria 11 - known as the building of the Central Committee of Komsomol of Georgia. These gravestones and still are there. The fence separating the area built in the 1961 secondary school № 98 and pump house has been fully laid out from the gravestones, most of which are free to read by epitafika tombstone. Later there appeared a kindergarten, the district House of Pioneers, dining room, a swimming pool. Part of the tombstones used for the construction of stages in the park on the island Medat. Some fragments of tombstones Khojivank epigraph were built into the wall seventh operational offices storm and sewage facilities on the street Lazarevskaya (now Meskhishvili) school on the same street, as well as Georgia State Circus Podbornoe wall. On the obstacles next steps leading to the right bank of the Kura located at the memorial complex, "Daedalus" ("Mother Tongue") and now you can read the inscriptions with Armenian tombstones. A rise in the Tsiatsanovskom (now - to them. Baratashvili) they had paved sidewalk in front of the Palace of Pioneers. Disappeared and a huge tombstone in the form of rock from the tomb of Gregory Artsruni and tombstone Ghazaros Aghayan made, as he willed, fragments of rock with the inscription "Friend of Children Gazaros Aghayan."

Unfortunately, available at the cemetery memorial monuments of architecture (in particular tombstones) and texts that existed before the demolition of an epigraph is not been the subject of special study or at least a detailed description, so that the history of Tbilisi has lost an important source - the materials of the old city cemetery. No rewritten in the 20s and published in Vienna, VA Eremyanom epigraph of the second half of the XIX and beginning of the twentieth century, no surviving gravestones in some Khojivank Historical and Ethnographic Museum of Tbilisi can not give more or less the whole idea of ​​the function according to at least XVI century cemetery. According to the same Yeremyan, "in Khojivank had thousands of granite, marble statues and stelae, thousands of short, but exciting inscriptions, sad poems and quatrains."

So Khojivank was destroyed. But human memory is incredibly strong, and the Armenians began to visit the park "Friendship": knowing the burial place of their ancestors, the trees put a candle in memory of the dead.

It was only March 17, 1962, to sweeten the bitter pill of collected in the former cemetery was opened on the symbolic tombstones Pantheon of Armenian culture, which now has three dozen modest gravestones. In fact, this Pantheon - just a group of rescued tombstones, and a majority of them do not. Every year on April 13-14 at the initiative of the Armenian Branch of the Union of Georgian Writers here are the days of memory. These days, hundreds of students of Armenian schools in Tbilisi, teachers, parents, citizens pay tribute to the memory of a well-deserved figures of Armenian art and culture, laying wreaths, recite prose and poetry of Armenian writers. These celebrations are also involved and the artists of Armenian state drama theater in Tbilisi.

And though the wounds inflicted by Armenians in Tiflis, still bleeding, it seemed it was all over - no more acts of impiety, and vandalism. The bones of the old citizens of Tbilisi will ever settle down. But the beggar, the ruined state, hold on a starvation diet education, health and the army, suddenly took the construction of a new grandiose temple. And not just any church, and certainly the largest in the Caucasus - a kind of new "wonder of the world." And in the big city for that there was no other place than the sacred to the Armenians Khojivank Hill (now - Elia), where rested the bones destroyed by the Bolsheviks Khojivank cemetery. Probably, it was not taken from Armenian, Russian and Greek dozen different churches. By the way, by this time a church called Sameba (Trinity) in the city already had - it was selected at the Russian Church of the Trinity.

And in 1994 began a new series of abuse by former citizens of the city. Avlabar Armenians from the very beginning it was misled. It was said that the Georgian church to be built near the cemetery, and burials are not zadenut. Initially, concealed, and the enormous size of the future "saint" of the church. Thus, according to a new sophisticated technology of vandalism, the remains of Armenians - citizens of the city - have lost their last refuge, the remains of the very people who for centuries lived and worked in the name of economic development, beautification and decoration of his native city for them. The first step has been taken down from the tombstones built circumferential wall "Friendship Park". It is replaced by a new - concrete. Had fallen from the ruined walls of the old tombstones hastily dragged. Under construction area was occupied by a giant. This was October 28, 1995 followed by a solemn procession and noisy patriarch Elijah and the official leadership of Georgia's Armenian-populated quarter. They appeared not to place Khojivank cemeteries open, it would be fair, the obelisk to commemorate the victims in 30 years - living and dead. With the blessing of Elijah, the exact spot where stood the church exploded Astvatsatsin, was consecrated the foundation stone, and launched the "God-pleasing business" - the construction of the Georgian Orthodox Church Sameba. Official Georgian press on this occasion broke a series of enthusiastic articles. Thus, in the newspaper "Tbilisi" on February 8, 1996 published an article titled "Highest in Georgia."

Source of entire text:


<googlemap version="0.9" type="satellite" lat="41.697646" lon="44.816514" width="700" height="500" zoom="17" icons="{label}.png"> 41.698475,44.81861, Armenian Pantheon of Tbilisi Where many Armenian greats including Raffi, Tumanyan and others are buried. 41.697646,44.816514, Khojivank Tbilisi's large new Sameba Church was built on the site of the largest Armenian Cemetery in the city, which had an Armenian Church complex as well. Khojivank-0003s69f.jpg </googlemap>