About Us

About Us
During the pre-session meeting of the University’s Board of Professors, which was held on December 19, 1917 and which discussed the future university’s curriculum and terms of enrollment, Ivane Javakhishvili acquainted his colleagues with the will of famous Georgian publicist Kita Abashidze, according to which his library was handed over to the University. This private collection laid the foundation for the University’s book depository, which was mainly growing due to the donations from individuals and institutions. Two years later, number of books kept by the University Fund exceeded 100 000.  
The book depositories of the Black Stone Industrialists Council, former Caucasian Censorship Committee, Society for the Spreading of Literacy among Georgians, Georgian History and Ethnography Society, and Tiflis School for Nobility were handed over to the University Library. The library became significantly rich owing to private donations. In particular, the University Library was enriched by private collections of Davit Sarajishvili, Svimon Kldiashvili, Petre Melikishvili, Ekvtime Takaishvili, Alexandre Tsagareli, Dimitri Bakradze, Tedo Zhordania, Vasil Petriashvili and other prominent Georgians. In addition, bookstores and publishing houses used to present their books to the University. During foreign scientific missions, Georgian scientists used to purchase various books for the University Library with their own money. After the establishment, the Library was led by Professor Giorgi Akhvlediani, who was later replaced by Professors Akaki Shanidze, Grigol Tsereteli, Shalva Nutsubidze, etc.

In 1938, the University Book Depository was called the Fundamental Library and from 1950, it was named the Scientific Library. In 1997, the library was named after Grigol Tsereteli, but presently it is called the University Library. The Georgian University Library has one of the richest book collections containing scientific and educational literature, rare Georgian and foreign books as well as periodicals.

Ivane Javakhishvili
Ivane Javakhishvili was born in Tbilisi in 1876. After finishing his studies at the First Classical Gymnasium, he became a student of the Faculty of Eastern Studies at the St. Petersburg University. For the scholarly thesis, which addressed a new perception of the extract from the Georgian history, he was awarded a prize and a gold medal. It was the only award Ivane Javakhishvili received during his lifetime. After graduating from the Armenian-Georgian-Iranian Department, upon the decision of the faculty, he remained at the department to prepare for professorship. Ivane Javakhishvili remembered the time spent at Berlin University, where he was commissioned from Petersburg University for the accomplishment of skills under the supervision of Professor Gustav Adolf Harnack, with particular gratitude.
In 1903, Ivane Javakhishvili became Privatdozent (private lecturer). During the same year he started to deliver Sunday lectures to the Georgian students studying in St. Petersburg. In 1907, Ivane Javakhishvili formed a circle of the Georgian students studying at the St. Petersburg Emperor’s University, which played an enormous role in the development of Georgian scientific potential and establishment of the Georgian University.
Ivane Javakhishvili offered Petre Melikishvili to head the University. After P. Melikishvili filed resignation in 1919, Ivane Javakhishvili became the Rector of the Tbilisi State University. In 1926, the Soviet regime dismissed Ivane Javakhishvili, the founder of the University, from his post. In 1936, the repressions against Ivane Javakhishvili took a new twist. TSU Rector, K. Oragvelidze delivered a thesis ‘On the Issues of Georgian History’ at the Faculty of History of Tbilisi State University, which was directed against the scientific activities conducted by Ivane Javakhishvili. Under the threat of the Soviet oppressive regime, associates and pupils of Ivane Javakhishvili, with the minor exception, failed to give him support. Ivane Javakhishvili was compelled to leave the University founded by him. Ivane Javakhishvili died while delivering a public lecture on November 18, 1940. He is buried at the University Pantheon bearing his name. It could be said without exaggeration that there was no field, which Ivane Javakhishvili did not support in Georgia.

Kita Abashidze
Kita (Ivane) Abashidze (1870 - 1917) was a famous Georgian literary scholar, critic, publicist, public figure, and one of the leaders of the Socialist-Federalist Party. He attended the lectures on philosophy and arts in Paris after completing the Kutaisi Gymnasium. Kita Abashidze also studied at the Law Faculty of the Odessa University. He worked at the Chamber of Control since 1895 and later, as an arbitrator in Racha and Chiatura districts. From 1901, Kita Abashidze served as the Chairman of Trust Bank of the Chiatura Black Stone Industrialists Council, afterwards – as the Deputy Chairman of the Black Stone Industrialists Council and finally, as the Chairman of the same organization. After the February 1917 revolution, Kita Abashidze was a member of the Trans Caucasus Special Committee and the Trans Caucasus Commissar for Education.  
Kita Abashidze was regularly publishing literary-critical letters on the issues of Georgian, Russian, and European literature of the XIX-XX centuries, as well as theatre reviews, translations, publicist articles. His articles about modern writers (with a common title ‘Life and Art’) and his annual reviews, which he introduced in the Georgian society, made a tremendous contribution to the development of Georgian literature. Kita Abashidze’s fundamental work Essays on Georgian Literature of the XIX Century laid a foundation for the scientific study of Georgian literature of the XIX century.
Kita Abashidze was Ivane Javakhishvili’s relative and follower. He left his own book collection to the newly established first Georgian University. This collection was the first step on the way of creation of the University Library.

Davit Sarajishvili
Davit Sarajishvili was a famous Georgian public figure, founder of the production of Georgian cognac, Doctor of Philosophy and Chemistry. He took interest in the production of cognac while studying in France. The knowledge that he acquired in France helped him conclude that there were desirable soil and climate conditions as well as various grape species for cognac production in Georgia.
In 1888, Davit Sarajishvili established a cognac factory in Tbilisi, which started using local raw materials for production. In the same year, he established a liquor factory.  The Sarajishvili brand united five rectification plants, as well as one vodka, one liquor and seven cognac factories (also a number of warehouses in Tbilisi, Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities). The Sarajishvili cognacs (especially ‘Dzvelisdzveli’) and liquor were awarded with gold, silver and bronze medals at various Russian and international degustation events and exhibitions.  
Owing to Davit Sarajishvili’s charity, a lot of talented young people received education abroad and numerous significant national-cultural initiatives were implemented.  

Svimon Kldiashvili
Svimon Kldiashvili is a typical representative of the Age of Eclecticism. In his buildings we come across the Renaissance-Baroque style facades with the interpretations typical of XIX-XX cc., as well as quite frequently – modern style... Only few buildings designed by him have reached the present day.
Svimon Kldiashvili graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the Fine Arts, Sculpture and Architecture College of the Moscow Artistic Society with a large silver medal. Initially, he worked in Kostroma, but later, in 1895 he was invited to Sokhumi to work as a city architect.
Together with Ekvtime Takaishvili, he travelled to Southern Georgia and Svaneti preparing measurements for the architectural monuments. Kldiashvili was a member of the Mtskheta Jvari Restoration Commission, Svetitskhoveli Renovation Committee, Georgian Artistic Society and Georgian Historical-Ethnographic Society.
Since 1899, S. Kldiashvili started designing and running the project of the Tbilisi Nobility School. A famous Georgian art historian Vakhtang Beridze wrote: ‘This is the most significant period in Kldiashvili’s “architectural” biography. As the author of this huge building, Svimon Kldiashvili became one of the most important participants of the work, which in due time had the greatest cultural significance for the Georgian society. Moreover, some leading Georgian figures considered this phenomenon to have nationwide importance.’
If we look through the names of the Georgian architects of that time according to whose designs and under whose supervision the buildings were constructed in Tbilisi, we will hardly be able to find Georgian surnames among them. Contrary to this, absolute majority of the builders involved in the construction of the Georgian Gymnasium, from masters to laborers and guards were Georgians. Thus, it clarifies the decision made by Niko Tskhvedadze and the Chief Construction Committee to turn the Gymnasium construction works into the apotheosis of labor capacity and talents of Georgians.

Petre Melikishvili

Petre Melikishvili (1850-1927) was elected the first Rector of the first Georgian University, later known as Tbilisi State University, on January 13, 1918 at the first meeting of the University Board of Professors.  His colleague Ivane Javakhishvili nominated him for this position. At that time, Melikishvili was the most famous scientist among his colleagues. For almost two years, he led the newly established school absolutely for free and willingly used all his knowledge, experience and authority for the benefit of the first Georgian University.

In 1868, Petre Melikishvili graduated from the First Gymnasium in Tbilisi and enrolled in the Natural Science Department of the Odessa University’s Physics and Mathematics Faculty.  In 1873, he left for Germany to work at the Tubingen and Karlsruhe chemistry laboratories. Upon the return from Germany, Petre Melikishvili began working at the Odessa University’s chemistry laboratory on the research that led to the successful defense of his master’s thesis “On the Products of Acrylic Acids’ in 1881. Later, in Paris he attended lectures delivered by the well-known French chemist, Marcellin Berthelot. In Munich he got acquainted with new scientific achievements and technologies in the laboratory of a famous German chemist, A. Bayer.

In 1884, Petre Melikishvili was nominated and elected Associate Professor of Agro Chemistry at the Odessa University by Professors Verigo, Petriashvili and Klimenko. In 1885, after defending the thesis, Petre Melikishvili was awarded a degree of Doctor of Chemistry and in 1889 he became the chairman of the Agro Chemistry Department. In 1899, Petre Melikishvili was awarded the Lomonosov Prize and Large Gold Medal for his scientific research. He had interests in both organic and inorganic chemistry and discovered a class of organic compounds called Glycidacids. D. Mendeleev appreciated Melikishvili’s work because his research promoted the study of ‘periodic table’. Through chemical analysis, he examined the impact of soil composition and climatic conditions on wheat, wine, cheese and other agricultural products that are especially important in Georgia.

During his tenure as Rector of the Tbilisi State University, Petre Melikishvili continued to deliver lectures on chemistry, as well as to arrange laboratories and lead the Chemistry and Organic Chemistry Departments founded by him. In addition, Melikishvili helped to design the courses and the bachelor’s degree program of study in chemistry as well as the post-graduate studies for research. After Melikishvili resigned from the rector’s position, he founded the Agricultural Faculty to further research the impact of soil composition and climatic conditions on agricultural productivity.   

Petre Melikishvili was buried in the yard of the Tbilisi State University. A year after his death, during the 10th anniversary celebrations commemorating the establishment of the University, a foundation stone of the monument was laid on Melikishvili’s grave. Iakob Nikoladze, a famous Georgian sculptor, completed the monument. During the commemorative ceremony, Korneli Kekelidze said: “You are not able to attend the 10th anniversary celebration of our University, but your grave will feel the profound respect and love which the students have towards you.”

Ekvtime Takaishvili
Ekvtime Takaishvili was born in 1863. He received his early education at Ozurgeti and Poti schools. After finishing Kutaisi Gymnasium with a silver medal in 1883, he was admitted to the Faculty of History and Philology of St. Petersburg University, from which he graduated in 1887. During the same year he was invited to the Tbilisi School for the Nobility to teach history, geography, Latin and Greek. The school was soon transformed into the Gymnasium for the Nobility and Ekvtime Takaishvili was appointed the Headmaster. He was actively involved in civil and scientific work since his youth. In 1883, he was elected a committee member of the Society for the Spread of Literacy and of the Church Museum in 1889. For archaeological achievements he was made a correspondent member of the Moscow Archaeological Society in 1901 and in the same year he was elected a real member of the Russian Geographic Society Caucasus Department. During the years of 1905-1918, he was the Secretary of the Moscow Archaeological Society’s Caucasus Department.
In 1907, the Georgian Historical-Ethnographic Society was founded on initiative of E. Takaishvili, which he led up to 1921. The Society’s contribution to the protection and study of Georgian historic and cultural heritage is enormous. Under Ekvtime Takaishvili’s editorship, the Society published the collections ‘Old Georgia’ and ‘Georgian Antiquities’. Ekvtime Takaishvili’s contribution to the study of old Georgian manuscript samples, as well as to gathering and publishing folklore, is truly praiseworthy.
Ekvtime Takaishvili was one of the most active co-organizers of formation of the Georgian University Foundation Society and later of the University itself. The first meeting of the First Georgian University’s Board of Professors was held in Ekvtime Takaishvili’s flat. He read the archaeology course from the very first days of the University’s foundation. On 21 May 1918, upon the proposal of Ivane Javakhishvili, the University’s Board of Professors awarded Ekvtime Takaishvili the title of Doctor of Archaeology, Honoris Causa. In 1921, because of Georgia’s occupation by Russia, Ekvtime Takaishvili was forced to emigrate and assume the responsibility for the protection of Georgian treasure taken abroad by the Georgian government. During the years of hardship spent in France, he carried out intensive scientific activities. He was the Chairman of the Society Supporting Georgian Students. In 1922 E. Takaishvili was elected a member of the Society of French Numismatists and in 1925 a member of Asian Society in Paris.
In April 1945, Ekvtime Takaishvili returned to Georgia accompanying the treasure. The aged scientist resumed lecturing at the Tbilisi University with his usual energy. In 1946, he was elected a member of the Georgian Academy of Sciences; however, his personality was still unacceptable for the Soviet regime. The tragic death of Ekvtime Takaishvili in 1953 was a result of brutal treatment by the Soviet law enforcement bodies. In 2002, the Georgian Church canonized Ekvtime Takaishvili.

Aleksandre Tsagareli
Aleksandre Tsagareli was a famous linguist, historian, paleographer, archeologist, one of the most prominent journalists of the sixties (XIX century), literary critic and publicist.  Honorary Professor, Aleksandre Tsagareli received education at the Universities of St. Petersburg, Munich, Tubingen and Vienna.
Since 1871, he was the Chair of Georgian Language Department at St. Petersburg University.  His contribution to the development of Georgian culture, science and Georgian studies was immense.
Aleksandre Tsagareli was the first Georgian scientist, who travelled to the Near East to obtain and study Georgian antiquities, where he discovered, listed and investigated Georgian manuscripts and obtained the copies of ancient Georgian frescoes.
From 1920 until his death, Aleksandre Tsagareli worked at the Tbilisi State University.

Giorgi Akhvlediani
Giorgi Akhvlediani (1887-1973) graduated from the Faculty of History and Philology of Kharkov University and stayed at the University’s Department of Comparative Indo-European Linguistics to prepare for professorship. He became a member of the Tbilisi University’s Board of Professors in February 1918.
Giorgi Akhvlediani was a many-sided scientist and carried out activities in several fields of Linguistic Sciences. At different times he read courses in: Introduction to Linguistics, General Linguistics, History of Linguistic Sciences, General Phonetics, Experimental Phonetics, Sanskrit, Greek, History of the Russian Language, Dialectology, Comparative Grammar of Indo-European Languages, History of West European Literature and Logopedics.
On the initiative of Giorgi Akhvlediani, the Georgian Scientific Society was founded in 1923. From 1932, G. Akhvlediani became a member of the International Society of Experimental Phonetics and in 1940 a member of the American Society of Linguistics. In 1939, he was elected correspondent member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
Giorgi Akhvlediani, along with other scientists, cofounded the Georgian Academy of Sciences in 1941. Primarily G. Akhvlediani was a Phonetician. He was the first to read the University Course of Phonetics; in addition, he founded phonetic laboratories, created theses and systemized the manual, which is considered to be the best work in the field of Phonetics.
Studies and classification of vowels of the Abkhazian language having a complicated phonetic system, as well as the studies of Phonetics, Dialectology and Textology of the Ossetian language are connected with his name. The Ossetian language grammar in two volumes was published under his editorship. G. Akhvlediani contributed greatly to the elaboration of Georgian scientific terms. His participation made it possible to define the terms in major fields, such as Literature, Linguistics, Physics and Mathematics as well as technical terms.
Giorgi Akhvlediani died in 1973. He is buried in the Tbilisi University Pantheon.

Akaki Shanidze
Akaki Shanidze was born in the village of Nola (not far from Samtredia). After finishing Kutaisi Gymnasium he was admitted to the Faculty of Eastern Languages of Petersburg University, where he was tutored by outstanding orientalists; Privatdozent Ivane Javakhishvili was among them.
Akaki Shanidze graduated from the University in 1913 and remained at the Department of Georgian-Armenian Philology in order to get prepared for professorship. Akaki Shanidze was a member of the team that undertook the burden of responsibility for the establishment of the University. He dedicated his long life to the development and support of his native University and Georgian science.
During 1918-1920, he was the Secretary of the Philosophy Faculty and the Secretary of the Board of Professors in 1919-1921. From the very first days of the establishment of the University, he taught Arabic and Armenian languages, and from 1919 he delivered lectures in the Svan language and Comparative Grammar of Kartvelian Languages; he also taught and interpreted the language of Shota Rustaveli. By delivering lectures in Tsova-Tush in 1925-1926, Akaki Shanidze gave start to teaching of Caucasian Languages in the University.
While still a student, the faculty commissioned Akaki Shanidze to Pshavi and Khevsureti to obtain materials in Dialectology. Akaki Shanidze paid a visit to Vazha Pshavela in Chargali. He made his second trip to the Highlands, this time in 1913, under the commission of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It was during his expedition in Pshavi and Khevsureti that Akaki Shanidze paid attention to the phenomenon of the existence of second-person subject prefix in Highland dialects. He even made a speech regarding the issue in 1912, at the meeting of the Scientific Circle of Georgian Students. One of the major works in the history of Georgian Linguistics - ‘Second-person subject prefix and third-person object prefix in Georgian verbs’ – was based upon the above-mentioned phenomenon and the results of other studies. Akaki Shanidze was granted a scientific degree of a Doctor on May 9, 1920. It was the first dissertation defended at the Tbilisi State University.
In 1937, Akaki Shanidze was elected a correspondent member of the Prague Institute of Eastern Studies. From 1939, he was a correspondent member of the Soviet Union Academy of Sciences. He became a correspondent member of the Georgian Academy of Sciences in 1941. He also was the Vice-President of the Academy of Sciences. In June 1966, he was granted Doctor’s honorary title by Schiller University of Jena and in 1979 he received a title of honorary member of the British Society of Philologists.
Akaki Shanidze’s works address the complex issues of the structure of Kartvelian languages and their history, Georgian Dialectology, Georgian Lexicology, Textology, Folkloristics, Epigraphics, Rustvelology, Albanology and Armenistics. He is the author of many grammatical terms. The establishment of the Georgian School of Linguistics is also connected with his name. His moral heroism is really incomparable.
He never broke up relations with Ivane Javakhishvili and Ekvtime Takaishvili repressed by the Soviet regime and, under the risk of losing his life and position, he always publicly expressed respect towards the two statesmen and scientists, proving his friendship and devotion to the senior friends and teachers.
Akaki Shanidze died in 1988 and is buried in the University Pantheon.

Grigol  Tsereteli
Grigol Tsereteli (1870-1938), an honorary professor, was one of the founders of Papyrology as well as the Georgian School of Classical Philology. After graduating from St. Petersburg University, Grigol Tsereteli taught at St. Petersburg Archaeological Institute and at the Berlin University. In 1905, after obtaining the degree of Doctor of Classical Philology at St. Petersburg University, he continued his activities as a Professor and Chair at the Yurev University and later as Head of Classical Philology Department and Professor at St. Petersburg University.
Grigol Tsereteli was elected Correspondent Member of St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences and honorary member of German Society of Papyrologists and Berlin Archaeological Institute (1927).
In 1919, the Tbilisi State University’s Board of Professors appointed him as Professor of Greek Language and Literature Department. Grigol Tsereteli headed the Department until the end of his life. In 1923-1931, he was in charge of the university scientific library.
The eminent professor became a victim of Soviet repressions.

Shalva Nutsubidze
Shalva Nutsubidze graduated from the Faculty of History and Philology of St. Petersburg University. For a certain period of time he worked as a teacher but later he returned to the university, got his Master’s degree and started delivering lectures. During his stay there, he was twice sent to Europe on academic trips. While working in Germany in 1911-1914, he set up an original philosophical doctrine – Alethology. Since 1917, Sh. Nutsubidze actively fought for the foundation of the University and played a special role in the successful conclusion of this significant task. Shalva Nutsubidze, as an incomparable organizer, often held several posts simultaneously – he was a Vice-Rector, a Dean, a library chief and a Chair. He was made responsible for overcoming major difficulties connected with opening of the Law Faculty and then for its management.
Shalva Nutsubidze delivered lots of lecture courses at different faculties: Introduction to Philosophy, History of Social and Political Teachings, Scientific Methodology, Evidence Law... For 15 years he led the Literary Theory Department, which was later transformed into the Faculty of Western-European Languages and Literature. In 1927, he defended a doctoral thesis. Shalva Nutsubidze carried out diverse scientific and literary activities. Besides those works that made the author and the Georgian science world famous, Shalva Nutsubidze created school and university textbooks, philosophical terminology, translated masterpieces of Georgian poetry into a foreign language.
Sh. Nutsubidze’s philosophy seminar became a center of revival of a new philosophical thinking. Beginning from 1930s, Sh. Nutsubidze started studying the History of Georgian Philosophy, which he later established as a science. Nutsubidze’s works regarding the oriental roots of the Renaissance and the identity of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and Petre Iberi are especially interesting. He put forward this hypothesis in 1942 and 10 years later Belgian scientist E. Honigman made the same conclusion. The repressions of the thirties touched Shalva Nutsubidze as well. He was arrested, but then released from prison only after Stalin’s direct interference. The Soviet Regime did not spare him in 1953 either. His name was associated with Beria and he was excluded from all the organizations, among them from the Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Philosophy, the University...
Shalva Nutsubidze was an excellent orator, versatile person with artistic nature. His lectures fascinated the audience. Nutsubidze’s translation of ‘The Knight in the Panther’s Skin’ is considered to be among the best.