History

National Palace has a bicentennial history and it is one of the distinguished building not just history-wise, but also from architectural viewpoint. It is located at 6, Rustaveli Avenue and its main façade overlooks the avenue and in south, it is surrounded by the vast garden. As the Russian authority was established in Georgia, it was accompanied by appointment of Karl Knoring as the emissary of Russian Empire and it required a building where the emissary would live. many places were chose,, outskirts of Kalaubani and the gardens of the Georgian noble families, but in 1802 a small, poor quality building was erected, but 5 years later it was demolished and substituted the new one. This was an example of Russian classicism and carried a symbolic significance of the new power. Later the building was several times remodeled and in 1818 it was demolished and they built a new one according to the architect Braunmiller. We may see its façade on the Tbilisi panorama photo. Later the building was enlarged and the small rooms were substituted by the larger ones, private apartments of the emissary, studies, a pool-room, rooms for clerks, Winter Garden, etc.  Initial administrative house was changed to the residence of the emissary.

In 1844 when the Russian authority introduced the position of the emissary, the palace no more satisfied ambitions of the Russian Czar’s aggressive and imperialistic whims. The more noble he was, the brighter the palace had to be. Therefore they commissioned architect Nikoloz Semionov who was a prominent person in Petersburg. During 1845-47 he drastically changed the outlook of the palace and actually he built an interesting and unique building in the style of classicism. As he changed the building, it acquired more attributes of classicism and there are some features proving it. Some sculptures of Heracles and Minerva emerged in the building and they indicated to the power and wisdom of the new government. A new garden and the water basin with fountains were built during those years. This park as a whole was referred as the “Palace Garden” and only the narrow group of the elite was admitted.

By the end of 1850 there was a strong desire to erect a new, even greater building for the emissary on the Gunib Square, where the present Government House stands, but realization of the project failed and they decided to remodel the old one. In 1865 the Swedish architect Otto Jacob Simonsson started to reconstruct drastically and completed within 4 years. In 1869 the Palace of the emissary took the final shape, the exact one we see today and were our young people study and have fun. Simonsson greatly enlarged the Semionovs version and gave a new look. He removed the pillars, sculptures and enlarged and added the palaces. he also changed the interior, a reception hall and put up the mirrors in the Great Hall. It was him who entirely changed the garden, added a beautiful stair and furnished the yard, where the beloved and popular Georgian movie ”Qeto” and ”Kote” was made. It is noteworthy that the interior of the palace as most palaces of Tbilisi carry some late Iranian architectural features along classicist order.

In this very building for many decades the fate of the country was discussed and decided: ever since 1917 the Sejm of Transcaucasia was located. On May 26, 1918 national banner of Georgia was flown a top of the palace as Noe Jordania’s government declared the independence and just two days later  inthis very building Azerbaijan and Armenia followed Georgia on this track. Jordanias government functioned on this building and on February 21, 1921 they adopted the Constitution of Georgia.

After establishing the Sovier power in 1921 in the palace of the emissary Georgian government worked. By the way, during 1932-37 Stalin’s mother Keke Geladze lived in this building and when she died in 1937 her body was taken from this palace t Mtatsminda pantheon. In 1937 Lavrenti Beria initiated handing the palace to children and it was called Pioneers and Childrens House. But officially the palace opened on May 2, 1941 and this is a birthdate of the palace. As a great historian Ivane Javakhishvili remembered:


“that was great deed for the coming generations as from this day on, this palace will become the place where our young generation will study and learn.”