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Telavi (Municipality, Georgia)


Last modified: 2019-06-24 by ivan sache
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Flag and arms of Telavi - Images by The State Council of Heraldry at the Parliament of Georgia, 23 February 2012

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Presentation of Telavi

The municipality of Telavi (70,589 inhabitants in 2002, 21,800 in the town proper), the capital of Kakheti, a region of eastern Georgia, is located 160 km of Tbilisi.
Telavi was mentioned in Ptolemy's Geography as Teleda. The center of the Kakheti-Hereti Kingdom in the 11th century, Telavi was one of the most important towns in Georgia in the 12th century. Seized in the middle of the 13th century by the Mongols, the town was ruled by the warlord Sadun Mankabederli. While the town emerged again in the 15th-16th centuries, the conquest by Shah Abbas I stopped its development.
In the late 17th century, King of Kakheti Archil II transferred the royal residence from Gremi to Telavi. The rulers and their families lived in the town, which became the cultural center of the kingdom, with the set up in 1758 of a college of philosophy and religion, transformed in 1782 in a seminary. Most statesmen of the times were taught there. In 1801, the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti was incorporated to the Russian Empire, Telavi being the capital of the Telavi Mazta administrative division.

Ivan Sache, 4 June 2012

Flag of Telavi

The flag and arms of Telavi are prescribed by Decree No. 19, adopted on 26 July 2011 by the Municipal Council.

The State Council of Heraldry at the Parliament of Georgia, 23 February 2012

The flag of Telavi is horizontally divided red-blue with a white Pegasus all over.
The flag is derived from the coat of arms, which is "Per fess, 1a. Gules a Pegasus argent, 1b. Argent two bunches of grapes and two leaves of grapevine all vert, 2. Azure seven mounds, 4 + 3, the top mounds ensigned with four towers the whole ensigned with a crown all yellow. The shield surmounted by a three-towered mural crown argent fimbriated sable. Under the shield a scroll argent fimbriated sable charged with the name of the town in Georgian capital letters sable".
[State Council of Heraldry at the Parliament of Georgia]

The winged horse, also featured on the flag and arms of Kvareli, is a representation of Merani.
A Georgian mythological horse symbolizing freedom, more or less a Georgian Pegasus, Merani is featured in the eponymous poem by the Romantic poet Nikoloz Baratashvili (1817-1845).
In parallel to historical heroes, Baratashvili evolved a view of himself as an apocalyptic horseman, his horse being an uncontrollable Merani. A most compulsive poem of 1842 begins and ends with the verse:

My Merani runs and flies without paths or traces,
Behind, an ill-fated black raven craws at me.
Ride on, Merani, your gallop has no limit
And give me thoughts that shine in black on the breeze.

In "Merani", Baratashvili created the most dynamic poem in the Georgian language, with a mythological hero and a dream landscape worthy of his contemporary Gérard de Nerval and his "Prince d'Aquitaine à la tour abolie".
[Donald Rayfield. 2013. The Literature of Georgia. A history]

Gérard de Nerval (Gérard Labrunie, 1808-1855) was an eccentric, Romantic poet and writer. His weak and declining mental health inspired him odd works based on dream and reminiscence, which were highly estimated by the Surrealists.
The aforementioned citation is the second verse of Nerval's most celebrated poem, El Desdichado, part of the anthology Les Chimères (1854):
Je suis le Ténébreux, - le Veux, - l'Inconsolé, / I am the Dark One, - the Widower, - the Unconsoled,
Le Prince d'Aquitaine à la Tour abolie; / The Aquitaine Prince whose Tower is destroyed;

More recently, Galaktion Tabidze (1891-1959) wrote a (never printed) poem about Stalin, who the poet compared with a bloodstained executioner, a person who erased his homeland from his heart, killed Georgians, filled the country with dead bodies, blackened the sky, and stopped Merani that was heading forwards at a high speed, and filled the community of writers and families with spies.
[Zoya Tskhadaia & Tamar Tsitsishvili. 2016. Two Paradigms on the Stalin Phenomenon. Pp. 18-24 in Irma Ratiani (Ed.). Literature in Exile. Emigrants' Fiction 20th Century Experience]

The second quarter of the arms, obviously, represents wine-growing. Kakheti is self-styled "Wine Land" and vineyards cover 8,857 ha in Telavi. In 1886, Alexander Chavchavadze set up in the village of Tsinandali a wine-cellar, today part of the Alexander Chavchavadze Museum. The museum maintains a collection of 16,500 bottles. The oldest wine of the collection ("Polish Honey") was bottled in 1814, while the oldest Georgian wine of the collection ("Saperavi"), was bottled in 1841.
The base of the shield symbolically depicts the Telavi citadel, completely revamped in the 18th century by King Heraclius II (1720/21-1798, crowned in 1744); the tradition presents the citadel as the birth and death place of the king. Covering an area of 3 ha, the citadel is enclosed in a stone fence with rounded merlons defended by four cylindrical towers. The citadel includes a castle rebuilt several times, two churches, from the 10th-11th and 18th centuries, respectively, a bath house and a tunnel.

Ivan Sache, 3 March 2019

Iakob Gogebashvili Telavi State University


Flag of TESAU - Image by Ivan Sache, 15 October 2017

The Iakob Gogebashvili Telavi State University (TESAU; website) is the worthy successor of the century-old educational traditions of Ikalto Academy (12th century), Telavi Philosophical and Theological School (1758-1782), Theological Seminary (1782-1801), Theological School (1818-1918), Teachers’ Professional College (1924-1939), Teachers’ Professional Institute (1939-1951), and Pedagogical Institute (1951-1999).
The University was named in 1940 after Iakob Gogebashvili (1840-1912), the founder of scientific pedagogy in Georgia and an influential supporter of the Georgian revival movement. On the 60th anniversary from its foundation, in 1999, the University was given the status of State University.
TESAU is composed of the Faculties of Humanities, Agrarian Sciences, Educational Sciences, Exact and Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences, Business and Law.

The flag of TESAU (photo) is white with the university's emblem in the center.

Ivan Sache, 15 October 2017