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Zugdidi (Municipality, Georgia)


Last modified: 2021-09-25 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Zugdidi

The town of Zugdidi (42,889 inhabitants in 2014; 2,180 ha) is located in western Georgia, 10 km from the border with Abkhazia and 400 km of Tbilisi.

Zugdidi was the capital of the Dadiani family, the most powerful feudal lineage in western Georgia. Konstyantin Dadiani was the Minister of Finances of the Kingdom of Georgia around 1440-1480. When the area was incorporated to the kingdom of Imeriti in the 15th century, the Dadiani obtained the title of Principal (mtavari); in the middle of the 16th century, Levan I Dadiani was recognized as Principal of Odashi by the Ottoman rulers; Imeriti attempted to regain control of Odashi, to no avail. Lavan II Dadiani (1611-1657) claimed in a letter to the Tzar of Russia to be King of Western Georgia, although this title never existed; Odashi, however, had the same status as the neighboring kingdoms of Imeriti, Kartii and Kakheti.
On 4 January 1867, the Principality of Samegrelo was incorporated to the Russian Empire. The last Principal, Nikolas Dadiani, was granted the hereditary, but totally powerless title of Prince Mingretski.

The Dadiani Palace complex in Samegrelo, in the city of Zugdidi, is one of Georgia's most beautiful examples of 19th century architecture, and one of the few historical buildings in good condition outside the capital. The palace complex has finally completed a major renovation that began in 2015.
The complex was built primarily by Russian architect Leonid Vassilyev. It includes the palace of Ekaterine Chavchavadze-Dadiani, the last queen of Samegrelo, a residence for her son Niko Dadiani, a monastery, and a large garden which is now the Zugdidi Botanical Gardens. The main palace is home to the largest royal ballroom in Georgia. Construction on the queen's palace began in 1873 following a design attributed to Edwig Jacob Rice. This is the best-known surviving structure built under the Dadianis' royal patronage. It was built in the neogothic style on a monumental scale. Its outline resembles an English castle with oriental features. The palace's lavish interior design melds Georgian, Russian, and Parisian styles.
In its day, the Queen's Palace was not only the chief residence of Prince Niko and the Queen, but also the site of one of the finest libraries in Georgia, a museum, and a military office. It housed valuable artworks and historical, archaeological, and paleographic objects.
The new Zugdidi State Museum of History and Ethnography will be located in the Niko Dadiani Palace and will include collections ranging from as far back as the Bronze Age to the late 19th century. The museum will also contain significant items from the Dadiani royal family.

The Dadiani family had connections with European noble families, and hosted distinguished historical figures including pacifist and novelist Bertha von Suttner (1843-1914), the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (1905).
[Georgia Today, 3 July 2018]

Per the 2014 administrative reform, the town of Zugdidi was established a self-governing city, surrounded by the self-governing community of the same name.

Ivan Sache, 3 November 2018

City of Zugdidi

[Flag]         [Arms]

Flag and arms of the City of Zugdidi - Images by The State Council of Heraldry at the Parliament of Georgia, 8 May 2021

The flag of the City of Zugdidi is blue, charged in the center with a purple shield bordered in yellow and charged with the yellow Robe of the Most Holy Mother of God.
The coat of arms of the City of Zugdidi is "Azure an escutcheon purpure charged with the Robe of the Most Holy Mother of God or superimposed to the Golden Fleece or a base wavy argent. 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]

A history museum in Zugdidi has preserved many of the sacred artifacts confiscated from churches and monasteries at the beginning of the Soviet rule, from 1923 to 1936. Included among the artifacts is the Robe of the Most Holy Theotokos, which was brought there from the Dormition Monastery in Khobi (near Zugdidi).
There are several different explanations as to how the Robe came to Georgia. According to one account, it was brought from Jerusalem at the beginning of the 12th century. According to another, it was brought to Georgia in the 8th century, during the period of iconoclasm in Byzantium. According to the chronicle Life of Kartli, the wonder-working Robe of the Most Holy Theotokos had been preserved in the church at Khobi for many centuries.
In 1640 the Russian envoys Fedot Elchin and Pavel Zakharev visited western Georgia and reported having seen the Precious Robe. It was also described in the accounts of various travelers through western Georgia including Giuseppe Maria Zampi the Italian missionary, the patriarch of Alexandria (in the 17th century); and several monks of Mt. Athos.
The Robe of the Theotokos was preserved in a silver case on the altar in Khobi, under the seals of both the catholicos and Prince Levan II Dadiani.

According to tradition, many miracles have occurred and a great number of people have been healed by the wonder-working Robe.
Every year on July 2, the Most Precious Robe is carried from the Zugdidi Museum to the Cathedral of the Blachernae Icon of the Theotokos. After the festal Liturgy the faithful joyfully venerate this most priceless treasure of the Christian Faith.
[Orthodox Christianity]

Ivan Sache, 8 May 2021

Community of Zugdidi

[Flag]         [Arms]

Flag and arms of the Community of Zugdidi - Images by The State Council of Heraldry at the Parliament of Georgia, 8 May 2021

The flag of the Community of Zugdidi is quartered blue-purple by a golden cross, placed at 1/3 of the flag's length. The width of the cross' arms is 1.5 the flag's width. The intersection of the cross' arms is superimposed with a purple shield bordered in yellow and charged with the yellow Robe of the Most Holy Mother of God.
[State Council of Heraldry at the Parliament of Georgia]

The Community uses the same arms as the Sity, with different outer ornaments.

Ivan Sache, 8 May 2021