A View of the Park
Tsinandali park and its beautiful gardens were established by Prince Garsevan Chavchavadze toward the end of the 18th century. The Prince lived for 18 years in St. Petersburg, the capital of the Russian Empire, while serving as Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Georgian King Erekle II. When he finally returned to Georgia, he settled in the village of Tsinandali, where he ordered the construction of a palace and the creation of a tranquil refuge in the shadow of the dramatic neighboring Caucasian Mountains. The park consisted of orchards, walks, and paths lined with vines, flowerbeds, and traditional Georgian rose bushes. It also incorporated a number of existing oak, lime, and maple trees; now 400 to 500 years old, these stand as strong reminders of the Chavchavadze family’s legacy.
Another View of the Park
In 1811, Garsevan Chavchavadze’s son Alexandre became owner of the Tsinandali estate, and the park was extensively renovated under his direction. In the 1820s, he constructed an underground irrigation system, a new palace, and an underground wine-cellar, and the park was enlarged.
The area around the palace was characterized by an orderly design, with semi symmetrical lime-tree paths, rows of cypresses, vine arbors, flowerbeds, and waterfalls. Random exotic and decorative plants were added with the passage of time. These compliment the indigenous plants, providing a variety of unexpected shapes, textures, and colors.
In 1854, the Tsinandali estate was burned by a raiding force of the Islamic guerilla leader Shamil. The damage to the park was grave enough to make restoration of its initial design impossible. As a result of the destruction a large section of the park was also damaged by flooding from the nearby Kisiskhevi River. Unfortunately, flooding continues to pose a threat to the park.
On February 8, 1886, the Chavchavadze family estate and park were acquired by the Estate Department of the Russian Empire as a result of family’s indebtedness Reconstruction followed, under the direction of a group of St. Petersburg architects. This reconstruction was hastened by a visit of Tsar Alexandre III and his retinue in 1888 who were suitably impressed.
Renovation plans for the park were created by Arnold Regel (1846-1917), a prominent landscape architect from St. Petersburg, whose previous creations included an Italian garden in Gann; and a park near Wesenberg (both in Germany), a public garden in front of the Alexandre Theatre in St. Petersburg; and a landscape park in Davidovsk, Ukraine. Regel was responsible for redesigning the park and supervising the importation of plants from abroad. Data regarding the exotic plants transplanted to Tsinandali are preserved in the Central Historical State Archive in St. Petersburg.
The park layout that Regel created is largely in the English style similar to the parks at Richmond, Kew Gardens, and Kensington Gardens. It offers a variety of plant species, forms, and colors; both open and closed areas; and both close and distant perspectives. From the main entrance, visitors see the front façade of the palace, dominating the park. From the palace, various points within the park open up to views of the snow-capped Caucasian Mountains and Alazani valley.
However, even after Regel’s redesign, it took decades for the park to assume its final shape. Landscape architecture involves living materials, which change over time in terms of shape, form, size, color, and composition, and which require constant professional supervision and maintenance. Inventories of the park’s plant life were undertaken in 1933-35 and in 1977-78. The first of these resulted in a plan to preserve the historic style and plant composition of the park, and the latter included a partial renovation of the park and the addition of land to its north side.
On August 20, 1987 the Georgian government placed Tsinandali park on the list of the National Monuments of Landscape Architecture. In 1987-90, the Georgian Agricultural Institute created yet another restoration plan for the park. However, this plan was not implemented.
A View of a Park Path w/ the Museum on the left
Well over a century has passed since Arnold Regel created the outlines of the park in Tsinandali that exists today, and for much of the 20th century, the park was poorly maintained. Some of the plants have become overgrown, and others have disappeared; comparisons of the existing plant life to early inventories testify to the extinction or overgrowth of several exotic trees and bushes. While the Silk Road Group’s current restoration plans call for the preservation of Regel’s style and retention of large parts of his original design, they also propose new features and the application of modern technologies to transform the park into a major attraction that can support large numbers of visitors while continuing to provide them with an elegant and tranquil experience.
- Bogvelishvili,George. Tsinandali Tbilisi: Sabchota Saqartvelo,1967
- Chkhkeidze,Tengiz. Sauplistculo mamulebi Kaxetshi. 1885-1921 [The principal landlords in Kakheti. 1885-1921]. Tbilisi:Metsniereba, 1968.
- Kvaratskhelia, O. Tsinandlis parki [The park of Tsinandali]. In the Journal: Sabchota xelovneba [Soviet art]. Tbilisi: 1969.
- Megutnishvili, Soso, Tsinandali, Saqartvelos kulturis sagandzuri [Tsinandali Treasury of Georgian Culture] Tbilisi: Gr.Robaqidze Un-tis Gamomcemloba, 2006.
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