Salome Orbeliani (1795-1847)
Biographical information about Alexandre Chavchavadze’s talented spouse, Salome Orbeliani, is sparse. She was born in 1795 into the Georgian nobility. In 1812, she married Alexander Chavchavadze, and they eventually had four children—three girls (Nino, Ekaterine, and Sophio) and a boy (David).
Both she and her daughters had a reputation for selfless concern for others. In partnership with her husband, she donated considerable goods, money, and time to efforts to improve the quality of life for others, and she supported many projects that contributed to the family’s reputation for upholding humanist ideals.
Salome Orbeliani was also renowned as a host. Well-educated for her day, she held salons where social affairs, politics, literature, art, music, and business were discussed at the family’s residence in Tbilisi and their country estate of Tsinandali. Her contemporaries described her as a charming woman who inspired several poets to dedicate works to her. Following her example, her daughters also became known for their skill in hosting events and entertaining guests.
Her devotion to her husband and children was exemplified by her efforts to preserve her husband’s archival materials shortly after his death in a tragic accident in 1846. These materials included personal correspondence, as well as manuscripts of Georgian writers and public figures. Unfortunately, most of the materials later were destroyed in Shamil’s raid on Tsinandali in 1854, which also resulted in the kidnapping of Princess Anna Chavchavadze, her sister Princess Elena Orbeliani, their children, and their servants.
Salome Orbeliani died one year after her husband, in 1847. She is buried at St. David’s Church on Mtatsminda Hill in Tbilisi.
- Bogvelishvili,George. Tsinandali Tbilisi: Sabchota Saqartvelo,1967
- Enikopolov, Ivane. Axali masalebi Al. Chavchavadzis biografiistvis [The new materials for biography of Al. Chavchavadze]. Journal: Mnatobi, No:6-7.Tbilisi: 1933.
- Grishashvili, Ioseb. Literaturuli narkvevebi [Essays]. Vol. IV. Tbilisi: Sabchota Sakhartvelo, 1964.
- Meunargia, Iona. Alexandre Chavchavadze: Biographiuli monatsemebi [Alexander Chavchavadze: Biographikal facts]. Tbilisi: Mnatobi, 1937.
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