Alexander Chavchavadze was born in 1786, in Petersburg, while his father, Garsevan Chavchavadze, was working there at that time. The poet was educated in the Russian capital. He traveled a glorious military career beginning with the rank of lieutenant up to lieutenant-general. After Alexander had participated in the First Patriotic War, he took part in many other wars: in Paris, Saxony, Dagestan and Bayazet.
He was a governor of Armenian region, administrator of military board of Kakheti and a member of the Union of Administration in South Caucasus. Numerous medals and rewards of the highest degree adorn his list of services.
Alexander Chavchavadze is a poet of a new Georgian literature.
Alexander built his palace in the 20-30th of the 19th century in Tsinandali. On the territory of 20 hectares he laid out a park and spared neither strength nor resources for its decoration. With this purpose, he even made a request to general Paskevich to relieve him of his post.
According to Levan Rcheulishvili, the architect, Tsinandali Palace does not belong to either European or Asian style; it represents eclecticism of these two styles.
The most part of foreigners, arriving to Georgia becomes acquainted with the history, literature and culture of the Georgian nation in Alexander Chavchavadze’s family. From the beginning of 19th century, Alexander Chavchavadze’s family – the first landowner of Kakheti – was marked out by the brilliant literary salon and rare hospitality both in Tsinandali and Tbilisi.
Who never set foot in this most beautiful manor! Grigol Orbeliani, Nicoloz Baratashvili, Vakhtang and Alexander Orbeliani, Sophia and Helen Eristavi, Maiko and Manana Orbeliani, Mikhail Lermontov, Lev Pushkin, Decembrists expelled to the "South Siberia”, French consul Jacque Fransua Gamba, professor of the Yen University Han Carl Koch, Theodore Tornau, Alexander Dumas and many other famous people were ravished by Tsinandali Palace – the powerful hearth of Georgian culture.
The Palace remembers sad days as well: On July 2nd, 1854, Shamil with his detached forces attacked David’s (Alexander Chavchavadze’s son) family at dawn, robbed and burnt the Palace and took his wife, children and relatives, who were staying in the Palace at that time, prisoners. Shamil demanded 40 000 roubles as ransom for captives. David had to borrow this amount of money from the Russian Public Bank and in 9 months he was able to free hostages. After his death, due to the failure to pay the debt, the territory was declared princely property. The Romanovs had reconstructed the estate after which Alexander the IIIrd together with his mother and wife visited Tsinandali.
During the Soviet Union the Palace represented the place of rest for honorary guests.
George Leonidze, the great son of fatherland, poet-academician and director of Museum of Literature was at the head of opening of Museum and in 1947, he organized the official opening of Alexander Chavchavadze’s House Museum. Things, lost during Shamil’s attack, were collected from population by various ways; this process still continues.
The main dignity of Museum is its memorial department where scientific exposition is presented. All of this is disposed on the second floor of the Palace – in 7 rooms and 2 halls.
Exposition is satiated with personal things, furniture, dishes and books; halls are adorned with two grand pianos and upright piano with folding keyboard, brought by A.Griboedov from France.
More than 2 000 exhibits are kept in fund depository of Museum. Among them are epistolary archives, library, manuscripts, iconographic fund of family members, personal things of heirs, family documents and official papers.
Museum works everyday except Monday from 10:00 till 16:00.