Art Palace of Georgia, Tbilisi
Museum of Georgian Theatre, Music, Cinema and Choreography
Art Palace of Georgia – Museum of Cultural History in Tbilisi contains more than two hundred thousand exhibits. Built in 1895 by German architect Paul Stern, its eclectic Gothic-Oriental style sets it apart even from the diverse architecture which defines Georgia’s capital. Yet it is the unusual love story behind the palace which truly intrigues the museum’s many visitors.
History of Love
Behind the Art Palace of Georgia is an illicit love story between German Prince Constantine Oldenberg and a Georgian lady named Agrafina Dadiani.
Renowned Hungarian artist Mikhail Zichy was invited to Georgia in the late 19th century to illustrate the famous Georgian poem “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”. At one of Zichy’s workshops, Prince Constantine set eyes on the painting of a beautiful woman and immediately fell in love. The woman featured in the art project was Agrafina Dadiani, the wife of a Georgian noblemen named Tariel Dadiani. Tariel was a gambler and soon fell into significant debt to Prince Constantine. As payment, he offered the prince one night with his wife. Agrafina agreed to spend a night with the prince only on the condition that he build a palace for her. The prince agreed, and in six months’ time the Art Palace of Georgia, often referred to as “Palace for One Night”, was completed. Prince Constantine’s devotion finally convinced Agrafina to leave her husband and start a new life with her royal lover in the “Palace of Love”.
Art Palace of Georgia Today
Since 1989, the Georgian Art Palace has housed the Georgian State Museum of Theatre, Music, Cinema and Choreography, commonly referred to as the Palace of Art. The only museum in the capital located in a palace, it attracts many visitors with its unusual status and love story.
In the 10 exhibition halls of the palace-museum are unique items related to Georgian cinema, music, theatre, literature and choreography. The museum holds 362 works by famous local designer Petre Otskheli, as well as works by other Georgian artists, including Niko Pirosmani, Gigo Gabashvili, Ketevan Magalashvili and Elene Akhvlediani.
The Palace of Art was the first museum in Georgia to be included in Google Arts and Culture, with 4 of its exhibitions - "National and Stage Costumes", "Fine Arts", "Petre Otskheli: Always Modern", and "Art Palace: Indoor and Outdoor" - featured on the arts and culture website.
Art Palace of Georgia – Museum of Cultural History is located on Kargareteli Street in Tbilisi’s historic district. Arguably one of the most interesting sights in the capital, it is a must-see for culture and history enthusiasts. Come and create your own immortal story in the Art Palace of Georgia!