Zugdidi (Georgian: ზუგდიდი; Mingrelian: ზუგდიდი or ზუგიდი) is a city in the western Georgian historical province of Samegrelo (Mingrelia). It is situated in the north-west of that province. The city is located 318 kilometres west of Tbilisi, 30 km from the Black Sea coast and 30 km from the Egrisi Range, at an elevation of 100–110 metres above sea level. Zugdidi is the capital of the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, which combines Samegrelo (Mingrelia) and upper part of Svaneti, and the center of the Zugdidi Municipality within.

Top to bottom:
Dadiani Palace,
Zugdidi view,
Dadiani summer palace
Flag of Zugdidi
Coat of arms of Zugdidi
Zugdidi is located in Georgia
Location of Zugdidi in Georgia
Zugdidi is located in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti
Zugdidi (Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti)
Coordinates: 42°30′30″N 41°52′0″E / 42.50833°N 41.86667°E / 42.50833; 41.86667
Country Georgia
MkhareSamegrelo-Zemo Svaneti
 • Total21.8 km2 (8.4 sq mi)
100 m (300 ft)
 (January 1, 2023)[1]
 • Total41,332
 • Density1,900/km2 (4,900/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+4 (Georgian Time)
Postal code

The city serves as a residence of Metropolitan of Zugdidi and Tsaishi Eparchy of the Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

Etymology Edit

The name "Zugdidi" (ზუგდიდი) first appears in the 17th century. Literally it means "big hill" in the Mingrelian language (from ზუგუ zugu, 'hill'; დიდი didi 'big'). An alternative version of the name recorded in old sources is "Zubdidi" (ზუბდიდი) with same meaning from Megrelian. Local Georgian (Megrelian) residents of the historical provinces of Megrelia and Abkhazia also use "Zugidi" (ზუგიდი), which is a shortened form. The name was given to the town because of a hill situated in the eastern part of the city, where some small remains of an ancient fortress are still visible.

History Edit

Historically Zugdidi was a capital of the Principality of Mingrelia (Odishi) until 1867, when the principality was abolished by the Russian Empire. After then Zugdidi was an administrative center of Zugdidi Uyezd as a part of the Kutais Governorate until 1918, when it became a part of the Democratic Republic of Georgia. From 1930 the center of the Zugdidi Raion of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic and then Independent Georgia (from 1991).

Prince Levan II Dadiani by Teramo Castelli

Between 17–19th centuries, Zugdidi was one of the important political and cultural center of Mingrelia and whole Georgia. A famous Georgian medieval epic poem The Knight in the Panther's Skin has been rewritten by Mamuka Tavakalashvili here at the court of Prince Levan II Dadiani in 1646.

Zugdidi Botanical Garden

During the Crimean War (1853–1856) Ottoman forces with Omar Pasha seized Zugdidi in 1855. At the end of the 1855 and beginning of 1856 city was liberated by Mingrelian Militia commanded by Major General Prince Grigol Dadiani. By the order of Iskender Pasha Ottomans plundered, burnt and destroyed the whole city, especially palaces and botanical garden.[2] During the Russian Empire, the city was the administrative center of the Zugdidi Uyezd of the Kutaisi Governorate. Many buildings were heavily damaged during the Georgian Civil War 1992–1993 as well.

In 1993, there were located administration of the first President of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia and the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia as well.

Architecture and landmarks Edit

Dadiani Palace Edit

Dadiani Palace, built in the 19th century, was home to the final ruling family of the Principality of Samegrelo. The complex includes the palace of Ekaterine Dadiani of Samegrelo; a residence for her son, Niko Dadiani; a monastery; and what is now the Zugdidi Botanical Garden. Today, the palace operates as a museum and is open to visitors. It underwent renovations from 2015 to 2018.[3][4]

Dadiani Palaces Museum and Cathedral of Blachernae St. Virgin Icon

Botanical Garden Edit

Zugdidi Botanical Garden was established in the 19th century by the Prince of Mingrelia David Dadiani and Queen Ekaterine, near the residential palaces. Currently, the garden is a branch of Tbilisi Central Botanical Garden and is administered by the Georgian Academy of Sciences. The garden covers 26 hectares.

Shalva Dadiani Zugdidi State Academic Drama Theater Edit

This theater's first performance, Molière's Le médecin malgré lui (The Doctor Despite Himself), was staged on 11 April 1869 by Anton Purtseladze. The Drama Theater was founded in 1932. in 1959 the theater was named after the famous Georgian novelist and theatrical actor Shalva Dadiani (1874–1959).[citation needed]

Other landmarks Edit

Climate Edit

Zugdidi has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) under the Köppen climate classification.

Climate data for Zugdidi (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 22.2
Average high °C (°F) 10.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.1
Average low °C (°F) 1.4
Record low °C (°F) −10.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 151.3
Source: World Meteorological Organization[5]

Demography and population Edit

Historically Zugdidi is known as a distinctly mono-ethnic city with a vast majority of Georgians. By the 2002 state census 98.97% (166,039) of its total population (167,760) were ethnic Georgians (for both city and municipality).[6]

In the second half of the 1850s, due to the short Ottoman occupation, the town population decreased from 2000 to 800.

The 1950s-1970s were an important period for Zugdidi's development, which affected the growth of population, while the last 20-year growth was mainly caused by refugee displacement. After the Russian-Georgian war in Abkhazia (1992-1993) a large number of internally displaced peoples from Abkhazia were forced to move to Zugdidi. As a result of this, according to the 2002 state census, Zugdidi became the fifth most populous city in Georgia, ahead of Sokhumi, Poti, and Gori. As of the 2014 national census, the population of Zugdidi decreased to 42,998 inhabitants, making it Georgia's sixth most populous city after Gori.[7]

Historic population of Zugdidi:[8][9][7]

Local festival in Dadiani Palace Gardens
Zugdidi city map
Year Total Male Female
1851 2,000 --- ---
1863 800 --- ---
1886 1,078 --- ---
1897 3,407 2,129 1,278
1917 4,000 --- ---
1922 4,525 --- ---
1926 5,577 2,843 2,734
1939 15,062 7,394 7,668
1959 31,081 14,119 16,962
1970 39,896 18,610 21,286
1979 45,170 20,988 24,182
1989 50,022 23,551 26,471
2002 68,535 31,312 37,223
2014 42,998 19,746 23,252
2023 41,332 --- ---

Education Edit

Zugdidi is a regional center of education. Institutes of higher education are:

Shalva Dadiani Drama Theater
Zugdidi Railway Station
The Cathedral of the Blachernae Icon of the Mother of God
  • Shota Meskhia State Teaching University[10] – the main institution of higher education founded in 2007 on the basis of Zugdidi Branch of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Zugdidi Professional Lyceum and Senaki Agro-economic College. The university has three faculties of Humanitarian, Business Administration and Law and Health.
  • Zugdidi Teaching University European Academy,[11] founded in 1991

Besides this Zugdidi has 13 public and 3 private schools, as well as kindergartens.

  • Alexander Gurtskaya Gymnasium – GG[12] – one more place of interest and unique educational space. Was founded in 2011, on the basis of Presidential Decree instead of former Public School No.7. Today, GG is an innovative educational environment where each individual has a wide selection, capability and motivation of intellectual, physical and spiritual development and wonderful opportunities for achieving success in the global competitive society. The Gymnasium welcomes its students and guests with its unique, original facade, which is made as randomly-spaced books on the shelves.

Library tradition in Zugdidi dates back to the reign of Prince (Mtavari) David Dadiani (1812–1853) of Mingrelia, who collected a large number of handwritten and printed books. The first public library in Zugdidi was established in 1887. After this, in 1899 new reading-room was rearranged, which turned into library in 1912 with its own building.[13] Currently, the library is called Zugdidi City Municipal Library.

Zugdidi A. Gurtskaya Gymnasium

Annual events Edit

Vlakernoba in 2012

Vlakernoba Edit

The main annual event in Zugdidi is Vlakernoba (Georgian: ვლაქერნობა - The day of the Blachernae's Virgin Mary) - an Orthodox Christian feast celebrated every year, on July 15. On this day, the robe of the Blessed Virgin Mary is taken from the Tower of Virgin of the Queen Palace (now a museum), where it is kept, to the Cathedral of the Blachernae Icon of the Mother of God. During the feast thousands of the faithful from all over the world are able to venerate the holy relic upon the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy.

From 2012, during the event, the holy robe was carried into the new cathedral of Iberian Theotokos. Vlakernoba is celebrated since the 1990s.

Zugdidoba Edit

Zugdidoba (Georgian: ზუგდიდობა - the day of Zugdidi) is a newly reestablished public festival, featuring various cultural, sport and educational events in Zugdidi, mostly in October. The festival is managed both by Zugdidi Municipal City Hall and Zugdidi Municipality Government.

Sports Edit

The main association football team in the city is FC Dinamo Zugdidi founded in 1919. Other, amateur, football clubs are FC Mglebi Zugdidi and FC Odishi 1919. American Football Club "Western bad boys"

Notable people Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ "Population - National Statistics Office of Georgia". www.geostat.ge.
  2. ^ Proceedings of Zugdidi State Historic and Ethnographic Museum, volume 1 (in Georgian). Zugdidi. 1947. pp. 101–102.
  3. ^ Guthrie, Samantha (2018-07-03). "Dadiani Palace in Zugdidi Finishes Renovations". Georgia Today. Retrieved 2020-02-23.
  4. ^ "19th Century Dadiani Palace complex undergoes vital restoration". Agenda.ge. Retrieved 2020-02-23.
  5. ^ "World Meteorological Organization Climate Normals for 1981–2010". World Meteorological Organization. Archived from the original on 9 October 2021. Retrieved 9 October 2021.
  6. ^ "Unsere Artikel Uploads". ECMI - Fitness Magazin aus Georgien.
  7. ^ a b "2014 General Population Census Main Results General Information" (PDF). National Statistics Office of Georgia. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  8. ^ Russian Empire and Soviet Census for 1897, 1926, 1939, 1959, 1970, 1979, 1989 (in Russian)
  9. ^ "2002 General Population Census Major Findings" (PDF). National Statistics Office of Georgia. Retrieved 10 May 2016.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "შოთა მესხიას ზუგდიდის სახელმწიფო სასწავლო უნივერსიტეტი". www.zssu.ge.
  11. ^ "Გრიგოლ ხვიტიას ზუგდიდის სასწავლო უნივერსიტეტი". Archived from the original on 2016-10-02. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  12. ^ "GG-SCHOOL".
  13. ^ "ზუგდიდის მუნიციპალიტეტის ბიბლიოთეკების მართვის ცენტრი".
  14. ^ Ика Мепория: "Когда выходишь на поле – волнение пропадает…" (in Russian). UA-Футбол. 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2010-07-07.

External links Edit