Woman in Georgian History

Georgia, called Colchis in the Argonauts legend and Iberia in the Byzantine Empire, is fascinating today with its ancient independent culture. This fertile sunny place at the Black Sea and the Caucasus is one of the first Christian countries in the world and, despite many wars and foreign occupiers retained its independence. Georgia or SAKARTVELO საქართველო is home to the oldest gold mine, its own alphabet and has an 8,000-year-old wine tradition. The admirable history of the people, who constantly had to defend themselves from invaders, is characterized by exceptional female personalities. Princess Medea made the old Colchis known to the ancient world. Only with her help did the Argonauts succeed in taking the Golden Fleece to Greece. The young woman Nino converted the royal family of Georgia to Christianity in the fourth century and was venerated as an “apostle-like”. Queen Tamar, who was called king, first female ruler of Georgia (1166 – 1213) ruled during the Georgian Golden Age of the 12th – 13th centuries. Tamar was 18 years old when her father, Giorgi III, declared her a joint ruler alongside him. A few centuries later, Queen Ketevan’s martyrdom saved her people from the Iranian conquest. Georgia knows fascinating women – Medea, Nino, Tamar and Ketevan – who have tremendously changed the history of their country. Four portraits of Queen Tamar (12th century) can be admired as frescoes in the following churches: in Vardzia, Kintsvisi, Bethania and Berthubani. The woman who became object of admiration in the world of that time for her beauty and wisdom was immortalized in these frescoes. Friedrich Barbarossa wanted to marry her off to one of his sons. Tamar was divorced at that time. She later married a second time, this time an Ossetian prince. She modernized politics, economy and culture. King Tamar established the Darbazi (aristocratic parliament). It implemented local courts whose decisions could be appealed to at the Supreme Court.  She abolished the death penalty and slavery, had churches and academies built, and supported scientists, poets and artists. Rustaveli dedicated the national epic “Man in Panther Skin” to King Tamar.

Famous Modern-Day Georgian Women

Salome Zurabishvili, President of Georgia

(March 18, 1952, Paris -) Political figure of France and Georgia, 5th President of Georgia, Member of Parliament of the 9th convocation of Georgia, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia since March 2004 Until October 2005, Ambassador of France to Georgia in 2003-2004.

Salome Zurabishvili was born and raised in France in the family of Levan Zurabishvili, a figure of Georgian political emigration and chairman of the Georgian community in France for many years. She is the great granddaughter of Niko Nikoladze, a Georgian public and political figure.

Woman at the government: Minister of Justice – Tea Tsulukiani, Minister of Defense – Tina Khidasheli, Vice Prime Minister – Maia Tskitishvili, Minister of Economy – Natia Turnava, Minister of Health – Ekaterine Tikaradze, Civil Correctness – Tea Akhvlediani, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Khatuna Totladze etc.

Nona Gafrindashvili, chess player (1941 – )
Nona Gafrindashvili is a world champion chess player best known for being the first female to win the International Chess Federation (FIDE) and one of the first to win the Women’s World Chess Championship. In 1978, Gafrindashvili went on to become the first woman to receive the title of Grandmaster by FIDE, one of the most prestigious titles that a player can earn.

Nino Katamadze, jazz singer (1972 – )
Nino Katamadze began her singing career in Georgia before rising to fame on the international scene in the early 21st century. Today she is counted among Georgia’s most celebrated artists and is known for her unique blend of musical styles and her improvisation at concerts.

Nana Ekvtimishvili, playwright and director (1978 – )
Nana Ekvtimshvili is an award-winning director who has brought the Georgian film industry into the international spotlight. This talented screenwriter, playwright and author has been hailed as a catalyst for the birth of a new era in the Georgian film industry.

Anita Rachvelishvili, opera singer (1984 – )
Anita Rachvelishvili, considered one of the greatest opera singers in the world today, is counted among the many outstanding women in Georgian history. She has performed on countless stages internationally and has been highly praised by contemporaries and critics alike.

Katie Melua, singer-songwriter (1984 – )
Katie Melua was born in Georgia and moved to the United Kingdom as a child. After honing her musical skills as a teenager, her natural talent quickly became apparent and she released her first album before her 20th birthday. Melua went on to become one of Europe’s most beloved female artists and one of the most famous singers from Georgia.

Khatia Buniatishvili, concert pianist (1987 – )
Khatia Buniatishvili is an internationally acclaimed pianist who was born in Georgia. She began performing locally while still a child and has since risen to international fame through her emotional, creative renditions of classical pieces.