Our European Heritage-Dadiani Palace in Zugdidi

Elene Tuzbaia
Usual routine of the day has been ended and as a rule I did not betray to my customs in terms of checking my e-mail and for feeling happiness even with a little bit of news. Only the words written in big, dark black letters, words in connection with the topic are enough for me to flash the light of happiness in my eyes, whereas, if the pleasant news is hidden beyond the topic written in black, than this only line of happiness will turn into the long and continuous zigzag. That's exactly what happened in my particular case: the letter is from France, its author is the French friend of mine, whom I had met last summer at the German International Language Conference, this is the friend, relationship with whom has developed me in every direction. The letter is as follows: ,,Dear Elene, It’s been a long time since I have not written to you anything after my journey in Georgia, but now I have very pleasant news for you: do you remember the magnificent Palace of Dadiani which we carefully examined while being with you? And now, I would like to tell you, that when I presented the project to school: “European Colour of Dadians”, it had really caused a big furore at my school. Elene! I would like to express my gratitude towards you once more, because you have helped me to get acquainted with this spectacular sightseeing and you gave me a chance to understand, how huge the connection was between us! And now let me tell you the main point, one of my friend, whose sphere of interest is art, was fascinated by the project. In a few days she is going to arrive to Georgia and she will be very happy by your hosting. She speaks German quite well, don’t worry about it! So, we are looking forward to hearing from you soon! Your friend Maria” This was the content of the letter. I have not even thought about the answer, anyway it should have been the positive, because I’m realizing quite well, how big advantage could bring for me the visit of this person, the person who is coming from the heart of Europe, in order to visit the palace of great importance of one small country, one small town, the palace which we, the inhabitants of our country call the "Dadiani Palace". I was very happy, because I was looking forward to the European relationship, as far as I know how important is Europe for me and for my personal development. Actually, European values at school where I study are very important, as it is one of the strongest European partner schools in the region. It’s been already ten years, since a deep and fruitful cooperation has been established between the small village school and the country, which is called as the “Spine” of Europe: we have already made our European choice with the cultural and cognitive events, with hospitality, by indefinitely interesting visits at our partner school, with friendship, unity, labour and effort! I am starting preparation in order to inform my guest about everything in a comprehensive and the most interesting way, from the beginning to the end and for this reason, I am starting preparation of the report, which represents a kind of imaginative dialogue between us, which I have read to myself in a form of monologue: ,,-The first question, which he will initially and ask me by all means, will be the connection between us and them, I will answer to this question in the name of one famous prince, the prince whose name was Achille Murat. From my side, there will not be a necessity of explanation for the French person who is interested in the history, about the historical connection between Napoleon and Achille Murat, but the connection of this Prince himself with Dadiani Palace will be very interesting for him, because the Prince Murat and the daughter of David Dadiani –Salome-were husband and wife. Exactly the Prince Murat was the person, who had brought the French historical-cultural monuments-pictures and books from France. -The beautiful wooden palace of Murats, was one of the integral parts of the architectural ensemble of Dadians, where used to live the daughter of Ekatherine-Salome and her husband, Achille Murat. Both the palace, as well as its inhabitants had got a tragic fortune. In 1895 it was destroyed- none of these facts can be missed. Afterwards, I imagined how we would enter the doors of this huge and beautiful palace, in which many exhibits of European value are represented: -Among the rare exhibits, the bronze mask of Napoleon I, is very important, which was decanted in Paris, in 1833 under the order of the professor of Anatomia–Franchesko Antonmark. Suddenly, I imagined my French guest’s expression inspired with the pride and astonishment. My guest is surprisingly looking at the French graveyard of Dadiani Palace of the Empire Prince Napoleon IV, which dates back to the 19th century. There is one more French gravure in the museum, in accordance with Raffaello Sanzio- the “Transfiguration”, which belongs to the 19th century. Some of the works of the French painter Pierre Blanchar, are fascinating my guest which the Russian Emperor Alexander II had given to Niko Dadiani as a gift … and this is not everything…unique artefacts of French history and culture, the furniture in the style of Bull, Rococo, Ampire are kept in the museum. I can clearly see and feel how well and pleasantly feels my French guest, who is so far away from her home country and at the same time- so close… My and his conversation is not coming to an end, because the French guest who is full of interest, is asking me lots of interesting questions, but I can see that those questions are related not only to France and Dadians, but also to the life of Mengrelians, questions regarding the lives of Mengrelians are very interesting, thus I would like to mention here the European Missionary and I am answering the guest’s interesting question in accordance with the composition of Italian Missionary, Arkanjelo Lamberti - “Description of Samegrelo”. She is more and more surprised with those interesting facts. Wow! How amazing! So many connections between us and Europe!-I am thinking now and I am so satisfied and proud! But that’s not everything, the French friend who is interested in the art, is observing architectural style of Dadiani Palace and is studying it too! As for me, I am ready to satisfy her interest and tell her that, in the construction of the Palace took participation not only Georgian, but also foreign people: Iakob “Tatar”, Khasan Khamuz Ogli and Theodore the “Greek”. In 1851-1852, Edwige Rais, name of father Iakob, was the Architect of the Queen's Palace, who was acting on behalf of the Architecture and Chairmen of Civil Chancellery at the vicegerent’s residence in Tbilisi. The main facade of the Queen’s Palace of Zugdidi represents the peculiar interpretation of Tudor style, internal yard is the excellent mixture of Georgian and Ottoman, where the central part is occupied by the Laz balcony. That’s not all, the Palace is decorated with a beautiful botanical garden built on 67 hectares, which has also got European traces. David Dadiani built the garden for his wife, for this purpose he specially invited the well-known gardener Jozef Babin from Trieste. Italian brothers Gaetano and Jovano Zamberlets worked together with him. Babin had determined and specified the decorative area, arranged a nursery and orangery. He planned the garden with French symmetrical style and Italian development principle, decorated the flowerbeds, lawns, arranged the artificial landscapes. Amazing nature, artificial lake, high, beautiful trees and garden in which the French spirit is felt. It’s hard for me to overcome the feelings, because it is no less interesting and exciting to feel such an amazing Georgian and European synthesis and to make it feel to others. I have thought much about the reason, why you feel satisfaction when you are looking at this place. This place is special, because in my opinion, it has one outlined feature, Dadiani Palace is a kind of intercultural golden interval, Georgian, Mengrelian, traditional soul are accumulated in it, it has got French, Italian and even Russian appearance, but Dadiani’ s scales are absolutely horizontal, it is really intercultural golden interval, the interval which can be hardly found throughout the world. It represents it’s unique feature, which is responding to the clever finding existing indigenously in the World’s history “Take the best from everyone and be the special!” So, for the strength of Georgia, for the strength of our future it is compulsory to exist the view, which is called the European view, there shall exist such thinking, which is called the European thinking, there shall exist such a right choice, which is called European choice…exactly by European vision, thinking and choice is outlined our bright future, this is how it will open the strong doors to NATO and EU! Where does all this come from? All this comes from European heritage. The deep studying of European heritage has got exactly such magnificent importance for us. The true world citizenship is not without national self-consciousness. If we remain Georgians and share the culture of other nations, we will enhance and enrich our country and become real world citizens. European integration should be understood so. Europe is a way for Georgia and each of the step moved forward represents the mean of development of Georgian nation, I would compare the study of European heritage as one, huge step made forward! This is how my monologue was completed, a few days, months have passed and my monologue was brilliantly brought to completion... French friend astonished, pleased and satisfied returned to his native country, in the home country which as it seems has huge connections with my small and interesting Samegrelo, Georgia!
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