German district in Bolnisi

The Swabian Germans who came from Württemberg, Southern Germany, settled in Georgia with the support of the Russian Empire. The first village, Marienfeld, was founded in 1817 (now it is Sartichala village). In 1818, another 500 German families arrived, and this is how Katarinenfeld (now Bolnisi), Elisabetthal (now Asureti), Neu-Tiflis (Davit Agmashenebeli Avenue and its surrounding streets), Alexandersdorf (Tbilisi, Didube, Tskaltubo and Samtredia Streets), and Petersdorf were created. Two German settlements - Helenendorf and Annenfeld were also established on the territory of present-day Azerbaijan.
Kvemo Kartli


Among the German villages of Georgia, Katarinenfeld was the largest urban-type settlement, and it covers an important area of the center of the current city of Bolnisi. The oldest part of Katarinenfeld, which the locals call the "German district", is in the surroundings of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church (Merab Kostava St. 8). It includes the Parnavaz Mepe St., Giorgi Saakadze St., Tamaz Stepania St., Tsiskvili St., Merab Kostava and Shota Rustaveli Streets.

District history 

Katarinenfeld was named in honor of Queen Catherine of Württemberg. During World War I and then during the Soviet period, German villages changed their names. In honor of the revolutionary socialist Rosa Luxemburg, Katarinenfeld was named Luxemburg, and it was renamed to Bolnisi in 1943. The German quarter of Bolnisi is the oldest place in Katarinenfeld. 


The Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Katarinenfeld was built in 1854. The church had a tall bell tower, which was demolished by the Soviet authorities, then a school gym were established at Merab Kostava St. 8. The building is still used for sporting events. 

Near the Katarinenfeld church is also the pastor's house (Merab Kostava St. 3), the facade and attic of which have now been completely rebuilt, although the original basements and main walls still stand. In 1920, an additional floor was built on the one-story building of the village community house, which was later converted into a school. In 2019, with the support of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Bolnisi Municipality, its restoration-adaptation was carried out and the Bolnisi Culture Center stands at Parnavaz Mepe St. 41.

There used to be three mills in the village. The former mill of the Kotsle family was bought by the German son-in-law of the Bolnisian family ten years ago. The building was reconstructed and today German Mill is a well-known hotel and restaurant at Sioni St. 4.

Previously, the settlement was served by a 40-member volunteer fire department, they had their two-story building on Merab Kostava St. 7, which is still functioning today.

In the German district of Bolnisi, in addition to the church, school, mill, and firehouse, the best German residential houses from different periods have survived to this day, which seems to have a strong influence on Georgian architecture. It is a synthesis of Swabian-Georgian architecture, where traditional Georgian wooden balconies coexist with fachwerk style typical of German houses, with their high-attic roofs and deep basements. 

There are many such buildings in the German district, but the best among them is the house of the Walkers (Parnavaz Mepe St. 15), the house of the Schmidts (Parnavaz Mepe St. 27), the house of the Allmendingers (Parnavaz Mepe St. 30), the house of the winemaker Gottlieb and Immanuel Wegner (Parnavaz Mepe St. 36), winemaker Fritz Zackmann's house (Parnavaz Mepe St. 38-40), winemaker Eduard Allmendinger's house (Parnavaz Mepe St. 42), merchant Georg Walker's house (Parnavaz Mepe St. 44-46), winemaker Franz Breuninger house (Parnavaz Mepe St. 47), carpenter Johannes Kremer's house (Parnavaz Mepe St. 50), and writer and teacher Immanuel Walker's house (Tsiskvili St. 8). 

Traditional German Goods

The economic rise of Katarinenfeld was primarily due to wine production. The Germans started cultivating wine in 1820 with seedlings given to them by the locals. In the settlement, there were private winemaking companies and a public viticulture farm. The Germans shared wine varieties and winemaking experiences with the Georgians, but they did not use Georgian qvevris, preferring their traditional wooden barrels for fermenting, storing and transporting wine.

The basements of the German houses in Bolnisi still have functioning cellars, where barrels of different sizes and equipment needed for winemaking are kept to this day. Many families still preserve German furniture, books, musical instruments, and household items.

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