Upon entering the yard of the museum, you’ll see a 500-year-old walnut tree. During his life, Ilia would sit in the shade of this tree and talk to peasants, writing down the old folk tales that they would tell. Ilia Chavchavadze was born to one of the noblest families in the history of Georgia, but his love and appreciation for the common folk endeared him to the nation.
The 17th-century three-story tower, which was used as a shelter for women and children during invasions, has been reconstructed in the yard. It was during one of those attacks, at dawn on the 8th of November 1837, that Ilia Chavchavadze was born on the second floor of that tower.
The small home in which Ilia was raised has an elaborately decorated balcony, and was further extended with a family wine cellar. Wine has been made here in 37 Qvevris over the centuries, and even today, on November 8th of every year, which is known as Iliaoba, the oldest varieties of grapes in the world – the white Rkatsiteli and the red Saperavi – are made into wine here. It is possible to attend this celebration, so if you’re in the country in November, it’s worth a look!
Around the museum you can also find a watermill, which is still in use today over the Duruji River.
The exhibits in the exhibition hall are as rich and interesting as the amazing life of Ilia Chavchavadze, whose life saw him in the roles of writer, public figure, editor, publisher, banker, and politician.
The museum is located at Rustaveli Street 2 in Kvareli, Kakheti Region.