The name Mamadaviti literally means “Father David”, and relates to one of the thirteen Assyrian Fathers, Holy Father David Garejeli. Tbilisi’s famous mountain also got the name of Mtatsminda (“Holy Mountain”) in honor of the Holy Mountain of Athos, around the IX century, reflecting a common Georgian practice of naming Christian churches and surroundings after holy places in Greece and Palestine.
The idea to establish a pantheon first arose in 1915, but the pantheon was only opened officially in 1929, to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of the Russian poet Alexander Griboyedov, who was buried here in accordance with his will.
53 people who left their footprint on Georgian history in XIX-XX centuries are buried at Mtatsminda Pantheon, including public figures, writers, artists, and scientists. The monuments and busts were made by famous Georgian sculptors including Iakob Nikoladze, Elguja Amashukeli, Merab Berdzenishvili.
Of particular importance is the grave of Ilia Chavchavadze, a famous Georgian writer dubbed the “uncrowned king of Georgia”. The sculpture on his grave is called “Grieving Georgia” and depicts a woman in grief. The sculptor was Iakob Nikoladze, the founder of Georgian sculpture who studied from Auguste Rodin. Nikoladze created the monument in 1909 in Paris, two years after Chavchavadze was murdered.