A scientific conference dedicated to the 170th anniversary of Besarion Nizharadze, a famous Georgian cleric and public figure, was held at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Tea Tsulukiani, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Nunu Mitskevich, Acting Rector of TSU, Jaba Samushia, academic personnel, students, representatives of various cultural and educational institutions and guests from Svaneti attended the event. Historical, linguistic and ethnographic issues related to Svaneti were discussed at the event.
Acting Rector of TSU, Jaba Samushia spoke about the merits of Archpriest Besarion Nizharadze, his activities, works and contribution to the development of Georgian science. “It was the person who arrived in Svaneti upon the instructions of Ilia Chavchavadze and started to do the great Georgian job there, the results of which we are talking about today. Even after almost a century and a half, his works are very important and his writings, his historical, ethnological, folkloristic records still maintain huge importance in the study of Svaneti.”
Deputy Prime Minister Tea Tsulukiani focused on Besarion Nizharadze’s important role in the research of Svanetian culture and history. “Besarion Nizharadze is a great person, who is still remembered in daily life in Svaneti, and his name is praised for the great Georgian deeds that he did in the fields of folklore, ethnology, history and other areas. I am glad that our university raises young generations on his traditions.”
The event was organized by the TSU Faculty of Humanities; the Department of Georgian Ethnology of the Institute of History and Ethnology; the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia and the Association of Anthropologists of Georgia.
“Similar to Archpriest Besarion, we are also interested in popularizing the Svan language, studying the Svan language. Tbilisi State University takes care of studying the culture of Svaneti; the same is done by the state. So, Besarion Nizharadze’s deeds continue and this day is one of the most important confirmations of the connection between generations,” Dean of the TSU Faculty of Humanities, Nana Gaprindashvili said.
“Archpriest Besarion has made a very important contribution to Georgian culture of the late 19th century and the early 20th century. More than 30 scientists from various cultural and educational institutions and museums of Georgia are participating in the conference,” TSU Professor Rozeta Gujejiani noted.
Besarion Nizharadze is a public figure of the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century (1852-1919). Besides his spiritual work, he was actively collaborating with magazines and newspapers of that period, publishing articles under the pseudonyms Free Svan, Besarion Svan and Svan. His letters and essays cover the history, ethnography, archaeology, folklore, geography and language of Svaneti. He has published a collection of Svan popular tales, heroic and historical stories about Svaneti and Racha. Besarion Nizharadze has made a huge contribution to the research of Svaneti.