Akaki Tsereteli

(1840-1915 / Georgia)

Biography of Akaki Tsereteli

Prince Ak'ak'i Tsereteli (June 9, 1840-January 26, 1915) was a prominent Georgian poet and national liberation movement figure.

He was born in the village of Skhvitori (Imereti region of western Georgia) on June 9, 1840 to the prominent Georgian aristocratic family. His father was Prince Rostom Tsereteli. Following the old tradition Ak'ak'i Tsereteli spent his childhood years in the village of Savane in a peasant’s family and was brought up by a peasant nanny, all of which made him feel empathy for the peasants’ life in Georgia.

He graduated from the Kutaisi Gymnasium in 1852 and the University of Saint Petersburg Faculty of Oriental Languages in 1863.

Prince Akaki Tsereteli was a close friend of Prince Ilia Chavchavadze , Georgian progressive intellectual youth leader. The generation of the 1860s, led by Ch'avch'avdze and Tsereteli, protested against the Tsarist regime and campaigned for cultural revival and self-determination of the Georgians.

1915 photograph taken during the funeral of Ak'ak'i Tsereteli in Tbilisi

He is an author of hundreds of patriotic, historical, lyrical and satiric poems, also humoristic stories and autobiographic novel. Ak'ak'i Tsereteli was involved actively in educational, journalistic and theatrical activities.

The famous Georgian folk song Suliko (full English version) is based on Ak'ak'i Tsereteli’s lyrics.

He died on January 26 1915 and was buried at the Mtatsminda Pantheon in Tbilisi.

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Gamzrdeli

A tiny hut that seems to be
From far away a swallows nest
Stands high upon a mountain steep;
And nestles closely to its breast.

Though frosts may bite and sunbeams scorch,
And thunders roar or lightning flash,
The hut stands sheltered midst the clouds
Above the tempests' rage and crash.

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