Nino Chavchavadze

Vorige Start Omhoog Volgende

The most important thing for her was Griboyedoff's glorious name 



GM-34 - I owe this case to Cyril Galaburda. - Sources: see below. 

Alexander Sergiovich Griboyedoff (1795– 1829) was born in Moscow into a noble family, which was part of a longstanding aristocratic clan. He was highly educated and successfully graduated from the departments of Philology and Ethics & Politics. He knew nine languages and was a gifted musician who composed several well-known waltzes. He is said by A.S. Pushkin to have been one of “the most intelligent people in Russia”. 

During the 1812 Patriotic War, Griboyedoff volunteered for the army but he never took part in any battle. During that time he began to write his important literary work. In 1818 he was sent to Persia as secretary of the Russian embassy. There, he proved to be a skillful diplomat. On 30 January 1829 in Teheran he fell a prey to Muslim fundamentalists who attacked the Russian embassy.

He first met his wife Nino (also known as Nina) Chavchavadze (born in 1812) when she was a young girl, and he ended up giving her piano lessons. Her father was Alexander Chavchavadze, the Major-General of Russian Army, one of the greatest Georgian poets and writers, Governor-General of Nachitschevan and Herivan Regions, who founded a cultural center for the aristocracy, military authorities and intellectuals in Tbilisi. Griboyedoff had been serving in Tbilisi in 1822 so he was welcomed in the prince Alexander Chavchavadze's home. 

One of the literary essays about Nino Chavchavadze reads: 

"Nino was an incomparable musician, singer, and dancer; director and participant of family performances; artist; [a] magnificent embroider [and] rider; and a true lover of literature. At first sight, she charmed women and men of all ages and ethnicities — Georgian, Asian, Russian and European."

Nino received her initial education at home. Later, she attended a famous private boarding school in the St. Petersburg home of Praskovya Nikolaevna Arsenyeva Akhverdova. Praskovya Akhverdova’s school attracted children of many noble families, and played an important role in Nino’s life as well as the lives of her siblings. Here, they received a general education, studied foreign languages, learned to draw, and received a variety of special lessons. Praskovya Akhverdova also hosted meetings in the 1810s and 1820s where ideas were exchanged among public figures, writers, and other Georgian, Russian, and European intellectuals.

Alexander and Nino married when he was 32 and she was 15. He died when she was only 16. 

Nino later told her sister’s husband, David Dadiani:

“I could never imagine a happiness greater than my love for Alexandre Griboyedoff. Unfortunately, this love was kidnapped from me, and my happiness followed. My love is buried on Mtatsminda Hill, and my heart, still burning in love, lies in my husband’s grave. When this love disappears, I will also die physically and morally. There are many who cannot imagine this. They surprise me. They have probably never loved and cannot love anybody.” 

She never remarried and continued to mourn for him until she died 28 years later. After her husband's death, Nino dressed in black and she never wore anything else until her own death. In 1857 a cholera epidemic broke out in Tbilisi, but Nino did not want to leave the city. While nursing her diseased relatives, she fell ill herself and died. Before dying Nino said she wanted to be buried with Griboyedoff. 

Husband and wife lie buried next to each other high above Tbilisi, at the St. David Monastery on the Mtsaminda Mountain,. Their two graves are still frequently visited by admirers. On one of the graves there is a kneeling bronze female figure embracing a cross. Nino expressed her strong feelings of love and tenderness in words that seem to be burning on the cold, heavy and black stone on one side of the monument:

“Your mind and acts are immortal in the memory of Russians but why did my love survive you?” On the opposite side we can read the words “For the Unforgettable from His Nino.”

For almost three decades, Nino suffered in silence. She bravely hid her sorrow.

A contemporary wrote about her: 

“The most important thing for her was Griboyedoff's glorious name, as sanctified by this beautiful and holy woman.”

The love of Griboyedoff and Nino Chavchavadze inspired a lot of beautiful works of art.


Vorige Start Omhoog Volgende