No doubt tourism is the fastest growing phenomena. Today its aspects are changing fast to offer tourists new experiences, create new motivations for them to discover new places. Who would think in Tbilisi tourists might be offered to visit a cemetery, what they could see there? The cemetery might be interested in a historical context and not only! Let’s choose Kukia cemetery for today and find out why it’s worth visiting there.
Kukia is the oldest cemetery in Tbilisi. In the entrance of the cemetery there is a St. Nino’s church built in the beginning of 20th century. The church keeps a unique iconostasis made by arsenal craftsmen. The building of the church and development of the cemetery are interconnected. First it was called Alexandre Nevel’s cemetery. If you go to the right of the church you will find out a beautiful statue supposedly of a saint, made from rock not from marble but the work is marvelous. We don’t know who the cemetery belonged to but it has some letters ending OVA and the year of death – 1878. It is a fairly old graveyard.
This cemetery belongs to a victim of WWI Ivane Beburishvili who died fairly young. The author of it might be Iakob Nikoaldze, though he usually left his initials on his work but this one doesn’t have any. However it’s a high quality marble. If you look at it closely the clothing and the details are done very accurately. The flower ornaments are seen very well despite the time. On the grave you can read:’ the colonel Alexander Ivane Baburishvili the member of 325th infantry regiment’ and supposedly the statue is his wife’s-Tamar. There are some words of her too. The grave has museum significance.
In the centre of the old graves you notice a crypt. It is a beautiful monument. This is one of the few cryptic graves left. During the Soviet times the Ordjonikidzes were buried here so it could be their ancestors’ grave or later became theirs. You can see the Greek architecture as well as writing in old Slavic that might say it is a Russian grave.
And believe or not here you can see’ Georgian Michelangelo’s’ grave. The cemetery is a work of art and is called ‘Knocking on Heavens door’. On the top of the grave there is a sand clock meaning of time passing… Door-it could be the door of heaven and a person alongside is someone grieving. And if you look at the figure it’s done amazingly. Hands, muscles and so on. It is not marble. It is molded and this technic was spread in the beginning of 20th century.
So the Kukia cemetery has not only historical but museum significance!