By Soso Dzamukashvili
Tbilisi’s Armenian heritage is danger of being forgotten entirely, but there is some hope.
Armenian intellectuals, wealthy merchants and leading cultural figures have been an integral part of life in the Georgian capital Tbilisi for centuries.
Indeed, according to Finnish academic Serafim Seppälä, who has written extensively on Armenian culture and history, Tbilisi in the 19th century was “the most Armenian town in the world,” with Armenians accounting for more than two-thirds of the city’s population.
Today, while Tbilisi’s population tops one million people, Armenians constitute around just five per cent.
The decline has been steady, not precipitated by any one particular event, but the reduction in size of the city’s Armenian population has meant that much of its Armenian heritage — residential buildings, schools, churches and other cultural monuments built by the Armenians of Tbilisi — has been neglected or simply forgotten entirely.