national centre of manuscripts


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  • National centre of manuscripts

Georgian National Center is one of the most important depositories of old manuscript books and historical documents in Georgia. The Institute of Manuscripts was set up on 30 June 1958.
The Institute was established on the basis of the State Museum of Georgia. In the funds of the Institute are stored more than 170.000 items in Georgian, Greek, Hebrew, Syrian, Ethiopian, Armenian, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Slavic languages (dated from 1st c. up to 20th c.). One of the most important aims of the Institute of Manuscripts is organization of the on contemporary level and assistance to international collaboration in the field. The parent directions of the scientific research and international relations are: description, systematization, studying and publishing of manuscripts, historical documents and personal archives of local and foreign (mostly Aphon, Sinai Mountain and Jerusalem) origin; organization of manuscripts care, diagnostics and conservation-restoration according the international standards.

In 1962, the Institute of Manuscripts of the Georgian Academy of Science was named after Acad. Korneli Kekelidze.
In 2006, the Korneli Kekelidze Institute of MSS of the Georgian Acad. Sc. was abolished and the Korneli Kekelidze Institute of Manuscripts – a legal person of public law – was set up in its place.
At present Professor Buba Kudava, Cand. Sc. (History) is Acting Director of the National Centre of Manuscrips.

The unique collection, preserved here, involves many branches and spheres: history, geography, travel, law, dictionaries, medicinal books, belles-lettres, biblical texts, hagiography, church law, philosophy, astrology, mathematics, military texts, etc. Preserved in the National Centre of MSS are:
Up to 10000 Georgian (5th-19th cent.), including up to 4000 most important palimpsest pages, and foreign (Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Russian, Armenian, Greek, French, German, Latin, Hebrew, Polish, English, Czech. Syriac, Ethiopic, Mongolian, etc) manuscripts.
up to 40000 Georgian and 5000 foreign-language historical documents (10th-19th centuries), of which special mention should be made of Persian and Turkish documents, including firmans of shah’s, hucms...
Private archives of Georgian writers and public figures, including those of Ilia Chavchavadze, Vazha Pshavela, Ekvtime Taqaishvili, and others: Grigol Tsereteli’s unique papyrus collection is also preserved here.
Photocopies and microfilms of Georgian and foreign-language MSS and Historical documents preserved in Georgian and foreign museums and private collections. Of these specially to be noted are the photocopies of the Georgian MSS of the Iviron Monastery on Mt. Athos, the St. Catherine Monastery on Mt. Sinai and the Greek Patriarchate in Jerusalem.

The Centre boasts a rich library where, alongside rare and most recent Georgian and foreign editions, a valuable collection of old printed books is stored, including the first Georgian printed book, a Georgian-Italian Dictionary (Rome, 1629) and the Gospel (1709), Psalms (1711), Shota Rustaveli’s The man in the Panther’s Skin (1712), etc., the latter three published in Vakhtang VI’s printing-press.
Up to 60 000 Georgian and foreign books in the Humanities are preserved in the principal fonds of the library.
The memorial rooms of Korneli Kekelidze, Ivane Javakhishvili, Ilia Abuladze, Niko Berdzenishvili, Helen Metreveli and Shalva Amiranashvili function at the Centre. Here also is the Kalistrate and Nino Salia Room – Georgian figures who lived and worked abroad and founded the journal "Bedi Kartlisa".
Apart from unique books (a large part of which are rare books abroad too, heirlooms (personal belongings) of the cited scholars are kept in their memorial rooms, including Ivane Javakhishvili’s own violin, Akaki Tsereteli’s bookcase, paintings of Lado Gudiashvili, Toidze, Avto Varazi, and others. Research work constitutes one of the basic lines at the Kekelidze Institute of MSS. The main directions of research here are: description, systematization, study, publication and compiling a data base of MS books, historical documents and personal archives preserved in Georgian and foreign libraries.

The Centre works in two directions: museum and research.

Working hours: Every day except Monday, 11.00 – 17.00
Ticket price: Free


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