The Jewish Story of Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi, located in the eastern part of Georgia, at the both banks of the river Mtkvari, is the capital and the largest city of the country. It was Founded in the V century AD by Vakhtang I Gorgasali. The city is a place where the First Congress of Caucasus Zionists took place. Tbilisi’s population reaches over 1.125 million, out of which, 10,000 are Jewish inhabitants.

The Great Synagogue of Tbilisi

According to “Uriatubani” and “Fetkhaini”, it is assumed that Jewish are one of the earliest residents of Georgia, settling in the country 26 centuries ago. Tbilisi Jews first appear in transcripts made during the ruling of David the Builder. According to Tbilisi’s statistics in 1825, there were 58 Jews in Georgia; this number grew to 3000 by the year of 1901. 

The Ashkenazi Synagogue of Tbilisi

In the XIX century Russian-Jew military joined Jewish community in Georgia. The day before the Second World War, there were 40000 Jews in Tbilisi, in some sources, it is said that there were fifteen synagogues in the city before the first world war. After the Second World War there were three parties: Ashkenazi Jews, who came to the city from Russia; Spars Jews; and local Jews. 

David Baazov Museum of History of Jews of Georgia in Tbilisi

After the war Ashkenazi Jews demanded to get back their community, which was a synagogue on Ivanidze St., but their request was denied. After the Jewish museum was closed, in 1952, the government redesigned the part of the building into an apartment complex, while part of it was made to be a workshop.