As it is known from the historical sources, Zugdidi city became the main residence of Samegrelo’s government during the governance of Levan II Dadiani. The proven facts about this time are supported not only by Georgian chronicles but also from foreigner historians. Ekaterine Chavchavadze was the last queen of Samegrelo Region. She was Levan Dadiani’s daughter-in-law and was actively taking part in the governance of principality.
German architect Rice rebuilt the queen’s palace in 19th century. The museum was founded here in 1921. More than 50,000 exhibits are kept in this museum from the Bronze Age till the end of 19th century that includes the personal belongings of Dadiani family. The robe of the Mother of Jesus is also kept in this museum with other holy things.
Among the exhibits, there are many items related to Napoleon Bonaparte. Those things were found in the palace thanks to David Dadiani’s son-in-law Ashil Murat. In 1879 he arrived in Georgia right after the monarchy was cancelled in France. Ashil came to Georgia and brought all the valuable things with himself. His wife was David Dadiani’s daughter Salome.
Among the rare exhibits of the museum, there is a bronze mask of Napoleon I. This mask was made by Dr François Carlo Antommarchi in Paris in 1833. In the museum, you can also visit a scientific library. Along with other literature you can find there Napoleon I’s original correspondence which consists of 32 volumes.
There is a very beautiful botanical garden around the museum that was built by Dadiani family. Visitors can see the unique trees that are brought from different parts of the world. Her husband gave the management of this botanical garden to Ekaterine. She created one of the best botanical gardens in the whole Caucasus region. After the death of her husband, Ekaterine became the sole ruler of Samegrelo Region as David’s successor Niko was too little to rule.
Queen Ekaterine expressed her life experience with following words: “-Life is worth for living because love really exists. Life and love – these two greatest powers rule the whole universe.”
Nowadays, Dadiani Palace has very many visitors, as it is one of the most famous destinations for tourists. You will feel the aura of this place while walking in the palace. Each corner makes you remember the patriotism of the past residents of the palace. Queen Ekaterine was one of the most beautiful women in Georgian history who had strength, patience and talents combined.
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