King Tamar – the secrets of her death

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In the 12th century, for the first time in the whole history of Georgia, the woman ascended to the throne. No one was sure whether she would be able to handle such responsibility or not. Therefore, in the beginning, Georgians were against her. That’s why her father King George III decided to appoint her daughter as a co-governor during his life. They ruled the kingdom together for 5 years, until his death. After that, at the age of 18, Tamari became the sole ruler in 1184.

Her reign is described as Golden ages in the history of Georgia that is why she is referred to a king and not a queen. This status demonstrated her power. Her life is very interesting for people as she was a very powerful king, however, the story of Tamar’s death is more intrigue for all of us, as nobody knows where she was buried.

People on the high positions on the court thought that enemies might disrespect her body so they decided to keep everything in secret. Nobody ever saw her remains. Tamari’s burial place is the subject of disputes for many centuries and Georgians are still searching for her body.

Legends of her burial

According to one legend she is buried in Svaneti, in a high village which calls Ushguli. There is one small cathedral and people believe that King Tamari was buried in this church.

Another legend says that 12 coffins were secretly taken in different directions and buried so nobody knew in which coffin was her body; and according to the same legend, the cranes killed themselves in order to keep this secret forever.

There is also another version, that she is buried in Jerusalem. Some historians try to prove that the king’s tomb is in Vardzia as this place was built during the time of Tamar and she was visiting Vardzia very often. There is one natural source and people call it “the tears of Tamar” and everybody believes that this water has healing features.

Some facts say that Tamar’s body was held in Svetitskhoveli for a short period of time due to weather conditions and after some days they moved her tomb to Gelati.

From 1919 years Ekvtime Takaishvili started digging this burial place in Gelati. However, when workers began to work and really found the grave they saw a very strange inscription there.

It was written: “Whoever touches this grave and dig or express disrespect, will be cursed forever.” After workers read this, they refused to continue their works and nobody ever dared to dig this place again. Nowadays, Because of this true story, every Georgians believe that King Tamari is buried in Gelati and not in other places mentioned above.

Recently, many foreigners expressed interest in King Tamar and even a new part of the game called “civilization” has been realized, which is about this period. One of the main characters of this game is King Tamar and players can choose her role and "rule" this historical period of Georgia.

Nobody saw her tomb ever and if somehow at any time it is explored, it will be a huge miracle for Georgians.

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral
Svetitskhoveli Cathedral
Narekvavi-Mtskheta-Railway Station, Mtskheta, Géorgie
Gelati Monastery
Gelati Monastery
Rd to Gelati Monastery, Motsameta, Géorgie
Vardzia cave monastery
Vardzia cave monastery
Géorgie

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The author

Anano Chikhradze

Anano Chikhradze

I am Anano. I Iove travelling, history and getting to know people from all over the world. I write about Georgia, my country, and I am sure everybody will fall in love with it.

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