A museum remembered for the wrong reasons

1047 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

June, 2023

Product name

Dadiani Palaces Historical and Architectural Museum

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If you visit Georgia, you’re likely to come across the name Dadiani, rulers of the Samegrelo Region until the Russians took over in 1857. Their former home, located in the centre of Zugdidi, is now a museum.

I remember it vividly, but probably for all the wrong reasons.

The first was on approaching through ornate wrought iron gates and walking up a long drive to what looked like a French Chateau where hordes of school children were waiting to enter. Even our normally placid guide Sergi seemed a little perturbed, but the school holidays were about to begin, and children were on end of term activities and outings. However, Sergi played a blinder, getting permission to push through the throng and join a group tour, unfortunately full of children.

The tour was in Georgian, so we hung back and looked at the various exhibits after the group moved on and into the next room, with Sergi giving a potted translation.

A family tree of photographs started the tour, with subsequent rooms being furnished as they would have been at the time, with lots of china, glassware, books etc. As Andria Dadiani, who died in 1910, was a Grand Master of chess there were several chess boards as well as paintings of a rather stern looking Napoleon and one of the four original death masks – the Dadiani family were related through Napolean’s sister – I think, it was a complicated family tree. A painting with the caption ‘Unknown Woman by an Unknown Artist’ amused me.

The other memorable feature was a very precocious 10-year-old girl who was being photographed in provocative poses by her mother who was also trying to entice a reluctant son to join in. None of the children were interested in what they were being told, and the room guides must have despaired, particularly when Miss Precocious stepped over the rope, plonked herself in a velvet chair and posed for photos.

As I said, memorable but not for the right reasons.

Helen Jackson

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