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Irene gıvıashvılı

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz 

Irene Giviashvili studied Art History at Tbilisi State University, Georgia, which she graduated with a diploma of honors in 1993. Afterward, she had an opportunity to organize a study trip to north-eastern Turkey in order to re-examine medieval Georgian monuments, which since 1996 has been the focus of her research. Irene Giviashvili wrote her Ph.D. thesis on the Triconch Type in Georgian Architecture and gained her degree at the Chubinashvili Institute of Georgian Art Studies in 2005. Irene Giviashvili was a fellow of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz in 2010, as part of the project Art Space and Mobility in the Early Ages of Globalization. She was a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford in 2017. She is an Affiliated Researcher at the Chubinashvili National Research Centre of Georgian Art Studies and Heritage Preservation and a freelancer at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz. Irene has been a lecturer at Tbilisi State University, Tbilisi Academy of Arts, and the University of Bilkent, Ankara. Irene is involved in Tbilisi State University project: Georgian Heritage of Ani.

Irene’s research interests include the art and architecture of medieval Georgia, especially the Cultural Heritage of Georgia within the Turkish borders and its interconnections with neighboring Armenia, Byzantium and the Islamic world.

Intercultural Dialogue Between Byzantium and Georgia

Georgia - Byzantine relations date back from the times of Constantine the Great, when King Mirian (265-361), who adopted Christian religion (ca 325), turned to the Byzantine Emperor for support. Relations between the two Orthodox countries were strong, interrelated, though controversial. Common threats, coming first from the Arabs and then from the Seljuks, encouraged them to forge an alliance. The Georgian Kingdom was modelled according to the Byzantine system of ruling. Constantinople became a place of pilgrimage for spiritual fathers and aristocracy and the Georgian religious and educational centres were developed through Byzantium. Georgian Christian culture was created in close connection with the Byzantine one, and particularly monastic movement played a decisive role in this regard. The process was accomplished with the foundation of Iviron Monastery on Mount Athos in 983.


Byzantium needed a stronger Georgia, not as a competitor but as a buffer zone and a battlefield to defend its eastern borders from common enemies; King David III Kuropalates (+1001), who, on the one hand, brought the Georgian Kingdom close to Byzantium, on the other hand, deprived his legacy of lands in favour of Byzantium due to his political games. Contrary, King David IV (1073-1125) tried to escape from the Byzantine shadow after the unification of the Georgian Kingdom, ignoring Byzantine titles and expanding the Kingdom from the Caspian to the Black Sea. Her grand-daughter King Tamar (1166-1213) played an important role in the creation of the Empire of Trabzon as a satellite to her kingdom and a buffer zone at its south-western borders.  Consequently, new geopolitical reality deepened intercultural dialogue of the Kingdom of Georgia with its neighbourhood, including Byzantines, Armenians, northern Caucasians, Seljuk Turks.

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