“Hovhannes Tumanyan’s House” Scientific, Cultural Center
The house at 18 Amaghleba Street, Sololak District in Tbilisi, was built in the second half of the 19th century by Hovsep Shanshyan, a wealthy Armenia from Tbilisi, Georgian state and cultural figure, whose initials are still preserved on the porch cover and entrance doors of the house. Before the Sovietization of Georgia, this house was registered under the name of Hovsep Shanshyan. Since the autumn of 1909, Hovhannes Tumanyan lived with his family on the third floor of this house. This house was not only the apartment of the Tumanyan family but also an important literary, cultural, and public center of its era. Intellectuals, literary, social, and political figures from Tbilisi as well as Armenians, Georgians, and intellectuals of other national backgrounds coming to Tbilisi gathered here. “Who hasn't been around this little table? Aghayan and Komitas, Leo and Shirvanzade, Marn and Jivelegov, Shant and Siamanto, Isahakyan and Papazyan, Hovhannisyan and Tsaturyan, Brusov, Gorodetsky, Iashvili, Tabidze, Grishashvili, and many, many others,” Nvard Tumanyan writes in her memoirs.
In 1953, a part of the house was allocated to Tbilisi City Library N13.
After the independence of Georgia, Tbilisi Library N13 was closed, and the library part of the house was transferred to a private owner. The fate of Tumanyan's historical house became the subject of concern for the poet's grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as all Armenians in Georgia and Armenia. In 2008, with the encouragement of the RA authorities of that period, the blessing and support of the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, His Grace Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan, late Levon Ananyan, Chairman of the Writers' Union of Armenia, was fully engaged in the activities aimed at buying back the house. In 2012, with the support of Vardan Ghukasyan, the mayor of Gyumri at that time, the library part of the house was acquired and transferred to the Writers' Union of Armenia.
In 2015, the remaining part of the house was bought by the IDeA Foundation and, together with the previous library part, was donated to the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church in Georgia.
The repair, restoration, and partial furnishing of the house were implemented with the funds of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, “Jinishian” Memorial Foundation, and IDeA Foundation. The interior of the Tumanyan’s period was being restored using the example of the Hovhannes Tumanyan Museum in Yerevan, the furniture and dishes were purchased by the 3rd President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan and his spouse Rita Sargsyan.
On August 5, 2017, the “Hovhannes Tumanyan’s House” Scientific, Cultural Center of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church in Georgia was officially opened in Hovhannes Tumanyan's house, the pages of which history were opened by the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia of that time, His Grace Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan; Co-founder of the IDeA Charitable Foundation, national philanthropist Ruben Vardanyan; Vardan Ghukasyan; managers of the “Jinishian” Memorial Foundation Eliza Minasyan and Armen Hakobyan; Serzh and Rita Sargsyan. The RA Ministry of Diaspora and the RA Embassy in Georgia greatly contributed to the opening of the “Hovhannes Tumanyan’s House” Scientific, Cultural Center. The opening of the Center was supported by the city authorities of Tbilisi: the municipality, and the city assembly.
Today there are four rooms in the house: a private room renovated and furnished on the model of Hovhannes Tumanyan's office, a large hall with a fireplace, where events take place and a living room. One room was separated, a guest house, which was named after Levon Ananyan. On February 19, 2019, on the day of the poet's birthday, a monument to the poet (author: Davit Sirbiladze) was installed on the south balcony of the house, which was a gift to the Center from Davit Tchitchinadze, member of the Parliament of Georgia.
The Armenian Diocese in Georgia aims to breathe new life into Tumanyan's house in accordance with modern requirements and restoring the good traditions of this house. Today, with the blessing of the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, Rev. Father Archimandrite Kirakos Davtyan, literary talks, readings, press conferences, discussions of printed and non-printed works, presentations, classical music concerts are held here, in which art figures of Armenian, Georgian and other national backgrounds, as well as many guests from regions of Georgia, Armenia and abroad patricipate. The Center closely collaborates with a number of state and non-governmental institutions in Georgia and Armenia. The implementation of publishing works is also undertaken here.
The “Hovhannes Tumanyan’s House” Scientific, Cultural Center operates under the leadership of the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, Rev. Father Archimandrite Kirakos Davtyan.
The spiritual superintendent of the Center is Rev. Father Kirakos Simonyan.
As of January 1, 2023, the employees of the Center are:
1. Gohar Mazmanyan, tour guide, (+995) 577-25-88-18
2. Edita Zohrabyan, tour guide, (+995) 593-42-12-67
3. Ivane Kezua, publishing designer