About Us

“Encyclopedia” (in Greek - enkyklopaideia or enkyklios paideia), as it is known, means instruction in the complete system or circle (en kykloi) of learning (paidea). It is the mirror reflecting the epoch, showing the cultural level of the country.
Encyclopedic and lexicological activities have a long tradition in Georgia. As far back as in Middle Ages philosophic-theological and historical-hagiographic works were always attended by the comments of encyclopedic character. The numbers of definitions of scientific terms are given in the works of Eprem Mtsire, Ioane Petritsi, Arsen Ikaltoeli and other personalities.
The huge role in development of encyclopedic-lexicological science played “Georgian Dictionary” by Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani. By the end of XVIII century the poet and bibliophile David the Rector filled up the Dictionary by Sulkhan-Saba with encyclopedic data. The very special place in the history of Georgian elucidative knowledge has got the encyclopedic work “Kalmasoba” (1813-1828) by Ioane Batonishvili. In 1898-99 under the redaction of Ivane Rostomashvili the first four books of the encyclopedic dictionary, which was decided to be multivolume and Russian-Georgian, had been edited. In the beginning of XX century Georgian scientists headed by Alexander Tsagareli, Vasil Petriashvili, and Alexander Khakhanashvili decided to edit “Georgian Encyclopedia”, but at that time this patriotic venture was not ended with any success. At the beginning of the last century according to the level of development of science and culture showed the necessity of publishing Georgian encyclopedia. In this way in the 30s of XX century was decided to edit “Big Georgian Soviet Encyclopedia” (editor in chief – Malakia Toroshelidze, responsible secretary – Simon Khaukhchishvili). In 1933 the list of the terms was ready and in a year the editorial board finished working on the first volume. But afterwards because of different causes, including repressions on a mass scale, in the beginning of 40s editing was canceled. The articles by famous Georgian scientists (Ivane Javakhishvili, Korneli Kekelidze, Simon Janashia, Geronti Kikodze etc.) preserved in archives came in Georgian Soviet Encyclopedia without any changes.
The modern Georgian encyclopedia was based in 1965. The special Scientific Editorial Board of Georgian Encyclopedia was established at the Presidium of Georgian National Academy of Sciences. Irakli Abashidze was appointed as an editor in chief and he brought together public figures devoted to the encyclopedic cause. The high skilled main scientific college was set up (seniors: George Tsereteli and Viktor Kupradze, 1992-2000 – Vakhtang Beridze, from 2001 – Roin Metreveli). In 1992-2006 after Irakli Abashidze’s death editor in chief was Avtandil Sakvarelidze, from 2006 is encyclopediab Abashidze.
The deputy editors in chief of Georgian Encyclopedia were: 1966-72 – George Jorjoliani, 1972-85 – Roin Metreveli. 1986-92 – Avtandil Sakvarelidze; responsible secretaries: Tengis Khoshtaria, Iago Vardosanidze, from 2002 – encyclopediab Chelidze.
At first the editorial office was placed in the garret of the Writers Union and soon with the effort of Irakli Abashidze, the government allocated the sum for the new building. It was decorated by encyclopediab Tsereteli, who invited famous Georgian artists - K. Ignatov, G. Alexi-Meskhishvili, I. Ochiauri, K. Gurieli, G. ToTibadze etc. and the building was designed perfectly. In 1970 the Encyclopedists celebrated the house-warming.
The painter Anton Dumbadze specially for encyclopedia created on 30 percent smaller print then all other Georgian prints existing at that time. It was economy-size, capacious and easy reading. This easily solved the problem of the volume growth and the number of articles was increased in about 30 thousand. The print was named “Saenclopedio” by Irakli Abashidze. The Encyclopedia with its information, illustrations and other material is practically the same as 20 volume edition.
The Georgian sources were processed and as a result trade-thematic list of the terms were prepared, card index was made up, terms, toponyms and proper names coming from foreign languages were translated by transcription group, what became the base for the series of orthographic dictionaries; the instructions for technical-orthographic appearance, quotation, giving bibliography, shortening the terms and etc. were also made up.
Encyclopedia has the library with fund of 22 thousand books. Georgian Encyclopedists together with famous scientists and cultural figures fulfilled the edition, which is equal to a lot of traditional universal encyclopedias with its scientific level of reference-information material and standards of editing.
Irakli Abashidze Georgian Chief Scientific Editorial Board adequately realized the dream of our ancestors, created national on high scientific level made encyclopedia, what laid the foundation for theoretical and practical center of encyclopedic cause in Georgia.
From 2007 Georgian Encyclopedia moved to the building of Georgian National Academy of Sciences.
According to the decree from 2008 June 11 of academic council of Georgian National Academy of Sciences Irakli Abashidze Georgian Chief Scientific Editorial Board became the special scientific and editorial-publishing structural unit of Georgian National Academy of Sciences.
During of its 43 years existence Encyclopedia gave several notable editions.