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Discovering the Legacy of King David The Builder, a True Hero of Georgian History.

Discovering the Legacy of King David The Builder, a True Hero of Georgian History.

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This is a direct transcript from the podcast episode. Listen and enjoy!

 Meg [00:00:04]:

Gamarjoba. This is the Tbilisi podcast covering life, travel, and more in the country of Georgia. Brought to you by foodfuntravel.com expathub.GE. Eatthistours.com. In this episode, we are talking about King David, a man, the myth, the legend, and King David the builder who took Georgia from under the stranglehold of the Seljuk Turks and created the most glorious empire Georgia has ever seen. Listen on to find out more about King David. 

Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Tbilisi podcast, a show about life and travel in Tbilisi and Georgia. I’m Meg. I am one of your hosts. I run a website called foodfuntravel.com, and with me, as always well, actually not as always, had a couple of episodes that we haven’t done together, so I won’t say as always, but yes. With me is my husband, Tom. Hi, Tom.

 

Tom [00:01:00]:

Hey, everyone. It’s Tom here from Expathub.GE and eatthistours.com. Greetings.

 

Meg [00:01:06]:

Wonderful. Today we do have another history episode for everyone. For all those history buffs out there that want to know a little bit more about Georgian

 personalities and these people that you see on street signs, and you see statues, and you hear about these different people, and you’re like, who was that anyway?

 

Tom [00:01:22]:

Yeah, or maybe you just never heard of this person before, and you’re like, but I like history stuff. So let’s find out who this is.

 

Meg [00:01:29]:

Exactly. So let’s do a little bit of a who are they? Well, this dude

 

Tom [00:01:31]:

Who is it? Who are we talking about? can we pronounce his name?

 

Meg [00:01:36]:

I’m going to try.

 

Tom [00:01:37]:

Okay, good luck.

 

Meg [00:01:38]:

He was the king of Georgia from 1089 to 1125 CE, which is, what does that stand for again?

 

Tom [00:01:46]:

Common era.

 

Meg [00:01:47]:

Common era.

 

Tom [00:01:48]:

I’m fine with AD. Like, I don’t care. I’m obviously living in the past. Whatever. Anodominai whatever.

 

Meg [00:01:55]:

He is one of the most famous and beloved rulers of Georgian history. He’s considered the original architect of the Georgian GoldenAage.

 

Tom [00:02:04]:

are we doing a bit of a jeopardy thing?

 

Meg [00:02:06]:

Who is it? Who am I?

 

Tom [00:02:09]:

Is it jeopardy? That has that, or is it something else? I can’t remember. Or jeopardy. Is the one where they give you the answer first and then you have to get the question or something. I don’t know. I haven’t really watched.

 

Meg [00:02:17]:

No, they do that. And you answer with the who is: blah, blah, blah.

 

Tom [00:02:21]:

All right. Well, I mean, most people, unless this episode just rolled on in their headphones from the last one without them reading properly, clicked on the link, and it has the name of the guy. All right, sure.

Famous Georgians: King David The Builder

Famous Georgians: King David The Builder

Meg [00:02:32]:

He succeeded in driving the Seljuk Turks out of the country, won the battle of Didgori in 1121, and his reforms of the army and political administration enabled him to reunite the country and bring most of the lands of the Caucasus under Georgia’s control. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to today’s episode. It is King David the IV.

 

Tom [00:02:54]:

That’s the easy part to pronounce. That was cheating.

 

Meg [00:02:56]:

He is Davit Aghmashenebeli agmash and belly. Agmashina. Belly. ←- hahaha too funny

 

Tom [00:03:05]:

Aghmashenebeli, maybe.

 

Meg [00:03:07]:

But from maybe on, he will be referred to as King David.

 

Tom [00:03:08]:

David. That’s the best way to do it, isn’t it?

 

Meg [00:03:12]:

Yes. He is a very beloved man in these lands because King David managed to uplift Georgia and the Georgian people and transform the kingdom into a military and economic powerhouse during his reign. So we’re going to learn a little bit about him today.

 

Tom [00:03:25]:

All right. I’m excited. I mean, I don’t know him. He’s older than me. Well, yes, significantly.

 

Meg [00:03:31]:

Significantly.

 

Tom [00:03:31]:

I mean, like, I’m technically a millennial. I’m not even sure if he’s Gen Z. Gen X? No, Gen Z is newer. I don’t know. I don’t know.

 

Meg [00:03:38]

I don’t even know what you’d call people back then.

 

Tom [00:03:40]:

Gen A. Maybe Gen B created the golden era.

 

Meg [00:03:45]:

He would be gen like GE.

 

Tom [00:03:48]:

Yeah. Gen g for Georgia. All right. Gen Georgia. Why not?

 

Meg [00:03:52]:

All right. So David ascended the throne at an early age of 16. Would you believe that was in 1089?

 

Tom [00:04:00]:

Could you imagine being a king when you’re 16 years old?

 

Meg [00:04:03]:

Bonkers.

 

Tom [00:04:03]:

Bonkers.

 

Meg [00:04:04]:

I mean, now they live, like, lives of luxury, and they’d be like, sure, okay, cool. Back then, things were cray cray.

 

Tom [00:04:11]:

Yeah. But I just mean, my level of maturity and ability to rule over a kingdom and then take he’s one of the greatest rules ever, as we all discussed.

 

Meg [00:04:19]:

Precisely.

 

Tom [00:04:19]:

Yeah. 16 year old and going, yeah, I’ll sort this whole country out.

 

Meg [00:04:23]:

And the interesting thing about David is that he didn’t actually ascend the throne because his father died. His father quit. He gave it to David. He was like, well, you know what? Things aren’t going so great for me. I’m going to give it to my 16 year old son and see how that turns out.

 

Tom [00:04:38]:

Shit, dad.

 

Meg [00:04:38]:

Yeah. Well, he’s got a few redeeming factors. His father was George II. He did, as I said, abdicate the throne to his son because the kingdom was slipping into chaos.

 

Tom [00:04:49]:

So he thought the best thing to do is let a 16 year old take over.

 

Meg [00:04:53]:

Exactly.

 

Tom [00:04:54]:

They can always sort out chaos. They’re known for sorting out chaos, actually.

 

Meg [00:04:57]:

But it did turn out to be a good idea. And he actually lived, like, a proper, long life. Like, he’s not really spoken about a lot in the books after the abdication, but he was always sort of there as, like a mentor and stuff like that. He just sort of lived his life and did his thing and was like, Go, David. Go, David, go.

 

Tom [00:05:17]:

As he reunited games and stuff with swords. Though, of course not baseball bats.

 

Meg [00:05:23]:

Indeed.

 

Tom [00:05:24]:

Yeah.

 

Meg [00:05:24]:

So back then, the kingdom of Georgia encompassed what is today known as western Georgia, and this is including Abkhazia in that region with its easternmost point being Mtskheta. And the actual kingdom was located back in those days in Kutaisi.

 

Tom [00:05:39]:

 Mtskheta is just of north Tbilisi for those new listeners who don’t know much about Tbilisi. Yeah, I guess if you don’t know where Tbilisi is in terms of Georgia, then really do look at a map because I don’t think you can listen to this podcast if you don’t know where Tbilisi is, as it is called the Tbilisi Podcast.

 

Meg [00:05:51]:

Indeed.

 

Tom [00:05:52]:

Or Tbilisi. Tbilisi. Yeah, I always do this. need to pronounce it better.

 

Meg [00:05:56]:

The eastern part of modern Georgia, including Tbilisi, was occupied at this time completely by the Seljuks. I hope I’m pronouncing that right. S-E-L-J-U-K Seljuk.

 

Tom [00:06:08]:

I mean, they’re not Georgian and this is a Georgian podcast. We’re only apologizing for bad pronunciations of Georgian words.

 

Meg [00:06:15]:

The Seljuks were a ruling military family. They are Turkic tribes that invaded southwestern Asia in the eleventh century and eventually founded an empire that included Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, and most of Iran. So these guys were actually kind of a big deal back then.

 

Tom [00:06:31]:

Wow.

 

Meg [00:06:32]:

The Seljuk dominance of the eastern region persisted unchecked for almost a decade. They were in charge, they were comfortable, and they were just doing their thing. Georgia was not only devastated by enemy invasions, not just by them, but by other enemies and stuff like that, they had a bunch of natural disasters that happened at the same time. And when stuff like that happens, food is scarce and people are troubled, and so you have internal dissent. Like things were not going great. Also at that time they had to pay the Seljuk Sultan an annual peace tribute and that was put in place after his father, George II, he actually tried overthrowing the Turkish tribes and kicking them out and stuff, but it didn’t work. He was not successful in that. And even though the Georgians were paying a peace tribute because of this, so he tried to take it over and he was like, can you just leave my people alone? And they were like, sure, we can leave your people alone if you pay us. It’s kind of like the mob, that sort of thing. It’s like, well, if you pay us as peace tribute annually and make sure that I’m happy, then we won’t invade your lands anymore. But just because the head honcho guy says sure, we’re good, you pay on time and everything’s fine, doesn’t mean that the little minions around the countryside are actually listening. And they still continued to do raids. Peasants were carried off as booty. The Georgian capital of Kutaisi was constantly looted. There’s a quote here, it says no more sowing and harvesting of the lands. The forests crept back in, and wild beasts and critters in the fields took the place of men. So basically, as we know, Georgia to be today is a very agricultural place. They’ve got beautiful lands that you can grow crops and lots of different things can be grown here and back in that time, they were just so constantly devastated. And, as I said, the natural disasters didn’t help as well. They just couldn’t get everything together to grow food and cultivate the land, and so people were hungry, people were upset, people were being carried away as slaves. It was a crazy time. So this is what David walked into. Yay.

 

Tom [00:08:38]:

 

Yeah.

 

Meg [00:08:39]:

 

So, yeah, his dad was strongly encouraged to quit after this. Well, they didn’t they didn’t strongly encourage him to like they did the Romanov’s.

 

Tom [00:08:49]:

 

The Romanov’s were very strongly encouraged to quit. Yeah.

 

Meg [00:08:53]:

 

So there’s different levels of strongly encouraged.

 

Tom [00:08:55]:

 

He did all infinitely encouraged.

 

Meg [00:08:59]:

 

So they let his son take the throne, basically. The changeover is a little bit of a mystery and is mentioned only in passing in many Georgian chronicles, but according to the best and most reliable chronicle of them all, wiki.

 

Tom [00:09:14]:

 

Wiki chronicle? Yeah. I didn’t know there was a Wiki chronicle. Is it written in, old English and stuff? Well, old Georgian, but you know what I mean.

 

Meg [00:09:22]:

 

But basically, Wiki said that all that is recorded is that George crowned his son as king with his own hands, after which he disappears from the chronicle. He was most probably forced by his nobles in a palace coup, masterminded by the powerful minister Bishop Giorgi David Chkondideli, and he was actually a tutor to the young David, which actually comes into play later. The bishop is actually really well known and very renowned, so I think the details on whether or not he orchestrated this coup is a little sort of hush hush.

 

Tom [00:09:57]:

 

Oh, yeah. He kept it out the history books.

 

Meg [00:09:59]:

 

Yeah, exactly right.

 

Tom [00:10:01]:

 

That all adds up. And that’s also why it’s only in Wiki, though, potentially, that’s just conjecture. This is all conjecture. There’s no actual written record for this.

 

Meg [00:10:09]:

 

Exactly. But he did quite well over the changeover, so yeah.

 

Tom [00:10:13]:

 

Well, I mean, if you were going to be a little bit of a cynic here, you might say that he orchestrated the entire thing and was using 16 year old David as someone he could control. But then maybe it turned out that David was smarter and better at this than he thought he was going to be. Indeed, there could be a lot to it. There should be a TV show on this. Maybe there is a Georgian TV show on this already, but we just wouldn’t be able to watch it.

 

Meg [00:10:35]:

 

I will actually state here that there does seem to be a period of time where David and George actually co-ruled together. So he wasn’t just some 16 year old kid going about his life and doing whatever and being like, hey, you.

 

Tom [00:10:45]:

 

You’re skateboarding and things like that.

 

Meg [00:10:46]:

 

Exactly, yeah.

 

Tom [00:10:47]:

 

He was doing more than that.

 

Meg [00:10:50]:

 

He was actually really well educated and they co-ruled for a bit. He wasn’t just completely thrown in the deep end with all of this.

 

Tom [00:10:56]:

 

All right.

 

Meg [00:10:56]:

 

Despite his young age, David was very intelligent. He’d been actively engaged in politics from a very young age, where he was, as I mentioned, he was serving as co-ruler with his father. So he sort of knew the day in and day out of how things worked before he took over. And as I mentioned, he was tutored by the influential bishop, who then went on to become his most trusted advisor.

 

Tom [00:11:16]:

 

Right.

 

Meg [00:11:17]:

 

Yes. So basically, after years of watching his land be sacked by invaders, King David had really big ambitions, as 16 year olds do, and he had really big plans regarding the revival of the kingdom, which he actually began to put into place. So here’s some of the things that he put into place. He worked to centralize the kingdom administration under his rule, so he just gave less control to a lot of the lords in the different areas because a few of them were getting a little antsy. And he was like, hey, bring it in, bring your head in. He was determined to bring order to the land and quench any unrest from unruly feudal lords. This included whether or not they were part of the clergy. So it didn’t matter if you were part of the clergy. Pull your head in.

 

Tom [00:12:01]:

 

The general summary is pull your head in.

 

Meg [00:12:03]:

 

Pretty much. He formed a new type of army that would stand up better to the Seljuk, Turkish Military organization. And he put into place a methodical offensive with the aim of expelling the Seljuks first from Georgia and then the whole of the Caucasus. He did this by picking off isolated enemy troops and then allowing his people to move back in, take some time to resettle the lands, and while growing crops and rebuilding the cities, that meant he can move on to the next.

 

Tom [00:12:29]:

 

Offensive slowly, slowly, slowly, incremental. Does that make sense? Exactly. Rather than that crazy going for everything all at once and then ending up exhausted.

 

Meg [00:12:38]:

 

Exactly.

 

Tom [00:12:39]:

 

Good plan.

 

Meg [00:12:39]:

 

He also came into a little bit of luck as well, around about this same time as he wanted to put all of this in place. In 1092, a major leader of the Seljuks was made very much unalive.

 

Tom [00:12:52]:

 

Unalive. He was doing less breathing. He was by the end of this process yeah.

 

Meg [00:12:58]:

 

He was very much a non breather, if you will, but another one died. I don’t know exactly how he died, but he was not made unalive. He was just unalive.

 

Tom [00:13:09]:

 

The was not made unalive. He naturally became less alive. He did this through the natural processes of not being alive anymore.

 

Meg [00:13:16]:

 

Indeed.

 

Tom [00:13:16]:

 

Right. Interesting.

 

Meg [00:13:17]:

 

So this caused an imbalance in the leadership of the Seljuks. And then while that was a little bit in topsy turvy and people were like, who’s in control now? What’s going to happen? Another army turned up on their doorstep.

 

Tom [00:13:29]:

 

Looking for a little bit of so many armies in those days.

 

Meg [00:13:35]:

 

This one was quite a substantial one. So 1095, we have the arrival of Mongols, the Christian crusaders.

 

Tom [00:13:45]:

 

Crusaders. Mongols is a bit later, like 100 years later or so.

 

Meg [00:13:48]:

 

Yeah. But when you’re thinking about like, important armies or people that swept through regions, I think Mongols was definitely a good guess.

 

Tom [00:13:55]:

 

It’s ballpark the right time, but yeah, maybe about 100 years later, I think they came around.

 

Meg [00:13:58]:

 

We had the Christian crusaders turn up. The marched in to reclaim the holy land from the muslims, and in doing so, gave king David the perfect opportunity to once and for all cut off tribute to the Seljuks. He did that in 1099, and he then took the money that he wasn’t giving to them and invested it in his army. I think I mentioned it a little bit later, but he does some unique things with his army that actually made them very, very loyal to him. And I’ll talk about it a little later.

 

Tom [00:14:25]:

 

Does it involve wine?

 

Meg [00:14:27]:

 

Well, always.

 

Tom [00:14:28]:

 

Always. That’s a separate story, but obviously also a true story.

 

Meg [00:14:31]:

 

Yeah. So he took that money, invested it in the army and infrastructure instead. And then this is where he decided to go on the offensive. While the Seljuk’s backs were turned and they were paying attention to the crusades, he decided to start taking back his land of Georgia.

 

Tom [00:14:46]:

 

Fair enough.

 

Meg [00:14:46]:

 

So fortress after fortress, village after village, the all fell to king David and his army, who were said to have, quote, moved through the lands as a tsunami. End quote.

 

Tom [00:14:57]:

 

Wow.

 

Meg [00:14:57]:

 

The Seljuks were now facing crusaders to the west and king David in the north. They couldn’t fight on two fronts, and their remaining strongholds started to collapse. One thing that was unique about king David’s army is that he’d formed a standing Georgian army that were loyal to him alone. And he did this by paying his men a salary.

 

Tom [00:15:17]:

 

Oh, people actually get paid.

 

Meg [00:15:19]:

 

It’s a really crazy concept, and it worked. So rather than them just having to loot and get by on their own, so whatever they found along the way, he actually paid them. He used that money that, as I said before, the was no longer paying in tribute to give them a salary. So people were happy. People were loyal. People were willing to fight for king David and king David alone.

 

Tom [00:15:39]:

 

Yeah. Instead of keeping the money for himself, the was like, yeah, share the wealth and we all win.

 

Meg [00:15:44]:

 

He also really strict on them, and he wouldn’t allow any unsavory behavior. He was like, you are Georgians. You are brave soldiers. If you do not act in a proper way, you will be disciplined. So basically, there was like, no swearing, no raping, pillaging, that sort of stuff.

 

Tom [00:16:01]:

 

Oh, no raping or pillaging.

 

Meg [00:16:03]:

 

I know. Crazy.

 

Tom [00:16:04]:

 

Yeah. I mean, this is unusual. This is very different.

 

Meg [00:16:07]:

 

But the thing is, according to one estimate, his army may have been as large as 40,000 men. And this also included an elite Royal Guard unit as well, like a big army. But he was very successful with that army because they were loyal to him and they fought hard.

 

Tom [00:16:23]:

 

Yeah, they figure out that there’s a job going and everyone’s like telling, hey, hey, Georgia, have you heard about this? As David’s putting jobs out, jobs out to everyone, paid jobs.

 

Meg [00:16:32]:

 

It kind of reminds me of that story about Luxembourg and the last time they went to war. I think, like something like 280 soldiers went off to battle and 281 came back because one dude was like, I like, you guys, can I come back with you? And they’re like, sure. I love that story. I think that’s quite funny.

 

Tom [00:16:54]:

 

I’m guessing that the Turks were not coming back to drink wine with the Georgians after all of this.

 

Meg [00:17:00]:

 

So within three years, that’s all it took. King David and his loyal army had managed to go forth and liberate most of eastern Georgia. One of David’s most significant victories came in 1121, when he defeated a massive Seljuk army at the Battle of Didgori.

 

Tom [00:17:16]:

 

There’s a big historical site. It’s about 45 minutes outside of Tbilisi. We take people on tours there occasionally, but it’s not really a wine area, so we don’t normally go that way. But, yeah, that’s a cool place on the top of a hill. It’s great.

Famous Georgians: King David The Builder

Famous Georgians: King David The Builder

Meg [00:17:28]:

 

The story behind this is it’s said that the Sultan of the Seljuks became very aware of David’s successes and he was not too happy about a bunch of Christians coming back in to take over the lands that they had already looted and plundered. They wanted to keep it for themselves. So he declared a holy Jihad on Georgia. It’s said that the Muslim army was so large that it was maybe even 600,000 soldiers that gathered there to conquer David and his army, which, as I mentioned before, was only like 40,000 or so soldiers. So this epic battle reached its climax at the Battle of Didgori, which to this day is considered the greatest military victory in the history of Georgia. Now, what they’re saying is one of the reasons why he actually won this with so few men was what he did was he actually made friends with some of the Crusaders because they were like Christians fighting, helping out Christians. And he got a few of the Crusaders to be strategically placed in different spots where they could see them. There’d be like a bunch of them here and a bunch of them there, like up on these different lookout guys of some sort. And so the Seljuks would turn up and they would see, like, they were getting their asses kicked by the Crusaders in other areas, and everyone had heard about it. So they saw them there and they thought, oh, my goodness, the whole army is here. They’ve got the Crusaders on their side, they’re going to kick our butts. And so a lot of them were like, no, we’re out. Thank you. Bye.

 

Tom [00:18:58]:

 

Nice. That is a smooth move. Ferguson exactly.

 

Meg [00:19:02]:

 

So it was this smart thinking and stuff like this that made David actually really smart in his military conquests and all that sort of stuff. The was just like, as I said before, things that he was doing, like putting money back into the military, putting money back into the land, making sure that people had food to eat and that the soldiers were fed and ready to fight and all of that sort of stuff, just helped him have a very loyal, very strong army. And he just had these, like, really smart ideas that absolutely worked.

 

Tom [00:19:32]:

 

Killing it, literally killing, killing them.

 

Meg [00:19:35]:

 

Them. So the battle at Didgori was the culmination of the entire Georgian Seljuk wars and led to the Georgians reconquest of Tbilisi iIn 1122. It came back.

 

Tom [00:19:48]:

 

Yay. And now we can live here.

 

Meg [00:19:49]:

 

Yep. Soon after that, David moved the capital from Kutaisi back to Tbilisi. And the victory at Didgori is seen as the beginning of the medieval Georgian age and is celebrated to this day on August 12 with a festival known as Didgoroba, which is the day of Didgori.

 

Tom [00:20:06]:

 

Yeah. Anything that sort of ends in Oba seems to be a festival. Tbilis- Oba. I think there’s a Kutais-oba as well, but, yeah, there’s loads of Obas, which are great. I’m always looking out for Obas. Yeah, I’m a fan.

 

Meg [00:20:18]:

 

I like the obas. So, hearing of his victories, king David’s supporters in other provinces overthrew their leaders and rejoined Georgia. They were like, Yay, we can fight, too. One region in particular was the kingdom of Kakheti, where the people rebelled against their young king and booted him out. Kakheti has always been like a really wealthy region, a wealthy land, because it’s very fertile, very fertile. It’s a good place for wine and just growing stuff in general. So they had actually avoided the Turkish raids through a treaty that they had with the Seljuks. And once the Seljuks were gone, it came back to being this king who’s a young king, going, I don’t know what I’m doing. And they’re like, no, you don’t buy. And so they went back and joined with Georgia, with King David. And so there the wealth of the land helped Georgia continue to develop infrastructure and rebuild fortifications, because they had the money to do so.

 

Tom [00:21:10]:

 

Nice.

 

Meg [00:21:11]:

 

By the end of King David’s conquests, the Georgian kingdom stretched from the very tip of the Caucasus Mountains in the west all the way down to the River Araks, which borders the territory we know today as Azerbaijan, Iran, Armenia and Turkey. So they took a lot of land and then some.

 

Tom [00:21:28]:

 

It’s bigger than Georgia is today.

 

Meg [00:21:30]:

 

Correct.

 

Tom [00:21:30]:

 

As I understand, this was like the largest Georgia ever was as a single country, which is why King David is such a big deal because not only did he bring all these land back, but he actually got more land as well. It was like the golden age.

 

Meg [00:21:42]:

 

The golden age. Yeah. They were the biggest they’d ever been. They had lots of money and were prosperous and could celebrate and live their lives in happy peace for the time.

 

Tom [00:21:54]:

 

For a little while, until the monkeys turned up. That’s another podcast.

 

Meg [00:21:59]:

 

That is so, yeah. David was a well educated king, and with many people now back under Georgian rule, he preached tolerance and acceptance of other religions. He abolished religious taxes for Muslims and Jews in his kingdom, and he advocated for the protection of Muslim scholars. So this level of humane treatment of different religions and cultures created a diverse multiethnic kingdom and set a hallmark not only for his enlightened reign, but for all of Georgian history and culture. So one thing that people, if you do go on tours here, people do constantly talk about how Tbilisi in particular, and lots of Georgia has been very accepting of other people’s religions, and everyone can live here peacefully. While it is predominantly a Christian culture, no one has ever needed to fear being a different religion than being here, because Georgians have always been very accepting of and tolerant of other religions and cultures.

 

Tom [00:22:52]:

 

Yeah, there’s a bunch of synagogues and mosques all over the place, all around the country.

 

Meg [00:22:56]:

 

So King David died on January 24, the 1125, aged 52. Pretty young. But I think back in those days, that was a pretty good run. As he decreed, he was buried under a tombstone at the entrance to the Gelati Monastery, which is located near Kutaisi, so that anyone who enters must first step on his tomb as a show of his ultimate humility. The epitaph reads, Christ, this is my resting place for eternity. It pleases me, here I shall dwell. So that monastery was actually built by him, and it actually was an educational zone for many, many years for people to get educated and prosper. So that was like his big thing that he built. Yeah.

 

Tom [00:23:36]:

 

And today it’s a UNESCO site with some of the best preserved frescoes in Georgia.

 

Meg [00:23:41]:

 

Yeah.

 

Tom [00:23:42]:

 

So it’s definitely on the hit list for anyone who’s traveling here to pop in and have a look and step on King David’s grave.

 

Meg [00:23:48]:

 

Yeah. In all his humility. So some interesting facts. King David personally participated in most, if not all, battles that were fought during his reign, which is crazy for a king, especially when you’re like 17 or whatever.

 

Tom [00:24:01]:

 

Well, I suppose when you’re 17, I’ll never die.

 

Meg [00:24:05]:

 

And at 30 it’s like, oh, my mortality is sticking in a little bit now. But the were more prosperous then. I think it was all done and whatever by them. But he’s said to have led the army from the front and always been in the heat of battle with his compatriots, so yeah, he wasn’t just sitting somewhere telling people what to do. He would always get in there and get involved himself. Apparently he also before the big battle of Didgori, David ordered his troops to block their own way back, telling his soldiers that the would either win or die there. As a result, over 70% of the Seljuks were killed and the rest were taken prisoner. Well, it was just like, Go, go. No option here. You got to win. The airport at Kutaisi is named in his honor. So if you’ve flown into Kutaisi or you’re looking at that as an option, it is, actually. If you’re looking at traveling to Georgia, that is a good option. You can fly into Tbilisi or Kutaisi. A lot of people forget about the Kutaisi airport.

 

Tom [00:24:57]:

 

Yeah, there’s quite a lot of flights from European cities and a few from the Middle East as well, I think. So, yeah, it’s a good option.

 

Meg [00:25:04]:

 

The National Defense Academy is named after him. Makes sense. And Ilia Chavchavadze, who we did another episode on a couple of months ago, you can go back and take a listen to who Ilia Chavchavadze. He writes about King David. Oh, I didn’t even mention that. His name’s King David, the builder. Did I say that? No, he’s King David the Builder because.

 

Tom [00:25:22]:

 

We just said King David the difficult to pronounce her name. That’s all we did from the start.

 

Meg [00:25:27]:

 

King David the builder. Yeah, because he built this great land. He put it all back together and built it up to be great. And then they had the golden age of the Georgian era. But yes, Chavchavadze said, this marvelous day, which reminds us of such a glorious man. That was King David, whose remembrance brings about the rebirth of a nation. And who dares forget this? It must be a deadly sin for a nation. A man must have two names, says the nation, one for earthly remembrance and another to take with him to heaven. David is remembered as a king and as a builder. But being a religious man, he went away as a saint. So David the builder was canonized as a saint by the Georgian Orthodox Christian Church. So he is known as a saint.

 

Tom [00:26:07]:

 

Makes sense.

Famous Georgians: King David The Builder

Famous Georgians: King David The Builder

Meg [00:26:07]:

 

Yeah. That is King David. Of course, I could have gone on a lot more in depth about the different battles and all that sort of stuff, but that’s a nice little overview for you. So you know a little bit about King David, what he did and why he’s such a big deal.

 

Tom [00:26:21]:

 

Yeah. And now there’s an apartment block in Tbilisi. He was named after him.

 

Meg [00:26:25]:

 

Oh, yeah.

 

Tom [00:26:26]:

 

People use his name for so many things. There’s always a King David Street in every avenue in every single city.

 

Meg [00:26:34]:

 

The apartment building is so modern. I don’t know if there was any sort of reference from him to build for that style or they just surely not.

 

Tom [00:26:42]:

 

No, it was just let’s use. The name because people will know what that is.

 

Meg [00:26:46]:

 

Yeah, it’s like the fanciest apartment block in Tbilisi.

 

Tom [00:26:49]:

 

It is definitely a high end apartment block. It is quite a site. It is a landmark, for sure. Whether you like it or don’t like it, I don’t know, but it is a very visual landmark. Very large, very glass, blue glass sort of apartment block.

 

Meg [00:27:04]:

 

So there you go. Now you know Tom and everyone now I know, yeah. Knows about King David. What was your favorite fact that you learnt about King David?

 

Tom [00:27:11]:

 

That he went skateboarding with his dad because they co ruled together when he was 16.

 

Meg [00:27:15]:

 

Okay, you weren’t listening. You can listen to the podcast again once it’s released.

 

Tom [00:27:19]:

 

I mentioned something to do with this during the podcast. I’m pretty sure that happened, yes.

 

Meg [00:27:23]:

 

But you need to go back and listen to this podcast again, please.

 

Tom [00:27:27]:

 

Saying, I haven’t done my homework properly.

 

Meg [00:27:28]:

 

Not no.

 

Tom [00:27:30]:

 

To be fair, I’ve only listened to this podcast once, which is whilst we just recorded it in the last few minutes. So it’s not like I really studied this at length.

 

Meg [00:27:37]:

 

Anyone who’s listening, next time you see Tom, give him a pop quiz to make sure that he has gone back and done his King David studies.

 

Tom [00:27:44]:

 

Right? Yes. Eventually. Eventually, I will. You never know. If enough people come up to me in the street and ask me about it, then maybe I actually will. Yeah.

 

Meg [00:27:51]:

 

All right. That is the end of another historical figure episode. If you have anyone that you would like us to do, if you want us to drop someone in, drop a name.

 

Tom [00:28:02]:

 

We got a whole list of people, actually, already, but we don’t know when we’re going to do them. We’re going to do them eventually, but.

 

Meg [00:28:07]:

 

I’d like to know if there’s anyone that you find interesting that you’d like me to jump ahead of the queue. Can be anyone. It can be people from today. Who is Katie Mellower?

 

Tom [00:28:17]:

 

Who is Katie Belua?

 

Meg [00:28:18]:

 

She’s a singer. Yes.

 

Tom [00:28:20]:

 

From Georgia. If you didn’t know, and I never knew, like, when she was famous in England and I lived in England, I had no idea.

 

Meg [00:28:26]:

 

I did not.

 

Tom [00:28:27]:

 

Of course, as soon as I came to Georgia, everyone’s like, Katie Belua. Like. Oh. What?

 

Meg [00:28:33]:

 

Yeah.

 

Tom [00:28:34]:

 

Now we know.

 

Meg [00:28:35]:

 

There you go. Any famous people, let us know that you want to learn a little bit more about. We can maybe jump them ahead in the queue. You can contact us by emailing, which is [email protected]. Or we are on the Socials, on Facebook, insta. I’m on the top.

 

Tom [00:28:51]:

 

We’re on the TikTok now. It’s real. We’re doing it.

 

Meg [00:28:54]:

 

It’s actually pretty good with all the young people on the TikToks. Yes.

 

Tom [00:28:58]:

 

Are we really that old? We keep acting like we’re really old. We’re always going like, oh, I don’t know what young people are doing. We’re not that old. We’re not 65 or something. Sorry to anyone who’s 65. And I’m just saying you’re old. I mean, technically you are, I guess. And you might have to just accept it at that point. I’m going to have to accept it at some point. But I am definitely getting older. But I don’t consider myself a pensioner at this point.

 

Meg [00:29:21]:

 

No, but we are past middle age.

 

Tom [00:29:23]:

 

We are, yes. Well, that depends actually, because with all of the developments in AI and medical science and everything else, we might live to 150.

 

Meg [00:29:31]:

 

That’s a lot.

 

Tom [00:29:32]:

 

Yeah. That is probably too much hold out. Well, the whole point is that they’ll all get fixed, isn’t it?

 

Meg [00:29:37]:

 

That’s a good point.

 

Tom [00:29:38]:

 

That’s the idea. Otherwise you’re not going to make it to 150 because you’ll just be lying on your back for 50 years and it’ll be pretty boring.

 

Meg [00:29:44]:

 

That would suck.

 

Tom [00:29:44]:

 

Yeah. Don’t want to do that.

 

Meg [00:29:46]:

 

But yes. Anyway, the whole point of this is we are on the socials and come and check out our new TikTok. It is Tbilisi podcast. Everything is Tbilisi podcast across the board.

 

Tom [00:29:54]:

 

That made it easy.

 

Meg [00:29:55]:

 

Yes, made it nice and easy. Doing some reels, doing just I don’t know, it’s mostly just me walking around Tbilisi and doing stuff.

 

Tom [00:30:02]:

 

Yeah. And if you like wine, there’s always wine. Yeah, but I mean, go listen to some of our wine episodes. But yeah, we’ve started up our wine tastings in Tbilisi because it was such a frustrating situation during COVID and everything else that happened the last few years to run something in person with a large group of people that we just didn’t. But now that it’s 2023 and stuff seems to be a bit more ironed out, we are starting to run those again. Just a little mini plug there. Completely separate from this episode. As we said, King David and his troops used to drink wine. So if you want to do something similar to that without the war and the death, just the wine part, we’re doing that in Tbilisi.

 

Meg [00:30:46]:

 

They weren’t doing it in Tbilisi either. Like when they were fighting, they got Tbilisi at the end of it all.

 

Tom [00:30:50]:

 

Oh, yeah. But then they probably drank wine in Tbilisi. They probably had a massive wine tasting at the end of that battle.

 

Meg [00:30:55]:

 

For sure.

 

Tom [00:30:56]:

 

Yeah, for sure. So, yeah, head to eatthistours.com there’s going to be a link somewhere on there with wine tastings and then you can find us. Yes. Nice.

 

Meg [00:31:05]:

 

Wonderful. Thank you for joining us again for another episode. We really appreciate you guys listening. If you’ve got this far, listening to our ramblings, you’re the best. Thank you so much. And we hope you click on and listen to another episode, either today or next time we release another episode, we’ll be there. Yeah, hopefully you will be too.

 

Tom [00:31:21]:

 

If you’re upset that I said you were too old or something and you thought I was talking directly to you, I wasn’t. I was just making a general comment that was completely ridiculous.

 

Meg [00:31:30]:

 

Too late now. You’ve already said I’ve already said it backpedal.

 

Tom [00:31:33]:

 

Don’t leave us negative reviews because you thought I was having a go at you for being older than me or something. I mean, that’s completely silly, isn’t it? Completely silly. We’re joking around here a bit. Get over it. How about that? Just get over it.

 

Meg [00:31:47]:

 

Getting offensive and you’re trying to not be offensive.

 

Tom [00:31:49]:

 

I’m offending myself. I’m so old, Meg. I know. So old.

 

Meg [00:31:56]:

 

Now let’s go drink some more wine.

 

Tom [00:31:57]:

 

Oh yeah, that’s a good idea.

 

Meg [00:31:59]:

 

Okay, bye. Thanks for listening to the Tbilisi podcast. Connect with us tbilisipodcast.com, where you can find all relevant social media links, join our email newsletter and discover more about travel tours and expat services in Georgia. This show was brought to you by foodfundtravel.com expathhub.GE and eatthistours.com.