Georgia marks today on August 12 the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Didgori, which led to the Georgian reconquest of Tbilisi from the 400-years-long Arab rule and the unification of Georgia under the Bagrationi dynasty.
The battle took place at Didgori valley, some 40 km away from Tbilisi, with Georgian army led by King David IV Aghmashenebeli (the builder) defeating outnumbering Seljuk army led by Najm ad-Din Ilghazi, Artukid ruler of Mardin.
The event is referred to as “miraculous victory” in Georgian history sources.
“Today we mark the greatest date of our history,” said Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, noting that Georgians led by King David “created one of the most distinguished examples of the military-strategic success in the history of the world.”
According to the PM, the battle came to symbolize the “fight for freedom, unity, devotion for the homeland” for Georgian people. “Even today, in the face of new challenges, it is the living example of Didgori battle that teaches us that we can achieve every goal through unity,” he added.
In her anniversary address, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili said “admiration for Didgori often prevents us from fully understanding the reforms of David the Builder,” including creating a “modern state with modern structures and army.”
David Aghmashenebeli “planted the seed for those Christian and universal values that have brought us to this day – tolerance, as the foundation of the strength of the Georgian state and the achievement of its civilization,” the President went on, adding that “today, we must rethink this tradition of tolerance and create in this modern Georgia a guarantee for the development of a free and safe society for all.”
“900 years ago, Didgori was a battle from which Georgia, with the peoples of the Caucasus, regardless of religious or national affiliation, emerged victorious. It is not only a basis of national pride, but also a representation of our path for the Caucasian future,” President Zurabishvili noted.
The President also said that “Didgori of today” is the battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, calling on the Georgian Orthodox Church, among others, to play its role in this “battle for survival.”
To mark the historic date, the Ministry of Defense has planned multiple large-scale celebrations involving Georgian Defense Forces and various artists. The main highlights of the celebrations are staged performances replaying the medieval battle in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, the west Georgian city from which King David ruled, as well as the award ceremony of the military servicemen.
As part of anniversary celebrations, the Ministry of Culture and Sports yesterday also announced a call for applications to direct a motion picture depicting the life of King David Aghmashenebeli.