Georgia’s newly elected president Salome Zurabishvili is going to relocate the presidential residence from the Presidential Palace in Tbilisi's Avlabari district to an alternative location on Atoneli Street.
This issue was even included in Zurabishvili’s election programme and today Zurabishvili stated that Orbeliani Palace which is located on Atoneli Street, is more European in style and appropriate for the presidential palace.
As Baratashvilis and Orbelianis were my ancestors it is absolutely suitable for me to move the presidential residence there”, said Zurabishvili.
The Palace on Atoneli Street was renovated in 2013 but stands empty up to present. Photo: Mzia Saganelidze/RFE/RL
About 25 million GEL was spent on the renovation of the Orbeliani Palace back in 2013 and it was expected that former president Giorgi Margvelashvili would move there after winning the presidential elections.
The palace has become one reason of controversy between Margvelashvili and the Georgian Dream party, which named him as its presidential candidate in 2013, as Margvelashvili decided to stay at the Avlabari presidential palace.
Now the debates on where the presidential residence be have resumed.
The Presidential Palace in Avlabari was built on the order of former United National Movement president Mikheil Saakashvili; construction was completed in 2009.
As for the Orbeliani Palace, it was built in the 18th century. King Teimuraz II of the Bagrationi dynasty gifted this building to his son-in-law Dimitry Orbeliani. The building was destroyed in the 19th century and a new was one built on the spot.