8 July – Artur Leist was born
Added: 2009-07-18 16:15:19

In 1881, he got acquainted with a German writer, an admirer of the Georgian people and culture, F. Bodenstadt; He advised Leist to study the Georgian language. For this reason, Leist made friends with famous Georgian public persons such as Niko Nikoladze, Dimitri Eristavi, Akaki Tsereteli. In 1882, Leist’s article Georgians’ and Armenians’ Aspiration for Education appeared in the Polish press. Leist was very interested in Georgian literature, so he decided to find new opportunities to study it. Therefore, he asked Akaki Tsereteli for an aid. In a year, Leist’s new article A Forgotten Literature was published in the German press.


In 1884, Ilia Chavchavadze invited him to Georgia. His visit received very good press coverage. During his two-week journey, Leist visited many regions of Georgia and collected many important materials for his future work. Soon he published his first book Georgia: Nature, Customs and Inhabitants in Leipzig.  During his visit to Tbilisi he read Shota Rustaveli’s Knight in Panther’s Skin and decided to translate it into German. So, he went to Georgia for the second time and, with the assistance of Georgian writers, he translated the poem as well as an anthology of the Georgian poetry. He actively worked for the Georgian newspaper Iveria. Leist lived in Georgia for four years and did a tremendous work. In 1889, he went to Poland and Germany to publish his already prepared works. In 1890, Leist published the books Georgian People, Georgian Poets, Georgia in Dresden, and then made a journey to Italy, Austria, Turkey… In 1892, he settled down in Tbilisi and married a German woman Maria Baitlinger.

In Tbilisi, Artrur Leist founded a German newspaper Kaukasische Post, which is still very popular among German-speaking readers in Georgia. He was also an author of short stories as well as autobiographical work.  In 1918 Leist began to teach the German language in the new founded Tbilisi State University. He systematically invited foreign scholars to Georgia and supported Georgian students to study abroad. In 1923 and 1927, he published Heart of Georgia in two volumes.

Artur Leist died on 22 March, 1927. He is buried in Tbilisi, in Didube Pantheon.

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