The Boulevard – that’s how locals call the central park in Kutaisi, located next to the fountain with Colchis animals. At the beginning of 19th century there was an orchard in this place, which belonged to Princess Darejan, daughter of King of Imereti Solomon I. In 1820 Darejan handed it over to the city council and since then the place became very popular among Kutaisi citizens. The construction of the urban park began in 1840. It was designed in a square shape, surrounded by a red fence, with tree alleys forming a shape of a cross. There was a pond in the middle of the park. Side alleys were used during artistic and cultural events, there was a café in the brick building in the corner and walking path around the park. The boulevard wasn’t only a place for fun and entertainment it soon started to be an important social gathering spot.
In the 80’s of 19th century when the Educational Association was set up in city, the bank for nobility was opened and it was high time to elect the city government Kutaisi elite chose the park as a meeting place. Quoting Akaki Tsereteli: “the boulevard looked like parliament.” It was here where all debates took place, disputes were resolved, candidates to the government were chosen, new concepts and social ideas emerged. During the revolution in 1905–1907 all demonstrations and important social meetings took place in the boulevard. Until today, the park plays an important role in the social life of Kutaisi. It’s a place to be if one wants hear the latest jokes, Kutaisi anecdotes and it’s still here where new ideas come into life. On the other side of the street in the historical building, there’s a City Hall and traditionally all the officials go out to the park for a short break to have a coffee or a cigarette. During this time, both officials and the citizens are able to talk in person, exchange their experiences, discuss politics and daily life. The boulevard also helped in developing Georgian theatre. In 1888 Russian Emperor Alexander III visited Kutaisi and in order to greet him a wooden pavilion was built in the park. After the visit, it was supposed to be demolished but the city council decided to give it away to the local theatre which didn’t have its own building at that time. Since then the pavilion served as a theatre and in 1891 it was reconstructed and called a park theatre. Unfortunately, the building burnt completely during a fire in 1894.
In 1908, the celebration of 50 years of Akaki Tseretli’s artistic work took place in the Boulevard and 25 years after the poet’s death, in 1940 his statue was placed in the park.