Sona the Sash-Wearer and Tbilisi’s Legendary Karachokhians
30 October, 2014
Sona the Sash-Wearer and Tbilisi’s Legendary Karachokhians
The history of Tbilisi is unimaginable without Karachokhians (Karachokhelebi). Their name is partially Turkic in origin; it is derived from the clothing they wore and translates as “clad in black chokhas.”

Karachokhians were representatives of the city’s lower class: they were ordinary workers and craftsmen who, nevertheless, had their own code of honor. In general, they were similar to guilds that existed in medieval Europe and also included tinkers of various kinds, although this is where the similarities end.
of old is unimaginable without Karachokhians’ raucous feasts and parties. They could be found in any of the city’s taverns or watering holes, as well as partying on rafts floating down Mtkvari River. They carried drinking goblets in public.
According to historian Elene Botsvadze, Karachokhians loved to party above all. They never held onto money that they got for their work, preferring to blow it on wine instead. The legend of a Karachokhian named Aleksa, who found a lot of money in Ortachala Garden used to be very popular in Tbilisi. Instead of saving the money, the Karachokhian treated his entire coterie to a feast that lasted for the entire week. Not a single workshop in Tbilisi worked that week, and regular citizens found themselves in dire straits because there were things that needed to be done, but the workers were all sitting at the tables and drinking themselves into a stupor.
It may seem unbelievable, but in the same period when women’s rights were still limited in Europe, a small footnote to a photo kept in Tbilisi Archive states the following: “Old Tbilisi’s Karachokhians didn’t count only men among their number – they also had a woman, named “Sona the Sash-Wearer.” The photo of a beautiful woman in a black dress is indeed titled “Sona the Sash-Wearer.” She has a Karachokhian’s sash wrapped around her graceful torso and holds a wine-filled vessel in her hand, in accordance with the tradition.
Besides being a full-fledged member of Karachokhians, Sona the Sash-Wearer was held in high respect in Tbilisi and her name was widely known. Sona was graceful, but gave off an air of purely masculine confidence and Karachokhian arrogance. Her voice was quite deep, too – whenever she took up a roller organ and started singing, few wouldn’t stop by to listen.
All eyes followed her whenever she walked down the street, although the sight of her sash was more than enough to fend off any unwanted suitors. If someone attempted courting her, she would put her one hand on her thigh, and hold his suitors with another, yelling curses that would make a sailor blush.
But Sona wasn’t only known for raucousness. Karachokhians were charitable people, and Sona’s virtue made her distinguished even among them. Due to her kind-heartedness and choice of attire, she was frequently dubbed “the black flag of peace”.
It is also said that in Sona’s earlier years, she used to be in love with a young Karachokhian, who contracted a potent disease and suffered an untimely death. Sona took the sash of her deceased love, wrapped it around her hips and declared that from now on, she is dead as a woman and that this sash and black dress are her only clothes now. On that day, Sona took her father’s roller organ and joined the ranks of Karachokhians.
She was also considered a patron of all who were in love – whenever a girl was angry at her beloved, Sona would calm her down and sometimes even talk her into forgetting her tears and eloping with her love instead.
It is not known how many of these legends are true, but the fact is that Sona did indeed walk the streets of Tbilisi once, carrying her roller organ.
Other Stories
Get to know Georgian Inventor Students travelling to NASA Space Center
Sophio Chikhladze (Guivy Zaldastanishvili American Academy), Mariam Gamrekelashvili, Giorgi Rigishvili, Aleksandre Kajaia (School AIA-GESS) and Iona Iobidze (Kutaisi School Progress)
Georgian village, where nearly everybody could sing
It became necessary to construct a new building for a hotel
One Night Trip to Breathtaking Kazbegi
Georgian photographer Giorgi Shermazanashvili has recently visited Kazbegi
Atlas Obscura about the Foundation of Tbilisi and Sulfur Baths
Atlas Obscure has recently devoted an article to the sulfur baths in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
5 facts about Georgian wine
Georgia claims to be the cradle of wine.
A road from Mestia to Chalaadi Glacier
"Are these mountains real?" this question was asked by a tourist from Dubai visiting Svaneti.
Explore Tbilisi during Spring Nights
Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia founded in the 5th century.
Laboratory of Eshera – Secret Facility in Abkhazia That Remains a Mystery till Today
The truth about a cave located in Abkhazia and, presumably, housing Russian military base and a secret seismological laboratory, remains largely unknown to the public.
Celebrate warm spring days in Georgia
Spring has come and the nature of Georgia is becoming greener and greener every day.
The loggerhead sea turtle, found in Black Sea, remains in Georgia for rehabilitation
The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) was found off Black Sea coast in Poti
Stefan Rohner’s Bike Tour in Georgia: Fresh Start with Chacha
Stefan Rohner, a traveler rode to Georgia, visited and took photos of beautiful places in the country.
Lado Apkhazava congratulates Peter Tabichi on his victory
The winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2019 was announced at an awarding ceremony in Dubai.
Surami Fortress captured by Georgian photographers
Surami is a mountain resort surrounded by evergreen coniferous forest.
Zviad Tsikolia working on the First Georgian Airplane “Lizi”
Zviad Tsikolia, a Georgian designer, has been refining the first Georgian airplane model “Lizi”.
Georgian Watch Brand “Tsikolia” may bring the production from Switzerland to Georgia
Georgian designer Zviad Tsikolia may bring the production of his watch brand from Switzerland to Georgia.
Newsweek: Georgia is Europe’s New Cultural Hub
“The former Soviet Republic of Georgia is the hot new place for travelers in the know,”
“As If God himself created Tbilisi…” – What does a Lebanese Tourist say about Georgia?
Tbilisi – the city of churches which has nothing to do with the American Dream.
From Tbilisi Civil War to the Present Day
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia relegated its turbulent days of the civil war to the past.
American Traveler impressed with Georgia
Nicole Heker is a traveler from the U.S. Nicole has been traveling for 4 years.
5	Differences between a country and a state of Georgia
Georgia is internationally recognized as one of the most interesting and popular destinations.
Why is Georgia Land of The Wolves?
Georgia is described as Land of The Wolves on the map published by the Culture Trip.
Mila Kunis appears in David Koma at “Wonder Park” premiere
Mila Kunis appeared in David Koma at “Wonder Park” premiere on the 10th of March.
Dwellers of a village in Afghanistan call themselves Gurjis
The 31st battalion of Georgian armed forces in Afghanistan has brought great news to Georgians.
Sulguni with Lapland Motives
Marika Niklason from Georgia, lives in Asele in the south part of Swedish Lapland, with her husband and children and produces Georgian smoked cheese called “Lapplands Mejeri”.
GEL Exchange Rate