Georgian, who built a house for Bridget Bardot
11 July, 2018
Georgian, who built a house for Bridget Bardot
At the beginning of the Soviet Era, lots of Georgians migrated to Europe, Turkey and other countries just to avoid the terrible fate brought by the Communists.
Here we tell you the story of one man, who was taken away from Georgia, but who eventually came back to Georgia to continue his career as a lecturer. His name is Otar Jakeli.
geotv.ge
Otar Jakeli with his family

His claim to fame is that he once built a house for the famous French actress
Bridget Bardot. But we are jumping ahead of ourselves. Let’s go back to where Otar started.

Otar left Georgia with his mother in 1929. His Father, Alexander, had by this time already left the country and was living in the USA. Otar and his mother decided to settle in Brussels, Belgium. A prominent Georgian public figure, Ekvtime Takaishvili, a man who saved Georgian archaeological artefacts in immigration, used to teach young Otar the Georgian language.
geotv.ge
Ekvtime Takaishvili

Otar’s fate developed in a tragic way. Both his parents passed away when he was 16 and he took refuge in a monastery in Brussels.

He eventually went on to study architecture.

When WWII started, he signed up and served in the French Foreign Legion. At this time there were around another 60 Georgians serving in the Legion as well.

In the French Foreign Legion Otar met and became friends with Prince Henri of Orleans.
geotv.ge
Otar Jakeli and his comrades in the French Foreign Legion

When the war was over, Otar opened an atelier in Belgium. In 1955 he was offered a job in Africa. Otar moved to the Congo and built airports, schools and hospitals. Everything was funded by the Americans.

Otar had been working in the Congo for 5 years. In 1960 a revolution started in the Congo and after some time Otar had to leave the country. He had become quite wealthy through his work in the Congo, but due to the revolution, he lost everything and arrived in France with only a suitcase.

Otar had to start everything again from scratch. Because of the absence of a passport (he was considered to be a migrant and did not have citizenship) there were lots of problems. But he was lucky as well. He was hired to work for the main architect of Paris.
geotv.ge
The French Foreign Legion. Photo courtesy: wearethemighty.com

After a while Otar opened his own architects offices. Bridget Bardot visited the offices and asked him to design a house for her and arrange for it to be built. So this is what happened.

Otar and his family finally returned to Georgia in 1968. However Soviet intelligence never left him and his wife out of their attention and there was always an agent spying on them wherever they went.

He worked as a lecturer for the rest of his life.
geotv.ge
Bridget Bardot. Photo courtesy: karsh.org




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