A true symbol of Georgian independence, this area was named Freedom Square in 1918, during the First Georgian Republic. The name returns after the collapse of the USSR, proudly defining the country’s current identity, strengthened by the golden statue of Saint George defeating the dragon, which was placed here in 2006. It is interesting to note how the successive names of the square perfectly represent the history of Georgia in the modern age. When the square is built in the beginning of the 19th century, it is called Erevan or Ivan Paskevich Square – named after the general of the Russian Imperial Army, who conquered Erevan, eventually receiving the title of Count of Erevan. In the time of the USSR it was first called Beria Square, then Lenin Square, with a statue of Lenin dominating the centre until 1991.
An interesting look into the dynamics of the urban network of the city: at first, when there was an intersection of trading routes with an inn, rather than a square, this area was located towards the margins of the settlement. The gradual development of the commercial margin of the city eventually becomes a centre, something encountered in many big Western European cities. An especially adventurous historical episode takes place here: in 1907, the square is the scene of a famous bank heist, organised and led by Stalin himself.