For the Armenian town, see Sayat-Nova, Armenia. For 1968 film known as Sayat Nova, see The Color of Pomegranates.

Soviet stamp from 1962 devoted to Sayat-Nova's 250 anniversary.
Born Harutyun Sayatyan
(1712-06-14)14 June 1712
Tiflis, Kingdom of Kartli, Safavid Persia (present-day Georgia)
Died 22 November 1795(1795-11-22) (aged 83)
Haghpat, Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, Qajar Persia (present-day Armenia)
Occupation Poet, ashik
Nationality Armenian
Spouse Marmar
The tomb of Sayat Nova at the Cathedral of Saint George in Old Tbilisi

Sayat-Nova (Armenian: Սայաթ-Նովա; Azerbaijani/Persian: سایات‌نووا / Sayat Nova; Georgian: საიათნოვა; born Harutyun Sayatyan; 1712/1722 – 22 September 1795) was an Armenian poet, musician and ashik, who had compositions in a number of languages. His songs are in Armenian, Georgian, Azerbaijani, and Persian.[1][2]

The name Sayat-Nova means "King of Songs" in Persian.[3][4]


Sayat-Nova's mother, Sara, was born in Tiflis, and his father, Karapet, either in Aleppo or Adana. He was born in Tiflis. Sayat Nova was skilled in writing poetry, singing, and playing the kamancheh, Chonguri, Tambur.[5] He performed in the court of King Heraclius II of Georgia, where he also worked as a diplomat and, apparently, helped forge an alliance between Georgia, Armenia and Shirvan against the Persian Empire. He lost his position at the royal court when he fell in love with the king's sister Ana; he spent the rest of his life as an itinerant bard.

In 1759 he was ordained as a priest in the Armenian Apostolic Church. His wife Marmar died in 1768, leaving behind four children. He served in locations including Tiflis and Haghpat Monastery. In 1795 he was killed in Haghpat Monastery by the invading army of Mohammad Khan Qajar, the Shah of Iran. Khan demanded that Sayat Nova convert from Christianity to Islam, which he refused to do, considering it tantamount to 'turning Turk' and declaring his religion is undeniably Armenian Christian. Hence he was promptly executed and beheaded.[6] He is buried at the Cathedral of Saint George, Tbilisi.


Monument of Sayat Nova in Yerevan

In Armenia, Sayat Nova is considered a great poet who made a considerable contribution to the Armenian poetry and music of his century. Although he lived his entire life in a deeply religious society, his works are mostly secular and full of romantic expressionism.

About 220 songs have been attributed to Sayat-Nova, although he may have written thousands more. He wrote his songs in Armenian, Georgian, Persian; however, most of his extant songs are in Azeri Turkish.[7] Sayat Nova had also written some poems moving between all four.

The tombstone of Sayat-Nova


  1. [Sayat-Nova]. Encyclopædia Britannica.
  2. "Sayat-Nova" (original from the University of California) Haypetrat, 1963
  3. Thomas de Waal. "The Caucasus: An Introduction" Oxford University Press, 2010 ISBN 978-0199750436 p 25
  4. Jennifer G. Wollock. "Rethinking Chivalry and Courtly Love" ABC-CLIO, 2011. ISBN 978-0313038501 p 246
  5. Dowsett, Charles (1997), p. 4
  6. Dowsett, Charles (1997). Sayatʻ-Nova: an 18th-century troubadour: a biographical and literary study. Leuven: Peeters Publishers. p. 362. ISBN 90-6831-795-4.
  7. [Sayat-Nova]. Encyclopædia Britannica.


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