The Zakarids or Zakarians[1][2] (Armenian: Զաքարյաններ, Zak'aryanner), also known by their Georgian name as Mkhargrdzeli (Georgian: მხარგრძელი), were a noble Armenian[3]–Georgian dynasty of at least partial Kurdish[4][5][6][7][8] origin. Their name in Georgian, Mkhargrdzeli, or in Armenian: Երկայնաբազուկ, (Yerkaynbazuk) meant long-armed. A family legend says that this name was a reference to their Achaemenid ancestor Artaxerxes II the "Longarmed" (404-358 BC).[9][10] According to one modern theory, they were an offshoot of the Armenian royal House of Artsruni.[11]


When the Georgian King David IV the Restorer liberated these lands from the Seljuq grip, the Zakarids came to be loyal vassals of the Georgian Bagratids. They subsequently gained more prominence as military commanders and sponsors of cultural activities in both Armenian and Georgian lands. Zakare and Ivane were the most successful representatives of the family, who were military commanders under Queen Tamar of Georgia (1184-1212/3) and significantly contributed to Georgian military victories over the regional Muslim dynasties, taking over several Armenian districts in the process. Around the same time, Ivane converted to Georgian Orthodox Christianity, while Zakare remained Armenian Apostolic in faith. Both brothers left several bilingual inscriptions across the Armeno-Georgian border lands and built several churches and forts, such as the Harichavank Monastery and Akhtala Monastery in northern Armenia. The family went in decline with the establishment of Mongol power in the Caucasus.

See also


  1. Bournoutian, George A. (2003). A concise history of the Armenian people : (from ancient times to the present) (2. ed.). Costa Mesa, Calif.: Mazda Publishers. p. 108. ISBN 1568591411.
  2. Sacred Precincts: The Religious Architecture of Non-Muslim Communities Across the Islamic World. BRILL. 2014. p. 465. ISBN 9004280227.
  3. Chorbajian, Levon; Donabedian Patrick; Mutafian, Claude. The Caucasian Knot: The History and Geo-Politics of Nagorno-Karabagh. NJ: Zed Books, 1994, p. 66-67
  4. Alexei Lidov, 1991, The mural paintings of Akhtala, p. 14, Nauka Publishers, Central Dept. of Oriental Literature, University of Michigan, ISBN 5-02-017569-2, ISBN 978-5-02-017569-3, It is clear from the account of these Armenian historians that Ivane's great grandfather broke away from the Kurdish tribe of Babir
  5. Vladimir Minorsky, 1953, Studies in Caucasian History, p. 102, CUP Archive, ISBN 0-521-05735-3, ISBN 978-0-521-05735-6, According to a tradition which has every reason to be true, their ancestors were Mesopotamian Kurds of the tribe (xel) Babirakan.
  6. Richard Barrie Dobson, 2000, Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages: A-J, p. 107, Editions du Cerf, University of Michigan, ISBN 0-227-67931-8, ISBN 978-0-227-67931-9, under the Christianized Kurdish dynasty of Zak'arids they tried to re-establish nazarar system...
  7. William Edward David Allen, 1932, A History of the Georgian People: From the Beginning Down to the Russian Conquest in the Nineteenth Century, p. 104, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 0-7100-6959-6, ISBN 978-0-7100-6959-7, She retained and leant upon the numerous relatives of Sargis Mkhargrdzeli, an aznauri of Kurdish origin
  8. Vardan Arewelts'i's, Compilation of History In these time there lived the glorious princes Zak'are' and Iwane', sons of Sargis, son of Vahram, son of Zak'are', son of Sargis of Kurdish nationality (i K'urd azge') p. 82
  9. Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia, 3th volume
  10. Paul Adalian, Rouben (2010). Historical Dictionary of Armenia. p. 83.
  11. Chorbajian, Levon; Donabedian Patrick; Mutafian, Claude. The Caucasian Knot: The History and Geo-Politics of Nagorno-Karabagh. NJ: Zed Books, 1994, p. 66-67
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