The Mkhedruli alphabet developed
from an older Georgian alphabet known as Nuskhuri
between the 11th and 13th centuries. The name Mkhedruli comes from the
word mkhedari which means 'of horseman'. The
Nuskhuri alphabet developed from
the Asomtavruli alphabet.
At first Mkhedruli was used only for secular writing, while for religious
writings a mixture of the two older alphabets was used. Eventually
Nuskhuri became the main alphabet for religious texts and
Asomtavruli was used only for titles and for the first letters of
sentences. This system of mixing the two alphabets was known as khucesi
Eventually the two older alphabets fell out of use and Mkhedruli
became the sole alphabet used to write Georgian. However, in the writings
of a linguist called Akaki Shanidze (1887-1987) and in works written
in his honour, letters from the Asomtavruli
alphabet are used to mark proper names and the beginning of sentences.
Shanidze's attempt to popularise such usage met with little success.
The first printed material in the Georgian language, a Georgian-Italian dictionary,
was published in 1629 in Rome. Since then the alphabet has changed
very little, though a few letters were added by Anton I in the 18th
century, and 5 letters were dropped in the 1860s when Ilia Chavchavadze
introduced a number of reforms.
Type of writing system: alphabet
Direction of writing: left to right, horizontal
When printed, Mkhedruli letters are not connected at all,
though they can be in cursive handwriting.
The headline letters are used for titles and headlines.
Georgian has no symbols for numerals. Each letter has a numerical
value as well as a phonological one, but Indic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc)
are normally used.
The order of the Mkhedruli letters is based on that of the
Greek alphabet. The Georgian consontants with
no Greek equivalents come at the end of the alphabet.
Used to write
Georgian (ქართული ენა),
a Kartvelian or South Caucasian language spoken by about 4.1 million people
mainly in Georgia (საქართველო),
and also in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, USA and Uzbekistan
Mingrelian (მარგალური ნინა),
a South Caucasian language spoken in north-western Georgia by perhaps
half a million people.
Laz (ლაზური ნენა),
a South Caucasian language closely related to Mingrelian and spoken in Turkey
and Georgia by about 33,000 people.
Svan (ლუშნუ ნინ),
a South Caucasian language with about 30,000 speakers mainly in the northwest of Georgia.
Abkhaz (აფხაზური ენა),
a Northwest Caucasian language, was also once written with the Mkhedruli
alphabet, but is now written with the Cyrillic alphabet.
Georgian Mkhedruli alphabet (მხედრული)
The letters in red are no longer used.
The names of the letters in the Georgian alphabet are the formal, traditional names.
The letters names in the IPA are the usual way to refer to them.
The letters used to have the numerical values shown.
Download a Georgian alphabet chart in Word
or PDF format
Information about the Georgian alphabet from Konstantin Gugeshashvili
Sample text in Georgian
Qvela adamiani ibadeba tavisupali da tanasts'ori tavisi ghirsebita da uplebebit. Mat
minich'ebuli akvt goneba da sindisi da ertmanetis mimart unda iktseodnen dzmobis
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)