His most important literary works were: The Hermit, The Ghost, Otaraant Widow, Kako The Robber and Is a man a human?!.
. Most of his work dealt with Georgia and Georgians. He was a devoted protector of the Georgian language and culture from Russification.
Chavchavadze was fatally wounded by a gang of assassins, led by Gigla Berbichashvili, in Tsitsamuri, outside Mtskheta. His legacy earned him the broad admiration of the Georgian people.
Ilia Chavchavadze was born in Kvareli, a village located in the Alazani Valley, in the Kakheti province of Georgia, which was part of the Russian Empire at that time. Ilia was a tavadi, the Georgian title of prince. It is thought that the noble Chavchavadze family came from the Pshav-Khevsureti region of Georgia, and, in 1726, King Constantine II granted the Chavchavadze family the rank of Prince in recognition of their knighthood and valor to the nation.
Ilia was the third son of Grigol Chavchavadze and Mariam Beburishvili. Grigol, like his father and his famous ancestors, had a military background. He, along with the local militiamen protected the village from numerous Dagestani invasions.
Ilia's mother, Mariam, died on May 4, 1848, when Ilia was ten years old, and his father asked his sister, Makrine, to help bring up the children. Aunt Makrine had a significant impact on Ilia's life, because, after 1852, when Ilia's father Grigol died, she was the only remaining caretaker of the family.
Ch'avch'avadze was educated at the elementary level by the deacon of the village before he moved to Tbilisi where he attended the prestigious Academy for Nobility in 1848. However, from an early age, Ilia was influenced by his parents who were highly educated in classical literature, Georgian history and poetry. From his parents, Ilia learned the inspiring stories of Georgian heroism in classical historical novels.
Ilia also described the influence of the deacon's storytelling, which gave him an artistic inspiration, later applied in his novel writing.
In 1848, after the death of Princess Chavchavadze, Ilia was sent to Tbilisi by his father to begin his secondary education. Ilia attended a private school for three years before he entered the 1st Academy of Tbilisi in 1851. Soon after, Ilia's father died and Aunt Makrine looked after the family. His secondary school years were very stressful, due to his father's death. . In addition to his personal problems, the political situation in Georgia worsened under the harsh authority of the Russian Empire, which played a destructive role to the nation and its culture.After graduating from the academy, Ilia decided to continue his education at the University of St. Petersburg, Russia.That same year, Ilia was admitted to the University of St. Petersburg. During his student years, numerous revolutions sprang up in Europe which Ilia observed with great interest.Ilia finally returned to Georgia after the completion of his studies in 1861. During his journey back, Ilia wrote one of his greatest masterpieces, The Travelers' Diaries, where he outlines the importance of nation-building and provides an allegorical comparison of Mt. Kazbegi and the Tergi River in the Khevi region of Georgia.
After serving as a member of the Upper House in the first Russian Duma, Ilia decided to return to Georgia in 1907. On August 28, 1907 Ilia Chavchavadze was murdered by a gang of six assassins who ambushed him and his wife Olga while traveling from Tbilisi to Saguramo, near Mtskheta. The assassination of Ilia Chavchavadze remains controversial today.Either way, the Prince's murder was seen as a national tragedy which was mourned by all strata of Georgian society. Prince Ak'ak'i Tsereteli, who was suffering from serious health problems at the time, spoke at the funeral and dedicated an outstanding oration to Ilia: “Ilia's inestimable contribution to the revival of the Georgian nation is an example for future generations”