TBILISI, GEORGIA

Tbilisi is the capital of the country of Georgia. Its cobblestoned old town reflects a long, complicated history, with periods under Persian and Russian rule. Its diverse architecture encompasses Eastern Orthodox churches, ornate art nouveau buildings and Soviet Modernist structures. Looming over it all are Narikala, a reconstructed 4th-century fortress, and Kartlis Deda, an iconic statue of the “Mother of Georgia.”

Tbilisi has come a long way since the Rose Revolution of 2003 ousted the post-Soviet Shevardnadze government. To Tbilisi’s eternal charms of a dramatic setting in the deep valley of the swift Mtkvari River, picturesque architecture, an ever-lively arts and cultural scene, and the welcoming Georgian lifestyle have been added a whole new 21st-century dimension of inviting cafes and restaurants serving ever better food, up-to-date lodgings from backpacker hostels to international five-stars, funky bars and clubs, spruced-up museums, galleries, parks, plazas and whole streets, modernised transport and a sprinkling of eye-catching contemporary architecture. All of which make it a much easier, and more fun, city to visit and live in than it was less than a decade ago.

But the old Tbilisi is still very much here too. The Old Town, at the narrowest part of the valley, is still redolent of an ancient Eurasian crossroads, with its winding lanes, balconied houses, leafy squares and handsome churches, all overlooked by the 17-centuries-old Narikala Fortress. Neighbourhoods not far from the centre still retain a village-like feel with their narrow streets, small shops and community atmosphere. Small traders still clog up the pavements around metro stations selling fruit, vegetables, cheese and nuts fresh from the countryside.

The bus stations are still rooted in about the 1930s, too – but you can’t have everything. Modern and ancient, Tbilisi remains the beating heart of the South Caucasus and should not be missed by any visitor.

Georgian National Museum

The Georgian National Museum unifies several leading museums in Georgia. It was established within the framework of structural, institutional, and legal reforms aimed at modernizing the management of the institutions united within this network, and at coordinating research and educational activities. Since its formation on December 30, 2004, the Museum has been directed by Professor David Lordkipanidze. 
 
The Georgian National Museum integrates the management of the following museums: Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia, Tbilisi Samtskhe-Javakheti History Museum, Akhaltsikhe Open Air Museum of Ethnography, Tbilisi Art Museum of Georgia, Tbilisi, and its branches Museum of the Soviet Occupation, Tbilisi Dmanisi Museum-Reserve of History and Archaeology, Dmanisi Vani Museum-Reserve of Archaeology, Vani Museum of History of Tbilisi, Tbilisi Museum of History and Ethnography of Svaneti, Mestia Institute of Palaeobiology, Tbilisi Sighnaghi Museum, Sighnaghi.

Rustaveli Avenue

Rustaveli Avenue Or Golovin Street is the central avenue in Tbilisi named after the medieval Georgian poet, Shota Rustaveli. The avenue starts at Freedom Square and extends for about 1.5 km in length, before it turns into an extension of Kostava Street. Rustaveli is often considered the main thoroughfare of Tbilisi due to a large number of governmental, public, cultural, and business buildings that are located along or near the avenue. 
 
The former Parliament of Georgia building, the Georgian National Opera Theater, the Rustaveli State Academic Theater, the Georgian Academy of Sciences, Kashveti Church, the Georgian Museum of Fine Arts, Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia, and Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi among others, are all located on Rustaveli. In 1989, tens of thousands of Georgians gathered before the House of Government on Rustaveli Avenue. An attack by the Soviet Spetsnaz forces killed many protesters in the April 9 tragedy. In 2007, 2011 and 2019, the avenue was the site of anti-government protests.

Bridge of Peace

The Bridge of Peace, a rather incongruously modern glass-and-steel footbridge over the Mtkvari with a roof, was designed by Italian Michele De Lucchi and opened in 2010. It’s definitely one of the most eye-catching of the love-it-or-hate-it avant-garde structures that went up around Georgia during the Saakashvili years. The Bridge of Peace hangs delicately over the Kura River and connects the old town to the modern. 
 
Designed to evoke the shape of peaceful marine mammals, the bridge provides convenient access from Rike Park to the old town. Stroll across the structure and pause in the middle to watch the river traffic passing below. In the evenings the bridge comes to life with an impressive light display made up of thousands of colored LED lights.

Tbilisi Sioni Cathedral

The Sioni Cathedral of the Dormition is a Georgian Orthodox cathedral in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Following a medieval Georgian tradition of naming churches after particular places in the Holy Land, the Sioni Cathedral bears the name of Mount Zion at Jerusalem. It is commonly known as the “Tbilisi Sioni” to distinguish it from several other churches across Georgia bearing the name Sioni. 
 
The Tbilisi Sioni Cathedral is situated in historic Sionis Kucha in downtown Tbilisi, with its eastern façade fronting the right embankment of the Kura River. It was initially built in the 6th and 7th centuries. Since then, it has been destroyed by foreign invaders and reconstructed several times. The current church is based on a 13th-century version with some changes from the 17th to 19th centuries. The Sioni Cathedral was the main Georgian Orthodox Cathedral and the seat of Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia until the Holy Trinity Cathedral was consecrated in 2004.

Jvari Monastery

Jvari Monastery is a sixth-century Georgian Orthodox monastery near Mtskheta, eastern Georgia. Along with other historic structures of Mtskheta, it is listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Jvari is a rare case of the Early Medieval Georgian church that survived to the present day almost unchanged. 
 
The church became the founder of its type, the Jvari type of church architecture, prevalent in Georgia and Armenia. Built atop of Jvari Mount, the monastery is an example of harmonious connection with the natural environment, characteristic to Georgian architecture.

Mtatsminda Park

Mtatsminda Park is an amusement facility located atop Mount Mtatsminda on 770 meter height overlooking the Georgian capital Tbilisi. It is the highest point in Tbilisi. Located on more than 100 hectares. Park has more than 100 years history. Mtatsminda Park is the most popular theme park in Tbilisi. It is the best choice for fun and relaxation. 
 
Visitor can find there various Cafes, Souvenirs shops, child entertainment center, wedding house, picnic zones, a big Ferris Wheel at the edge of the mountain, offering a splendid view over the city, funicular tram and other fun attractions on the venue. Fresh air, fascinating view of Tbilisi, fun rides, attractions, constant events, excellent customer service will let you relax, have fun and enjoy your free time with your friends and family members.

Narikala Fortress

Narikala is an ancient fortress overlooking Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and the Mtkvari River. The fortress consists of two walled sections on a steep hill between the sulphur baths and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi. On the lower court there is the recently restored St Nicholas church. Newly built in 1996–1997, it replaces the original 13th-century church that was destroyed in a fire. The new church having doors on three sides. The internal part of the church is decorated with the frescos showing scenes both from the Bible and history of Georgia. The structure was established in the 4th century as a Sasanian citadel called Shuris-tsikhe. It was considerably expanded by the Umayyads in the 7th century and later, by king David the Builder. The Mongols renamed it “Narin Qala”. Most of extant fortifications date from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1827, parts of the fortress were damaged by an earthquake and demolished. The views over Tbilisi from the top of the fortress are superb.

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