Tbilisi is perfect for escape in any unclear situation - without visas and other fuss. The number of spectacles per square centimeter is off scale, and as for the bread, you will forever remember the Adjarian-style khachapuri boats with the melted sun of the yolk. In Tbilisi, you will find cool showrooms, ancient temples, tasting rooms and the confluence of Aragvi and Kura, half an hour from the city. We have compiled a biased guide to Tbilisi, which still does not contain all our love.
Text: Evgeniya Pisman
Picturesque ruins with the best views of the city. The fortress stood on the mountain already in the IV century and, according to one of the legends, was a stop on the Silk Road. It is not a fact that the Silk Road passed through Tbilisi, but one can imagine how the camels bent their legs so that the caravan men could get off and spread their silks. After the earthquake of the century before last, the ruins of the walls, the powerful masonry of the towers and the view of Old Tiflis remained from the fortress. Not far from the fortress stands a massive statue of Mother Georgia - a bowl in one hand, a sword in the other. In a local anecdote, Mother Georgia, as it were, winks at the monument of Tsar Vakhtang Gorgasali opposite: “Let's have a drink”. “I can't,” the king's equestrian statue replies. - I'm driving".
One of the oldest churches in Tbilisi. The main relic of Georgia is kept here - the cross of St. Nino, woven from a grapevine. It is believed that at the tip of this cross, the saint brought Christianity to Georgia.
The soul of the city and the most photogenic Tbilisi with porticoes, balconies, stucco moldings and echoes of former luxury. Here you need to hunt for the front ones with twisted marble staircases, look for openwork balconies and carved wooden verandas. Sololaki was built at the end of the 19th century by wealthy merchants and manufacturers who embodied their vision of Art Nouveau. The house of Anna Madatova with half-timbered elements, crowned with a belvedere, the "Italian villa" of the Milov brothers, the house of Madame Bozardzhyants, who received the Tiflis City Hall award for the best facade - they all seem to be lining up to tell their stories.
National Gallery of Georgia
You have to go here for Pirosmani. A whole room is reserved for his works in the gallery: a touching fisherman in a red shirt, a bear in the moonlight, looking like an unknown animal, and the actress Margarita - the one at whose feet Pirosmani threw a million scarlet roses. Pirosmani painted princely feasts, animals with human eyes and beautiful portraits. I transferred to the oilcloth, which I used instead of canvases, my feeling of Georgia - convex, lively, tangible, slightly naive and incredibly beautiful.
Flea market on the Dry Bridge
Nostalgia for Soviet-era items, passionate Georgian flavor with daggers and wine horns, juicy paintings by local craftsmen and Svan hats. Here you can take pictures of bearded sellers against the background of bright carpets, spend hours choosing vintage earrings for the pendant and try the sharpness of the blade with your finger. Vendors play backgammon, drink chacha and show master classes in incendiary conversation. Well, if you find in your bag a freshly bought and completely unnecessary wine horn with a silver edging, write off the expenses of the exploration of Tbilisi.
The oldest and most soulful church in Tbilisi. You go down the steps to the basilica, going back centuries, until the 6th century. You can see the ancient masonry, and, if you're lucky, hear the chorus of local singers. Travelers vying with each other talk about a special atmosphere, strong energy and other mystical insights. But you can just put a tick in front of the item "visit the current Orthodox basilica" - for example, in Russia there are no basilica churches.
Rezo Gabriadze Puppet Theater
The square and the fabulous turret, as if they were being built by the very same puppet puppets.They put the cubes on one side, mixed a stone with a brick, decorated with mosaics, and so that the structure did not fall apart, they propped it up with a cast-iron beam. Every hour a golden angel appears on the upper balcony of the tower and strikes the bell with a hammer. Exactly at noon, a fast-paced play "The Cycle of Life" is played out on the tower, where a young couple meets, marries, and nurses a baby. Soon, two graves float in front of the viewer, but the performance does not end there, and the newlyweds again appear on the stage. Such is Gabriadze's optimistic view.
Ceremonial - "kaleidoscope"
The small front door at 3 Betlemskaya Street is lavishly decorated with stained-glass windows. Sunlight pours through them - the very atmosphere of Old Tbilisi, for which you came here. A wooden staircase creaks, stained-glass windows draw patterns like in a children's kaleidoscope, and on the second floor there is a small gallery with handmade things. There is also a carved balcony of wondrous beauty with openwork lace.
Flower Kingdom of Zurab Shevardnadze - atmospheric garden and cafe. Over a cup of tea with cranberry leaves, it seems that you are in a doll's house - with grandmother's sets, cups on the ceiling and other touching things. The garden with greenhouses and summer cottages is ideal for photographs. The main thing is to make sure that the heart does not turn into butter, and resist buying a dozen seedlings and pots in Gardenia.
View from above
The temple stands on a cliff on the banks of the Kura and from the observation deck offers views that Queen Tamara admired: the violent flow of the river, the walls of the Narikala fortress and the roofs of the Avlabar district. There used to be a royal palace here, but it did not survive its difficult fate, and the 12th century temple itself was miraculously preserved. Dmitry Shevardnadze played the role of a miracle, who led the protests, and then, against his will, went to Siberia, where he died.
You have to go there in the evening to find Tbilisi in flames: the Bridge of Peace, like an angel's wing, the shining pyramid of Tsminda Sameba Cathedral and the sea of lights. We recommend taking the funicular to look from a height into the courtyards of Old Tbilisi. At the top station of the funicular in the cafe of the same name - wonderful donuts with vanilla cream and chocolate lemonade.
Veranda of the Marani restaurant
The Narikala fortress and colorful houses with openwork balconies are practically on your plate. Veranda view wins blogging battles for the best view of the old town.
According to legend, King Vakhtang Gorgasali hunted and drove either a deer or a pheasant into a hot sulfur spring. The deer drank from the spring and was healed, the pheasant fell into the spring and boiled, and King Vakhtang looked at all this and decided to build the capital of Georgia. But if the king made a decision without hesitation, it is more difficult for a modern traveler: he must decide which of the ten baths to go to. We suggest taking a closer look at Orbelianovskaya with blue tiles and following in the footsteps of Pushkin and Dumas - book a separate room with a sulfur pool, peeling and massage. The main thing is not to forget about the contraindications: a bath is also a serious physical activity.
And also khachapuri, pkhali and other khvanchkara. The best kind of leisure is to choose the best khinka in Tbilisi (for example, Velyaminovskaya), dip a crispy crust in an Adjarian-style khachapuri boat, or look for five differences between chasushuli and chakapuli. All this - in the aromas of hops-suneli, cilantro, tarragon and basil. Sprinkle with Svan salt, wash down with Tsinandali or Lagidze lemonade.
Georgian dances and polyphony
If you can't get tickets for the Sukhishvili ballet or the Basiani choir, look for restaurants with a folklore program. "In the Shadow of Metekhi", "Tsiskvili", "Mravaljamieri" and other restaurants promise to touch your soul with dances and songs, and then carefully wrap it with a grape leaf, like dolma.
Lives in Tbilisi for 1.5 years, moved out of love for the city and Georgia
Over the past three to four years Georgia has become one of the most popular destinations not only for travel, but also for relocation.When I want to retire and enjoy the magic of Tbilisi in silence, I choose one of my two favorite places.
The courtyard is located at the foot of the Upper Betlemi, at the end of the stairs. The locals have laid out a small garden with roses and other flowers here, ennobled with benches so that you can enjoy the city to the fullest. The view is no worse than from Narikala, but the atmosphere is much calmer. And in the summer, a fair with handicrafts is held here. I advise you to come here in the evening or at night when the city lights up.
The address: 14 Betkemi Rise
Mountains on Turtle Lake
Turtle Lake is one of two mountain lakes located in Tbilisi. You can climb here by cable car at the end of Chavchavadze Avenue. Families come here, go for a walk with children or run around the lake - mostly locals. There you can also see a path going upstairs. At its end, a view of Tbilisi opens, and in the distance you can see the caps of the Gudauri mountains. If you like uncomplicated hiking, then the Turtle Lake Mountains are one of the best and most easily accessible places!
The address: 76 Ilia Chavchavadze Avenue
Photos: Kisa_Markiza - stock.adobe.com, olyasolodenko - stock.adobe.com, izholudeva - stock.adobe.com, Curioso Photography - stock.adobe.com, kharhan - stock.adobe.com