For those who do not have time to explore the numerous guidebooks, Life around has prepared a short guide to Tbilisi. Three routes - the main attractions of the city, interesting places and places.
From Vake to Rose Revolution Square
From the Dry Bridge to the Metekhi Bridge
Leselidze Street and Sololaki District
From Vake to Rose Revolution Square
Turtle Lake (Kus Tba in Georgian) is located on the northern slope of Mount Mtatsminda. Going uphill is quite high, so getting here from the center is better by taxi. Around the lake there is a green zone, where the intelligent inhabitants of the Vake district jog and stroll leisurely. In hot weather, Tbilisi residents come here to swim and sunbathe on the beach. There is a rental of multi-colored catamarans and a couple of good summer cafes. Petersburgers will be pleased with the name of one of the local bars - "Intelligentsia".
On the way to Turtle Lake is the Ethnographic Museum of Georgia. In fact, this is an open-air park, where household items and tools are collected, buildings that are typical for all regions of Georgia are recreated. Do not skimp on the guide: among them there are very sincere storytellers.
Media Library in Vake Park
The library building in Vake Park opened recently, in the spring of 2013. This is the first of five such media libraries in Tbilisi city parks. In the reading room there are books in English, Russian and Georgian, free Internet access, a souvenir shop and a cafe on the second floor.
Chavchavadze Avenue is the main transport artery of the Vake district of the Georgian intelligentsia. Along the avenue are the buildings of several major universities, and the surrounding streets are historically considered the most bohemian in the city. The rich and advanced Tbilisi residents settled here. The development of the district is mainly Stalinist, which makes Vake related to Moscow and St. Petersburg of the same era.
The building of the Pixel 34 shopping and business center was designed by the German architectural bureau Wandel Hoefer Lorch Architekten in 2008. This is the first such project in Georgia - an A + class business center of international level. Double-layer facade windows provide smart climate control inside the building.
The well-known Georgian singer-songwriter Niyaz Diasamidze lives in house number 33a on Paliashvili street. The first rehearsals of his group took place here, which got its name by house number - 33a.
Round garden (Mrgvali Baghi) - the small green heart of Vake. Behind it begins Barnova Street and another district of Tbilisi - Vera. In the center of the garden is a fountain with the heroes of the "Little Prince" by Irkali Zhvania. Be sure to check out on the way to the best Tbilisi ice cream parlor Luca Polare. The formula for its success is as simple as three pennies: Italian-made sweet ice cream with natural local ingredients, as well as good coffee, tea and hot takeaway chocolate.
O, Moda, Moda
O, Moda, Moda - a cafe and a showroom of designer clothes and vintage things, where it is difficult to leave without a purchase. Three friends worked on the concept and interior: the owner of the establishment: costume designer Tinatin Kvinikadze, designer Nino Nozadze and art critic Ketevan Sakandelidze. Pay attention to affordable and interesting jewelry and accessories. The cafe is located on the ground floor of the apartment building, the entrance is through a closed green courtyard, where you can sit and have a cup of coffee in warm weather.
The network of Tbilisi cafes Literaturuli (Literary) is equally famous among locals and tourists for cakes and pastries, although there is also a European breakfast / lunch for those who are tired of khachapuri and khinkali.
The cozy atmosphere, unobtrusive service, free Wi-Fi make Literaturuli an ideal place for freelancers (almost all tables are occupied by laptops during the day).
Books on sale are mainly in Georgian, but there are also in English and a little Russian.
Sofiko Chiaureli House
The house in which the great Georgian actress Sofiko Chiaureli lived was located in that part of Tbilisi called Picris Gora (Mount Razdumiy). And the streets here are all right for selection - in honor of Sofiko Chiaureli, Mikhail Tumanishvili and, of course, the theater actress Veriko Anzhaparidze, mother of Sofiko.
Amirani is the second largest modern cinema in Tbilisi, with three halls. The situation with film distribution in Georgia is rather specific: contrary to expectations, foreign films are more often screened in Russian dubbing. The third room of Amirani was opened recently and is equipped with the latest technology. The cinema was named after the hero of the Georgian epos, a giant (a local analogue of Prometheus), chained to a rock in the mountains of the Caucasus.
The Tbilisi State Philharmonic Society is a popular concert hall in the city, where Patricia Kaas, Nino Katamadze, Boris Grebenshchikov and diverse jazz musicians perform with equal success at the Tbilisi Jazz Series. In December, the Philharmonic Hall traditionally becomes the main venue of the Tbilisi Jazz Festival. At the entrance is a sculptural composition "Muse".
On Friday evening, residents of Tbilisi set off for a drink and a walk on Perovskaya (as Akhvlediani Street was called before). The triangle formed by the streets of Akhvlediani, Kiacheli and Nikoladze almost entirely consists of cheap bars, restaurants and pubs. In spirit, this place resembles Duma Street in St. Petersburg. By two o’clock in the evening the fun gradually subsides, and the live musicians fold up the shop and do it right after midnight, so dance early until you drop.
Rose Revolution Square
The Rose Revolution Square got its name in honor of the 2003 peaceful revolution, as a result of which the reformer Mikheil Saakashvili came to power. In 2011, an eight-meter metal bicycle sculpture by French artist Jean Dupt appeared on the square in front of the Radisson Hotel. The monument was erected on the initiative of Saakashvili and should remind Tbilisi residents of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Ordinary citizens are not very enthusiastic about modern sculpture and spit on occasion.
House of Melik-Azaryants
One of the symbols of old Tbilisi - the apartment building was built at the beginning of the 20th century by order of the famous geologist and philanthropist Alexander Melik-Azaryants. Since the building is located next to the ravine, for the first time in the Caucasus during construction, the technology of placing the foundation in a lead frame was applied. In subsequent eras, this saved the house from demolition during the reconstruction of the Republic Square (today - the Rose Revolution Square). Four windows on the corner facade of the house are made in the form of tears, and wreaths are stretched above them - in mourning for the deceased daughter of Melik-Azaryants.
Georgian Academy of Sciences and buildingold cable car
The dominant of Rustaveli Avenue is the building of the Georgian Academy of Sciences with a high tower, in the classical Stalin style. The steps of the building from the side of Rustaveli Avenue were occupied by street artists and souvenir dealers. In the courtyard you can see the building of the lower station of the old cableway to Mtatsminda, closed after the accident in 1990.
In a two-story house in the alignment of Rustaveli Avenue and Griboedov Street there is a cafe, a gallery of modern art and a nightclub Cafe Gallery. In the mornings on weekdays there are almost no visitors, but in the evening this place turns into a crowded and noisy DJ bar, and on weekends there are parties until the last guest. In the courtyard there is an open terrace with tables, students often go to lunch at a theater university located nearby.
Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel
The five-star Iveria Hotel was built in the 60s, then it was the main Tbilisi hotel of the highest class. In the 90s, after the Abkhaz conflict, the hotel became a refuge for hundreds of refugees. In the early 2000s, the building was restored, and in 2009 it was opened under the sign of the global Radisson network. The bar on the 18th floor of the building is a good alternative to the classic views of the city from the observation platforms on Mtatsminda and Narikala. You can go there by elevator directly from the lobby of the hotel. European cuisine, calm music and a pool next door guarantee a pleasant evening after a long day.
From the Dry Bridge to the Metekhi Bridge
Flea market on the Dry Bridge
The legendary Tbilisi flea market is spread across the territory of a small park on the left hand of the Dry Bridge, if you look towards Kura. The market arose in the late 80s - early 90s, when the need forced many citizens to sell their things. Today, this flea market has become a symbol of Tbilisi and one of the most visited attractions. Here you can find everything: from ancient silver, daggers, lamps, embossing and porcelain to objects of Soviet life, modern Georgian souvenirs and cheap painting. The bridge was called dry because the part of the Kura beneath it was drained.
House of Justice
The majority of state services are concentrated in Georgian houses of justice (issuing documents, registering property and business). The average service period here is six to seven minutes. In a year and a half, 12 such houses were built in the regions of Georgia, all according to modern and quite bold architectural projects. One of the high-profile buildings during the reign of Mikheil Saakashvili - the Justice House in Tbilisi, designed by Massimiliano Fuksas - opened in September 2012. The transparent walls of the building symbolize openness in the work of the state. Fuksas himself in an interview is surprised that the customer accepted such a radical project. The people of Justice have already dubbed "mushrooms" and "honey mushrooms". Georgians themselves are proud of the new system of public services: the satisfaction of visitors with the service in the houses of justice reaches 92%.
A small book market is located on the right hand side of the Dry Bridge. Trays of books stretch along the Kura embankment, almost like in Paris on the Seine embankment. Each tray has its own number, carved on a cast-iron panel. Old books are traded everywhere in Tbilisi - in all underpasses and on busy streets. But in this small park next to the new House of Justice and a skateboard platform, they are the most pleasant to leaf through.
Restaurant "Zakhar Zakharych"
According to the unanimous opinion of the indigenous people of Tbilisi, one of the best khinkal in the city, although the modern institution does not look as authentic as the old perfumes Racha or U Velyaminov in Sololaki.
One of the famous Tbilisi front rooms is located on Atoneli Street, which is near the Dry Bridge. A memorial plaque at the entrance reports that in 1899, the Norwegian writer Knut Gamsun stayed in this house (then the London Hotel) during his visit to Tbilisi. Unfortunately, today the interior of the front door - murals, paintings on the walls, stained-glass window in the roof - in dilapidated condition.
Collective farm area
In the triangle of Revaz Tabukashvili, Anton Purseladze and Vekua streets, there is Kolkhoz Square, where they used to trade fresh rural products. Today, only flower rows resemble the market past. In place of the former market - a modern supermarket. An underpass on the other side of Baratashvili Street will lead you to the old fortress wall. In 1977, during the reconstruction of Old Tbilisi, the walls of the Narikal citadel were discovered, which descended along the slope of the Sololaksky Range and walked through the modern streets of Pushkin and Baratashvili towards Kura. The results of recent excavations on Pushkin Street today are fenced with glass and special platforms for walking and inspection.
Puppet Theater Rezo Gabriadze
On the pedestrian Shavteli street near the Baratashvili bridge is the famous Tbilisi puppet theater Rezo Gabriadze. The program of the theater today has three performances: "Autumn of my spring", "Stalingrad" and "Ramona" (all with English subtitles). On Shavteli Street, passers-by gather twice a day, at 12 am and at 7 pm, to watch a small puppet show on the clock tower built by Rezo during the reconstruction of the old theater building. Take a look at the Gabriadze cafe, it is located in the same building as the theater. The menu includes dishes of Georgian and European cuisine. The interior was created by Rezo himself, tables and chairs are manually painted with phrases from his films and performances. At the entrance - a copy of Chizhik-Pyzhik from the Fontanka.
The oldest surviving ancient church in Tbilisi dates back to the VI century. In the 60s of the XX century it was restored. Since 1989, services have been held in the basilica again.
The subject of stinging ridicule of indigenous people and a joy for tourists. The Peace Pedestrian Bridge, designed by the Italian Michele de Lucca - another project of the Saakshvili era - was opened in 2010. The bridge connects the pedestrian street Erekle (Irakli) II and Rike Park on the other side of the river.
Erekle II Street
The short pedestrian street Erekle (Heraclius) II begins behind the Peace Bridge. Take a look at the designer jewelry store on the right side of the street (if you go from the Peace Bridge). It sells products from the traditional Georgian cloisonne enamel minankari: rings, pendants, cufflinks, earrings. Closer to Leselidze Street on the left side of the street is Kala Cafe, where jazz bands are played in the evenings.
Museum of the History of the Carvasla City
The museum is located in a beautiful old building of the caravanserai of the XIX century. Once there was a hotel, a warehouse and shopping malls. Karvasla is not only a traditional museum, but also a platform for exhibitions of contemporary art and photography. In May, exhibitions of the annual Kolga Tbilisi Photo festival will be held here.
Jewelry company David Kakabadze Pokany was founded in 2000. Its founders sought to revive the ancient Georgian jewelry traditions of working with gold and enamel. Here you can find high-quality jewelry from Georgian cloisonne enamel, mainly church subjects.
Monument to Tamada
The bronze figure of the Toastmaster is installed at the beginning of the pedestrian quarter, which in Tbilisi is called Sharden (Shardeni). The street is named after the French businessman Jean Chardin, who in the XVII century made a trip to the East through Georgia. And the Tamada, polished by tourists, is actually a copy of the 7th century BC figurine found during excavations in Western Georgia.
Monument to Parajanov
The monument to Sergei Parajanov on the wall of the house along Charden Street was made from the famous photograph "In Flight" by Yuri Mechitov. The photo was taken in 1981 on Archila Kikodze Street, on Mtatsminda, near the house where the director lived. The frame to the smallest detail was thought out and delivered by Parajanov himself and he liked him very much. In 2004, the sculptor Vazha Mikaberidze chose him as the plot for his sculpture.
Metekhi and Machahela Bridge
Chardin Street will lead you to the central point of the old city - Meydan Square. Here is the popular restaurant of national cuisine "Machakhela" (Samikitno), near which it is convenient to make appointments. It works 24 hours, so it is always noisy and crowded until late at night. From the shady balcony of the second floor there is a view of the Metekhi bridge, a new cable car leading to the Narikala fortress and the main cathedral of Georgia - Tsminda Sameba (Holy Trinity).
Cafe "144 steps" and OAT Gallery
The OAT Gallery and the 144 Cairs outdoor terrace cafe are owned by the Georgian gallery owner Rusiko Oat. The stairs leading here from Bethlemis Kucha (Bethlehem Street) almost to the very foot of Narikala Fortress are really 144. At the next table you can easily meet the artist Alexander Florensky, who lives and works in Tbilisi for several months a year. To get here, go up the street immediately behind Machachela, then turn right once and once left. In the bushes you will find the first step.
Laboratorium 13 Bar
Reincarnation of the old Laboratorium bar from Gudiashvili Square, only now
three floors, with access to the roof and a view of the night city.
Maspindzelo in Georgian "host", "one who receives guests."This Georgian restaurant on the embankment in the area of sulfur baths of Abanotubani is loved and visited not only by tourists, but also by Georgians themselves. It works until the last guest, which in practice means almost 24 hours. Eating khinkali at Maspindzelo after a stormy party is a standard practice of Georgian party-goers.
Leselidze Street and Sololaki District
The main transport artery of the old city. It starts from Freedom Square and ends on Meydan.
A new cafe at the very beginning of Leselidze street. In fine weather, you can sit on the balcony, twined with vines under the roof. The cuisine is European and Georgian, there is a dessert menu. In the evenings, chamber exhibitions are opened and live music is played.
Materia store sells clothes of young and promising Georgian designers. Soft fabrics, voluminous cut and affordable prices.
A cozy personal cafe in a small courtyard on Leselidze, right under the walls of the local synagogue. Entrance from the street under the wrought-iron arch with the house number. If it’s cold, take a blanket or move inside, it’s also good there. Do not forget to order a chocolate cake. On weekends, the cafe is open until two in the morning.
Bethlehem street staircase and city view
Bethlehem street-stairs in the heat will make you sweat a little. But at the top you will find a shady observation deck, overgrown grapes and several melancholy artists who fiercely paint the views of Tbilisi and Mtatsminda that open from here. Behind the upper Bethlehem church, a path rises uphill to the Narikala fortress.
Going down from the observation deck through the streets of Gomi and Bethlehem towards Asatiani Street, do not forget to look into the entrance of an old wooden house with colored stained-glass windows.
Lado Gudiashvili Square and Pur Pur
Lado Gudiashvili Square is located on the conditional border of the Old Town and Sololaki District. Here in the house on the corner of Tbileli Street is located Pur Pur - a classic Tbilisi cafe in a vintage style, one of the most beloved by tourists, expats and bohemian audiences. Prices are higher than in other places, which is more than offset by non-standard food and decor. In the center of Gudiashvili Square there is a fountain in the form of a couple in love under an umbrella.
Tekuna Gachechiladze is the chef, the hostess of the modern culinary school Culinarium in the center of Tbilisi. Tekuna returned to Tbilisi in 2005 after studying in New York. Since then, she worked as a chef in the best restaurants of the city, and in 2013 opened the first Georgian culinary school for lovers. Tekuna is developing its own concept of new Georgian cuisine - Supra Nova. A restaurant is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Cookery. Dinner reservations are booked on the school website.
Classic Tbilisi dukhan in the basement on the corner of Lermontov and Dadiani streets. It is necessary to get acquainted with local cuisine (and even at the lowest prices) here. "Dishes of the day" are exposed under glass, the barmaid takes orders and passes them to the kitchen through the vaulted opening in the brick wall.
House of Kalantarov
In the old district of Sololaki, the development of the turn of the XIX-XX centuries has been preserved. The city was actively developed and built so as not to concede to Paris and St. Petersburg. Therefore, much attention was paid to the details and, of course, the front door. A walk along Sololaki along Asatiani Street will lead you to the house of the merchant Kalantarov, built in the pseudo-Moorish oriental style. Be sure to look inside: the building has recently been restored. It is known that Mikhail Kalantarov, the owner of the house, had five children and he celebrated the birth of each, planting cypress in the courtyard of the house. After the revolution, the Kalantarov family emigrated to France, and new residents settled in the house.
The building of the former embassy of Estonia
The building of the former Estonian Embassy, now an ordinary residential building along Kikodze Street, where a magnificent wrought-iron staircase has been preserved. In fact, in Sololaki you can look into every house: everywhere there is something interesting. If you want to know more about the area and get a more complete tour, it is best to order it from one of the local guides by searching, for example, on the Georgian VKontakte communities.
The House of Writers of Georgia opened in 2013 after a massive reconstruction. Today, literary evenings and exhibitions of contemporary Georgian artists and designers are held here. Open for visits on weekdays (from 11 to 19 hours) and on the days of events.
Mutual Credit Society Building
In the second half of the XIX century in the growing Tiflis there was a need for affordable and quick loans. Mutual credit society is the first non-governmental credit bank, which since its inception has become very popular among the population. The construction of the Company's own building began in 1910. The work was led by the Armenian architect Oganjanov, known for his projects in the Art Nouveau style. The building provided conditions for comfortable service to 900 customers at the same time, had steam heating, was electrified and equipped with the latest technology. Today, the State Bank of Georgia is located in this house.
The residential building of the tobacco industrialist Bozardzhyants on Chonkadze Street was also designed by the architect Oganjanov. In 1915, both of his projects - the building of the Mutual Credit Society and the house of Bozardzhyants - were awarded for the best facade. This really beautiful Art Nouveau building has been filmed more than once: pastor Schlag goes to negotiate in Switzerland in “Seventeen Moments of Spring” and here the people's avenger Date Tutashkhia performed one of his exploits in the Georgian drama “Shores”.
Social Cafe Gallery “Rhea's Squirrels”
The social cafe “Rhea's Squirrels” is located on the opposite side of the lower funicular station on Mtatsminda. The cafe was opened by activists of "Ray" - an alliance for people with disabilities. His wards work in a cafe along with the rest of the staff. In the forest on the slopes of Mtatsminda there are a lot of squirrels (a cafe was named after them), which can be hand-fed. The menu - home Georgian cuisine. Regulars praise khachapuri with spinach, tarragon, onions, cabbage and nuts. They try to make menus according to the season and dilute them with dishes of different cuisines so that guests have an alternative to Georgian food. There is a souvenir shop at the cafe, where everything is done by the hands of “Rey” wards.
Funicular on Mtatsminda
The first funicular on Mtatsminda was launched in 1905. This railroad uphill is captured in a painting by Niko Pirosmani. At first, Tbilisi residents mistook the new mode of transport: the city government even had to pay the first passengers for the trip. Later, especially with the opening of an amusement park on Mtatsminda in the 30s, the funicular began to enjoy great popularity. In 2013, the Mtatsminda funicular was reopened after reconstruction. Both stations were restored: the lower one is on Chonkadze Street, and the upper one is the pavilion in Mtatsminda Park, near the TV tower. The cost of a one-way trip is 2 GEL (according to a special map of Mtatsminda Park, which can be purchased immediately at the box office).
The three-story building of the upper station of the funicular was built on the site of the former station in the 30s and immediately became one of the attractions of the city. In Soviet times, there was a restaurant with the best view of the city. During the reconstruction of the funicular in the 2000s, the facades of the building in the neoclassical style were carefully preserved and restored, and the interior was rebuilt in accordance with modern standards. There is a bar and a gourmet restaurant on the second floor of the building, and on the ground floor there is a more affordable cafe with traditional Georgian dishes and Puri Guliani pastry shop.
PHOTOS:Kolkhidashvili Natalia / Georgiainsight.com, Marina Karpiy, M.FUKSAS / Brand New Georgia, Writers-House-of-Georgia, Culinarium.ge, Roberto Strauss, Linville Cafe, Maspindzelo.mgroup.ge, Bar LABoratorium13, OAT-Gallery-ART -Cafe-144-Stairs, Roman Scriabin, Kolga.ge, Tbilisiguide.ge, Gabriadze.com, Radissonblu.com, o moda moda, Shutterstock.com, Kavun Halyna / Shutterstock.com