Chugureti district is a touristic pearl on the left bank of the river Mtkvari, starting from Queen Tamar Avenue and the Station Square all the way to Avlabari. Tbilisi’s old German neighborhood, Marjanishvili is one of the loveliest, liveliest neighborhoods you can pick to walk around. After you experience its historic architecture and endearingly offbeat character, you won’t mind the price tag.
What better way to start talking about Chugureti than with the king of the squares of the city – the Station Square. Situated at the far northern corner of the district, it serves as the main transportation hub of the city, incorporating the main bus station, semi-main marshrutka station, the central metro station, and the train station. So, if you want to take a bus, a metro or a train – you come here. If you want to take a marshrutka you go to Didube station. Besides this, in the main building of the station, you will find a lot of small shops, including jewelry bazaar.
Now, we will spill the beans about a spot that every local knows (but not many tourists). It is a place where you can buy clothing, shoes, bags, and stuff for a fraction of a price. It’s called “Meoradebi”, simply meaning “second-hand clothes area”. This is a place nearby the metro Station Square and, well, technically it’s located in Station Square. Oh! And it’s completely underground by the way. There are several small entrances, so the easiest way to explain how to get there is to say – “Just look for underground entrances around the station square”.
A small tip here – It’s pretty easy to get lost down there, it’s like an endless labyrinth of second-hand clothing, so try to remember how you got there.
Niko Pirosmani Museum
✱ The smallest museum in the world.
While we are on the subject, right off the Station Square there is a narrow street named after Niko Pirosmani – a famous Georgian painter. One day, Pirosmani literally sold all his possessions and filled the whole street near the window of the beautiful French actress Margarita’s house with a sea of flowers. This endeavor was obviously unsuccessful and from thereafter he lived the rest of his life in poverty in a tiny house. It still stands today at Niko Pirosmani Street #29 as his house-museum. Here’s a bonus fact – the size of which is just 6 square meters and is considered to be the smallest museum in the world!
Time to move on to a more touristy part of the district.
The main drag of the neighborhood is Aghmashenebeli Avenue, a shopping street running parallel to the river from Queen Tamar Avenue till Saarbrücken Square (aka Vorontsov Square). It is one of the longest and certainly most renovated streets of the city, full of street-side commerce and beautiful homes and courtyards, where you will find some truly amazing European-style facades together with Tbilisian carved balconies.
As one tourist described the avenue: ”The buildings all appear like the buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries. Each building is decorated so artistically and colored in different colors. On both sides of the road, there are lamp posts that resemble the old classical times. Even the dustbins placed in the street look like antique artworks. The water taps placed in the streets are also so artistic.”
✱ Mural in an old house, Tbilisi.
There are a few things to look out for while walking along this street. First of all – Chavchanidze’s House. It truly is one of the most beautiful buildings of the avenue. The “Eagle House” was built by merchant Erasti Chavchanidze. You just can’t miss it because of its unique facade. The hallway of Chavchanidze’s house is particularly interesting for its artistic landscapes, pseudo-classical and rococo style drawings, scenes from the “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin” and oriental motifs, believed to be works of the masters from Florence.
Another notable place would be Jansug Kakhidze Garden. At the entrance of which stand beautiful statues created by sculptor Zurab Tsereteli dedicated to Iliko Sukhishvili and his wife Nino Ramishvili the founders of the Georgian National Ballet. It is thanks to their efforts that Georgian national dance and music have become known in many parts of the world.
✱ One Night Palace, Tbilisi.
One of the buildings that’s absolutely impossible to walk past without noticing is One Night Palace. It is not right on the avenue per se but it’s right there just a few steps up Ia Kargareteli Street. This amazing building was built 100 years ago and has a very captivating and unusual love story behind it. The building itself resembles a castle rather than a palace. It has a main building, a front entrance, and a tower. As rumor has it, this tower was a silent witness to many of the lovers’ meetings. Today it is a museum holding 30 000 unique items, including previously unknown works of Lado Gudiashvili, Elene Akhvlediani, Irakli Parjiani, Sergo Parajanov, and David Kakabadze. It’s a must-visit spot if you want to see the story of Old Tbilisi.
The area North-east of Agmashenebeli avenue hides some of the most beautiful architectural buildings of the 19th century, from the time when it used to be a German settlement. The railway station, farmers market, and open-air bazaar are also located in the neighborhood. This is where fascinating facilities like the Wine Gallery and Fabrika are.
✱ The exterior of Fabrika, Tbilisi.
Once a soviet sewing factory, Fabrika has been revived and transformed into a multi-functional urban space. Even as you enter you encounter its history. Fabrika’s urban atmosphere offers an interesting contrast of old structures and modern action. As their website says: “Fabrika is the space for rebellious minds to create and share”. Fabrika is a favorite spot among locals and tourists, which unites urban style cafes and bars, artist studios and shops, educational institutions, co-working space, etc.
✱ Wine Gallery, Tbilisi. Photo by Gocha Nemsadze.
And the Wine Gallery! Oh, man. Just go and try some free samples. We guarantee that very evening you’ll be sitting there on the balcony with your friends having a bottle of red.
After you’ve been everywhere here is the best way to end your Chugureti trip – go to Marjanishvili Square and take a stroll down Marjanishvili street – a beautiful street with unique buildings on both sides. You will get to see the Theater of Marjanishvili as well as the glorious building of the main office of TBC Bank. Just take this walk in the evening with only the moonlight and lamp-posts lighting your way and we guarantee it will be absolutely enchanting.
✱ Marjanishvili Street, Tbilisi.