Curious Travelers

j

January 27, 2020

Curious Travelers

By Guest Author

j

January 27, 2020

Hi! If you’re in the city for a very short visit and need to see a lot of things in a relatively short time, we have compiled a list of some of the most important spots in Tbilisi. 

✱ The Liberty Square, Tbilisi.

Liberty Square

Our Liberty Square witnessed many political, social and cultural events throughout Georgia’s history and became the most redesigned and renamed public square in the city. The most recent change was the removal of Lenin’s statue in 1991 when Georgia regained independence.

The very first building to be built around the square in the Classical Russian style was the Caucasian Army Headquarters, which dates back to 1824. It’s right in the North-Western side of the square. Another notable building is the house of Jacob Zubalashvili, a local businessman and benefactor, and was built in 1825 by Swiss architect Juseppe Bernadacci. The house was later transformed into the Art Museum of Georgia. Both of these buildings still stand in their full glory.

There are a number of residential houses from the 19th century. Great Russian poet A.S. Pushkin visited one of these houses in 1829. In 1885 in the Northern part, a park was built right in front of this house. They called it “Novy Sad”, meaning “New Park” in Russian, but in 1892 it was renamed to “Pushkin Park”.

The  City Assembly of Tbilisi which was built in the mid 19th century to house a police station is located in the Southern part of the square.

During the war of 1991-1992, most of the Western part of the square was destroyed. In 2002 hotel “Courtyard Marriott” filled the void.

In 2012 during the reconstruction right across from Pushkin Park, some parts of the old city wall were uncovered and are easily accessible for curious visitors.

From Liberty Square you can visit Galleria Tbilisi for shopping or just enjoy walking along the Galaktion Tabidze Street, where you can find many restaurants and cafes. But, if you want to see some other parts of the city, you can get anywhere in Tbilisi by taking the subway from the Liberty Square Metro Station.

✱ Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi. 

Rustaveli Avenue

A long, fairly straight and only slightly inclined avenue, Rustaveli is the show-off wide street which was first paved in 1863. 

While it gets no bonus points for the lack of street crossing points, Rustaveli Avenue is one of the most important streets in the city for local people and visitors.

Rustaveli Avenue is a part of the city that is always bustling with life. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see a street performer or two.

✱ Fabrika Hostel, Tbilisi. 

Fabrika

Fabrika is a massive multifunctional venue that’s located close to the Marjanishvili district on the left bank of Old Town. The complex includes bars, restaurants, shops, gallery space, a co-working space, and most significantly a 400-bedroom hostel. It acts as a hub for local young people from well-to-do families, some eccentric ex-pat folks living in Tbilisi as well as visitors. A former Soviet sewing factory, instead of being demolished it was repurposed into a sophisticated and high-end establishment. Eating at Fabrika is not cheap. You might want to eat somewhere else and then head to Fabrika for a few drinks. Still, the most visited and photographed venue in Tbilisi, Fabrika is a great place to see the local beau monde. 

✱ Old Town, Tbilisi by Melissa Maples.

Old Town

The best way to see the Old Town is on foot, just wandering around and discovering random sites of interest. Every cobbled street with its crumbling buildings and courtyards has a tale to tell. Give yourself plenty of time to wander off the beaten path and you’ll be glad you did.

✱ The interior of an individual room. 

Take a “Bath”

A visit to sulfur baths is one of the best things to do in Tbilisi in winter. And there’s no reason you can’t visit it in summer. Tbilisi baths appeared before the town, which owes its location and its name to the hot springs.

These springs attracted local people and visitors to the (modern-day) suburb of Abanotubani and in time, Persian-style sulfur baths popped up to accommodate people seeking the health benefits of the spring’s naturally hot water.

✱  Dry Bridge Market by Melissa Maples .

Check Out Stuff At the Dry Bridge Market

If you would love to see what people used to have in their houses in Old Town or still have lying around in their courtyards and basements, then it’s worth a visit to the Dry Bridge market. This flea market is odd – lots of stuff you’ll never want – outdated electronics and electrical equipment, Soviet memorabilia, and other funky things. There is some household stuff – but it mostly looks like stuff that people tried to weed out of their houses. There is a section where you can buy locally made handicrafts and art. Overall, if you are in the neighborhood, check it out – it’s a nice walk. 

✱ The Peace Bridge at sunset, Tbilisi. 

The Peace Bridge

Created by French and Italian designers and architects, the Peace Bridge is an interesting piece of modern art. Equally loved and hated by the locals, it, nevertheless, adds a touch of color to the city and makes it very welcoming at night. Geeks and trivia buffs might like to know that the flashing lights are not random. They communicate the periodic table of elements in Morse code. If you’d been paying attention to them, you might have noticed.

Street hawkers tend to hang around here plying their wares on tourists but just pay no attention and they will leave you alone to enjoy the great views of the water of the Kura river and Narikala fortress.

✱ The Concert venue in Rike Park, Tbilisi. 

Explore Rike Park

The Peace Bridge leads you from the busier (and more touristic) west side to Rike Park, on Tbilisi’s east side. 

More like a well-kept garden rather than a park with full-grown trees, Rike’s main attraction is the unusual glass and metal tube-shaped concert hall. These futuristic buildings are not being used and are just sitting there waiting for better days to come. However, the contrast of the buildings with the surrounding garden park, the cliffs, and the Presidential Palace make them a very desirable location for photoshoots. 

From Rike Park you can take a cable car to Narikala Fortress. 

✱ Narikala Fortress, Tbilisi. 

Narikala Fortress

You can’t miss it and it’s going to be one of the few things you see from any spot in town. So you better visit it and be done with it.  The fortress looks much more impressive from the city and, admittedly, needs a lot of development but don’t miss the chance to view Tbilisi from one of the best vantage points.

You can arrive by cable car or if you want some exercise, by hiking up the hill. The walking option is free but will take a bit of time and energy. The cable car is cheap and fast so this is the best option if you’re short on time.

At the top, if you’re feeling energetic, walk the Narikala Tourist route to the Mother of Georgia statue or back into Old Town near the Botanical Gardens. In the direction of Mother of Georgia, a trail continues all the way around to Mtatsminda park and the Tbilisi Funicular. This walking trail is a great way to see the city.

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