Ask anyone where the main transportation hub and outdoor market is and they will point you towards Didube. Didube Station is a domestic hub of Marshkutras (minibusses). If you need a ride to the North or the West you go there. This is where buses to a number of locations, such as Vladikavkaz and the ski-fields at Bakuriani depart from. The Didube markets are located nearby, and the central bus station lies adjacent to the metro.
This neighborhood is located roughly across the river from Saburtalo and stretches from the North Queen Tamar Avenue to the start of Dighomi.
The district was given a name in the 11th century that meant plain, flat place – “Didi” meaning big, “ube” meaning plain. At that time, it is said that King’s palace was located in Didube. Since then the big flat area was used for horse riding competitions, parades and such. In the XIX century, a large hippodrome was constructed, which is still there to this day.
✱ Subway Station
But Didube was and is so much more than just a place for horse riding. In the 19th century, more than 500 Germans made the district their home. One of the German settlements was called Alexanderdorf, situated right in the heart of the district. So if you want to see some old German architecture, there is no better place in the city than this, specifically these streets: Samtredia St, Tskhaltubo St; Gladze St and several others nearby, so just walk around that area and look for the houses. There even was a gothic Lutheran Church and school, but sadly both were destroyed during the Soviet regime.
Now to some specific sightseeings. The most important one would be the Didube Pantheon, a burial place for many notable Georgian artists, writers, scientists and public figures. It is situated in a Renaissance-Baroque style garden of St. Virgin Orthodox Church.
✱ Didube Pantheon, Tbilisi. By Jeffrey Martin
In the Northern half of the district, you will also find Exposition Georgia – the only convention center in Georgia and the leading one in the Caucasus – and Aquapark. Now, just because we want to give you a piece of fair advice, we won’t recommend this water park, because it’s unnecessarily expensive, instead go to Gino Paradise.
✱ Gino Paradise, Tbilisi
If you move to the Southern part of the district, the first things you’ll find are a giant Bazaar and equally huge football stadium called Dinamo arena, which with a capacity of 74,354 is the largest one in Georgia.
Not far from the stadium there is one of the most beautiful gardens in the whole city – Mushthaid Garden. It dates back to the XIX century and is special for many reasons, but the most curious one is that the world’s first children’s railway was established right there.
Apart from usual facilities – the restaurant, snack bar, open-air theater and so on, in 1887 the Caucasian silkworm rearing station was founded here. The main building of the station was constructed in 1892 and it is preserved till today, which makes the eclectic style State Silk Museum of Georgia, one of the world’s oldest silk museums.
✱ Silk Museum, Tbilisi.
Tbilisi Gold Market is probably one of the most interesting markets in Georgia, especially for anyone who wants to buy some traditional or antique jewelry at a lower price or just see a non-touristic side of Tbilisi. Go to the second floor of the train station building to find the market. There will be rows with merchants – gold, silver, and fashion jewelry.
There is also an appraiser working there, so if you´re unsure about the real value of your purchase, you can get it checked right on spot. The two outer rows of merchants are where you can find antique jewelry.
✱ Sign at the Gold Market, Tbilisi. Photo by David and Bonnie