The Romance of Old Tbilisi
January 1, 1970
Tbilisi to explore
I often get confused when it comes to Tbilisi, I don’t really know what on to concentrate – modern buildings which do not really fit the capital (in my opinion, of course) or truly amazing architecture and underground of this city. I usually choose following the street spirits that lead me to the heart and romance of Old Tbilisi. In this article, I will try to show you the beauty and charming face of this city.
The capital of Georgia is so chaotic and peaceful at the same time. Despite the noise, terrible traffic and some crazy taxi drivers (this is the reason why I use the application “ibery”, it’s cheap and the drivers are really gentle), Tbilisi is still one of the best cities to explore in Europe. Walking through the streets and noticing the mixture of modernity and leftovers of soviet union is really impressive and a little bit sad. This is the moment when the soviet power hits you. It is a well-known fact, that Tbilisi is famous for its diverse architecture. You can find buildings from different periods on the same streets. The capital of Georgia is also known for old houses with amazing entrance halls and walls located in different districts of the city. As people consider, the real soul and romance of Old Tbilisi are hidden in the cozy yards and wooden balconies. While walking in the narrow streets of Tbilisi someone can loudly greet you from his balcony with a smile and start telling about his story and of course, asking for yours. In the streets of Tbilisi, you can also find some cozy cafes, bars full of crazy and amazing human beings trying to have fun, some really elegant restaurants that give you a chance to taste the well-known Georgian dishes and unique Georgian wine.
The trip from Asatiani street to Betlemi and Kldisubani
From the middle of the 19th century we can see the European style buildings in Tbilisi, also in the last decade of the century, several “Georgian style” houses were built. These houses were really beautiful and charming with their facades adorned with ornamental elements, but the most important thing was not the beauty, but the fact itself. Building “Georgian style” houses were the proof that local workmen were skilled, professionals and ready to begin a creative process, which was proved by the establishment of Art Nouveau architecture. (Art Nouveau is a style of art and architecture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, that had its roots in Britain and was inspired by the flowers, plants and curved lines.)
A stained glass house on Betlemi street
Walking through the Old City, with its old-style balconies, ancient churches, and charming shops is really amazing. Be prepared to see the beauty of Art Nouveau architecture. This house, that dates back to the 19th century is located in the Jewish quarter of Old Tbilisi. The stained glass house decorated with unique ornaments is one of the most beautiful houses to see in this quarter of the city, but it needs to be restored like many of the Art Nouveau buildings of Tbilisi.
Ateshgah – fire temple
The Ateshgah is an ancient fire temple in Tbilisi, located around 100 meters east of the Upper Betlemi church. According to historical sources, Tbilisi was under Persian influence for a while. Zoroastrianism was spread in Georgia in the 5th-7th centuries, so it is believed, that the fire temple was built between these centuries. This fire temple was under restoration in 2007, now the work is complete. The Tbilisi Ateshgah is protected by the Georgian Law and Cultural Heritage and is the listed site of national significance.
Upper Betlemi church
The upper Betlemi church is located in Kldisubani, at the foot of Narikala fortress. The Betlemi staircase, a donation to the city by Tbilisian craftsmen union – Amkaris, designed by an architect Timote Beloi will lead to one of the ancient cathedrals of Tbilisi. I would highly recommend everyone to visit the upper Betlemi church, especially in late summer. It would be really hard not to feel the peace and love while sitting in the beautiful yard of this church.
Georgian restaurants can be found around the world, but while being in Tbilisi, don’t miss the pleasure of experiencing this unique cuisine! If you are in Georgia, just try to ask people where you can find a specific dish and anyone will be more than happy to help you discover their cuisine. It’s really easy to lose track of time at the Georgian “supra”. Georgians are the toast-lover human beings, in love with their own traditions. They simply never get tired of the toasts and the “supra” itself.
The 5 dishes and drinks that will make you fall in love with Georgia
- Tonis Puri (Georgian Bread) – Bread has always been an essential component of the Georgian “supra”. It is baked in traditional bread baking ovens called tones.
- KHACHAPURI – Khachapuri is Georgian cheese bread and there are multiple versions of this tasty cheese bread, as they are region specific. There are Imeruli Khachapuri (has cheese on the inside), Megruli Khachapuri ( has cheese and butter both inside and out), Adjaruli Khachapuri (is filled with melted cheese, butter and a raw egg. It’s always served hot and Guruli Khachapuri (has half-boiled eggs inside)
- Khinkali – Khinkali is one of the most popular Georgian food and it really cures hungover. The best sakhinkles (khinkali houses) can be found in Pasanauri, a village located 50 miles north of Tbilisi.
- Chacha – Chacha, which is made of grape pomace, is often called “vine vodka”. It’s definitely a strong Georgian drink (ranging between 45% of alcohol to 65% )
- Saperavi – Saperavi is unique Georgian red dry wine made of a dark-skinned, pink-fleshed grape variety originally from Georgia.
A Thing To Remember –
In every corner, there is a door to another dimension, so while strolling the streets follow your heart and go wherever your soul leads you. Trust me, the spirits of streets will help you explore this beautiful romance of Old Tbilisi.