Walking around Old Tbilisi

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Old Tbilisi

The old part of Tbilisi does not tolerate fuss and haste – you need to get to know its winding streets, historical monuments and cozy cafes thoroughly and thoughtfully to appreciate its charm and magic.

Old Tbilisi does not occupy much space on the city map, but in this small district is concentrated all the “soul” of the ancient capital of Georgia.

Architectural monuments, ancient churches and fortress walls neighbor with wine shops, art galleries, souvenir shops, so a walk through the streets and squares of the Old City promises to be not only informative, but also entertaining.

You can take a rental car from Tbilisi airport to the city center. Take advantage of the car rental service at Tbilisi airport from Cars 4 Rent.

Tbilisi is a dream city

Where is the starting point of our little journey? Perhaps from the main street, Kote Abkhazi, which the locals still call Leselidze Street in the old fashioned way. This is the longest and busiest street with many cafes, hotels and shops.

But it should be understood that everything here is designed for tourists, so the prices of souvenirs, churchkhela and wine differ significantly from the cost of similar goods in other parts of the city.

Between Leselidze Street and Kura Embankment there are several pedestrian streets that attract tourists with boutiques, fashion clubs and jewelry stores. There is also a small Sioni square, where there is a monument to the actress Sofiko Chiaureli.

Not far away you can see another monument – a bronze figure of a toastmaster with a wine horn in his hands. It is a copy of an archaeological find dating back to the VII century BC. The horn is believed to bring good luck, so be sure to touch it before proceeding.

From the Toastmaster’s Monument, four streets branch off, each with its own attractions. If we turn to Sioni Street, we can see the Zion Cathedral, visit the City History Museum, buy handmade carpets, and have a snack at a local bakery.

The neighboring John Shovteli Street is home to the oldest church in Tbilisi, a puppet theater and the residence of the Patriarch of Georgia.

Even if you haven’t been a child for a long time, it’s worth paying attention to the tower of the Puppet Theatre – every day at 12 and 17 o’clock the doors of the tower open and the mini-performance “Circle of Life” begins.

On almost every street you can find comfortable hotels and small hostels for tourists, but if you want to immerse yourself in the spirit of the Old Town, you can rent a cheap apartment in one of the old buildings with bas-reliefs, carved balconies and courtyards, and have a chance to admire the magnificent views, inhale the aromas of Georgian cuisine and listen to wonderful Georgian songs.

Living history

But let’s continue our trip. Let’s take a walk along Pushkin Street – this is where he lived in 1829, and although the house has not been preserved, the memory of the great poet has been immortalized in the name of the street and a small square.

Here you can also see the remains of an ancient fortress wall, which once served as a defense against numerous enemies and now gives the landscape a medieval flavor.

If you are interested in the art museum, you should turn to Shalva Dadiani Street. There is also an antique bookstore, Racha Dukhan and Veliaminov, the main khinkaleria in Tbilisi.

Botanical Street leads to several attractions at once. Walking along it, you can get to the Botanical Garden, go up to the Narikala Fortress or descend into the gorge to admire the waterfall. By the way, the Narikala Fortress offers an impressive view of the entire Old City, so it is worth staying here for a while and taking some good pictures.

In Old Tbilisi you will find many ancient temples, both Orthodox and other denominations. The Orthodox churches of St. Nicholas, Anchiskhati, Metekhi neighbor with a synagogue and a Muslim mosque.

Every guest of this hospitable city should visit Gudiashvili Square, see the original monument to Sergei Parajanov and the palace-fortress of Sachino, walk through the Armenian neighborhood of Avlabar, and also visit the “rocky neighborhood” of Kldisubani Kldisubani.

This area can also surprise the traveler, for example, the Bethlehem Stairs, which is also a street leading to the Orthodox sanctuaries – the Upper and Lower Bethlehem Churches.

The uniqueness of the Sololaki district lies in each building, in which the inexhaustible imagination of Georgian architects has manifested itself.

Apart from real architectural masterpieces, this district is interesting for historical events – in various years Gumilev, Beria, the first president of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia lived here.

If you want to feel the atmosphere of Old Tbilisi, choose one of the hotels located in this area, as it is the most suitable place to get acquainted with such a beautiful and diverse city.

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