Tbilisi-the capital of Georgia is the city full of cultural objects, museums, fortresses, churches, parks and alleys. This is the place where you can find both old and modern architecture co-exist next to each other. There are so many things to see and do that one week wouldn’t be enough. I recomend you to begin exploring Tbilisi from the old town where are the majority of historical sights on the cliffs of the Mtatsminda Mount and on the shores of the Mtkvari river (Kura River).
So,these are the places you should see in this beautiful city
Narikala fortress This is an ancient fortress overlooking Tbilisi. It is on a steep hill between the sulphur baths and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi. On the lower court of the fortress, there is the recently restored St Nicholas church. Newly built in 1996–1997 which replaces the original 13th-century church that was destroyed in a fire.
Sulphur baths are healing baths high in sulphur and other minerals, with a constant temperature of 38C to 40C. They are very popular because of their healing effect. According to a legend, King Vakhtang Gorgasali went hunting with his falcon. The king's falcon caught a pheasant, but both birds fell into a hot spring and died. King was so impressed with this place, that he decided to clear the forest and build a city.
Mtatsminda mount is a place where you can get an excellent panoramic view of the city. There is the television tower (276m). St. David Church (the 19th century). The Mtatsminda Pantheon of Writers and Public Figures. The Pantheon of famous Georgians where are buried Ilia Chavchavadze (Georgian writer and public figure), Nikoloz Baratashvili (Georgian romanticist poet), Akaki Tsereteli (Georgian poet), Vazha-Pshavela (Georgian poet), Keke Geladze (mother of Joseph Stalin), Kakutsa Cholokashvili (Georgian national hero and fighter against the Soviet regime), Zviad Gamsakhurdia (Soviet-era dissident and the first democratically elected President of Georgia), and many others.
Metekhi is a historic neighborhood of Tbilisi located on the cliff bank of the river Mtkvari. King Vakhtang I Gorgasali built here a church and a fort which was also a king’s residence and hence comes the name Metekhi, which literally means “the area around the palace" (12th century). In the yard of Metekhi Church, you can see The Monument of King Vakhtang Gorgasali, that overlooks The River Mtkvari.
The Sioni Cathedral of the Dormition is a Georgian Orthodox cathedral in the capital of Georgia. Sioni Cathedral has risen from the ashes, as it was destroyed by enemies many times. It was initially built in the 6th and 7th centuries and is named after Jerusalem Zion. There is kept the grapevine cross, which according to the legend, was forged by Saint Nino, a Cappadocian woman, who preached Christianity in the Caucasus in the early 4th century. This temple was the main Georgian Orthodox Cathedral and the residence of Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia until the Holy Trinity Cathedral was consecrated in 2004.
The Anchiskhati Basilica of St Mary is the oldest church in Tbilisi, which was built by the King Dachi of Iberia in the VI century. Originally, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it was renamed Anchiskhati in 1675, when the treasured icon of the Savior created by the twelfth-century goldsmith, Beka Opizari at the Ancha monastery in Klarjeti (which now is part of north-east Turkey) was moved to Tbilisi to preserve it from an Ottoman invasion. The icon was at the Basilica of St Mary for centuries, but today you can see it at the Art Museum of Georgia. The basilica was damaged several times by Persian and Turks invasions. During the Soviet period, there were no religious ceremonies at Anchiskhati Basilica, and the building was transformed into a museum for handicrafts. Later it was used as an art studio. From 1958 to 1964 restoration works took place in celebration of the 1500th Jubilee of the founding of Tbilisi. In 1991, after the independence of Georgia was restored, the basilica reverted to its religious use.
Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi (Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral) The Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi is considered one of the main sights of Tbilisi. This, one of the largest religious buildings in the world was built in 2004 and it is the third tallest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in the world. Holy Trinity is a whole complex, consisted of the main cathedral church, a free-standing bell-tower, a clerical seminary and theological academy, the residence of the Patriarch, a monastery, several workshops, etc. Sameba is a synthesis of traditional styles dominating the Georgian church architecture at various stages in history and has some Byzantine undertones. You can see beautiful frescoes created under the supervision of the icon painter Amiran Goglidze on the walls of the Sameba Cathedral.
Cathedral of Saint George (Kashveti). This is one of the best classical architectural monuments in Tbilisi. The first church, on this spot, was built in the 6th century, and its story partly related to David Gareja, one of the 13 Assyrian Fathers preaching Christianity in Georgia. The group of monks arrived in Georgia and heading out in all directions through the country to preach Christianity. David went to Tbilisi and settled on Mount Mtatsminda. He was visiting the city every week to preach. According to one of the legends, once, a woman accused him of impregnating her. David said that she was a liar and she would give birth to a stone. She did give birth to a stone. After that, David left Tbilisi and founded the monastery at David Gareja. The church's name, where David had been preaching comes from “kva” (stone) and “shva” (giving birth)-Kashveti. The current church building finished in 1910. It was designed by The German architect, Leopold Bilfeldt, who was a longtime resident of Tbilisi and designed many buildings in the city. The construction was supervised by the talented Italian builder Leonardo Lorinzetti. The ornamentation and decoration were done by the Agladze brothers, who were local masters. The older brother, Neophyte Agladze, was considered the best stone carver in Georgia.
Georgian National Museum This is the largest association of museums, scientific, educational and cultural center of Georgia. It is a chain of buildings and consists of:
Simon Janashia State Museum
Samtskhe-Javakheti Ivane Javakhishvili State Museum
Giorgi Chitaia Georgian State Museum of Folk Architecture and Living (Museum Open Air)
Shalva Amiranashvili State Museum of Art (Branches: Elene Akhvlediani House Museum
Moss Toidze's house- Museum of the Museum of Soviet Occupation
Dmanisi Historical-Archaeological Museum-Reserve
Vani Otar Lortkipanidze Archaeological Museum-Reserve
Ioseb Grishashvili Tbilisi History Museum (Karvasla)
Svaneti Historical-Ethnographic Museum and Leo Davitashvili Ownership Institute of Paleobiology
The largest part of the Georgian national treasure is in the collections of the National Museum. The main part of the museum occupies the entire quarter between Rustaveli Avenue, Gudiashvili, Vachnadze and Purtseladze streets. It consists of chronologically and stylistically different structures. The Paleontological Exhibition presents the buried animals found in Georgia, and the bones of Homo Ergaster found in the Dmanisi settlement, the oldest living people in Eurasia, dating to 1,8 million years old. The special storage of museum exhibits the unique golden artifacts found in various parts of Georgia - Kakheti and Trialeti (III-II century) in Vans and Akhalgori (V. IV cc), Mtskheta, Zestri, Zhinvali and Ureki (I-IV cc) , Dmanisi (XIII century) and others. The museum presents all types of foreign and Georgian coins, that was used from the 6th century BC to the beginning of the 20th century in Georgia. The oldest of the museums in the National Museum is Janashia State Museum, founded in 1852 as a museum of the Caucasus Division of the Russian Imperial Geographical Society. Until 1919 it was called the Museum of the Caucasus. It is located in Rustaveli Avenue. Here are a million and a half exhibits representing the nature of Georgia, the Caucasus and the Middle East, the existence of Georgian and other Caucasian nations and culture since ancient times until today.
Art State Museum Shalva Amiranashvili Art State Museum is one of the Museums of The Georgian National Museums that presents the largest exhibition of art works in Georgia. It was founded in 1920 and keeps Georgian art works from the ancient period until today.
Tbilisi Open Air Museum of Ethnography is the first ethnographic museum in the Caucasus. It is named after The academician of Georgian Ethnographic School-Giorgi Chitaia, who was the author of the idea and founder. The author of the general plan of the museum was Longingo Sumbadze. The museum exhibits about 70 residential buildings from the historical-geographical regions of Georgia: Samtskhe-Javakheti, Guria, Samegrelo, Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi, Abkhazia, Adjara, Svaneti, Kartli and Kakheti. One zone is dedicated to the historical and archaeological sites, including V-VI cc, The basilica and tomb of Zion and the rich collection of tombstones. In total, over 8 thousand exhibits are protected in the museum.
Turtle Lake (Kus Tba)-one of the most popular places for relaxation and recreation. It is a small lake located on the southwest of the city center on the northern slope of Mtatsminda mount at 686,7 m above sea level. Its maximal depth is 2.6 m. The name comes from the turtles that used to live there. Turtle Lake has a sports-entertainment and cultural-entertainment complex with a mini-football stadium, a children's entertainment platform, and a professional concert stage with pontoon where various events are held during the season.
Lisi Lake is another popular place for relaxation and recreation. It is a small lake at 624 m above sea level on the northwest of the city. Maximal depth of water is 4 m. It is the great place for water sports and fishing lovers. The lake and its surrounding area provide the habitat of different species of exotic birds. The area of the lake is distinguished by the most interesting and diverse fauna in Tbilisi. In 2007 there was opened a new hippodrome near The Lisi Lake. So if you are tired of wandering around the city and want some rest, that is the right place for you.
Tbilisi Botanical Garden is National Botanical Garden of Georgia, history of which spans more than three centuries. It occupies the area of 161 hectares and possesses a collection of over 4,500 taxonomic groups. After pillaged in the Persian invasion of 1795, the garden was revived in the early 19th century and officially established as the Tiflis Botanical Garden in 1845. The central entrance to the Garden is at the foothills of the Narikala Fortress.
The Bridge of Peace is a pedestrian bridge over the Mtkvari (Kura) River. It is a beautiful steel and glass construction, providing a view of the Metekhi Church, the statue of Vakhtang Gorgasali, and the Narikala Fortress on one side, and Baratashvili Bridge and Presidential Office on the other. The bridge was designed by the Italian architect Michele De Lucchi, who is also the designer of the buildings of the Presidential Administration and Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. The lighting design was created by the French lighting designer Philippe Martinaud.
Georgian National Opera Theater. The Georgian National Opera and Ballet Theater of Tbilisi is an opera house founded in 1851. It is situated on Rustaveli Avenue and is one of the centers of cultural life in Tbilisi. This is the main opera house of Georgia and one of the oldest such establishments in eastern Europe. It was once a home for Georgian national composer- Zacharia Paliashvili. The Opera House has hosted opera stars such as Montserrat Caballé and José Carreras. It also serves national celebrations and presidential inaugurations.
Rustaveli Theater. Shota Rustaveli National Theatre is the largest and one of the oldest theaters of Georgia, located in Tbilisi, on Rustaveli Avenue. It was named after national poet of Georgia Shota Rustaveli since. The theatre includes three stages: the main stage (about 800 seats), the small stage (283 seats) and a Black Box Theatre (182 seats), for experimental performances. The theatre is available for conferences and events and has a large ballroom, a small ballroom and a foyer.
Vake Park. This is the public park in Tbilisi, located in Vake district, at the western end of Chavchavadze Avenue. It was opened in 1946 and has a children's town, open cinema, café-bars and restaurant. Second World War Memorial stands on the top of the hill of the park. At the south-west end of the park there is the stadium of Mikheil Meskhi.
The Chronicle of Georgia (matiane) is a hidden gem in Tbilisi. Tourists call it Tbilisi's Own Stonehenge. It overlooks the Tbilisi Sea and the suburbs of the city. On these gigantic pillars are depicted the scenes from the history of Georgia, mainly the kings and queens who reigned over the country. Some parts of the pillars portray the life of Jesus. The author of the presented works is the sculptor Zurab Tsereteli. The construction started in 1985, but it was never finished. You have to climb a big staircase to get to this monument, but trust me, it is worth it.
The Tbilisi Sea (Tbilisi reservoir) is an artificial lake in the vicinity of Tbilisi. It is the most popular recreation spot for locals in hot summer days. There are The Yacht Club and the aqua park Gino Paradise Tbilisi with open and closed pools, attractions and wellness center. It is planned to develop the Tbilisi sea into a recreational park with various sports facilities.
Well, well, well. This part of the post is for those who love shopping.
East Point shopping mall, located close to the Tbilisi airport, is the open concept shopping and entertainment center, where the fashion industry and amusement world are waiting for you. There are all kind of shops. There you can buy as well known brands as local ones and prices are quite affordable. There is a cinema, a huge supermarket, and restaurants. It is a good place for shopping and spending time with friends and family.
Tbilisi Mall is modern center combining leisure, retail and entertainment. There is a multi-screen cinema, the contact zoo, the outlets of well-known retail brands, department stores and banking facilities. It has a multi-story free-of-charge car park, spread over four underground levels. You can spend valuable and interesting time in the mall.
Lilo Mall is the largest open air commercial center in Georgia and caucasus region. Whatever you want, you can buy there.
Also, there are some smaller shopping centers, like Tbilisi Central, Galleria Tbilisi, Merani Shopping and Grato Passage.
And Don't forget to visit Shardeni Street-a center of the city’s cultural and social life