Tbilisi is the capital of the Republic of Georgia. The city was founded by the Georgian king in the 5th century and became the capital in the 6th century. The city old name was Tiflis. People of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds lived here side by side and it represents a mix of eastern and western culture. The new parts of the city is developing and expanding without old city losing its charm. The main tourist places and activities are around old Tbilisi. Here is a list of awesome things you can see and do during your visit to the city;
Explore the Old Town
The Old Town of Tbilisi is a labyrinth of narrow cobble stoned streets in the heart of the city. Streets lined with little shops and cafes/restaurants, local art shops, wine houses, small family run guesthouses. The Old Town is a mix of old and new architecture. Some sections have been extensively renovated and houses, shops beautifully decorated and converted into cafes while other areas are incredibly dilapidated. There are beautiful old churches, many interesting statues, Rezo Gabriadze Theater (watch the puppet show) and gorgeous pedestrian cobbled streets which make walking pleasant in old Tbilisi.
Visit the Sulfur baths of Tbilisi
Abanotubani, which means “bath district“ is the ancient district in Tbilisi known for its sulfuric baths. The name Tbilisi comes from the Georgian word for warm ‘Tbili’ that means “warm location”. According to a legend the King Vakhtang Gorgasali’s falcon fell at this place , leading to the discovery of the hot springs and subsequently, to founding of a new capital.
Waking in the Abanotubani district you can discover the real charm of this city. With the Sulfur baths there are many cozy restaurants, souvenir shops, old colorful buildings, waterfall and a new and old little love lock bridge full of locks. The most eye catching building is Orbeliani Bath which looks more like a religious building than a bath house.
Visit Rike park
Situated at the Mtkvari river bank it is one of the biggest park in Tbilisi. Inside the park there are two large metallic tubes like structure, one is concert hall and the other is exhibition center. From here you can go on a boat trip or you can take the aerial tramway up to Narikala fortress. There is lot of place for kids to run and play, a giant piano and fountains which light up in the evening.
From the park you will get a good view of President Palace. The Rike Park is nice for evening walks and illuminated aerial view of surroundings.
Walk the Bridge of Peace
The pedestrian bridge made of glass and steel is one of the most famous landmark in the city, which connects the Old Town and Rike Park above the Mtkvari river.
The bow shape architecture of the bridge is impressive. The bridge is equipped with thousands of LED lights, which once illuminated in evening, has a spectacular view.
Take the cable car to Mother of Georgia statue
From Rike park you can take a cable car and reach up to the Mother of Georgia statue. The cable car goes up passing through the rooftop of the houses showing a nice aerial view of old Tbilbsi.
While the statue is named The Mother of Georgia she is also referred to as Kartilis Deda and is located on top of Sololaki Mountain. Mother of Georgia symbolizes the Georgian national character: in her left hand she holds a bowl of wine to greet those who come as friends and in her right hand is a sword for those who come as enemies. The statue is around 20m tall and made of aluminium.
Explore and enjoy the views from Narikala Fortress
You can reach the fortress by drive up to the entrance or by walking up from old town square, or by cable car from the Rike Park. Inside the fortress there is St. Nicholas church which was newly build in 1997. The original 13th century church was destroyed in a fire.
The wall of the fort is in good condition, enabling you to climb the stairs and take some amazing panoramic photos of Tbilisi city and surrounding areas.
Visit The Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi
You will never be far from a church in Tbilisi. The one which is visible from almost everywhere in Tbilisi is the huge Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi or locally known as “Sameba”. The construction of Cathedral was only completed back in 2004, so it doesn’t offer the same amount of history as most of the other churches in Tbilisi. Very impressive modern structure shining during the day and lighted by night.
The Trinity Cathedral is the largest cathedral in Georgia.
Visit the Botanical Garden
The National Botanical Garden of Georgia lie in the Tsavkisis-Tskali Gorge on the southern foothills of the Sololaki Range right next to the Narikala fortress and Old Town.
The National Botanical Garden is huge with a small waterfall inside and the place is good to spend summer afternoons.
Stroll down the Rustaveli Avenue
Rustaveli Avenue is named after Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli. It is the central street in Tbilisi. This attractive tree-lined Boulevard stretches between the Rose Revolution Square & Freedom Square. The Rustaveli Avenue is the central avenue in Tbilisi and its filled with shops, cafes, museums. Many big shopping centers are located when you approach freedom square.
Rustaveli avenue is home to a large number of governmental, public, cultural, and business buildings. Here you can see a glimpse of Georgian architecture.
The Parliament of Georgia, Kashveti Church, the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Rustaveli State Academic Theater, the Rustaveli Museum, and the Georgian Academy of Sciences are all located on Rustaveli.
Visit the Chronicles of Georgia
On the top of a hill just outside Tbilisi, stands this big monument. The amazing thing about it, is that it is a bronze sculpture composed of various panels mounted on concrete columns. As the name suggest, the panels depicting the long history of the kings and queens of Georgia and a tribute to the long history of Christianity there. The upper part represents a number of the rulers from the Georgian history and the lower panels show scenes from the life of Christ.
The view from the top is gorgeous, one side you will see Tbilisi sea and the other side you’ll see the City.
If you wish to go there by public transport, you should take the subway to Sarjanishvili station and from there take a taxi up to the hill.
Stroll down the David Agmashenebeli Avenue
David Agmashenebeli Avenue is one of the main avenues in the historical part of Tbilisi, known for its 19th-century classical architecture. The highlight of the walk for us was around “Marjanishvili”(metro) admiring/appreciating the architecture of the many art-nouveau buildings. The pedestrian part of Agmashenebeli avenue is few hundred meters away from the metro station.
The pedestrian only street is having many lovely and charming buildings which will definitely grab your attention. The whole street is picturesque and lined with shops on both sides. The coffee shops are pleasantly decorated with hanging flower pots. The whole path is lighted with hanging bulbs from one corner to another which is a visual delight in night.