Tbilisi - Tiflis

    Tiflis – or Tbilisi, as the Georgians call it – has always been at a crossroads and it has mixed the flavors of Europe with those of Asia. It was one of the stops on the Silk Road and the people of both continents met in their market stories. Nowadays, it is a city with a lot of character and it is fifteen centuries old.

    It is the most visited destination in the country and it has great attractions for tourists. One of them is that it has managed to consolidate the medieval air with the avant-garde architecture without losing its roots. Another thing is that it is an example of harmony between different cultures. A mosque, two synagogues, Orthodox, Catholic, Armenian churches and even an old Zoroastrian temple live together very close by.

    History

    Its beginnings …

    Although archaeological remains have been found indicating that the area was inhabited since the Neolithic, Tbilisi was not founded until the fifth century. Like almost everything in the Caucasus, its birth also looks like a myth. According to popular tradition, the mythical king of Iberia Vakhtang Gorgasali was hunting with his falcon in the forests covering the current territory of the city at that time.

    The birds prey caught a bird, but both crashed into hot springs emerging from the ground and they died quite burn. The king, as if it were a divine sign, decided to found a new village and move his capital here from Mtskheta. He called it Tbilisi (tbili means hot). The area where the old Tbilisi was built corresponds to the current Avlabari neighborhood and the Abanotubani area.

    Arab invasions

    Since then, the city has gone through the hands of Arabs, Jorezites, Mongols, Persians or Russians. And it is that Tbilisi has always been like candy for the major powers due to its strategic position as a transit zone between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, Europe and Asia, the North and the South.

    Throughout its history, it has suffered about 30 loots to the point to make it disappear. But its inhabitants have rebuilt it on 30 occasions. One of the worst disasters which occurred in the 8th century was when an army of 200,000 Arabs killed 50,000 citizens. Although the fact is shocking, it hides a great truth: at that time the capital of Georgia was already a great city. The last great disaster occurred in 1795 when the Persians burn it down.

    Between 1122 and 1226

    Tbilisi lived it’s Golden Age. After the famous battle of Didgori, King David Aghmaseneveli (The Builder) recovered the city and he turned into the capital of unified Georgia once again. Georgia was one of the most powerful states in the Middle East at that time.

    The king left the Muslim neighbors to stay in the city. He declared freedom of faith and he issued laws to promote commercial activity. Queen Tamara continued with this work and she took it to levels of education and refinement unknown to date. However, the invasions of the Golden Horde put an end to the Teflite dream.

    In the era of Russian domination

    Tbilisi grew and the new neighborhoods of the expansion appeared, with their European-style buildings surviving to this day. At the beginning of the 20th century, the city became a pole of attraction for artists and bohemians earning it the nickname of the Paris of the Middle East.

    Shortly thereafter, with the Soviets, it was industrialized and working neighborhoods were built with the typical buildings for the proletariat of some areas of the outskirts. Boris Paichadze football stadium, where the Dinamo de Tbilisi is used to play, is also from this period.

    The revolution of the Roses

    In 2003 its streets saw the birth of a peaceful revolution supported by thousands of citizens spreading to the rest of the country: the Rose Revolution. The movement marked the beginning of a new era for Georgia and it served as an inspiration to other countries with similar problems.

    Tbilisi TOP 10

    Old Tbilisi

    It is extended to the foot of the Narikala Fortress, on the right side of the Mtkavari River. There are very touristy places like Chardin or Kote Abkhasi streets, with bars, terraces, shops, and restaurants. But there are others where you can still breathe the lifestyle of that old Tbilisi that it was written so much, as in Gomis, Bethlem or Abovyan streets. Here, life is from town and its maze of streets is hiding crooked buildings, neighbors playing al backgammon, chipped facades and total silence. It is the best place to get lost.

    Abanotubani

    What better thing than beginning to know the city in the place where everything started? Abanotubani is the area of ​​the bath houses and the oldest part of Tbilisi. This is where according to legend the hunting falcon of King Vakhtang Gorgasali died scalding by falling into its sulfurous waters. Without that event, the king would never have discovered its springs or founding Tbilisi.

    It is the most Asian part and the orange domes of the bathhouses make it distinctive. Of all of them, the best known is the bathhouse of Orbeliani, with its majestic facade of tiles and its two small minarets to the side by giving it that so characteristic touch of Central Asia. Before, relaxing inside was one of the favorite pastimes of the Tbilisians and illustrious people like Tolstoy, Pushkin or Alexandre Dumas who would reflect this clearly. Most bathhouses are still open.

    The Tiflis mosque

    It is located a few feet away, on the street climbing up to the botanical gardens, and it’s brick minaret crowned by a small sky blue dome rises like a beacon and betrays its location. It was built in 1864 and they say it is unique in the world because the Sunnis and Shiites pray together here.

    You can enter to see it but you have to take your shoes off first. Behind the Muslim temple is the botanical garden, a haven of peace within the chaotic Tbilisi.

    The Botanical Garden

    The botanical garden is one of the lesser-known treasures of Tbilisi. In its nearly 120 hectares are growing more than 3,500 species from around the world and also other specimens that are in risk of extinction. It has its own waterfall and it is one of the favorite places among couples or lovers. Although its creation dates back to the 17th century, it became operational as a botanical garden in 1848 and it was the only place in the Caucasus of this kind for over a century.

    Narikala fortress

    The figure of the Narikala fortress has been here since before Tbilisi existed and it is the icon of the city. Experts say it is from the 4th century and that its name, coming from the Mongols, means the small fortress. The Arabs extended and reinforced it and it became the residence of the emir.

    The church of Saint Nicolas is in the inside, which dates from the end of the XII and beginning of the XIII, and it has been recently remodeled. If you are traveling as a couple and you are looking for a romantic place, this is yours, especially in the sunset. If you want to climb it, you can do it through the streets of Botanikuri (where the mosque is located) or Orbiri (behind Gorgasari Ssquare). There is also a cable car from Rike Park.

    Statue of Mother Georgia (Kartlis Deda).

    From the Narikala Fortress, you can reach the statue of Mother Georgia. The sculpture, which is 20 meters (65 feet tall) and can be seen from many points of the town. It summarizes the way of being of Georgian people: it has a glass of wine to welcome the friends in one hand.

    It holds a sword to fight against their enemies on the other hand. It was built in 1958 and its author was Elguja Amashukeli. Beyond the statue are the ruins of the Shahtakhti fortress housing an astronomical observatory, and a little further away, the residence of Bidzina Ivanishvili, the richest man in Georgia and prime minister between 2012 and 2013.

    Gorgasali Square (Meidan)

    This small square crowded with traffic, restaurants, and tourists, was built where it used to be the old bazaar of the city. Nowadays, it is one of the hotspots where the Metekhi Bridge, the nightlife of Chardin Street and the Abkhasi (Leselidze) and Tumanian streets converge. Samghebro Street comes from the upper left corner. The silver dome of the Armenian church of Surp Gevorg (Saint George) is standing there. It dates from the 13th century and the remains of the writer Sayat Nova are found in the outside. He is the greatest singer-songwriter in the Caucasus of all time for many people and he is a well-respected figure for both Armenians and Georgians.

    Kote Abkhazi Street

    It is also known as Leselidze. It is the artery of Old Tbilisi and one of the most typical streets of the city. It connects the squares of Gorgasali with Tavisupleba. You’ll surely come by here more than once. It is full of souvenir shops, traditional establishments and some of the most visited monuments such as the Great Synagogue (45/47 Kote Abkhazi).

    A few meters away, at 41, the Armenian church of Norashen (on the right) and the orthodox Jvaris Mama stands up. Later, you will find the statue of general Leselidze, a hero of the Second World War.

    Erekle II, Bambis and Chardin Streets

    These streets are full of bars, pubs, restaurants and art galleries. The city hall really fresh them up and they are trendy. It is the typical tourist place with attractive stores, terraces, and predatory pricing. However, it is bursting at the steams at night. In 12 Bambis Rigi Street, there is a bronze figure of a little man sitting drinking from a horn.

    The work is called ‘Tamada’ and it is a replica of the one found in the Vani site dating back the seventh century BC. It represents a Georgian drinking wine in the traditional way, and it summarizes the soul of the supra, the typical Georgian banquet where toasts are quite an art. It seems that the Georgians were already raising their glasses three thousand years ago.

    Sioni Cathedral

    According to the legend, the first temple to be built in this same place was constructed by the same king Vakhtang Gorgasali in the 5th century. It has suffered many attacks throughout its history and it has been rebuilt several times. Therefore, the current structure dates from the 13th century. The best day to visit is Sunday: there is a chorus with polyphonic songs.

    Saint Mary Catholic Church

    Address: 4 Abesadzis Street.

    It was built in 1804 by the Capuchins and it was housing the only institution in the Caucasus for many years. We do not know if we believe it or not, but we have been told that it was used as a basketball court during the Communism. Nowadays, it is working again – and the baskets have disappeared.

     

    The Temple of Fire (Ateshga)

    Address: 3 Gomis Street.

    It is an ancient Zoroastrian temple built by the Persians between the 5th and 7th centuries. People adored fire here. This ancient religion spread through Georgia during the construction date of the building. It is believed that it could have been changed into a mosque during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and that it retained its name.

    It is located about 30 meters (98 feet) east of the Bethlem church. It’s a bit tricky to get there, but it’s the perfect excuse to get lost in the alleys of Old Tbilisi. The place is declared as a Site of National Interest, but it can only be visited through the house at the end of the stairs going up one of its sides. You should knock on the door and ask your tenant kindly if he lets you see it.

    Rustaveli Avenue

    It is the most important street in Tbilisi and it connects the Freedom Square (Tavisuplebis Moedani) with Rustaveli’s (Rustavelis Moedani). The area of ​​Rustaveli began to be urbanized in the 19th century, during the time when the tsars were dominating Georgia.

    In its kilometer and a half are public buildings such as the old Parliament, top class hotels such as the Tbilisi Marriott, the Georgia Museum, the National Gallery or the Ballet Theater and the Opera. Typically, it has some European style buildings although it also has some Soviet-style buildings. It is one of the busiest roads and you should not fool around crossing the road. There are underground passages to pass from one side of the road to the other.

    Freedom Square (Tavisuplebis Moedani)

    It has a very revealing name. This square has seen big protests against the rulers and mass rallies. It is headed by a 131-feet golden statue representing Saint George crossing the dragon with his spear. Its sculptor was Zurab Tsereteli and it replaced the old effigy of Lenin already put during the Soviet period. The building of the old Town Hall (Tbilisi Sakrebulo) stood out in the southern part. It is from 1880 and its eclectic style conveys to perfection the meeting of Europe with Asia.

    The building of the Old Parliament of Georgia

    The impressive building of the former Parliament of the country is raised in 8 Rustaveli Avenue. It has a Soviet-style and its sixteen arches are representing the sixteen ex-Soviet republics. It has witnessed the main moments of the recent History of Georgia as the declaration of independence on April 9, 1991, or the Rose Revolution in 2003.

    Today, the assembly where the sovereignty of the nation resides is in the city of Kutaisi. However, you can visit the old Parliament. When? From Monday to Friday at 12:00, 15:00 and 17:00 hours. It is a 70-minute tour that teaches all the intricacies of the building (Plenary Hall, Cinema Hall, and the Church of the Annunciation) and the system of parliamentary functioning, structure, mission, roles… of the highest representative body of Georgia. Phones: +995 32 228 16 90 // +995 228 16 93. E-mail: tours@parliament.com // tours@parliament.ge

    Kashveti Church

    Its name means ‘Stone that is born’ and it is closely related to another well-known local legend. David Gareja was one of the thirteen missionaries who came from Mesopotamia to encourage Christianity in Georgia during the 6th century – known as’ The Thirteen Syrian Fathers’-.

    Tradition has it that a nun became pregnant and she accused him of being responsible. And of course, all hell breaks loose in Tbilisi. He denied it but few people believed him. Then he said: “If it is true, that a child is born; and if it is a lie, let him bear a stone.

    ” Do you know what she brought to the world? A rock! The people were impressed by the miracle and they decided to build a sanctuary in this place, which they called Kashveti. The current temple, with the signature of architect Leopold Biefeld, dates back to 1910, but it is inspired by another sanctuary dating from the 11th century. It is remarkable how people cross themselves three times while passing by. It is a Georgian custom.

    The Ballet Theater and the Opera

    In the 25 you will find one of the most beautiful buildings in Tbilisi. The Theater of the Ballet and the Opera is another example where the styles of east and west are linked to perfection. It is from 1896 and it is considered as the mecca of the song of the capital. It has gone through memorable nights with artists of the caliber of Montserrat Caballé or José Carreras.

    Mtatsminda

    Mtatsminda means the Sacred Mount. It has no loss. Its telecommunications antenna is visible from virtually the entire city. There is an amusement park neither at the top where there is no room nor even for a pin in the evenings of the summer holidays. It is full of children running around and excited about the attractions. There is a cable car climbing to the top from Chokqadze Street and it stops halfway in the most exclusive cemetery in Georgia.

    The Mtatsminda pantheon

    It is a small cemetery located in the middle of the slope of the Sacred Mount. Here rest some of the most relevant poets, artists, writers, politicians or scientists of the recent History of Georgia. The views of Tbilisi are worth it from here. People come to pay their respects to the likes of Ilias Chavchavadze, the poet Galaktion Tabidze, the theater director Vaso Abashidze or the first president the Republic Zviad Gamsakhurdia.

    Resting here for all eternity is reserved only for the greatest people. The cemetery is inside the Mamadavidi Church (eighteenth century). It was built in the place where the saint David Gareja retired to pray and where they say he dug a small cave house with his own hands. There is a small green rock chapel that is usually closed and that hides a spring whose waters produce the miracle of fertility.

    Avlabari

    From Gorgasali Square, the Metekhi Bridge connects the Kala district with the Avlabari district, the two oldest areas of Tbilisi. It was known as the Armenian neighborhood and it was full of merchants and artisans. Today, the Armenian community is not that big but they have made a lasting impression.

    Walking through its streets is the best option to discover its nooks, sounds, and smells. Do not miss the charm of the street known as the Ascension of the Wine (Gvinis Agmarti), where the vendors used to negotiate its price in the past, or the Sachino Palace (7 Peristsvaleba Street), a 1776 fortress mansion which it is notable for its walls and its semi-circular wooden balconies.

    Statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali.

    On his horse, he is welcoming everyone who crosses the Metekhi Bridge. He was the town founder and he stood out for his bravery on the battlefield. It’s made of bronze and it was put in 1967.

    Metekhi Church 

    Just behind the statue of Gorgasali it is raising the church of Metekhi (13th century) like a jewel on the Mtkavari River. It was built on the same site where the town founder built a Christian sanctuary in the 5th century. It is one of the most famous temples in Tbilisi and it is probably the most photographed. You can find the tomb of Santa Shushanik inside, another of the icons of Orthodox Christianity.

    Church of the Holy Trinity (Tsminda Sameba)

    Its 85 meters high (278 feet tall) give away its position from any point of the city. Its main entrance is at the intersection of Yerevan and Samreklo streets. It is the third highest orthodox temple in the world and it was built to commemorate the 1,500 years of Georgian patriarchy.

    Construction work began in 1995 and although it is already operational, the works of the religious complex have not yet been finished. The facility has a capacity to accommodate 15,000 believers and its lighting gives the city a special touch at night.

    Rike Park

    It is the landscaped esplanade extending from the cable car that goes up to Narikala. This is an avant-garde zone in Tbilisi. It highlights the new Theatre and Exhibition Hall, the Peace Bridge or the glass dome of the Presidential Palace. A little further on, on the other side of the Baratashvili Bridge, the new Palace of Justice, with its completely glazed futuristic façade, symbolizes transparency and the fight against corruption. Some citizens sarcastically say that “all buildings have their basements’’.

    Cable Car.

    Opening Hours; from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

    Price of a trip: 1 GEL.

    Together with the Mtatsminda cable car, it is the favorite form of transportation for the little ones. It is a cable car that connects Rike Park with the Narikala fortress. It flies over the Mtkavari River and it’s worth it just for the views of the Kala district, Avlabari and the Metekhi Church. You can’t pay in cash, but it is necessary to pay with the Metromani transport card. You can buy it in the same cable car.

    Visit Tbilisi and its religious architectural heritage

    Sioni Cathedral

    According to the legend, the first temple to be built in this same place was constructed by the same king Vakhtang Gorgasali in the 5th century. It has suffered many attacks throughout its history and it has been rebuilt several times. Therefore, the current structure dates from the 13th century. The best day to visit is Sunday: there is a chorus with polyphonic songs.

    Saint Mary Catholic Church

    Address: 4 Abesadzis Street.

    It was built in 1804 by the Capuchins and it was housing the only institution in the Caucasus for many years. We do not know if we believe it or not, but we have been told that it was used as a basketball court during the Communism. Nowadays, it is working again – and the baskets have disappeared.

    The Temple of Fire (Ateshga)

    Address: 3 Gomis Street.

    It is an ancient Zoroastrian temple built by the Persians between the 5th and 7th centuries. People adored fire here. This ancient religion spread through Georgia during the construction date of the building. It is believed that it could have been changed into a mosque during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and that it retained its name.

    It is located about 30 meters (98 feet) east of the Bethlem church. It’s a bit tricky to get there, but it’s the perfect excuse to get lost in the alleys of Old Tbilisi. The place is declared as a Site of National Interest, but it can only be visited through the house at the end of the stairs going up one of its sides. You should knock on the door and ask your tenant kindly if he lets you see it.

    Kashveti Church

    Its name means ‘Stone that is born’ and it is closely related to another well-known local legend. David Gareja was one of the thirteen missionaries who came from Mesopotamia to encourage Christianity in Georgia during the 6th century – known as’ The Thirteen Syrian Fathers’-.

    Tradition has it that a nun became pregnant and she accused him of being responsible. And of course, all hell breaks loose in Tbilisi. He denied it but few people believed him. Then he said: “If it is true, that a child is born; and if it is a lie, let him bear a stone.

    ” Do you know what she brought to the world? A rock! The people were impressed by the miracle and they decided to build a sanctuary in this place, which they called Kashveti. The current temple, with the signature of architect Leopold Biefeld, dates back to 1910, but it is inspired by another sanctuary dating from the 11th century. It is remarkable how people cross themselves three times while passing by. It is a Georgian custom.

    Statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali.

    On his horse, he is welcoming everyone who crosses the Metekhi Bridge. He was the town founder and he stood out for his bravery on the battlefield. It’s made of bronze and it was put in 1967.

    Metekhi Church 

    Just behind the statue of Gorgasali it is raising the church of Metekhi (13th century) like a jewel on the Mtkavari River. It was built on the same site where the town founder built a Christian sanctuary in the 5th century. It is one of the most famous temples in Tbilisi and it is probably the most photographed. You can find the tomb of Santa Shushanik inside, another of the icons of Orthodox Christianity.

    Church of the Holy Trinity (Tsminda Sameba)

    Its 85 meters high (278 feet tall) give away its position from any point of the city. Its main entrance is at the intersection of Yerevan and Samreklo streets. It is the third highest orthodox temple in the world and it was built to commemorate the 1,500 years of Georgian patriarchy.

    Construction work began in 1995 and although it is already operational, the works of the religious complex have not yet been finished. The facility has a capacity to accommodate 15,000 believers and its lighting gives the city a special touch at night.

    Family plans

    Mtatsminda

    Mtatsminda means the Sacred Mount. It has no loss. Its telecommunications antenna is visible from virtually the entire city. There is an amusement park neither at the top where there is no room nor even for a pin in the evenings of the summer holidays. It is full of children running around and excited about the attractions. There is a cable car climbing to the top from Chokqadze Street and it stops halfway in the most exclusive cemetery in Georgia

    Mtatsminda Park

    Opening Hours: Until 11:00 p.m.

    Roller coasters, carousel, Ferris wheel, house of terror or water attractions are making this place the favorite one of the children of Tbilisi. There are also bars, cafes, and breweries for parents. The entrance to the park is free but the attractions are not (they cost between 1 and 5 GEL). The most direct and comfortable way to get there is through the cable car connecting Tbilisi with the top of Mtatsminda Mount. We warn you: it is not suitable for people who suffer from dizzy syndrome fear of heights

    Museums

    The Open Air Ethnographic Museum

    • Address: Kus Tba road nº1.
    • Summer hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    • Price: 1.5 GEL.

    Visiting it is like traveling through Georgia but without leaving Tbilisi. You will find more than 70 typical houses of almost all the regions of the country in its 50 hectares of forest. Many of them can be visited inside and they are decorated in a traditional style, with original objects.

    Georgia Museum

    • Address: 3 Shota Rustaveli Avenue.
    • Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    • Price: 5 GEL.It is one of the largest museums in the country and it shows a good collection of historical artifacts found on Georgian soil. Its permanent exhibition of antique jewelry (gold objects from ancient Colchis, jewels used in burials…) stands out. The downtown also shows a permanent exhibition about the period of Soviet occupation in Georgia: its liberation movements, the victims of repression… The Georgia Museum organizes a large number of temporary exhibitions. If you want to find more information, go to www.museum.ge

    Shalva Amiranashvili Fine Arts Museum

    • Address: 1 Gudiashvili Street. Hours.

      The center houses the largest permanent collection of religious works of art in the country: icons, frescoes, crosses of incalculable value, antique jewelry. It also organizes temporary exhibitions in the rest of the rooms of the building.

    National Gallery

    • Address: 8 Shota Rustaveli Avenue.
    • Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    • Price: 5 GEL.

      The National Gallery is the most famous art gallery in the country. The artist and political activist Dimitri Shevarnadze founded it in 1920, but the building dates back to 1888. It houses temporary exhibitions of contemporary and traditional painting by both Georgian and international artists. Its most important permanent collection is dedicated to the works of Pirosmani, the greatest brilliant artist in Georgia.

      Although he has its own and unique style, he has been classified as a naive painter. His works have been exhibited in art galleries such as the Louvre. It represents the typical self-taught artist with a stormy past who lived pushed into poverty and that, for whom, only death opened the gates into the glory.

      He was born into a family of peasants, but soon after he became an orphan. When he was eight years old, he started working as a servant of a wealthy family and he became a pastor and a train driver later on.

    The Museum of Modern Art of Tbilisi

    • Address: 27 Shota Rustaveli Avenue.
    • Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

      The 3,000 m² of the former Cadet Building is housing the work of Zurab Tsereteli now, one of the greatest exponents of contemporary art in the country. However, works by other artists of the national avant-garde are really missed. The center exhibits more than 300 works of the artist ranging from small compositions to large-format creations and 250 photos of his private collection. For more information: www.momatbilisi.ge

    History Museum of Tbilisi

    Address: 8 Sioni Street.

    Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Price: 5 GEL.

    It was founded in 1910 in a 17th-century building that was the residence of King Rostom. It was used as a market and hotel later on. Unfortunately, they were remodeling the property during our visit and most of the rooms were closed to the public. We could only see the temporary exhibitions. In our experience, it’s just worth a quick visit.

    Practical information

    Address: Pushkin Park.

    Opening Hours: from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (high season).

    Phone: +995 32 2 15 86 97.

    E-mail: tictbilisi@gmail.com.

    The Tourist Office of Tbilisi is in Pushkin Park, right next to Freedom Square. They are quite professional and they will help you with everything. They have a DBMS with all accommodation, restaurants, travel agencies in Georgia.

    • Central Republican Hospital.

      Address: 29 Vazha–Pashvela Avenue.

      Phone: +995 32 2 39 57 14.

      It is one of the best public hospitals in the country.

    • Mediclub Georgia

      Address: 22 A Tashkenti Street.

      Phone: +995 32 2 25 19 91.

      E-mail: mcg@mcg.ge

      It is a private clinic that meets the European quality standards and 24-hour emergency service. For more information: www.mediclubgeorgia.ge

    The Tbilisi International Airport is the main entrance to the country. It is modern, with exchange offices and tourist information office open 24 hours. You also have offices of different mobile phone operators in case you want to buy a prepaid Georgian SIM card. It is 18 km (11 miles) from the downtown. It is about 30 minutes to the center.

    It is connected to the capital by trains (airport-Tbilisi central station: 8:35, 5:40 pm; Tbilisi-airport: 7:50, 4:55 pm; price: 50 tetri (15 cents), the bus No. 37 is working for 24 hours (price: 50 tetri, about 15 cents at change), and a taxi to the downtown is usually around 25-30 GEL. If the taxi does not have a meter, you will have to negotiate the price before, and it is likely they try to charge a couple of extra euros.

    Metro

    The Tbilisi metro hast two lines and 21 stations. It is open from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Entering to the commuter train is only possible with the ‘Metromani’ transport card. It costs 2 GEL and you have to keep recharging it with some balance. You can get it in the subway. Each trip by metro costs 50 tetri. The information panels are in Georgian and English.

    City buses

    There are lines throughout the city and they work from 7:00 to midnight. Each trip costs 50 tetri and you can pay in cash by getting a ticket in the machine (exact amount) or with your ‘Metromani’ card. If you pay with the Metromani card, you can get on all buses and metro you want for ninety minutes. Buses are assigned their own stops. An inspector sometimes gets on the bus.

    Marshrutkas

    They are yellow minibusses spread all over the city. They are usually large Ford Transit vans. Each one has an assigned line, there is no specific stop, but people get up and get down whenever they want. Make yourself available, raise your hand and get on. Tell the driver about your destination so he can drop you off as close as possible. Each trip costs 80 tetri. You can pay the driver with your metromani card or in cash.

    Taxis

    They are cheap. However, the problem is that the majority does not have a meter and they may cheat you. What is the phrase of the trip? ¡Sami Lari! It means three euros! Many times it is sneaked for travel within the downtown since the rate ranges between three and five laris. You can stop in the middle of the street and you should ALWAYS negotiate the price before getting in, so as not to be surprised. There are also taxi companies with built-in taximeter, such as Reno Taxis (Phone: +995 32 230 60 60). If you are more like a digital kind of guy, the toxify app works very well in Tbilisi.

    Marshrutkas and buses to other countries

    • To Armenia
      • Tbilisi-Yerevan: they leave every hour from 8:00 a.m to 10:00 p.m. Then the frequency reduces and it only goes out when they are full, but only until 5:00 p.m. (30 GEL). There are also taxis shared from Avlabari leaving every two hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (35 GEL).
      • Tbilisi-Vanadzor 9:00 and 2:00 p.m. (17 GEL).
      • Tbilisi-Gyumri 10:30 a.m. (25 GEL).
    • To Turkey
      • Tbilisi-Istanbul: there are several regular buses every morning.
      • Tbilisi-Ankara: 10:00 a.m.
    • A Azerbaijan
      • Tbilisi-Baku: 5:30 p.m. (30 GEL)
    • To Iran
      • Tbilisi-Tehran: 12:00 h
    • To Russia
      • Tbilisi-Moscow from Monday to Saturday at 12:00 h
      • Tbilisi-Saint Petersburg: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 12:00 h

    Marshrutkas and buses with destinations within Georgia

    *From the Central Railway Station.

      • Tbilisi-Poti: leaving at 9:00, 11:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 7:00, 9:00 p.m. (15 GEL). This route changes a lot of the time, and you should travel by train.
      • Tbilisi-Kutaisi: every thirty minutes from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (10 GEL).
      • Tbilisi-Zugdidi: every hour from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m (15 GEL)
      • Tbilisi-Mestia: at 7:00 a.m. (30 GEL).

    *From Ortachala.

    • Tbilisi-Kvareli: every hour from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (8 GEL).
    • Tbilisi-Dedoplitskharo: at 11:00 hours. Marshrutka to Qvemos Qeda also passes through Dedoplitskharo (8:30, 12:00, 13: 230, 3:15, and 5:00 p.m.).
    • Tbilisi-Batumi: 9:30 a.m, 12:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m., 12:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m (30 GEL).

    *From Didube

    • Tbilisi-Borjomi: every hour from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • Tbilisi -Akhaltsikhe: every hour from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • Tbilisi -Shatili: Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. (20 GEL).
    • Tbilisi -Mtskheta: every 20 minutes from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (1 GEL)
    • Tbilisi –Kazbegi: from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each hour (10 GEL)
    • Tbilisi -Bakuriani: 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. (10 GEL).
    • Tbilisi -Gori: 30 minutes from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (3 GEL)
    • Tbilisi -Vardzia: at 10:00 hours (12 GEL)
    • Tbilisi -Zugdidi: every hour from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • Tbilisi -Kutaisi: every hour from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m (10 GEL).
    • Tiflis-Batumi: every hour from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m (30 GEL).

    *From Isani

    • Tbilisi-Lagodekhi: every 40 minutes from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., 08:30, 09:30, 10:20, 11:10, 12:00, 12:35, 13:15, 14:00

    *From Samgori

    • Tbilisi-Sighnaghi: every two hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (6 GEL).
    • Tbilisi -Telavi: every 45 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. (7 GEL)
    • Tbilisi -Mestia: 7:00 a.m. (30 GEL)
    • Tbilisi -Shatili: Tuesday and Friday at 9:00 am (20 GEL).

    The Tbilisi Central Station is inside a shopping center (Sadguris Moedani metro station). Tickets are purchased at the customer service windows and you must show your passport. You can do it online. For the most used trains, such as those in Baku, Yerevan, Zugdidi or Batumi, you should buy them a couple of days in advance, especially in high season. The schedules usually change a lot. Therefore, we believe that it is better to consult all the updates on your own at www.railway.ge The website is also in English. You have trained from Tbilisi to:

    • Baku, Yerevan, Zugdidi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Poti, Borjomi, and airport.

    Caucasian Carpets

    Address: Erekle II Street Nº 8.

    Opening Hours: from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

    They are specialized in the making and repair of handmade Georgian carpets. Spinners sometimes work in the street, especially in summer, when the weather is good. It is in the Chardin Street area, near the Sioni Cathedral.

    Mzar Memed-Zade

    Address: 4 Sanapiro Street.

    Opening Hours: from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

    This store is like a small bazaar where you will find all kinds of antiques, especially carpets.

    Khareba Wine Cellar

    Address: 50 Rustaveli Avenue.

    It is one of the best wine cellars of Tbilisi. Here you can buy the best wine and you can take it as a souvenir. For more information: www.winerykhareba.com

    Tbilisoba

    It is celebrated the last weekend of October and Tbilisi is pushed the boat out. The city gets dressed up for non-sporting events such as concerts, traditional dance shows and other types of cultural expressions. There are also street stalls with fruit, skewers or wine. The events take place in the old part of the capital and people dress in traditional costumes.

    Independence Day

    Georgian people celebrate one of their most important days on May 26. The Shota Rustaveli Avenue is closed to traffic and there is the Armed Forces parade, exhibitions of polyphonic songs, traditional dances and all kinds of concerts.

    Tbilisi International Film Festival

    The date is not fixed but it usually takes place in winter. It was born in 2000 and little by little it has been gradually growing. It is a shop window for Georgian directors and it is especially emphasized on the broadcasting of European cinema.

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