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Tbilisi: Diverse, Ethnic and Spectacular

Tbilisi is the capital city of Georgia, a country that sits at the crossroads between Asia and Europe. Once part of the Soviet Union, it is a fairly small land that has a rich heritage, history, and culture, diverse landscapes, and a strong sense of national pride. The country was once located on the famous Silk Road, an important trading route between Asia and Europe.

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Tbilisi offers a fantastic overview of the country in general, and is a great place to spend a few days or longer. Sitting on the banks of the Kura River, the capital is located at the bottom of the Trialeti Mountains in the central-eastern part of the country. The wettest months in Tbilisi are spring and autumn. Summers are typically hot, whilst winters are cold. Make sure that you pack appropriately for the time of year that you plan to visit!

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Georgia boasts more than 10,000 places of cultural and / or historical interest, scenic landscapes, beaches, winter ski areas, natural spa areas, and more. Start with a tour guide in Tbilisi and get a great introduction to, and overview of the country before venturing farther afield. Some highlights of the capital include:

Old Tbilisi
The historic core of the capital, Old Tbilisi offers visitors a journey back in time to a long-forgotten era. Take a stroll around with a tour guide in Tbilisi and uncover the city’s past, learning more about the local way of life from then until now, and being amused by anecdotes and tales. The architecture is varied, with ancient churches and mosques sitting alongside old balconies and the now-trendy area of Sololaki with its art nouveau facades. Lots of interesting contemporary art pieces line Sioni Street, and you can see a disused streetcar close to Erekle Street. Watbilisinder along the charming and picturesque streets and imagine what life was like in Tbilisi in times gone by. Visit Narikala Fortress and soak up the views, before soaking your body in a healing sulphur bath.

Simon Janashia Museum

The Simon Janeshia Museum is home to a large collection of interesting archeological and ethnographical artefacts. Showcasing the city’s history, it’s a top place to understand more about Tbilisi and Georgia through the ages. With coins, fossils, tools, jewellery, and more, there’s definitely plenty to look at.

Sameba Cathedral

Also known as the Holy Trinity Cathedral Church, Sameba Cathedral may be relatively new, dating back to just 2002, but its large size is what makes it particularly interesting and appealing. It’s a grand church with many beautiful details and lots of religious symbolism. The orthodox church is the biggest church in all of Georgia.

Synagogue

Tbilisi’s Jewish place of worship is still active today. It was built in 1910.

Abanotubani
Home to a number of small sulphur baths, this is a popular place for locals and visitors alike who are looking to bathe and relax in the mineral-rich waters. Massages are also available for even more bliss.

Turtle Lake

Situated just outside of the city, Turtle Lake is a favourite weekend retreat for local families. As well as chilling out alongside the waters you can also rent a small peddle-boat if you want to be a bit more active. Talk a walk around the lake’s edge, go for a dip if the weather is warm, grab a drink in one of the nearby cafes, and admire the nice views of the lake, mountains, and city below.

St David’s Church
The main attraction in St David’s Church is the Mtatsminda Pantheon of Writers and Public Figures. It is the final resting place of many well-known people from the literary world.

Botanical Gardens
Tbilisi’s Botanical Gardens make for a pleasant afternoon outing, filled with interesting plants and colourful flowers. A sweet aroma lingers in the air and there’s a lovely waterfall too.

Dry Bridge Market
Held on Saturdays alongside the river, Dry Bridge Market is a large second-hand market where you can find almost anything imaginable. Even if you don’t plan on making any purchases, it is still a great place to experience the local vibe and lively atmosphere. Don’t worry if you’re not around at the weekend – you can visit the market on other days of the week too, it’s just smaller.

Ethnographic Open-Air Museum
Covering around 50 hectares, Tbilisi’s Ethnographic Open-Air Museum is located on a hill overlooking Vake Park. As well as providing incredible views over the surrounding area, it is a terrific place to understand more about the local culture and way of life. Explore more than 70 authentic Georgian buildings, brought from various places across the country and reconstructed in this beautiful spot. The interiors are filled with interesting exhibits, such as tools, household goods, furnishings, and clothing, allowing you to really appreciate how people lived in the past, and, in some areas, still live today, around Georgia.

Other great things to see and do in tantalising Tbilisi include Tiflis Avenue, the Museum of Art, Galaktion Tabidze Museum, the domed religious building of Mamadaviti, the up-market area of Vake, TV Antenna Park, and a variety of charming shops, enticing restaurants, and quaint churches.

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