Tbilisi, the Georgian capital city is not only an extremely beautiful destination but also one of the most ancient cities in the world. The name Tbilisi means “warm”, and it is derived from the hot sulfur springs. For the tourists with wanderlust for un-commercialised destinations, Tbilisi can be just the right place. The city is still relatively undiscovered to its true potential and is home to astounding natural panoramic beauty, warm people, and spectacular architectural gems.
Can’t wait to visit Tbilisi? Great, here are the top things to do when you get there.
1. Enjoy Thermal baths in Abanotubani
Back in the day, there were 63 baths. Then came the Russian empire and it was reduced to 10 baths with famous bathers such as Dumas and Pushkin. In the present time, located in the south of the Metekhi bridge, the number is reduced to five baths at varied comfort levels. These baths are more than 1500 years old and experiencing them is more than just a way to relax. It is equivalent to becoming a part of rich history and ancient heritage. It also allows you to enjoy the local culture and be a part of the community. For a small extra charge, you can also book your own private bath.
2. Shop at Rustaveli Avenue & Dry Bridge Flea Market
Like any city, Rustaveli Avenue is Tbilisi’s main area. It is a must visit place and is perfect for shopping with great boutique stores, cafes, exquisite museums, and varied souvenir options. The place is also a great treat for architecture lovers as it houses a huge number of public and commercial buildings beautifully architecture for tourist’s delight. To enjoy a taste of the local shopping, do visit the dry bridge flea market. Local vendors offer some extremely interesting souvenirs, beautiful Georgian paintings, pottery collection, and costume jewelry too.
3. Savor the charm of Old Tbilisi
Also, known as the historic district of Tbilisi, the Old city was destroyed and rebuilt a whopping 29 times throughout the history but even today, the basic layout of the city is as it is with beautiful narrow alleys and courtyard houses. The place still offers a reminiscence of the bygone era and hosts important landmarks such as Freedom Square, Georgian State Museum, rural markets, and the famous rugby arena Dinamo.
4. Visit the exquisite Museums
Tbilisi if full of beautiful and informative museums, most of which are well worth your time. The featured museum is the Museum of Georgia with stunning exhibits of the antique treasury. Don’t forget to visit the National Art Gallery, a delightful treat for art lovers with masterpieces of the likes of Davit Kakabadze, Elene Akhvlediani, Lado Gudiashvili, and more. Enjoy the Open Air Museum of Ethnography in the old city with a great display of architecture and craftwork from almost each region of Georgia. Lastly, don’t forget to visit the Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts with a precious collection of fine arts from the Antic-Hellenistic Age, the medieval age, and the Bronze age.
5. The Magnificent Sameba Cathedral
Standing proudly on the hilltop of St. Elijah, situated in the heart of Tbilisi, Sameba Cathedral is a gem of a place to visit. Also, known as the Holy Trinity, it has the capacity to accommodate over 15000 people at one time which make it the largest cathedral across Georgia. It reaches a height of 78 meters, thus making it visible from any part of the city. The surrounding beauty of the cathedral, the peace inside, and the magnificent architecture, together makes it a must visit place for one and all.
6. Paliashvili Opera House
Home to the best of Georgian Opera and State Ballet companies, Paliashvili Opera House is one of the best-known opera houses across the world. Tucked beautifully amidst the hustle-bustle of this beautiful capital city, the Opera House is extremely oriental in its construction. Although the architecture of the place is quite contemporary, the style is an eclectic mix of Asian, Western and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
7. Visit the Narikala Fortress
Dating back to the 4th century, the Narikala fortress dominates the Old Town skyline of Tbilisi since the time it was a Persian refuge. You may either walk up the Meidan or reach here by the cable car. There was a time when the fortress had beautiful walls built by the Arab emirs that were wrecked by an explosion inside the fortress due to munitions kept by the Russians during the 8th century.
8. Enjoy the Cable Car Ride
The Mtatsminda funicular cable car ride introduced in the year 2012 is one of the best things to enjoy in Tbilisi. An exhilarating experience, the cable car swings from the south of Rike park goes high over the Mtkvari river across the old town, all the way up to the Narikala fortress. If you’re planning to visit the fortress, cable car ride is the most convenient and enjoyable option.
Tbilisi for anyone is an eternal charm of picturesque settings, dramatic architectures, and a striving ground for lively arts and cultural scene. While the capital city of Georgia has accepted the modernisation with beautiful cafes, restaurants, five stars and more, the old Tbilisi’s charm is still infectious. The city allows you to give in and soak in the simplicity that still exists amidst the grandeur of the capital of Georgia.