Arriving in Tbilisi, you instantly become his dear and welcome guest. No matter what courtyard you accidentally enter, you will immediately be greeted by locals who enchant you with their kindness, sincerity and hospitality. The best walk in Tbilisi is a walk without a map and a guide. Whatever street you are on, you will always find something to see, whether it be an old church, the house of a Georgian aristocrat or a Caucasian carpet shop, just like from fairy tales. And if you want to see what is hidden in the vicinity of the Georgian capital, then rent a car, thanks to which your trip will become even brighter and richer.
Shota Rustaveli International Airport - download the scheme
IATA code: TBS
Location: 17 km from Tbilisi
Official website: www.tbilisiairport.com/
Inquiries: +995 32 310 421
These rental companies provide car rental at Tbilisi airport like Avis, Alamo, Budget, Sixt, Europcar and Thrifty. Dispensing racks are located in the arrivals area. There are several parking lots at the airport where you can park your rented car.
For several centuries, the Sioni Temple was considered the main cathedral of Tbilisi, there was a department of the Georgian Catholicos (Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church), which in 2004 was transferred to the new Tsminda Sameba Cathedral (Holy Trinity Cathedral). The first church on this site was built in the VI century. It was repeatedly destroyed during the raids of foreigners and was restored every time, which was reflected in the external and internal decoration of the temple, combining elements of different eras and architectural directions. The name of the church mentions Mount Zion in Jerusalem and is connected with the ancient Georgian tradition of calling temples in honor of Christian shrines. The main relic of the Sioni temple is the cross of St. Nina, who brought Christianity to Georgia.
Narikala Fortress, located on Mount Mtatsminda in the center of old Tbilisi, locals call the soul and heart of the city. This is the oldest fortress of the capital (built around the 4th century), it has been standing here since the founding of the city. During the earthquake in 1827, the fortress was partially destroyed, so only a part of the wall and several towers have survived to this day. In this XII century, the church of St. Nicholas was built on this territory, which also suffered during the earthquake, but was later restored and reopened to visit. The view from the fortress is simply fantastic, and if you get here during sunset, you can even lose the speechlessness from the opening beauty. You can get to the fortress by cable car leading from Rike Park directly to Mtatsminda.
Abanotubani - the so-called quarter in the center of Tbilisi, which is known for baths built on the site of hot sulfur springs. According to legend, it was from this place that Tbilisi began. The construction of the baths dates back to the 17th-19th centuries; Pushkin and Dumas the father came here - a whole wall with wonderful tiles is dedicated to their visits. Baths are operational, so if you wish, you can experience the therapeutic effects of sulfuric waters. Passing a little deeper from the buildings, you will find yourself at the Legvtahevi waterfall - a peaceful place with extraordinary energy.
Sioni 8 http://museum.ge/
Walking along the streets of the Old Town, do not forget to look into the Historical Museum, located in the beautiful building of the 19th century caravanserai. The museum’s collection contains more than 50 thousand exhibits telling about the history of Tbilisi and its environs. The works of contemporary Georgian artists and photographers are also presented here. In May, the museum hosts the annual festival of photography Kolga Tbilisi Photo.
Sololaki, Machabeli 13
The mansion, which is occupied by the House of Writers of Georgia, belonged to David Sarajishvili, the famous philanthropist and businessman, who founded the Tbilisi Brandy Factory in 1888. The Georgian intelligentsia gathered here, and Nicholas II even stayed at home during his trip to the Caucasus in 1914. The house has perfectly preserved the atmosphere and atmosphere of those years, it is a pleasure to wander around the rooms and imagine what interesting stories and events are associated with this magnificent place. Now the mansion regularly hosts lectures, exhibitions and presentations related to the cultural life of the city.
Having rented a car, go to Mtskheta - the first capital of Georgia. Mtskheta is considered the country's religious center: it was here that Christianity was first adopted in Georgia in 327 in Georgia. Arriving in Mtskheta, first go to the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, built in the XI century on the site of the country's first wooden church. The cathedral in front of the altar contains the burial places of Georgian rulers, including the founder of Tbilisi, Vakhtang Gorgasali. After visiting the cathedral, we advise you to take a walk along the streets of Mtskheta, look at Samtavro Monastery, and then dine at one of the local restaurants where you will be greeted as a long-awaited guest.
Near Mtskheta on the mountain stands the Jvari monastery (VII century). It is located on the very spot where, according to some historical sources, St. Nina erected a cross, marking the adoption of Christianity by Georgia. Ascetic and austere, the monastery looks like a continuation of the rock: it blends into the landscape so organically that it seems as if nature itself created this unique temple. A wish tree grows on the territory of Jvari, on which it is customary to hang ribbons. Be sure that the desires made in such a holy place will come true.
You should come to the village of Mukhrani in a rented car for the Chateau Mukhrani winery ( www.chateaumukhrani.com), which has a long and rich history. In 1873, Prince Ivan Bagration-Mukhransky planned to build a manor with a park and winery. The wines produced by him received many awards at international exhibitions and became the first Georgian wines to be exported to Europe. After the death of the prince, the estate and winery became desolate and were reconstructed in 2002 by Georgian entrepreneurs who decided to revive old traditions and give Chateau Mukhrani a new life. Guests of the winery will enjoy a wonderful tour of the factory and the estate of Prince Bagration-Mukhransky, a walk through the vineyards, a tasting of local wines and a delicious lunch. A nice bonus is the opportunity to ride horses on the picturesque territory of the estate.
The ancient cave city, built about three thousand years ago on the banks of the Kura River. Its name in Georgian means "the fortress of the lord." During the existence of the state of Iberia, Uplistsikhe was its spiritual center, where there were numerous religious buildings. Of the more than 700 buildings of the city, about 150 have survived, which are now open to tourists. The terrain is rocky and uneven, so wear comfortable shoes.
Another cave complex, which is best reached by rental car, as on the way you can call in some more interesting places. Vardizia was founded in the XII century and was a fortress-monastery carved into the rock with a church in the center. The premises of the monastery go 50 meters deep into the cliffs and are connected to each other by underground passages - the defenders of the fortress moved around them in the old days during enemy attacks. An earthquake in the 13th century demolished more than half of the buildings, exposing the secret rooms and narrow corridors that tourists now like to roam. Note that in cave tunnels it is dark and rather cold, so we advise you to bring a flashlight and a warm jacket with you.
The restaurant is in a typical Georgian style: homely atmosphere, a lot of noise, laughter, wine by the river, and on the tables are rosy khachapuri, barbecue and aromatic khinkali. The charming grandfather of the violinist performs something very soulful in the spirit of this hospitable city. Be sure to try the Adjarian khachapuri here - at Maspindzelo they are prepared simply divinely. We also advise you to order chashululi - stewed veal with vegetables - by the way, they are most often ordered by locals, and their taste can definitely be trusted.
It is no coincidence that the name of this establishment translates as “Khinkali house” - some of the most delicious and juicy khinkali in the city are prepared here, for which you will want to return here more than once. In Tbilisi, khinkal are found at every step, but it is in Khinklis Sakhli that they serve the ideal version of a popular Georgian dish: thin elastic dough, aromatic minced meat and spicy broth. The portions are huge, but this will not stop you from ordering a few portions of khinkali, since it is impossible to break away from them.
Cafe in the building of the puppet theater named after Rezo Gabriadze - Georgian artist, director and screenwriter. Posters of theater festivals and famous Georgian films hang on the walls, and drawings of Gabriadze himself are presented on the tables. In the evening, the cafe plunges into a pleasant twilight and turns into a great place for a romantic dinner. In fine weather, we advise you to take a table on the terrace to admire the local architecture while you carry the order. Try warm chicken salad, yogurt ice cream, and Moroccan tea with mint and cinnamon.
P. Ingorokva 4www.facebook.com/AmoRameTbilisi
If you want to dine in the evening in a relaxed atmosphere, head to Amo Rame Art Café, where there is an amazing courtyard decorated in a vintage style. Old-fashioned furniture, curtains and floor lamps are exactly the same as in the room of your beloved grandmother, many paintings on the walls, fresh flowers on tables and a piano in the center of the hall - this sentiment will be loved by sentimental young ladies in Tbilisi. We recommend ordering khachapuri, pancakes with banana and an Amo Rame cocktail with apple and mint flavors.
Revaz Laghidze 12www.facebook.com/DiveTbilisi/
A bar in the center of Tbilisi, where local bearded men gather in the evenings, drink beer and chat with the bartender and the restaurant manager, who greet each visitor as an old friend. A good selection of alcohol, an interesting design (graffiti on the walls, many posters, posters and other details from the past) and great music in the background. The Dive Bar has a very simple and friendly atmosphere: by the end of the evening you will surely get to know half the guests of the bar and have a long and sincere chat together with a bottle of something strong.
Elene Akvhlediani Agmarti 4
+995 322 55 58 88 www.vinotel.ge/ double room - from € 160
An atmospheric boutique hotel located in the Old Town near Freedom Square. The highlight of the hotel is a luxurious wine cellar where Georgian wine tastings take place. The rooms are in soft brown and gray tones, minimalistic wooden furniture and vintage details in the decor. There are excellent rooms with skylights. Be sure to drop by a cocktail in the evening at a local restaurant resembling an antique shop. Free parking is available on site and must be reserved in advance.
+995 322 93 14 04 www.betsyshotel.com/ double room - from € 122
Boutique hotel on the slope of Mount Mtatsminda, a short walk from Rustaveli Avenue. The design of the rooms is made in the classical style with the addition of local flavor: the floors in the rooms and corridors are covered with antique carpets with national patterns. From the balconies of the rooms there is a magnificent view of Tbilisi - perhaps, Betsy's Hotel is worth choosing for this panorama alone. If you are traveling in a rented car, you can leave it in the free parking lot next to the hotel.
Iliko Kurkhuli 14
+995 322 55 66 55 www.laerton-hotel.com/ double room - from € 105
The hotel is a 15-minute drive from Tbilisi International Airport. The spacious, bright rooms have balconies where in the evening you can drink a couple of glasses of wine and enjoy the city's panoramic view. Breakfast is served on a cozy terrace overlooking the historic center of Tbilisi. The hotel has its own parking lot, so you don’t have to look long for a place to park your rental car.
Kote Afkhazi 25
+995 322 43 96 00 http://hotelkalasi.ge/ double room - from € 85
Hotel in the very center of Tbilisi near Freedom Square. Comfortable and spacious rooms in beige and brown tones. In the area you will find interesting cafes, restaurants and shops, many of which work around the clock. Free parking is available on site where you can park your rented car.
Davit Agmashenebeli 114
+995 322 95 96 61 http://oldkeyhotel.ge/ double room - from € 46
A small but incredibly cozy and pleasant hotel two kilometers from Freedom Square. The design of the hotel is made in the style of the late XIX - early XX centuries: dark wooden furniture with curved legs, massive armchairs with patterned upholstery, paintings in golden frames, grandfather clocks and many beautiful details in the spirit of the past era. Rooms overlook a busy street with lovely architecture.
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© Ellina Rudenko, 2015