Things To Do In Tbilisi
Tbilisi, Georgia was established as a separate region around 500 B.C., when the ancient Greeks settled in the area. Over the years, it has been fought over by Romans, Persians, Arabs, and Turks, but enjoyed a “Golden Age” of science and art under Queen Tamara (1184-1213). Since then, arts such as music, opera, and poetry have continued to flourish. The nation also developed it’s own language and alphabet. During the 1800s, Tbilisi gradually became part of the Russian Empire. In 1936, it had joined the Soviet Union. Independence finally came in 1991, but the early 1990s also saw conflicts between different ethnic groups in the area. In 1993, Georgia joined the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the group of former Soviet Republics.
More than half of Georgia’s population lives in Tbilisi and many work in food processing, the country’s major industry. The majority of the population is Christian and belongs to the Georgian Orthodox Church.
When To Go:
The climate in Tbilisi is generally mild, with weather in the city varying depending on the season. In spite of the fact that it can be explored all year round, some months are more agreeable than others. Generally speaking, the warmest months of the year are July and August, when high temperatures will drift in the upper 80's and low 90's. In the evening during these summer months, the temperatures will drop down to the upper 60’s. The late months of summer are by and large, extremely dry, with little precipitation.
The coldest months are December and January, when the high temperatures will go to the mid and upper 50’s. In the evenings, the temperatures will drop down into the 30’s. At it’s very coldest, the temperature can dip below freezing, but this is rare in Georgia. In general, Tbilisi and Georgia are very dry. The rainiest time of the year is in the middle of April and June, but serious rainstorms are rare, seldom destroying the any traveler’s mood to travel all around the city.
The list below discusses the things to do and attractions to visit when in the city of Tbilisi…
Old Town (Altstadt)
The Old Town (Alstadt) of Tbilisi has been beautifully renovated in the last 4-5 years. It has beautiful facades, old buildings, churches and restaurants. In many ways, it exemplifies Georgia’s love for a lively atmosphere where you can have pleasant evenings. There are many friendly restaurants and bars, and the area offers lots of things to do with friends or family. It is full of narrow streets with shops, old houses, and churches. There are also many wine merchants nearby where you can taste authentic Georgian wines. It’s a lovely place to take a stroll. It will be even better if traffic becomes prohibited and the streets become more pedestrian!
The Old Town of Tbilisi is "up and coming". Many of the old buildings and streets are being renovated and newly decorated, which is great for your personal safety! This process starts with the old buildings like the Rundherrum and also some historic buildings such as Irakli baths and churches. The Old Town of Tbilisi is saturated with the charm and atmosphere of the eastern world. Here you will find narrow streets crowded with historic wooden houses and beautiful churches of various denominations. Due to its location in the river valley, there are also excellent views in the center of Tbilisi. In the old part of Tbilisi, there are also a lot of cheap local restaurants with a magnificent Georgian food and homemade wine.
When climbing the mountain you can’t help but pass by this secluded and beautiful pantheon. Inside you can find touching gravestones and perfectly groomed areas that evoke thoughts about the fleeting nature of life, as well as thoughts of gratitude to those people who contributed to the glorious past of the Russian Empire and Georgia. The Mtatsminda Pantheon is a very interesting excursion in the city of Tbilisi. To reach this site, you can choose to use the funicular or take the nice challenging walk up. It’s a steep climb, but well worth the effort.
From the top, you will see an incredible view of the city. The cemetery is very well maintained, neat and clean: you’ll definitely want to visit here. In addition to the grave of AS Griboyedov and his wife Nina Chavchavadze and son Sasha, it also holds the tombs of other distinguished Georgians. You can also visit the adjacent church located within its premises. If you have the time and health permits, go down to the city on foot and you will experience an unforgettable trek through the streets and yards of Tbilisi houses. A tour of this pantheon is mandatory when in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Aerial Tramway in Tbilisi
The Aerial Tramway in Tbilisi is a nice funicular and your best option to see a panorama of the entire city. This tramway is very conveniently located in the center of the mountain where the castle and other attractions can be easily accessed. It can be used not only as an attraction, but also as a means of transportation to get from one part of Tbilisi to another. Sitting in these booths at the bottom you will see the Kourou under a left block with sulfur baths, the fortress a little behind, and a few new buildings that dominate its skyline. Above, you will find a sculpture of the Mother of Georgia and of course, scenic views of Tbilisi and the Botanical Park. If there is power, then you can go ahead and go down to the old town on foot.
It's the most convenient and fastest way to reach the fortress Narikala from the center (the station is located on the riverfront in downtown). While on the hill it takes you to go to the statue of the mother country, gives you a breathtaking view of the city, especially on the bridge of peace, the work, the river and the courthouse. It is a must do if you are not afraid of heights.
Tsminda Sameba Cathedral
The Tsminda Sameba Cathedral will enchant you, amaze you, and the closer you get to the structure the more you will lose yourself in awe of this impressive building. It’s even better at night, when the whole structure is illuminated in light as if by magic. It’s a very unique church, where you can breathe the air of worship, solemnity, and respect even if there is no religious service. The landscape is charming and the surroundings transmit a great sense of calm and serenity. It‘s a place full of history and religious sentiment. The church is famous for its grandeur and in summer its colorful garden is a perfect place to spend time and take great photographs about Tbilisi.
You will be floored by the minimalist style, the respectful silence and the massive open space in front. After passing the entrance there is the imposing square made of marble that looks so unusual and curious at the same time. The largest and most beautiful church in Tbilisi has many icons and highlighted in impressive colors is the statue of the Virgin Mary. The colossal church can be seen from any part of the capital. It has an exuberant architecture and at night gets even more beautiful once it is all lit up.
The Bridge of Peace
The Bridge of Peace is located across the river, in the city center. It is right in the middle of the neighborhood redevelopment of Old Town. The bridge is constructed of metal tubing and glass covers. At night it is lit up beautifully by a host of LEDs. It is absolutely not to be missed and to see both day and night. The symbolic value of the bridge is significant and it is a powerful endorsement of Georgian independence. It radiates dynamism and tranquility and a very successful bond between old and new. It offers a beautiful view of the river and city and shows off a unique view of the old town and the other side of a new park.
The glass bridge has an unusual designs, the shape resembling a decorative bow. The purpose of the uniqueness of this bridge is to maximize the lighting system. It was designed by French designer Philippe Martineau. The futuristic structure connects the two banks of the city across the river of Aragvi. It is a pedestrian bridge that is made of high strength and transparent material and the local population calls it "the glass bridge". In the evening the bridge shimmers with different colors as its entire length is covered with LED backlighting. It looks very impressive especially when juxtaposed against the architecture of the old town, almost as if some sort of alien technology had been flown down and draped across the river. Go across the bridge and you will enter into an impressive park with singing fountains and where in the warmer months there are various musical performances for the public.
Rezo Gabriadze Marionette Theater
The Rezo Gabriadze Marionette Theater is located on the stunning old streets of Tbilisi. It’s an excellent example of unique old fashioned architecture. Also, the theater has a cafe which prepares the best coffee in town. Of course it is very expensive when compared with the average attractions of the city, but it's all worth it. You can go to any performance and you cannot go wrong because they are all made perfect by a team of world class performers. This is the kind of theater where you feel the full spectrum of human emotion and you are able to empathize and sympathize with the characters after an evening show or performance.
The Narikala Fortress is situated on Mount Mtatsminda. There is very steep ascent that you need to conquer to reach its peak. Many people go there on foot even though it can be a difficult trip. The fortress was constructed during the fourth century AD. Long ago, Narikala, which was on the Silk Road, was the most fortified and impregnable fortification system in Tbilisi. On the territory of the fortress is the church of St. George. In 1800 it was converted into a gunpowder factory. In 1827, there was an earthquake and all of the gunpowder exploded, destroying a significant part of the fortress.
The rest of the history behind the fortress is fairly straightforward, but you can also visit the temple of St. Nicholas which is located on Mount Mtatsminda. The temple offers a view of the whole of Tbilisi. It may take a little time scrambling along the walls to get to the sculpture of Mother Georgia, which was built 40-50 years ago and is portrayed numerous times on many postcards about Tbilisi. It is much better to climb by cable car from the left bank. And when you go down on foot, you find yourself on a bridge that leads to the same cable car station.
Tbilisi is known for its sulfur springs with healing properties. Legends of the capital have long been associated with the sulfur baths, which have been part of Tbilisi since ancient times. Today you can find these special Turkish baths in the historic district of the city that was built in XVII-XVIII centuries. Most baths are concentrated at the beginning of ascent to the Botanical Garden. That is why the place is called Abanotubani (District baths). Each facility has a name, which is selected depending on the owner and the appearance of the sauna. There is a sauna Irakli, Bebutov, Melika, Meitri, Gogilo, Orbeliani Tbileli, Mirzoeva, Hodge, cool or mottled bath. Poslyudnyaya offers a different brightness and varied colors. Those who want to share the tradition of Old Tbilisi today can visit the sauna and experience the special spas and baths of Abanotubani.
The district of Abanotubani includes within it a number of facilities equipped with thermal baths and massages. Rates vary depending on the facility. If you are a couple you can rent a large private room (equipped with private dressing room, toilet, marble massage and bath) for one hour spending about €6 per head. The water temperature is very high, but the benefit is clearly effective. Towels are not included in the price of the room; remember to ask for them from the attendant before entering the room. The fumes are pleasant and the sulphuric smell is not at all annoying. Payment theoretically includes an hour of sauna and massage. Try them, it's worth it!
National Park of Tusheti
The National Park of Tusheti is an amazingly beautiful place with stunning scenery. You will be amused by its breathtaking panorama of the whole city. You can see mountains, waterfalls, horses and lots of greenery. For first timers, this place seems wild and cut off from the world. It is located in a remote and remarkable area - an unusually fascinating and unspoiled alpine region. See the ancient pastures and fabulous mountain villages that are one of the greatest attractions of the entire Caucasus region.
The harshness and beauty of the mountains of Tusheti are closely interwoven with impressive architectural monuments of past centuries, and visitor can be disappointed by the rich tapestry of beauty. It is advisable to visit if you love nature, exercise, or simply wants to enjoy the beauty created by God and man together. The waterfall is just adorable. There is an interesting pond where water lilies and many other interesting plants abound, take lots of pictures once you get there.
Georgian National Museum
During a walk through the city you must pass by the Georgian National Museum. A visit will not take much of your time, but you will gain so much information and enrich yourself with the history of Georgia. You will enjoy the museum; it is modern, no queues, cheap ticket, and yet you can pay for it by credit card. If desired, for a small additional fee, you can use the services of a guide. It also has a very impressive collection of Van Gogh.
A separate exhibition is devoted to the "Soviet occupation". This part is very frustrating, but do not pay attention to it and enjoy the other worthwhile exhibits. The museum is located in an old building on several floors with spacious halls that displays weapons, art works, national clothing and of course the room with golden vintage ornaments. The whole museum leaves a good impression and must be explored while in Tbilisi City.
There are significant places that are worth a visit all over the world. But if you are planning for a vacation that is filled with history and discovering a great culture, Tbilisi has it all. It has just the right mix of old and new attractions that will leave you wanting to discover more and learn so much about its hidden charms and gems along the mountain side. A city that is stylish, scenic, and safe to explore is what waits for you when you plan a holiday excursion to Tbilisi.