Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia and the historical center of the Caucasus, is among the oldest cities in the world.
Tbilisi occupies an eponymous basin in Eastern Georgia , standing on both banks of the Mtkvari River, at 380-600 from the sea level. King Bagrat IV fought for its liberation, but many of his attempts proved unsuccessful. In 1122, King David IV the Builder managed to liberate the city from foreign lordship and made it the capital of united Georgia by moving the seat of his power there.
Today Tbilisi proudly stands as a capital of independent Georgia and gradually reassumes its dominant role in the region by both preserving the historically established attitudes and traditions as well as becoming a modern European metropolis.
Tbilisi, the Georgian heaven, a larger-than-life city standing on cultural crossroads with doors eternally open to guests… this place knows no peers in hospitality, and leaving it inevitably fills one with sadness and an irresistible desire to come back.
Georgians themselves need no convincing – simply wandering through our capitals streets is a pastime that never gets boring.
Discover your own Tbilisi and bask in the kaleidoscope of emotions and moods that it imparts to you.
Tbilisi as part of the silk road
Today Tbilisi is a crucial industrial, social and cultural center of the Caucasus region, in addition to gradually becoming an important energy, trade and transportation hub, which is already exemplified by Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum oil and gas pipelines running through it. the city’s historical position as part of one of the famous Silk Roads routes remains, making it an important crossroads uniting Northern Caucasus, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The Tbilisi porch
The architecture of Tbilisi took on new shapes and incorporated new elements, including the porch, which became widespread in 1850-1860s. the staple was a large front door decorated with wood carvings, with a small window in its upper part protected by an ornamental lattice. Each door was commissioned separately; there was no mass production and every single one of them was a unique work of art.
The Tbilisian yard
It is said that Tbilisi is a meeting place for architectural styles from all over the world – a peaceful meeting place, mind you, not a ground for miscegenation. Indeed, Tbilisian architecture is a synthesis of various styles that do not overshadow but instead complement each other. One example of this is the Tbilisian yard.
These yards are truly a phenomenon – a bunch of vastly different houses jumbled around one common area, with families of various ethnicities and religious denominations existing independently and maintaining their way of live while sharing living space in a colorful synergy.
The Dry Bridge – an emporium of dreams
The dry bridge was built in 1849-51 under supervision of an Italian architect Giovanni Scudieri. In the 1930s below it flowed one of the creeks of the Mtkvari River, creating the so-called Orbeliani Island. However, the creek eventually dried up, ending the islands existence and rendering the bridge pointless, hence `Dry Bridge`.
Today this place is the country’s main flea market. Starting from Soviet memorabilia and souvenirs and ending with traditional crafts, cloths and trinkets, the Dry Bridge is a tourist magnet if there ever was one. It is always crowded with customers, and nearby parks and workshops lend it an absolutely unique atmosphere.
Known as Golovin Avenue in the past and colloquially as simply `Rustaveli`. This avenue is the central street of Tbilisi, named after epic poet Shota Rustaveli. It is frequently called the lifeline of Tbilisi, being home to numerous state, social, cultural and business institutions. Among them are the Georgian Parlament, the Supreme Court, Kashveti Church, National Museum of Georgia, Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater, Rustaveli Academic Thather, Georgian Academy of Sciences and others.
Rustaveli avenue has always been the epicenter of Georgia’s important political, social or cultural events.
Tbilisi spa resort
Location: South-Eastern part of Tbilisi
Climate: mild, continental, moderately dry, winter mild with rare snowfalls, mean temperature in January 1 degree centigrade; summer hot, dry, mean temperature in August 24 degrees centigrade
Average annual precipitation:554 mm
Average comparative annual humidity:66%
Duration of annual sunny light:2112h.
Natural treatment factors: low mountain climate and slightly mineralized, thermal (37-45 degrees centigrade), sulphuric, chloride hydro-carbonate and hydro-carbonate and carbonate chloride sodium mineral waters with overall mineralization of 0,3-0,4 g/dm2 and contents of hydrogen sulfide of 10-20 g/dm2.
Discharge:2 000 000 /day. This resort widely uses therapeutic mud from Akhtala and Kumisi.
Types of therapy: mineral water baths, sprinkling, hydrotherapy, therapeutic mud baths, applications, wads, passive climate therapy.
Diseases for treatment: chronic disorders of musculoskeletal system (rheumatic, infectious, traumatic, endocrine), cardiovascular and peripheral nervous system diseases, chronic gynecological diseases, muscle and palmaris longus inflammation of different origin.
In the heart of hearts of Tbilisi, on the boundary of Abanotubani and Ortachala districts of the capital, on the very surface of the ground, there are hot sulphuric water outlets. The history of the foundation of Tbilisi is tied with these springs. According to one of the legends, many centuries ago when the capital of Kartli was Mtskheta and the cavity of Tbilisi was noted for its pristine nature and hunting areas, king Vakhtang Gorgasali accidentally ran against hot spring in which his falcon along with hunted pheasant died from burns. The king liked these miraculous springs so much that he ordered to erect a city there that was later called `Tbilisi` (since 1936 – Tbilisi), or `warm location`. Very soon the springs were used for supply of hot water for sulphuric hot baths that are in use up to the present while the neighborhood of these baths is called Abanotubani (District of baths in Georgia).
Tbilisi baths were well known in the whole region of the Middle East. The miraculous properties of sulphuric water were described by the X century Arab geographer, Ibn-Haukal, as follows: Cruel conqueror, Agha Mohammad Khan also believed that his incurable disease could be treated at Tbilisi baths but this was not the case, case, and disheartened eunuch ordered to level the city. Almost all foreign travelers and famous individuals in the XVII-XVIII centuries, including French visitors Jean Chardin and Dubios de Monteret, botanist Joseph Turnefor, Italian missionary Delaporti, Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin and others remember and describe in their writings Tbilisi natural hot spring baths.
In the second half of the XIX century first substantial research of thermal waters of the Georgian capital was conducted by the German geologist and famous researcher of the Caucasus, Wilhelm Abich. It was this man who preserved for us geological review of this place and pointed out that usage of Tbilisi thermal waters for health treatment is appropriate.
Later on, high thermal efficacy of the Tbilisi hot springs was proved by many clinical and experimental observations that became a foundation to setting up of the Tbilisi Spa Resort. Up to these days there are about 35 natural thermal water outlets amounting to the overall day-and-night discharge of 1 300 000 liters. In the run-up of the inauguration of this resort very interesting project was fulfilled: one of the founders of the resort, Mikhaeil Zandukeli, had intention to develop a resort area on the territory of Ortachala, around hot springs which would include also Tbilisi Botanical garden. In 1932 a famous Georgian artist, Sidamon Eristavi, made up a project on his request, but this project was doomed due to the start of the Second World War.
Today the territory of the resort encompasses 400 hectares of space. In the North-Eastern part it is bordered by river Mtkvari and 300 Aragveli garden, in the West and SOTH-West by Tbilisi Botanical garden, and in the South – by Tabori mount and Krtsanisi. Tbilisi Spa resort ia a present-day well-equipped healthcare diagnostic and rehabilitation institution using natural substances – curing mineral sulphuric water and therapeutic mud (Kumisi peloids are used), where under supervision of skilled specialists and with the help of up-to-date diagnostic equipment and on the basis of confluence of natural factors and medications, treatment and rehabilitation courses are conducted. Scientific Practical Center for Balneology, Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Tourism also operates here.
Location: South-western border district of Tbilisi, between river Digomistskali and river Vere.
Distance:17 km from Tbilisi center
Landscape: rocky plateau
Climate: mild, continental, moderately dry, winter mild with small snowfalls, mean temperature in January 0,6 degrees centigrade; summer hot, dry, mean temperature in August 24 degrees centigrade
Mean annual amount of precipitation:513 mm
Comparative mean annual humidity of air:66%
Duration of annual sunny light:2500h.
Natural therapeutic factors: climate of low mountain, hipper-thermal, sulphuric, chloride carbonate, sodium, silicon acid mineral waters with general mineralization of 0,3-05 g/dm, Discharge:1,8 ml/da. Quary of therapeutic sulfide mud (kind of Kumisi mud).
Types of treatment: mineral water baths, active balneotherapy (bath in the lake, air and sun exposure).
Diseases for treatment: chronic musculoskeletal system (disorders, cardiovascular, peripheral nervous system and gynecological diseases.
From recreation zones on the territory of Tbilisi, the most convenient hideout for the residents of the city and its visitors is Lisi Lake. The recess is rich with special climate conditions and thermal waters and is located nearly 100 meters higher than city level neighborhoods, within several minutes’ drive from downtown.
The surface area of Lisi Lake is 0,47 sq.km, its storage area is 16 sq.km, maximum depth is 4m. banks of the lake except several segments are moderately titled creating favorable conditions for swimming. The lake gets its feed from rainwater, snow and underground waters. The level of water is comparatively high, but in the fall it is low. In summertime the temperature of water runs up to 28 degrees centigrade, while in winter icy banks frequently appear. The water of the lake is rich with minerals (2695 mg/l) where the bulk of minerals are salts of sulphuric acid calcium and magnesium.
Today it is one of the most popular recreation and leisure areas of the city. In 2007, in the vicinity of the lake, a new Tbilisi hippodrome comprising a territory of 31 ha was inaugurated which is the most venerable place for the horse riding lovers. From the lake surroundings one can enjoy wonderful panoramic views of the city.
Location: city of Tbilisi, Northern slope of Mtatsminda mountain range.
Distance:10 km from Tbilisi center
Landscape: hillocky plateau
Elevation above Sea level: 687 m
Climate: mild, continental, moderately dry, winter mild with few snowfalls, mean temperature in January 0,6 degrees centigrade; summer hot, dry, mean temperature in August 22,1 degrees centigrade
Mean annual amount of precipitation:513 mm
Duration of annual sunny light:2500h.
Turtle lake is located in the south-Western direction from downtown, on the Northern slope of Mtatsminda mountain range. It was formed by underground torrents accumulated as a result of staggering landslides of rocks. The length of the lake – is 180 m, surface area – 0,034 sq.m, catchment area – 0,4 sq.m, mean depth – 70 sm.
In summer time Turtle lake is a beloved place of social interaction and leisure time for the starts with arrival of summer. Along with comfortable beach and outdoor cafes and bars, there is a sports fitness center and a cultural and leisure complex on the territory of Turtle lake, including, but, not limited to, mini-soccer stadium of European standarts, playground for children, landing and a pontoon-scene for professional performances where various events take place during a season.
There was a cable way from the center of the city to the Turtle lake which was constructed in the second half of the XX century and was operable till 2009. The main purpose of the cable way was to link the center of the city with the Turtle lake. The distance between station points is approximately 1140 m. the upper station of the cable way is located on the bank of Turtle lake, at elevation of 700 m above sea level, the lower one is in Vake park, at elevation of 444 m above sea level.
Resort of Tskhneti
Location: Northern slope of Trialeti mountain range.
Distance:15 km from Tbilisi center
Elevation above Sea level:800-1000 m.
Landscape: resembling terraces
Climate: low and middle mountain climate winter moderately cold with few snowfalls, mean temperature in January 2 degrees centigrade; summer moderately dry, warm, mean temperature in August 20 degrees centigrade
Mean annual amount of precipitation:550-650 mm
mean annual comparative air humidity:67%
Duration of annual sunny light:2100h.
Natural therapeutic factors: lower belt low and middle mountain climate.
Types of treatment: passive climate therapy.
Diseases for treatment: TB of lympatic glands, chronic bronchitis and pleuritis, secondary deficiency of blood, alimentary disorders, malaria, rachitis, bronchial asthma, convalescene.
Tbilisi is surrounded by slopes having sound climate and magnificent scenery and creating favorable conditions for formation of the resort areas in suburbia. Among those resorts are Tskhneti, Kojori, Kiketi, Betania, Gombori, Martkopi, Manglisi. Taking into account proximity to Tbilisi and natural therapeutic factors, importance of each of them is rising.
Tskhneti is located 8 km away from downtown Tbilisi, on the Eastern slope of Trialeti mountain range, in the gorge of river Vere. It has been known from the Annals as a recess area, intensive development started here at the end of XIX century, while resort infrastructure was constructed during Soviet period. At this time Tskhneti general development plan was made up. In 1935-36 this resort was artificially vegetated with coniferous species; in 1938 the first children′s health center, students camp, orphanage, out-patient clinic and other facilities were built. Since 1960-1970 Tskhneti has become the first class suburban resort area for Tbilisi. At this period government rest-houses were also constructed.
In summer Tskhneti is always cool that ensures comfortable conditions for discharging warmth by the human body. This is the case not only thanks to difference of elevation above sea level. The ideal ventilation of the venue, regulated cooling activities of local winds and green veil have a restraining influence on the temperature of air.
Many-year observations on the impact of the local environment on human bodies firmly prove that it has high therapeutic merits with reference of many diseases and especially children′s ailments. Tskhneti has great importance in revitalizing vigor of the body after undergoing acute diseases. At present there are primarily private residences and rest houses on the territory of the resort. Two health centers operate in summertime.
Location: bifurcation of Trialeti mountain range.
Distance:16 km from Tbilisi center
Elevation above Sea level:1338-1350 m.
Landscape: mountain plateau
Climate: moderately dry, forest zone of middle highland climate, winter moderately cold, mean temperature in January 2,6 degrees centigrade; snow cover not high, lasting from December up to to the end of February; summer dry, moderately warm, summer moderately dry, warm, mean temperature in August 17 degrees centigrade.
annual precipitation:745 mm
mean annual comparative air humidity:74%
Duration of annual sunny light:2100h.
Natural therapeutic factors: lower belt middle mountain climate.
Types of treatment: passive and active climate therapy.
Diseases for treatment: TB of lympatic glands, musculoskeletal system, bronchitis, pleuritis, secondary deficiency of blood, alimentary tract diseases of children, malaria, rachitis bronchial asthma, neuroses.
In the direction of South-west from Tbilisi, a snaky road leads up the mountain that as soon as it passes rest-house suburbia of Tbilisi, like Okrokana, Shindisi and Tabakhmela, enters into the mountain climatic resort of Kojori. The length of this road from downtown Tbilisi is 14 kilometers, while by taking pathway from Mtatsminda to Kojori one can reach it by reducing the distance up to 7 km.
Earlier Kojori was named Agharani, while summer standing for the Georgian kings in its vicinity was called Aghara Fortress (today – Kojori Fortress). The place name of Kojori emerged later. Part of researchers relate it to the word `Kochori` (forelock in Georgian); other part of scholars believe that the word Kojori is linked to Kojora (Korn in Georgian), as local landscape seems to be really looking callous.
The mountain climate reigning in Kojori facilitates general revival of human vigor and ability of the body to be immune to diseases. It is especially effective with respect to children of lower age.
Earlier on when suburbs of Tbilisi were still rich with vegetation, forests and gardens, and in summer time the city was cooler than now, the residents were not so adamant in going to the suburbs. Only the well-off part of Tbilisians used to go to the suburbia and make holidays there. Then such places were considered to be Ortachala, Krtsanisi Gardens, Gidani, Shindisi, Tabakhmela, Tsavkisi, Digomi Gardens, Okrokana, Tskneti and Kojori, now within the boundaries of the city. Among them Kojori was a privileged place known as the summer resting venue of Georgian kings where in XIX century the Viceroy of the Caucasus flanked by other dignitaries used to make holidays in summer.
Location: Iori plateau North-Eastern part of Tbilisi.
Distance:12 km from Tbilisi center
Elevation above Sea level: 630-650m.
Climate: mild, continental, moderately dry, winter mild with little snow, mean temperature in January 1 degrees centigrade; summer hot, mean temperature in August 24 degrees centigrade.
annual precipitation:554 mm
mean annual comparative air humidity:74%
Duration of annual sunny light:2112h.
Tbilisi reservoir (Tbilisi Sea) spreads on 11.8 km in the Eastern part of the city. It was opened in 1951 on the site of salty ponds of Avlabari, lguniani and Kukia. It is presumed that these three lakes were located in the ancient riverbed of river Mtkvari. The length of the pond is 8,75 km, the longest segment of width is 1,85 m. surface area – 11,6 sq. km. the maximum depth – 45 m. it is fed by waters of river Aragvi and Iori. Its waters are used for irrigation, water supply of Tbilisi, cultivation of fish, water sports.
In various seasons of the year the water temperature in the reservoir of Tbilisi is characterized by rather big swings (average 18 degrees centigrade). True, the surface of the reservoir has no ice formation in winter, but the bank or a thin strip still goes icy. In July and August water warms up to 26 degrees and attracts a lot of visitors.
In 2007, at the expense of Tianeti, Mtskheta and Sagarejo Forestry, part of lands of Didgori Experimental Model Forestry Foundation and Saguramo State Sanctuary, Tbilisi National Park founded in 1975 and called the lungs of the city, was revived and expanded. The purpose of foundation of this park is protection of rare species of plants in the central part of Eastern Georgia and forest ecosystems typical for this territory, preservation of biological and landscape variety as well as furtherance of ecological safety and development of recreational, ecological tourism and educational activities in natural conditions.
Tbilisi National Park is important from tourism expansion viewpoint as well. Protected territory is located in proximity of two important Georgian towns – Mtskheta and Tbilisi, and directly borders the masterpiece of the VI century Georgian architecture – Jvari of Mtskheta, from where magnificent panoramic view of the town of Mtskheta opens up.