As the largest city and capital of Georgia, Tbilisi can easily get a traveler fascinated and excited with its rich culture, marvelous setting and energetic atmosphere. The city is gifted with a scenic mountainous landscape, which particularly belongs to the Trialeti mountain range. It lies at the heart of eastern Georgia, with the Mtkvari River flowing beside it.
Tbilisi boasts a wonderful history, well represented by its Old Town which is tucked in a narrow valley. This was the town where early Eurasian trading and business took place. Today, Tbilisi’s old town has managed to keep its winding streets, charming squares and old houses adorned with that trademark balcony. But the old-world town is also now populated with cafes and bars that cater to tourists. Despite its long dramatic history, you can tell that Tbilisi is very welcoming of modernity. Construction is happening everywhere, so there’s a good chance that the city may not look exactly the same when you visit 5 years from now.
Tbilisi has a strong and long wine-making tradition. In fact, it dates back 7000 years. But Georgia is still a newcomer to the international wine scene. Nevertheless, you will find several varieties of indigenous grapes grown here. Thus, when visiting Tbilisi do not hesitate to sample some authentic Georgian wines, which are made by small wineries and are very rare to find in North America. Complement your wine tasting with some classic Georgian cuisine, known for its combined Eastern and Western culinary influences. Try out the favorites, which include dried marigold petals, stuffed flat bread called khachapuri and walnut-sauce. If you are looking for some decent wine bars, you can start at the Kote Abkhazi Street, which goes all the way through the Old Town.
One of the most recognizable old structures in Tbilisi has got to be the Nariqala Fortress, built during the 4th century. It’s very hard to miss due to its location, which is on top of the hill overlooking the city. After centuries, the fortress and its church unfortunately have not remained fully intact. Nonetheless, it is still a great site to visit especially for history lovers. If you want to go back down to the city, you have the option of doing so via a cable car service. However, you can also opt to walk downhill to pass by the lovely Botanical Gardens along the way.
One of the strengths of Tbilisi as a travel destination is its people, who are known for their friendliness, warmth and hospitality. Head over the some of the city’s charming markets to mingle with them. You can also go to Rustaveli Square at the heart of the city center to feel the energetic vibe of Tbilisi. At Rustaveli Avenue, you will encounter many restaurants, bars and shops that sell quality products.
Other attractions in the area include the 19th century Kashveti Church and the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre House. You may also drop by the Georgian Museum of History and the Soviet Occupation Museum to learn more about Georgian history and culture. At the Freedom Square, you will find the huge statue of Saint George, who, as you may guessed it, is the country’s patron saint.
Cap off your experience at Tbilisi by heading out to the bath district of Abanotubani. This is also the oldest neighborhood in the city. Here, you will find a number of warm Sulphur bath houses. Complement your sulphur bath experience by also getting a relaxing massage while reminiscing about all you have here!