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Tbilisi - Capital of Georgia

Best time to visit: spring, summer, autumn

Tbilisi is the capital of the country of Georgia. Its cobblestoned old town reflects a long, complicated history, with periods under Persian and Russian rule. Its diverse architecture encompasses Eastern Orthodox churches, ornate art nouveau buildings and Soviet Modernist structures. Looming over it all are Narikala, a reconstructed 4th-century fortress, and Kartlis Deda, an iconic statue of the “Mother of Georgia.”

Sightseeing:

The Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi commonly known as Sameba is the main cathedral of the Georgian Orthodox Church located in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Constructed between 1995 and 2004, it is the third-tallest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in the world and one of the largest religious buildings in the world by total area. Sameba is a synthesis of traditional styles dominating the Georgian church architecture at various stages in history and has some Byzantine undertones.

Narikala - is an ancient fortress overlooking Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and the Kura River. The fortress consists of two walled sections on a steep hill between the sulphur baths and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi. The fortress was established in the 4th century as Shuris-tsikhe (i.e., "Invidious Fort"). It was considerably expanded by the Umayyads in the 7th century and later, by king David the Builder (1089–1125). The Mongols renamed it "Narin Qala" (i.e., "Little Fortress"). Most of extant fortifications date from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1827, parts of the fortress were damaged by an earthquake and demolished.

Kartlis Deda - Mother of a Kartli or Mother of a Georgian - is a monument in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.

The statue was erected on the top of Sololaki hill in 1958, the year Tbilisi celebrated its 1500th anniversary. Prominent Georgian sculptor Elguja Amashukeli designed the twenty-metre aluminium figure of a woman in Georgian national dress. She symbolizes the Georgian national character: in her left hand she holds a bowl of wine to greet those who come as friends, and in her right hand is a sword for those who come as enemies

Abanotubani - is the ancient district of Tbilisi, Georgia, known for its sulfuric baths.

Located at the eastern bank of the Mtkvari River at the foot of Narikala fort across Metekhisubani, Abanotubani is an important historic part of the city — the place, where according to a legend the King of Iberia, Vakhtang Gorgasali’s falcon fell, leading to a discovery of the hot springs and, subsequently, to founding of a new capital.

Mtatsminda Park is a famous landscaped park located at the top of Mount Mtatsminda overlooking the Georgian capital Tbilisi. The park has carousels, water slides, a roller-coaster, and a big Ferris Wheel at the edge of the mountain, offering a splendid view over the city.

The Mtatsminda Pantheon of Writers and Public Figures is a necropolis in Tbilisi, Georgia, where some of the most prominent writers, artists, scholars, and national heroes of Georgia are buried. It is located in the churchyard around St. David’s Church "Mamadaviti" on the slope of Mount Mtatsminda (meaning the Holy Mountain) and was officially established in 1929. Atop the mountain is Mtatsminda Park, an amusement park owned by the municipality of Tbilisi.

Rustaveli Avenue formerly known as Golovin Street, is the central avenue in Tbilisi named after the medieval Georgian poetShota Rustaveli.

The avenue starts at Freedom Square and extends for about 1.5 km in length, before it turns into an extension of Kostava Street. Rustaveli is often considered the main thoroughfare of Tbilisi due to a large number of governmental, public, cultural, and business buildings that are located along or near the avenue. The former Parliament of Georgia building, the Georgian National Opera Theater, the Rustaveli State Academic Theater, the Georgian Academy of SciencesKashveti ChurchSimon Janashia Museum of Georgia (part of the Georgian National Museum), and Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi among others, are all located on Rustaveli.

The Kashveti Church of St. George  is a Georgian Orthodox Church in central Tbilisi, located across from the Parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue.

The Kashveti church was constructed between 1904 and 1910 by the architect Leopold Bilfeldt, who based his design on the medieval Samtavisi Cathedral. The construction was sponsored by the Georgian nobility and bourgeoisie. Kashveti was built on the site of a damaged church built of brick at the request of the Amilakhvari family in 1753. Significant contributions to the current church’s ornate design were made by N. Agladze. Kashveti’s frescoes were painted by the influential Georgian painter, Lado Gudiashvili, in 1947.

The name "kashveti" is derived from Georgian words kva for a "stone" and shva "to give birth." Legend has it the prominent 6th century monk David of Gareja of the Thirteen Assyrian Fathers was accused by a woman of making her a pregnant in Tbilisi. David prophesied his denial would be proved when she gave birth to a stone. She did, and the place received the name of "kashveti."

Metekhi is a historic neighborhood of TbilisiGeorgia, located on the elevated cliff that overlooks the Mtkvari river. The neighborhood is home to the eponymous Metekhi Church of Assumption.

The district was one of the earliest inhabited areas on the city’s territory. According to traditional accounts, King Vakhtang I Gorgasali erected here a church and a fort which served also as a king’s residence; hence comes the name Metekhi which dates back to the 12th century and literally means “the area around the palace”. Tradition holds that it was also a site where the 5th-century martyr lady Saint Shushanik was buried. Legend has it also that the Metekhi cliff was a site of the martyrdom of Habo (8th century), Tbilisi’s patron saint. A small church in his honor is now under construction at the foot of the cliff.

The Sioni Cathedral of the Dormition is a Georgian Orthodox cathedral in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Following a medieval Georgian tradition of naming churches after particular places in the Holy Land, the Sioni Cathedral bears the name of Mount Zion at Jerusalem. It is commonly known as the "Tbilisi Sioni" to distinguish it from several other churches across Georgia bearing the name Sioni.

The Tbilisi Sioni Cathedral is situated in historic Sionis Kucha (Sioni Street) in downtown Tbilisi, with its eastern façade fronting the right embankment of the Kura River. It was initially built in the 6th and 7th centuries. Since then, it has been destroyed by foreign invaders and reconstructed several times. The current church is based on a 13th-century version with some changes from the 17th to 19th centuries. The Sioni Cathedral was the main Georgian Orthodox Cathedral and the seat of Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia until the Holy Trinity Cathedral was consecrated in 2004.

The Anchiskhati Basilica of St Mary is the oldest surviving church in TbilisiGeorgia. It belongs to the Georgian Orthodox Church and dates from the sixth century. According to the old Georgian annals, the church was built by the King Dachi of Iberia (circa 522-534) who had made Tbilisi his capital. Originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it was renamed Anchiskhati (i.e., icon of Ancha) in 1675 when the treasured icon of the Savior created by the twelfth-century goldsmith Beka Opizari at the Ancha monastery in Klarjeti (in what is now part of northeast Turkey) was moved to Tbilisi so preserve it from an Ottoman invasion. The icon was preserved at the Basilica of St Mary for centuries (it is now on display at the Art Museum of Georgia).

The basilica was damaged and rebuilt on several occasions from the 15th through 17th centuries due to wars between Georgia and the Persians and Turks. The brick belfry near the Anchiskhati Basilica was built by Catholicos Domenti in 1675.

The look of the structure was drastically changed in the 1870s, when a dome was added. During the Soviet period, all religious ceremonies at Anchiskhati Basilica were halted, and the building transformed into a museum for handicrafts. It was later used as an art studio. From 1958 to 1964 restoration works took place in celebration of the 1500th Jubilee of the founding of Tbilisi, which changed the view of the church back to the seventeenth-century version, however, it was not until 1991, after the independence of Georgia was restored, that the basilica reverted to religious use.

The Anchiskhati Choir based out of the Anchiskhati Basilica is the world's leading exponent of Georgian polyphonic choral music.

Saint George's Church  is a 13th-century Armenian church in the old city of TbilisiGeorgia's capital. It is one of the two functioning Armenian churches in Tbilisi and is the cathedral of the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is located in the south-western corner of Vakhtang Gorgasali Square (Meidani) and is overlooked by the ruins of Narikalafortress. According to the Tbilisi municipality website, the area where the church is located used to belong to the prison district during the Middle Ages, hence the occasional Georgian name, Tsikhisdidi 

According to Armenian historians Hovsep Orbeli and Levon Melikset-Bek, the church was founded in 1251. The date was proposed based on an Arabic inscription on a khachkar over the western door of the church yard. According to 13th century chronicler Hovhannes Erznkatsi, the church was built by Prince Umek of Karin (Erzurum).According to Jean-Michel Thierry, Umek was a wealthy merchant named Umek of Karin (Erzerum) who settled in Tiflis, and married Princess Mama Vahtangian, the daughter of Hasan Jalal Vahtangian, Grand Prince of Khachen (ruled 1214–61). However, the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia website claims that the church existed long before the 13th century and that Erznkatsi refers to the church being rebuilt and not being built by Umek. According to Narek Kushchyan, the pastor of the church as of 2017, an Armenian Apostolic Church was built on its site in 631, called Berd Surb Gevorg ("Saint George [of the] Fortress"), following the final break between the churches of Armenia and Georgia.

The church was given to the Persian garrison by Safavid Shah Abbas I of Persia in 1616 and returned to the Armenian community in 1748 by King Heraclius II of Georgia. It was burnt when Persians sacked Tbilisi in 1795.[6]The church was thoroughly restored in the 17th century, and then again in 1832 and 1881.

It became the seat of the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church after the Vank Cathedral was demolished by Soviet authorities in the 1930s.

The most recent renovation of the church began in 2012. Initiated and financed by Russian-Armenian businessman Ruben Vardanian, the renovation was supported by donations of philanthropists Albert Avdolyan, Sergey Sarkisov and Rusudan Makhashvili, Danil Khachaturov, former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, and others. Some $3.5 million was spent on its renovation, which was completed in 2015. The church was reconsecrated on October 31, 2015 by Catholicos Karekin II, the head of the Armenian Church. The ceremony was attended by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Ivanishvili.

Dry Bridge - is extraordinary flea market will keep you entertained for hours. There is a mesmerising assortment of antiques, jewellery and bric-a-brac on sale. In the tough days of Perestroika and the early years of independence, the Dry Bridge is where hard-up citizens of Tbilisi would come to sell their possessions in order to make a little cash. For some people that is still the case today, though for others this is their main business. Everything is laid out on the ground, often carefully arranged on on sheets of material, other times it is a haphazard collection. One person might be trying to sell you twenty-year-old batteries or an old toothbrush, while their neighbour will be touting antique amber and silver jewellery. If you want to buy anything remember to haggle. Prices may be inflated, especially for tourists. Open daily if the weather is good, from 10:00 - 17:00. At weekends there are usually more sellers, but more tourists too.             

Turtle Lake is a direct English translation of Kus Tba a small lake at the outskirts of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, so named due to the perceived abundance of turtles living in these places. The other, less frequently used name of this lake is K'ork'i

Turtle Lake is located on the wooded northern slope of Mtatsminda Mount at elevation of 686.7 m above sea level and fed by a small river Varazis-Khevi, a tributary to the Mtkvari (Kura). The area of surface is 0.034 km², while the catchment area is 0.4 km². Maximal depth is 2.6 m.

The Turtle Lake area is designed as a recreational zone and is frequented by the Tbilisians on weekends. It is also a place where festivals and concerts are held. It can be reached either via a road or an aerial tramway leading from Tbilisi’s Vake Municipality - this began operating once more in October 2016, is open from 8:00 until 22:00 and costs 1 lari in each direction. West to the lake is the Open Air Museum of Ethnography, a large exhibition of Georgia’s folk architecture

The Giorgi Chitaia Open Air Museum of Ethnography is an open-air museum in TbilisiGeorgia, displaying the examples of folk architecture and craftwork from various regions of the country. The museum is named after Giorgi Chitaia, a Georgian ethnographer, who founded the museum on April 27, 1966. Since December 30, 2004, it has been administered as part of the Georgian National Museum.

The museum is located west to Turtle Lake on a hill overlooking the Vake district, Tbilisi. It is essentially a historic village populated by buildings moved there from all main territorial subdivisions of Georgia. The museum occupies 52 hectares of land and is arranged in eleven zones, displaying around 70 buildings and more than 8,000 items. The exhibition features the traditional darbazi-type and fiat-roofed stone houses from eastern Georgiaopenwork wooden houses with gable roofs of straw or boards from western Georgia, watchtowers from the mountainous provinces of KhevsuretiPshavi, and SvanetiMegrelian and Imeretian wattle maize storages, Kakhetian wineries (marani), and Kartlian water mills as well as a collection of traditional household articles such as distaffs, knitting-frames, chums, clothes, carpets, pottery and furniture. There are also an early Christian "Sioni" basilica from Tianeti and a 6th-7th century familial burial vault with sarcophagus.

Freedom Square formerly known as Erivan (or Erivanskaya) or Pashkevich-Erivanskaya Square under Imperial Russia and Lenin Square under the Soviet Union, is located in the center of Tbilisi at the eastern end of Rustaveli Avenue.

The square was originally named after Ivan Paskevich, the Count of Erivan, a Ukrainian general of the Russian Imperial Army, who earned his title in honor of his conquest of Erivan (present-day Yerevan) for the Russian Empire. Under the Soviet Union, the square was renamed, first "Beria Square", and then "Lenin Square".[2] The location was first named Freedom Square in 1918, during the foundation of the First Georgian Republic following the collapse of the Russian Empire.

Freedom Square was the site of the 1907 Tiflis bank robbery. Freedom Square has also been the site of various mass demonstrations including those for Georgia's independence (from the Soviet Union), the Rose Revolution, and others. In 2005 Freedom Square was the location where U.S. President George W. Bush and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili addressed a crowd of around 100,000 people in celebration of the 60th anniversary marking the end of World War II. During this event, Georgian-Armenian Vladimir Arutyunian threw a live grenade at President Bush while he was speaking in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate him.