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Tbilisi

Tbilisi is capital of Georgia and the biggest city of the country too. City which rarely sleeps and is always buzzing. Tbilisi is the kind of a city that draws you in, reveals itself slowly, then gets right under your skin. Dripping with tradition yet effortlessly cool, Tbilisi is suave and chaotic, charming and eccentric all at once.

For the most travellers Tbilisi becomes the main gateway to Georgia.

Tbilisi attracts tourists with its historical places in Old City, Rustaveli and Agmashenebeli avenues, Sololaki and other historical districts of this very old city with dramatic history. Many locals and tourists enjoy ambient cafes and night life of the city. Tbilisi buzzing bazaars are one more thing you should never miss. What are you looking for? You will find it at “Dry Bridge” market – fly market and modern painters exhibition under open sky. Other bazaars are different, traditional, non tourist food bazaars are spread around the city.

Old city was renovated at beginning of 2010-th and got second birth. We must mention eclectic architecture of the city too, where old is mixed with very modern and gives Tbilisi special charm.

Legend about Tbilisi

Our capital is a very old city. According to the common legend it was founded by the king of Georgia Vakhtang Gorgasali in late V century. King was keen on falcon hunting. One day he and his men were hunting near river Mtkvari. King’s favorite falcon captured pheasant and injured it. The pheasant managed to fly from falcon, but fell in hot sulphur spring and got boiled. Falcon, who was cheesing its victim also fell in hot water and didn’t survive. So kings men found hot sulphur springs near the river. King ordered to build a new city and called it Tbilisi – as Tbili means warm in Georgian. Tbilisi, by king Vakhtangs order, became the capital of Georgia and so it is now.

Tbilisi or Tiflis?

Tourists from some countries are often confused with the name Tbilisi and often ask – how it is correct Tbilisi or Tiflis? Let’s go through this interesting topic.

As I mentioned above Tbilisi stands for warm in modern Georgian language, in old Georgian pronunciation was TFili. Combination of two consonants TF is very difficult to pronounce for Turkish linguals, so in Tukish Tbilisi was named Tiflis, and in many other languages, including Russian in XIX century this name was adopted. Before 1936 official name of Tbilisi also was Tiflisi, but in 1936 name changed according to Georgian pronunciation and became Tbilisi.

7 useful tips about the city

  1. Don’t come with the intention to explore the city in July-August. These are the hottest months and walking in the city is very unpleasant, unless you come from a very hot country. In August city becomes empty. All theatres are closed, many bars and clubs also close their doors and locals try their best to leave the city. Read more in When to travel in Georgia.
  2. Avoid taxi in the airport. Scams are very often. So either use taxi application or order transfer to the hotel.
  3. Avoid night clubs with doubtful reputation, scams are often there too.
  4. Buy local SIM card. You can do it at the airport itself. There are 3 mobile operators in Georgia. They offer more or less the same tariffs, so get where will be less queues.
  5. Take good walking shoes. Tbilisi is a hilly city, make your walking comfortable.
  6. Central part of Tbilisi doesn’t wake up early. So it is advisable to get breakfast at your accommodation, as many cafes don’t open until 10 o’clock.
  7. Be aware of “church dress code”. If you are interested in religion, medieval architecture or just planing to visit churches, note that rules are strict, dress modestly, have some scarf.

Check one day tours.

What to do

Places to visit in Tbilisi

  • National treasury
  • Georgian National Museum
  • Doll museum in Tbilisi
  • Money museum
  • Ethnographic open air museum
  • Museum of national musical instruments
  • Historical district Bethlemi
  • Bath district
  • Narikala fortress
  • Shardeni street
  • Caravan Sarai in Tbilisi
  • Baratashvili avenue
  • Rustaveli avenue
  • Freedom square
  • Marjanishvili street and David the builder’s avenue
  • Rustaveli theater
  • Marjanishvili theater
  • Tbilisi concert hall
  • “Nabadi” folklore theater
  • Tbilisi Opera
  • Rezo Gabriadze Marionette theatre

Transport

Tbilisi international Airport
There is one airport in Tbilisi, where all international and domestic flights are taking place. Airport is located in the east part of the city. Airport’s website – www.airport.ge. From airport to the city one can get by bus, train, taxi or order transfer.
Railway
There are 3 railway stations: Central station, Didube station and Navtlukhi station. From the central station leaves all local trains, most important of which is Tbilisi – Batumi train and international trains – to Yerevan and Baku. Check out Georgian Railways website – www.railway.ge.
Bus stations
In Tbilisi there are several bus stations: At central railway station, Didube station, from where leaves buses and minibuses to the north and west Georgia and region Samtskhe-Javakheti, at Isani and Samgori subway stations can be found minibuses to Kakheti and Kvemo Kartli region and Ortachala bus station, where are buses to Yerevan and Kakheti. Price of ticket depends on distance.
Buses and minibuses
Most popular public transport is buses and minibuses. Bus ticket costs 50 tetri and minibus – 80 tetri.
Subway
Tbilisi subway has 2 lines. To use subway person needs to buy special card – metromoney, which also can be used in buses and minibuses. One ticket costs 50 tetri. Metromoney card costs 2 lari.