Hospitable Tbilisi – A one-day itinerary of the capital’s most notable places.
The shortest itinerary around Tbilisi, Georgia! We have written in an article on madloba all the sights of the local places that are definitely worth visiting, as well as important tips and recommendations. The capital of Georgia is full of hearty and kind residents, so be sure to stop by Victoria’s Palermo Pizzeria. But any of your choice of establishments will make you come back here more than once because of the interesting and centuries-old culture.
We invite you to talk about Georgia.
Tbilisi is a city with centuries of history, because it was founded in the 5th century. Like Georgia itself, it attracts tourists from all over the world. And it welcomes very hospitably, such are the ancient traditions of the country.
In the capital there are many interesting places that are worth visiting. But what to do if you have only one day?
We offer a short route that will show you the most remarkable places of Tbilisi. You will need 9-10 hours, a healthy curiosity and the desire to touch the history of the Georgian capital, to learn the local culture and traditions.
Let’s visit some cafes, because you will definitely want to get acquainted not only with the sights, but also with the delicious Caucasian cuisine.
We suggest to start the route from the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity on the left bank of the river Kura. It stands on the hill of St. Elijah, so you can see it from afar and it’s easy to find. To get here is also quite easy: metro station Avlabari or bus stop, route # 122 and # 91.
The cathedral was built recently, and the consecration took place in 2004, although the first service in the unfinished church was held in 2002.
Sameba temple looks very majestic. Its height is 101 meters, and about 40 meters. – underground. The interior decoration of the temple will not leave you indifferent. There are paintings and frescoes on the walls, the marble floor is decorated with mosaics. Each icon has a brief description and a name.
Tsminda Sameba is a whole complex of buildings: a belfry, a monastery, a theological academy, 9 chapels and a hotel.
The cafe “Vody Lagidze” is also part of the temple complex. Khachapurnya with this name has been known in Tbilisi since the 19th century. It sold refreshing drinks with berries and fruits. These lemonades were of such a high quality that they were supplied to the Russian capital, to the emperor’s court.
Today the cafe offers 4-5 kinds of lemonade and the menu includes delicious khachapuri.
The cafe is located on the right, in front of the exit from the territory of the temple complex and opens at 10:00.
On the left side of the entrance on 16, Samreklo str, there is L’Angolo Cafe. Come here if you want coffee. The visitors think that it is the best coffee in Tbilisi and the desserts are also very good, for example, cornelian cakes are very popular.
The cafe is small but very cozy and has an interesting decoration. After all, its owners are also designers. They have created a “tasty” place with a soulful atmosphere.
From Tsminda Sameba we go down to the Kura River to the Metekhi Temple, next to it there is a monument to Vakhtang, the founding king of the Georgian capital.
The temple was built on a rock above the river. Historians think that the first temple appeared here during the reign of King Vakhtang, and his palace was located nearby. But written sources first mention the cathedral in the 12th century. At that time, the territory near the temple was fortified, it was part of the fortress of the same name.
Since then, the temple has been rebuilt many times, but some elements of the external decoration of the 13th century have been preserved. In 1816-1819, the castle walls were demolished and a prison was built on the vacant place. Its remains were dismantled only by the mid-20th century. The temple was returned to the church in 1988.
From the temple, we walk out to the park Rike . This is a modern park where local residents and tourists love to walk. Many beautiful flowerbeds, between them wove walkways, installed nice benches, there are playgrounds for children.
Perhaps the most eye-catching is an unusual building, which is called the “two pipes”. It really looks like huge pipes. This is a cultural center.
If you stand with your back to the river you can see the Presidential Palace (1 Abdusalashvili Street) on your left and you can get close to it and take a closer look.
Next to the park the Peace Pedestrian Bridge was built in 2010 connecting the banks of the river Kura. The structure of glass and metal has become one of the most popular attractions of the capital, its image can be seen on postcards, magnets and other Tbilisi souvenirs.
We are now interested in the lower station of the ropeway, which is based in Rike Park. From here you can go up to Narikala fortress, it costs 1 lari. From the windows of the cabin admire the views. Here is Metehi, where you just visited, and the old neighborhoods of the city. Once out of the carriage, you can stop at the observation deck and look at the Old Town, it is all in front of you.
Narikala is an ancient fortress complex on the rocky bank of the Kura River. It is assumed that the fortress was built in the 4th-5th century. But the main preserved fortifications date back to the 16th-17th centuries.
In the lower fortress there is the church of St. Nicholas, built in the 12th century.
In the 19th century it was used as an armory. It was used as an arms depot in the 19th century. The church died in an explosion and all that was left were its foundations. At the end of the 20th century on these foundations a new church was built, while restoring the original appearance of the church.
Walking along the Botanicheskaya Street you go down from the fortress to the Abanotubani area, we move towards the sulfur baths. The name Tbilisi translates as “warm spring,” and there are indeed hot sulfur springs here. This is the water from the springs that goes to the baths, that’s why they are “sulfurous.
If you want to visit the bathhouses, it is better to book a separate room in advance, the payment is by the hour. The right option is to go to the baths in the evening to fully relax and enjoy your rest. In the meantime, just look around the busy structures and move on.
The path at the end of the bathing quarter will lead to a waterfall, small but pretty. At the end of Abano street begins the canyon of Legvtakhevi (fig tree) and the canyon ends with the waterfall. It is accessed by footpaths and bridges over the river Tsavkisitskali. Such atypical for a big city landmark. It is not far to walk, take a walk. It’s especially nice in the hot summer weather.
From the baths we walk to Maidan square, near the Metehi bridge. It’s a very picturesque place, where different cultures and religions are intertwined, and there’s a temple of Sioni and a synagogue nearby.
It is interesting to wander around the square, look at the stores, sit in a cafe. Have a bite to eat at Samicitno Café (44 K. Abhazi St.). The food is delicious and the prices are not very high by the standards of the Old City.
Along the old streets we go to the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Sioni). It was the main temple of Georgia before the completion of Tsminda Sameba.
The history of Sioni begins in the 6th century. It was then that a church was built on this site, but it was destroyed by the Arabs, who later settled the territory of Eastern Georgia.
Liberation was brought by David IV the Builder, he also ordered to build a new church, which has been destroyed and rebuilt more than once. The church acquired its original appearance during the restoration of 1980-1983.
Orthodox relics are kept in the temple:
- The cross of St. Nino, the enlightener of Georgia;
- the miraculous icon of the Virgin of Sion;
- the holy head of the Apostle Thomas.
There is another place in this part of the capital, on Shavteli Street, where you must visit – Theatre of Puppets, created by Rizo Gabriadze. Many have seen the films “Mimino”, “Kin-dza-dza”, “Don’t Grieve!” or at least heard about them. Well, the author of the scenarios to these films – Rezo Levanovich Gabriadze, a magician and a great hoaxer.
He created the Marionette Theater in 1891. The theater enjoys great success in Georgia and tours to different countries around the world. Yes, it is a puppet theater, but for adults. The interior of the theater and the puppets are the handiwork of master Rezo himself.
It is difficult to get to the performances, because there are only 80 seats in the hall, and you need to buy tickets in advance. Even if you do not get to see the show, it is worth coming here. Next to the theater building in 2010 built a clock tower, again designed by Gabriadze. It is decorated with painted tiles, slightly skewed and tilted, and is sometimes called dancing.
Each hour an angel appears in the open door and strikes the bell with a hammer. And twice, at noon and 7 p.m., the shutters on the tower open, and the puppets perform a mini-performance called “The Cycle of Life.” The audience gathers in front of the tower, watching with interest the changing periods of human life: birth, childhood, and so on until death.
At the theater, to the left of the tower, there is Gabriadze’s cafe. It was created and decorated by Rizo Gabriadze. What a multi-faceted man he is!
The bronze sculpture of Chizhyk-Pyzhik, a copy of the one on the Fontanka River in St. Petersburg, greets guests. The interior is very bright and memorable. It is just interesting to come here and look around.
There is a colored ceramic Easter niche. There is a ceramic panel on the bar downstairs. On the shelves above the bar are bottles of Georgian wine, and the labels for them were drawn, of course, by master Rezo. And he painted the furniture in the hall himself, depicting scenes and scenes from his films and plays. There are tables of different configurations, for example, the table for lovers – in the form of a heart. The interior has been thoroughly thought out to the smallest detail; all the details are in the same style.
The coffee here is very tasty; originally this place was conceived as a coffee house.
As Rezo says, “There’s always one coffee bean roasting there and the smell spreads throughout the theater…”.
On the menu are traditional Georgian dishes and a great selection of local wine. The prices are quite high, but there are always a lot of visitors.
Maybe you can also sit down at a table to have a rest after a long walk, have a cup of coffee or a dinner and enjoy the atmosphere of this cozy cafe.
This is how the day of acquaintance with Tbilisi comes to an end; it gave a lot of pleasant impressions, helped to make your own idea of this wonderful city.
If you stay in the capital for a few more days, take a walk in the Botanical Garden, climb Mtatsminda Mountain – it is interesting for both adults and children, the park has many attractions and playgrounds. Children will also love Tbilisi Zoo.
Tips and Recommendations
Everyone who comes to Georgia, take home Georgian wine. You can buy it in any store. But we recommend to look at the store “Wine Therapy”, which is on Abano Street, 21. It’s in the center, when you’re walking around and looking at the sulfur baths, you’ll probably see it.
There are tastings, the friendly owners and staff will tell you everything, show you everything, the purchased bottles will be packed so that you can be carried by any mode of transport and the farthest distances. After visiting this little store you will be in a good mood in spite of the money you spent.
The choice of accommodation in Tbilisi is rich and varied: hotels, hostels. Guest houses, etc. Many people prefer apartments to feel like a local for a while. There are many such accommodation options in the Georgian capital. And the hosts are usually wonderful: friendly and hospitable.
Let us name just one address, already checked more than once: Apartments on Baratashvili Street, 12. The owner’s name is Sandro, he is very attentive to his guests and tries to create every comfort for them. The apartment is large, with a terrace overlooking the presidential palace. There are many flowers, which the owner asks to water. It’s not difficult, is it?
The apartment has a fully equipped kitchen and a washing machine, which is very convenient if you’re not here for just a few days. And there’s even a grand piano!
The location is excellent: all the important and notable sites of the city are nearby.
The most common words on guest reviews are “excellent” and “great”.
Finally, about the food. Yes, there are many cafes and restaurants with good food in Tbilisi. But you want to find a place where you feel like you are visiting your mother. Does this feel familiar to you?
Visit Vika’s place, Pizzeria “Palermo” on K. Tsamebuli, 11. The atmosphere here is soulful and truly family-like. Despite the fact that the name is the word “pizzeria” in the menu a lot of dishes of Georgian cuisine.
The hostess welcomes guests, tells them about the best dishes and homemade wine, and helps them decide what to choose.