Winter’s last gasp in Old Tbilisi

My Georgian friends have been warning me about March.  “It’s crazy” seems to be the consensus.  One day might be balmy and clear, the next rainy with hurricane winds.  The lion and the lamb seem to be fighting for territory before April eases us into a hot Tbilisi summer.

I spent this first weekend of bipolar Georgian springtime being playful and productive.  I sang karaoke for the first time in my life, in both English and Russian (wine seems to help with translation).  I filled my refrigerator with grown-up foods and made my own xoriatiki.   I finished a writing assignment and walked for hours and hours.  I ate Georgian fusion and ratatouille and impossible amounts of cheese.  And finally, I set out on a long-overdue exploration of Old Tbilisi.

I could write for days about the peculiarities and beauties of this place, or how much my apartment already feels like home, or how my friends here have lived through four wars in their lifetimes, or how some of my coworkers fall into the category of “Internally Displaced Persons.”  But that will all come in due time.  For now, Old Tbilisi.

Old Tbilisi

Old Tbilisi

Old Tbilisi carpets

Old Tbilisi

Old Tbilisi alley

Entrance to a park

Old Tbilisi

Old Tbilisi winter

Inside a Tower in Tbilisi

"Toilet"

“Toilet”

Fortress in Tbilisi

Funicular in Tbilisi

Tbilisi

It may look like this poor tree is covered in trash, but these are in fact wishes in the form of ribbons and strips of plastic or paper.

It may look like this poor tree is covered in trash, but these are in fact wishes in the form of ribbons and strips of plastic or paper.

Old Tbilisi view

Some typically friendly Egyptian men on holiday insisted on taking my photo.

Some typically friendly Egyptian men on holiday insisted on taking my photo.

Beautiful TbilisiThe LadyCheburashka strikes!

Watching over Tbilisi

Turkish Baths in Tbilisi

Turkish Baths in Tbilisi

Park bench in Tbilisi

“Tbilisi”

Turkish baths in Tbilisi

Beautiful Old Tbilisi

Old Tbilisi

Tiles from the Mosque in Tbilisi

Mosque in Tbilisi

Pushkin expressing his love for the sulfur baths of Tbilisi

Pushkin expressing his love for the sulfur baths of Tbilisi

Old Tbilisi Mosque

Georgian art

Kura River, Tbilisi

Tbilisi

View of Old Tbilisi

P1100712

Peace Bridge

One of Saakashvili's modern architectural marvels

One of Saakashvili’s modern architectural marvels

Lights over the Kura

51 comments

  1. Joselle Merritt

    My youngest came from Tblisi and your wonderful pictures of Georgia help me to show her what an incredible place she came from (and instill a dream of visiting)

    • So great to hear that, Joselle! There are not many resources that show the beauty, mystery, and contrasts of Georgia, because it’s not quite on the normal tourist radar (yet). But it really is a magical place. I’m glad my photos could give your family a little more insight.

  2. I think your pictures portrait Georgia so much better than it is! Yes, the history & the place is impressive, but since Georgia became a Christian nation in 4th century, Satan never was happy about it. A lot of evil came out of Georgia. I’m writing a novel that take place in Georgia. It is partly autobiographical. My mother was born in Tbilisi. I’m married & live in UK now. Your blog info on Georgia is most helpful. Just encourages me to press on more than anything. Never wrote a novel before, it is not easy that’s all I can say. Thank you & hope you meet real Georgians who love God and what He so generously had given them. God bless, Angela.

      • my grandfather was killed under Stalin, my second grandfather was put to prison & had a heart attack there, my mother nearly died in the orphanage, I grew up not knowing any of my relatives. And this is just one family. This about it – ‘out of abundance of the heart the mouth speaks!’

        • So did many Georgians under Stalin rule! My grandfather was sent to Siberia for 10 years leaving a pregnant wife behind (and I am 100% Georgian). Claiming that all Georgians are evil because of one evil man who destroyed so many georgian families – this is sick.

  3. Kateřina Jebavá

    Such a nice photographs! I’m going to visit Tbilisi next week, just to take part in the conference on ILIA(the state university). Thank you for inspiring me! I love the pictures from old Tbilisi, and I hope I will get a bath in those old baths.

  4. Beautiful blues in your photographs! What is that fortress-castle structure on the cliff? Isn’t it amazing, if you’re a perennial traveler, how someplace quickly feels like home if you stay there more than a week or two?

    • Thank you Joanne! I’m not sure exactly what that fortress is called, but there are quite a few of them (and churches) around town and in the surrounding mountains, built to protect the city.

      And yes, I am a quick settler too! Although this place, perhaps more than the others in which I’ve lived, has some cultural characteristics that are making me bristle despite my best efforts to remain open-minded. I’ll write more about that soon.

  5. Pingback: Enjoy: Winter’s last gasp in Old Tbilisi | Resort & Luxury Real Estate, Co.

  6. Pingback: Enjoy: Winter’s last gasp in Old Tbilisi | My Blog

  7. Tbilisi looks pretty interesting I must say. My favorite part of the city, at least from your photos, is probably that old fortress overlooking the city. It’s quite nice to see a touch of modern architecture to this city as well.

    • Yes, there is definitely an interesting mix of old and new here in Tbilisi (and also poverty and wealth, predictably). There are several eye-catching injections of modern art throughout the city. I’ll try to do a post on that. 🙂

    • Who knows, maybe you’ll see Georgia yourself one day, Alison! 😉 But if not, rest assured that I’ll give you a very thorough overview, since I’ll be year at least a year. Thanks for reading!

  8. Wow these pictures are so stunning! I know next to nothing about Georgia so these are a fantastic peek into a country which is very mysterious to me. Some of your shots reminded me so much of the architecture in Spain. What’s the story behind the huge statue?

    • I felt the same way when I arrived, Amelie. Georgia is so far removed from my expectations of both Europe and Asia, it’s really its own little world with an unbelievably long and rich history. I agree with your Spain observation! There is definitely some of that moorish architecture in the balconies and woodworking.

      I’m going to write more about the giant lady later, but the short story is that she is Kartli Deda (Mother of Kartli, the central region of Georgia). It was erected in 1958 on Tbilisi’s 1500th anniversary as a city, and is visible from a lot of spots in the city, as if she were guarding us. I’m cool with any chick who carries a sword. 🙂

  9. Oh Meg, what a stunning new place to be living. ❤ I can't wait to hear more about your time there. The weather sounds like the Scottish Highlands in April. Haha. Gorgeous photos.

    • It’s beautiful, Ceri, and strange in the sense that it’s so difficult to describe or understand if you haven’t been here for a long time. The history is so long and rich and particular to this little country, bridging West and East. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the cultural identities. Thanks for commenting!

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