The first time I was lucky to travel to Tbilisi was in autumn 2011, way before low-cost flights started serving Georgia. I was freaking out before the trip as it was the first time I set to explore the unknown land that not many have heard or known about.
The fact that just 3 years before Georgia was in the news all over the world due to the war with Russia didn’t really help my confidence. But the curiosity and excitement have taken over and after seeing some Tbilisi pictures online I was more than ready to explore Georgia, a small country at the foot of Caucasus mountains.
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First impressions of Tbilisi
It was love at first sight.
I still remember my first impressions very well: how I didn’t have the change to get myself a bus ticket from the airport to the city but a friendly local man bought it for me, just like that; how on a beautiful Sunday morning I was walking across the empty city, all the way from the train station to the old town (some 5 km), falling for it with every single step; how my breath was taken away by the view from the Narikala fortress, with the whole city spreading in front of me, so much more spectacular than on Tbilisi pictures; how much joy I had exploring the hidden yards in the Old Tbilisi – part of the city that could as well be the museum, it’s so beautiful!
I was supposed to be in Tbilisi for 2-3 days only then, instead I’ve stayed for a week before heading to Batumi, doing day trips around but always itching to return to the capital. It was pretty obvious Tbilisi has become one of my all time favorite places.
Old Tbilisi disappointment
I return after a long time (for me), it’s been almost 4 years. So much has changed in that time. Low-cost airlines started flying to Georgia (not to Tbilisi though), the border was opened to Russian citizens and tourism really has taken off in Georgia. I had a hard time adjusting to the new reality, it broke my heart to see how the Old Tbilisi was falling apart, how it was losing its charm to satisfy tourists. I still loved it but at the same time I had a difficult time finding all the small details and spots that made me fall for Tbilisi in the first place.
Many more returns to Tbilisi
My next visits to Tbilisi, and there were pretty of them by now, were much easier. I already knew what to expect but at the same time it seems like Old Tbilisi is finally going through some renovations and I really hope its unique beautiful architecture and charm can be saved.
Every time I arrive to Tbilisi, either from Kutaisi or from Armenia, I feel a pure joy in my heart. This is my happy place, the one I know fairly well by now yet still keep returning to.
My days in Tbilisi all look the same: wandering around with no purpose, trying to find some new gems (like art nouveau architecture, street art, quirky places like Chronicle of Georgia monument or some new beautiful courtyards), stuffing myself with amazing Georgian food at Racha, having the coffee in one of the charming cafes, wander some more… And even if I know all the places by now, even if I’ve been to Tbilisi so many times every second in the city just makes me super happy. This really is one of my places.
I know this post is very random but since right now I was supposed to be in Georgia (but I’m not, instead going there next month) I thought I will share my love for Tbilisi. I really can’t wait to be there again and I know I will keep returning there on regular basis, just like I do to Prague, Yerevan, Sarajevo or Lviv (only to name few places).
To show you why I like this city so much here are some Tbilisi pictures you might enjoy too, the collections from my numerous visits there between 2011 and 2016 (if you are observant enough you will see how much the city has changed). And who knows, maybe they will make you want to visit Georgia too?
Metekhi St. Virgin Church
Europe Square and Presidential Palace
Tbilisi St. Trinity Cathedral
Streets of Old Tbilisi
Europe Square and Peace Bridge
Mix of styles in Old Tbilsi
Inside Old Tbilisi house
Along river Kura
Tbilisi art nouveau
Bambis Rigi Street
St. Trinity Cathedral and typical Tbilisi architecture
Erekle II street / Sergei Parajanov Monument
Tbilisi by night
Old Tbilisi and Mother Georgia
Old Tbilisi and Narikala Fortress
View from Narikala Fortress
Old and modern Tbilisi
Inside Upper Betlemi Church
The CouchSurfing house I’ve stayed at
Rezo Gabriadze Marionette Theater
Flea market at Dry Bridge
Bank of Georgia headquarters – the gem of brutalism architecture
Old Tbilisi and Narikala Fortress
Streets of Tbilisi
Another house where I’ve stayed
Tbilisi street art
Tbilisi by night
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