Georgia’s ancient capital Tbilisi is its largest city and straddles the banks of the Mtkvari River. It is a city where old meets new, with the cobbled maze of streets in Old Town contrasting heavily with the contemporary architecture that has arisen in the 21st century. We start many of our Georgia Tours by spending a day exploring Tbilisi before setting off for Signagi and the Kakheti wine region.
Our Tbilisi day tour starts with the Old Town, with its leafy piazzas and charming old houses of light pink and green shades. “Tbilisi” gets its name from its natural hot springs (“Tbsili” means “warm”) and Abanotubanui is the Bath District – a whole street of public bathhouses that use the sulphurous waters. We pay a visit to the Queen’s Bathhouse to experience the ultimate in relaxation.
From here we visit the Narikala fortress, sitting above the Old Town, which dates back to the 4th century when it was a Persian citadel known as Shuris-tsikhe ("Invidious Fort"). Close to Narikala are the Botanical Gardens. It’s easy to lose yourself here for a couple of hours, wandering among the many waterfalls, trees and flowers.
We recommend lunch at the Bohema restaurant, where you will be treated to Georgian gourmet cuisine made only from organic fresh ingredients. The restaurant boasts a fabulous terrace with spectacular views of Old Tbilisi.
As a side note, Indonesian celebrity chef Farah Quinn recently paid a visit to the restaurant to sample the local cuisine.
After lunch we would suggest a visit to the Janashia State Museum. Among other artefacts, the museum contains the prehistoric human re-parents found in Dmanisi which date back to 1.8 million years - the oldest sign of human existence outside of Africa.
The museum is situated on Rustaveli Avenue, named after 12th century poet Shota Rustaveli. The avenue has many landmarks including Freedom Square, Tbilisi’s ex parliament building, the Rustaveli Theatre, Kashveti Church and the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre House – so it’s well worth an afternoon stroll.
For this evening’s accommodation, we recommend the Rooms Tbilisi Hotel.
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