TBILISI (თბილისი)

We spent two days in the cosmopolitan capital of the republic of Georgia. We parked next to Rike park above the Mtkvari River, just in the city’s center. With its dramatic valley setting, picturesque Old Town, eclectic architecture, and great eating and drinking opportunities, Tbilisi is Georgia’s vibrant, beating heart and home to more than one in three of its citizens. The city was founded in 458 when the capital of the Georgian kingdom was transferred there from Mtskheta. The city had a strategic position, controlling the route between western and eastern Transcaucasia. It was often captured and sacked and knew many masters: the Persians in the 6th century, the Byzantine Empire, and the Arabs in the 7th. In 1122 David IV (the Builder) of Georgia captured Tbilisi and restored it as a capital, but in 1234 it fell to the Mongols, and in 1386 it was sacked by Timur. The Turks captured the city on several occasions, and in 1795 it was burned to the ground by the Persians. In 1801 Tbilisi was captured by the Russians, who improved its communications by building the Georgian Military Highway across the Greater Caucasus from Vladikavkaz to Tbilisi. In 1872 it was linked by rail to Poti on the Black Sea and in 1883 to Baku on the Caspian Sea. In 1921 it was made the capital of the Georgian republic. The old town, with narrow, winding streets, balconied houses, and leafy squares, is dominated by the ruins of the ancient Narikala fortress and the vast, symbolic figure of Georgia on a ridge above it. In the old town are the Sioni Cathedral, dating from the 5th century and often reconstructed, the Metekhi Palace of the Georgian kings, and the 6th-century Anchikhati Church. We used a cable car (🎫 2,5 GEL/one way + 2 GEL for Metromoney Card) from our parking location to reach the fortress, where we did start our full-day city tour. Downtown is always busy MacLaren’s Irish bar, where we took our dinner (Pork ribs for two – 70 GEL, Beef steak – 46 GEL, Draft beer – 7,80 GEL / 0,5 l).

Parking location – Tbilisi: 41.696236N 44.809538E (🚻 – Toi Toi)