Tbilisi, Georgia: the Risen City! 2/4
Day 1: A Walk in the city
Last night we walked in the city, the weather is great of course and it’s very safe, from Marjanishvili Square we have reached a beautiful street full of restaurants and street performers and lot of people of course.
We have chosen a restaurant randomly and we asked about Georgian food and tasted the khinkali, Georgian dumplings embedded with spicy meat. Of course we wanted to wait for the next day so we can have more information from our guide and taste more food as well.
Google and Wikipedia can give you lot of information about a country and their customs and traditions, but they can’t provide you the feeling you have when you step into a new lovely country and experience their culture, the people, the food, the special sensations that cannot be described or transmitted.
When I travel I love to see how people act, what they eat…how they live their daily life, I love to walk in the streets, check the small details, more than I love to check the historical monuments which is also another level of awesomeness and greatness and this is will start today! I mean just now!
We were sitting in the hotel garden after we finished our breakfast and then at 10:00AM sharp our driver Soso was there with our tour guide. Her name is Ana. A young Georgian girl, very smart and professional yet so cute and charming.
First we thought they will gather other people from different hotels, I mean a guide just for us? Then we realized that this is how they work, 2 or 3 people max. And this was another reason I loved the trip so much, we could listen and focus and have fun without being worried about other’s attitude or delay or else. We were more like discovering the country with friends then being tourists dealing with a travel agency.
First day will be Tbilisi City Tour. A walk in the city
Of course if you’re not a fan of walking or you get tired easily, I don’t recommend Tbilisi for you even though you can always eat and eat and just sit and watch the lovely nature, the streets, the houses…it’s all charming. But if you want to discover the city and mostly the churches, well they are mostly on hills or up somewhere and sometimes you have to climb so you need to be a bit active.
You walk in the city and you really don’t believe that this country was in war few years ago, many wars actually and the last one was in 2008 with Russia and allies and then Georgian attempted mutiny in 2009 that was foiled by government. The city is safe, calm, charming, and there are plenty of tourists! Beautiful old brick-build homes. This city and this country have risen alluringly! 👌
In Georgia there are some of the oldest churches in history, beautiful churches, the tastiest wine and beautiful landscapes, rivers and Caucasian mountains.
We did a walking tour in the old city. The first church we visited was Holy Trinity Cathedral, the main cathedral in Tbilisi. It’s very high, the third-tallest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in the world .Wealthy residents of Georgia sponsored building this cathedral and Georgia’s Patriarch Ilia II participated in some paintings jobs.
We took a walk in famous Sulfuric Baths district (Abanotubani) where we discovered the falcon story and the Legvtakhevi Waterfall. Legvtakhevi is one of the most historical places of Old Tiblisi. It’s summer of course and the waterfall is dry somehow. Before you reach the waterfall you will see a bridge of “Lovers.” This romantic bridge is full of padlocks with the names of couples and quotes in many languages. They believe that if they lock the padlock on this bridge, their love will be forever. If you’re romantic, you can go and give it a try 😊
The falcon monument symbolizes the history of the foundation of Tbilisi. The legend says that in the mid of 5th century, King Vakhtang I Gorgasali was hunting with his falcon in the area surrounding today’s Tbilisi. The king shot a pheasant and when the falcon went to retrieve the pheasant, it didn’t return. Then while searching for the falcon, they discovered that both birds were boiled in natural hot springs so he decided to build a city on this site and the location was great since it’s surrounded by high mountains and was easy to protect from enemies.
Nearby, there are the Sulphur Baths that are related to this story and we didn’t get to try it, definitely next time since its benefits are really amazing!
As for Tbilisi name, the word “Tbili” in Georgian means“warm” and therefore reflects the warm nature of the natural hot springs the city was founded on. From the 6th century, Tbilisi grew at a steady pace due to strategic location which placed the city along important trade and travel routes between Europe and Asia, commonly known as ‘the silk road’ and this is what led to huge diversity of customs and cultural traditions.
Then we visited Metekhi church and it’s from the 12th century. You can see the Monument of King Vakhtang Gorgasali beside the church. The Georgians respect their holy places very much; there are always at the church entrance, veils to cover your head and Shawl-like coverings that draped to the waist and it’s really amazing and grandiose.
Over the Kura River in downtown, you can see the Bridge Of Peace. A bow-shaped pedestrian glass and steel bridge, illuminated with numerous LEDs.
After the Bridge Of Peace, I kind of lost my inner peace after seeing a very long queue for the cable car ride! Damn is there some offer or something? But our tour guide was very smart and here we are inside the cable car to reach Narikala Fortress (I won’t tell you the trick)! This Fortress is from the 4th Century and one of the 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Georgia. From the cable car you enjoy the city view and then the great panoramic view from the hill where the Fortress is located.
Beside the Fortress, The Mother of Georgia or Kartlis Deda in Georgian, is standing above central Tbilisi, overlooking the city! It represents the Georgian woman wearing a Georgian national dress. She holds a bowl of wine in her left hand to greet those who come as friends and a sword in her right hand for those who come as enemies. I guess Mother Of Georgia is my new idol! Loved the symbolization a lot! ❤
Lunchtime! Can you see our smile? 😊
We wanted to taste some Georgian food. Ana has chosen some appetizers, I believe Pkhali was the name. And Imeritian khachapuri which is round and covered with melted cheese like a pizza. And also melted cheese in a pan. I don’t recall the name but if you love cheese, oh you will love Georgia so much!
And during lunch Ana has introduced us to some Georgian tradition tables: “Supra” when Georgians say “Supra” they usually chose one person they think they will be the best to be a “toast master”. The toast master must be wise and able to make some toast by saying poems maybe or singing or chose an original way to make a toast. This person is usually sitting at the head of the table and special toasts are not made with regular wine glasses, they use the horn, they pour wine in horn and drink. The toast master is called “Tamada”. I was the “Tamada” that day but I couldn’t find a horn 😁
I must say that Georgian wine is refined and delicious. Georgia is considered to be the cradle of wine-making and the oldest region all over the world. The UNESCO added the ancient traditional Georgian wine-making method using the Kvevri clay jars to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. Another reason to love Georgia! Cheers! 🍷
During our visit, Georgians recommended the “Saperavi” wine (Red wine) and it’s so popular there, everyone has recommended the Saperavi and it was great. Cheers! 🍷
How did you find Georgia so far?
H.A – January 19th 2019
Categories: Travel & Tourism