The capital of Georgia is a place rich in history and tradition as well as the cultural, political and administrative system of the country. Tbilisi (the Georgian tbili – hot – with a clear reference to the sulfur springs that are in the territory) is inhabited today by almost two million people, the first settlements in this area date back to the fourth century BC, although according to local legend it was founded in the fifth century AD by the then King of Kartli Vakhtang Gorgasali, with the intention of making it the capital of his kingdom. The project fell through because of his death, but his son Dachi remained true to his father’s will.
From the middle of the seventh century, the taking of the city by the Arabs turned to the four hundred years in an emirate, until the King David Aghmashenebeli recaptured it the capital of the united Georgia. It was during his reign that the town experienced one of the most flourishing periods of its history, and its population grew significantly and Tbilisi became an important commercial center. The arrival of the Mongols first and then the plague devastated the city until, in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, under Persian rule, the capital enjoyed a period of progress in science and culture. Between new wars came in 1800, when Russia proceeded to the annexation of Georgia and Tbilisi rebuilt, making it an imperial city in the late nineteenth century could count nearly 160,000 inhabitants, mainly Russians and Armenians.
During the Soviet period, despite the development and prosperity encountered, Tbilisi was one of the city deployed on the front line in the fight against the central power in Moscow, as well as the scene of demonstrations and clashes like those that occurred in April 1989, when twenty people were killed by the army. The Georgia declared their independence in 1991, but the nineties were characterized by a highly unstable political climate, a disastrous war with Abkhazia and a strong corruption in 2003, with the so-called Rose Revolution, began a phase improvement in all areas.
Tbilisi is located on the banks of the River Mtkvari, which bisects the north-west to south-east in the middle of a valley surrounded by hills seductive. Its historic center is probably the most attractive to be visited, the old town, known as Kala, is characterized by winding streets, hidden courtyards and wooden balconies. Near the Gorgasalis moedani Metekhi Bridge crosses the river leading to the church of the same name, while the narrow pedestrian streets and Sharden Bambis rigi find numerous cafés. Even the Armenian Cathedral of St. George, which contains some interesting frescoes – and the place where he was killed the court poet Sayat Nova – is located in the immediate vicinity of Gorgasalis moedani.
One of the most characteristic is the neighborhood of Abanotubani, where are the sulfur baths, which in the past also welcomed the likes of Alexandre Dumas, the most beautiful spas in the city are the Baths Orbeliani accessible to really cheap rates.
Going up the hill you will find the only mosque (visited by non-Muslims) remained in Tbilisi, the building dating from 1895, where Shiites and Sunnis pray together, survived the slaughter of religious structures occurred between the twenties and thirty, when the Soviet regime decided to free their society from religious ideals. Not far from the mosque are also the Botanical Gardens, opened in 1845 and great place to enjoy a few relaxing hours.
Fortress Narikala, whose walls – have been destroyed and rebuilt several times – in some places are more than 1500 years old, is undoubtedly the symbol of the capital, even its foundations have very ancient origins, as built in VIII century during the Arab occupation. At the entrance of the fortress there is a path, heading west, which leads to a huge statue of Kartlis Deda, another unmistakable symbol of the city: this woman twenty meters high is the Mother Georgia and holding a sword in one hand, while in other grabs a cup of wine, to witness the two sides – combative and welcoming – the Georgian people.
On the left bank of the river Mtkvari is the area of Avlabari, right on the cliff facing the river and it is here that the first bridge was built in ancient Metekhi, the scene of innumerable historical vicissitudes, already used by foreign conquerors to convince the population to convert to Islam, the threat of being thrown into the river below. Above the area of Avlabari is the place par excellence of the religious revival after the Soviet period, ie the cathedral Tsminda Samebed, well 84 meters high, it is not far from the presidential palace, surmounted by a glass dome with curious neon lights that change color continuously.
Mount Mtatsminda, west of downtown, is best known for hosting the highest television tower, which soars into the sky for more than 210 meters, the hill can be reached by a funicular railway, and close to an intermediate station of the same is the Church of Mamadaviti, built in 1850. Below the church, the National Pantheon contains the tombs of some famous people of the country, reaching up to the top of the hill gives you the opportunity to enjoy the great views over the city that offers the Mtatsminda Park.
Tbilisi International Airport, also known as Novoalexeyvka, is about fifteen kilometers from the city center and is served better by all major airlines in Europe and Asia. In particular, the Georgian capital is easily accessible with direct flights from major European cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, Athens, Moscow, Vienna, London and Prague, to name a few. It should be noted that Italian citizens can enter the country for stays less than 90 days without an entry visa, presenting only with passport valid for at least six months. In some cases, at the discretion of border officials, may be required to return or onward ticket to another destination.
Originally posted 2012-09-14 06:06:28.