Of one our friends invited us to celebrate his birthday in Georgia, and we decided to discover the wonderful city that we heard so much about – Tbilisi. I must say that we have heard so many positive reviews about Tbilisi, that we were a little afraid to be disappointed after having such high expectations. But of course it did not happen and this amazing souvenir (as well as other regions of Georgia) exceeded our highest expectations.
We stayed in a hotel that had the same name as a white wine – Kisi, located in apart of the old town located between the monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali (across the river) and Kartlis Deda. The convenient location allowed us to walk to all the attractions and not to rent a car, as we would usually do.
Having started to explore the center of the city, we succumbed to the persuasion of local “water” taxi drivers and rode along the banks of Kura River in the city center, tasting homemade wine on the way (our captain drank like water). Next, we took the cable car up to Narikala fortress and a viewpoint of Tbilisi Botanical garden. From this viewpoint, you can go down to the garden on single hammocks suspended on a tightrope this is what the male part of our group took advantage of. We had dinner in a large company in a café at the top with a view of the city.
To explore the city with its rich history, we took an excursion with a private guide at Excurzilla. The guide told us all the necessary set of tourist legends (both about the wolf as a symbol of Georgians, about Vakhtang Gorgasali, the difficult military past of these places, and about the tragic history of the Griboyedov family). Sightseeing tour of the city lasted several hours, and during that time we had the opportunity to witness layers of local history, as so many buildings from different eras coexist in harmony with each other in the streets of Tbilisi.
The next tour took us the whole day, and for that it was better to rent a car. During that time we visited several important tourist spots in the district. First there was Mtskheta – the oldest city of Georgia, located at the confluence of Aragvi and Mtkvari. We he remembered its low-rise historical centre, the monumental Cathedral of Svetitskhoveli, but most importantly, a wonderful market where you can buy colorful souvenirs, from hats and daggers, to delicious churchkhela (personally, I’m a big fan). Next, we visited the Jvari monastery and the ancient church on top of a mountain overlooking the confluence of Aragvi and Mtkvari. This is an amazing sight – because of the nature of the ground, through which the rivers flow, the colour of the water is different, and the place of confluence looks like there is an invisible line. But the most interesting thing was at the end of the tour – a visit to a local winery.
A special amber wine is produced here. As the owner explained, the international classification of wines is being updated to include this particular type. He told us about natural filtration of the wine in clay jars according to an ancient tradition (during the fermentation process, the skins and branches rise to the surface and then sink to the bottom thus clearing the drink). As you might guess, the tour ended with tasting local wine and food products. The whole action was accompanied by the performance of the choir artists of the famous Georgian polyphonic singing. The tour turned out to be very authentic.
Most of all from the entire trip, I remember the famous Georgian hospitality and the amazing friendliness of locals. People on the streets are very open, they are happy to help if you ask for anything, and they stay in a positive state mood, which you quickly get used to and start following. Even though demonstrations and protests against the unfair investigation of a resonant crime took place in the city these days, these events did not spoil the general positive attitude of the city’s residents.
For beach lovers:
To choose a location for summer holidays in Georgia you may visit 1001beach, the best beaches in the world on one website.