Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia

Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia (Sakartvelo) and is its largest city with a population of 1.1 million. (Kutaisi is the second largest city in Georgia with a population of 200,000 - quite the difference.) Cobblestone streets spread out in mazed while the Kura River (named 'Mtkvari' in Georgian) runs peacefully through the city center as well. Once called Tifilis, Tbilisi means "warm place" due to the legend of the founding of this city. The legend goes that King Vakhtang was hunting in the woods and caught a falcon. However, when he tried to find the bird it was nowhere to be seen and he agreed to award big money and recognition to the person who could find this bird. After a few days, the bird was found cooked in the hot springs in the area. The King was so impressed that he set out to create a city on this amazing land in the year 479 A.D. The hot springs are now the site of the sulfur stinky baths. The city became the capital in the early 500s, taking away that honor from Mtskheta.
After a 20 hour flight experience with a layover in Istanbul, we arrived in Tbilisi around 5am.
Sunrise over Tbilisi!
The view by day.
Niko Pirosmani is the most popular Georgian artist.
His art is everywhere, i.e. this is the Feast of the Three Noblemen,
which is also the name of the restaurant our friend owns.
Pirosmani was alive and active between 1862-1918. His art is used everywhere and he captures the Georgian culture and rural life quite accurately, for example in the painting above the men are dressed in traditional Georgian garb and drinking wine out of horns at the dinner table. 
Valeriy and my dad reunited after almost 30 years!
My dad and Valeriy 30 years ago. *insert laughing to tears face here*
Georgian Sparkling Drink in tarragon flavor
Savva getting in on that Khachapuri in the Megruli style.
Tbilisi, Georgia
Street signs
Georgian and Russian meet to honor a Georgian chemist and metallurgist.
I love my brother! And we love Georgia!
First look at the Caucasus Mountains in the distance!
All over Georgia we saw people doing tricks in their cars!
Sunlight peaking through on Rustaveli Avenue

Georgian National Opera and Ballet Theater.
Wish we could have gone inside and seen more of the Moorish style
Dad and art
Just your average street.
Freedom Square is the beginning of Rustaveli Avenue.
Rustaveli is the center of Tbilisi with theaters, government buildings, and shopping spots. 

Elegant dancers
Ah, Tbilisi streets.
Just like in Turkey, there are orange and pomegranate juice stands. Delicious!
Weddings were the main event that Sunday with people driving around and
honking their horns in celebration of a new marriage!
Walking The Bridge of Peace
Kura River with a view of Narikala Fortress
Then our friends joined us! Welcome Sasha, Valya, my mom, Jenya, Masha, and me!
Jenya and Valya have been friends with my parents for almost 40 years!
Masha, you may remember, from Philadelphia and DC jaunts.
View of Tbilisi with it's futuristic structures made to look like mushrooms (Tbilisi Public Service Hall)
and metal Georgian jar-tunnel looking things which is a defunct project
My travel companions. Get ready for the group photos, guys.
My dad and Jenya have been friends for 40 or more years.
Kura River with a statue of King Vakhtang - the king who made Tbilisi the capital
"One day you will ask me what I love more: you or wine. I will answer that I love wine more.
You will get upset and leave. Sad that you wont be leaving to pick up some wine."
"You cannot buy happiness but you can buy wine which is basically the same thing."
Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi
The grounds of Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi
Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi
Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi
Epic photography skills
She was calling us her sweet honeys and other grandma type nicknames.

So much interesting architecture!
Parts of Narikala Fortress
Hi, mama!
Tbilisi Funicular
Being familial on the funicular

Group shot with our super tour guide.
Ew, my parents are kissing in the Narikala Fortress.
The group at the Narikala Fortress overlooking Tbilisi.
Masha is so epic.
Holy Trinity Cathedral from old Tbilisi
Old Tbilisi layers
Can you see the hidden waterfall?
Hidden waterfall called Tbilisi Waterfall
This is to capture our stubbornness over who is the smartest.
Tbilisi waterfall.
Georgian baths under the sulfuric hot springs.
Shhhh we're in front of the Georgian baths.
We spent a couple hours at the Georgian bath house.
Wine bottles dressed in traditional Georgian outfits!
Little brother enjoying a soda and a view of Tbilisi.
The Dry Bridge Bazaar is a huge flea market in Tbilisi featuring antiques, paintings,
Georgian specific items, and all sorts of knick knacks.
Dry Bridge Bazaar
Dry Bridge Bazaar
Dry Bridge Bazaar
Father and daughter eating khachapuri in the ajarski style.
Our Georgian family (Valeriy, Eteri, Beka, and Tamara) on our last day.
Georgian dancers are pretty fantastic.
Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi
The bath houses and Narikala Fortress by night
View of Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi in the background.
Group shot in front of Tbilisi!

I love the Bridge of Peace at night.
Good night, Tbilisi.

1 comment:

  1. Sakartvelo Gaumarjos! And my favorite daughter - Gaumarjos too! I shared my deep breath-taking love to Georgiya with you and glad that from the first moment you touch it the same feeling owns your heart. And I know it will be forever.