Tbilisi is an old city, both according to legend and according to history. According to legend, King Gorgasali was hunting in this neighbourhood in the 5th century, and that his prey either fell into the hot springs and was subsequently cooked, or miraculously healed. Whatever version of the legend you want to believe, fact is that "tbili" means "warm", and the first settlers were probably to this site because of the presence of hot springs, that still exist to this day. Historically, Tbilisi was already used as a node in the trade network linking Europe and Asia in Greek and Roman times, and was also on the Silk Road - it is named for instance by Marco Polo.
The city had good and bad times, and almost always had foreign inhabitants: at times, not more than one in four inhabitants of the city were actually Georgian - the rest being mainly Armenian and Russian. The Russians widened the streets in the 19th century, but also left their mark on the city by massacring Georgians in 1989 when the Soviet regime was challenged. Nowadays, the city seems to be returning to normalcy, and walking around the friendly streets of this city is a pleasure. Even without a fixed plan, you come across houses with hanging balconies, houses in a bad state of repair where you can still appreciate a former beauty like seeing an old lady with the traits of a once beautiful girl.
Tbilisi nowadays is a quite large city. Its old city centre or Maidan, however, still retains much of its charm. Centred around Gorgasalis Moedani, or Gorgasalis Square, you can find an Armenian church, a synagogue, a mosque, and the hot baths. But apart from these, and other, sights, the main draw of the Maidan or old city streets of Tbilisi is just observing, marvelling at houses with a typical architecture, people going about their daily routines, discovering small, deserted squares with sometimes great views over Narikala fortress, the statue of Kartlis Deda, and arriving at the banks of Mtkvari river.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Tbilisi streets (Georgia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Tbilisi streets. Read more about this site.