Introducing Tbilisi

Almost 10 times the size of any other city in Georgia, Tbilisi is where it all happens. Politically, culturally, economically and socially, this is the hub of the country and the place to which Georgians gravitate for action and excitement. Capital of Georgia (in its various incarnations) almost continually since the 5th century, Tbilisi brims with history and has a dramatic setting on hillsides either side of the swift Mtkvari River. Its Old Town, at the narrowest part of the valley, is still redolent of an ancient Eurasian crossroads, with narrow, winding alleys, handsome religious buildings, and old balconied houses and caravanserais (travellers inns).

Tbilisi is also a modern city moving forward in the 21st century after the strife and stagnation of the late 20th. There is a wide and growing array of good accom­modation and places to eat, and a busy cultural scene and nightlife. Prestigious new building projects – from a new presidential palace to five-star hotels, shopping malls and leisure facilities – are giving Tbilisi a new dimension, although little money is steered towards the working-class neighbourhoods (or the chaotic and dirty bus stations). The most attractive of the three Caucasian capitals, Tbilisi is still the beating heart of the Caucasus and should not be missed by any visitor.

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