I Have Georgia on My Mind
Georgia is definitely on my mind, especially Tbilisi and Batumi, But let’s start with Tbilisi the capital and largest city of Georgia. Tbilisi is still known to some by its 1936 international designation of Tiflis. It lies on the banks of Kurt River and it’s in proximity to the ancient network of trade routes known as Silk Road. Silk Road was used as a route connecting East and West, that is to say Asias with the Middle East and Southern Europe. Silk Road got its name from the actual silk trade that began with the Han Dynasty, and it was so important to China to protect their products at the time, they extended to Great Wall of China to ensure its protection. Today, the route is no longer used commercially, but you can actually tour the area and what life was like back then.
Tbilisi being the capital hosts several significant points of interest. One of those is the Holy Trinity Cathedral commonly known as Sameba. Sameba is the main cathedral of the Georgian Orthodox Church. It was built in 1995 to commemorate 1,500 years in which the head bishop has not had to report to any higher ranking bishop in the Georgian Orthodox Church and the 2,000 years from the birth of Jesus.
There are several notable sites you do not want to miss when visiting this area, such as, Freedom Square, Medieval Narikala Fortress, Georgian National Museum and Rustaveli Avenue to name a few.
For now, let’s head over to Rustaveli Avenue which is the central avenue in Tbilisi and starts at the Freedom Square. It is about 1.5 kilometers in length. On this main thoroughbred you will find as mentioned the Georgian National Opera Theater. If you start at Freedom Square you will notice the Rustaveli Cinema which is the biggest cinema in all of Georgia. Along the strip you will also find various cafes, restaurants and shops.
If you are fan of ice cream, then you might be interested in exploring Luca Polare Ice Cream and Coffee Shop which hosts 26 different flavors of ice cream. This shop is very well known in the city and a must visit especially on a warm summer day.
If your interests lie more in the line of a nice restaurant, try the Xeme Restaurant and Bar located on the 31st floor of the BIltmore Hotel. It has spectacular views of the old and new part of the city with its almost 360 degree view. If you prefer the bar however, it is just below on the 30th floor.
Down the road about a 6 hour drive or a short plane ride away is Batumi. Batumi, part of the Black Sea and the main port, is the second most populous city in Georgia. The port itself is responsible for the oil shipped from Central Asia. While you are exploring this area, make sure to include a visit to the park and beach along the waterfront.
But first, let’s explore the Georgia National Botanical Gardens. This independant institution is located about 9 kilometers from the center of the city along the Southern-Western section of the coastline between river Chakvistskali and the Green Cape. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to walk the path, but if you get tired, just take a break at one of the benches and relax while enjoying the spectacular views.
Once you are done there, head over to the High Tower which is a 130m mile high building boasting a seaside observatory deck with breath-taking views of the city. If you do not want to climb the tower, you might want to check the cable cars located at the entrance of the city center. Or there is always the Ferris Wheel which hovers over the Black Sea and obviously Batumi. Either way, a view from the top is well worth the effort.
If you did not yet go to the gardens or any of the other mentioned points of interest in and are wondering where to start, how about starting at the actual port. Batumi is definitely fun, so if you start here then don’t miss the dancing fountains at the end. They light up usually around sunset and encompass lights, music, and shifting shapes lined above a reflecting lake. The lights are actually synchronized to various genres, my favorite is classical music. You can either sit by the fountains and let them cool you down or watch nearby at one of the local cafes which sipping your Turkish sand coffee.
If you have a chance to visit Georgia and are limited in where to go, definitely consider either or both of these locations as they will be worth the trip. If you have actually visited, do you have any favorite spots in Tbilisi or Batumi you want to share with us? Let us know we would love to hear from you.