Tbilisi in a nutshell
Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia and its largest city. Roughly, 1.5 million people live in Tbilisi which is lying on the banks of Mtkvari River. The city has had a pivotal role in the field of diplomatic and economic relations between Asia and Europe. The reason for that is the location of the city; Tbilisi is sprawling on the crossroads connecting the two continents, in the vicinity of the historically famous Silk Road.
Tbilisi is 380 to 770 meters above sea level in different regions. The city is primarily surrounded by mountains in three directions.
How cold or hot is Tbilisi?
The climate in Tbilisi is usually humid. You mostly experience warm summers and rather cold winters. The city, like other regions of Georgia, enjoys substantial rainfalls throughout the year. To clarify this, you better know that the average temperature in Tbilisi is around 13 degrees centigrade. The coldest and hottest months there are January and July, with average temperatures of 2.3 and 24.9 degrees centigrade, respectively.
People in Tbilisi
Tbilisi, home to more than 100 ethnic groups, is famously known as a multicultural city. Among them, around 89 percent are ethnic Georgian people, with the rest containing other ethnic groups including Armenians, Russians, and Azerbaijanis. More than 95 percent of residents in Tbilisi are following various forms of Christianity.
Tbilisi’s Transportation Systems
Speaking of transportation systems, you should note that Tbilisi offers airport, metro, tram, minibus, municipal bus, aerial tramways, and funicular. International Airport is the only international airport in Tbilisi, located in about 18 kilometers southeast of the city center. The Tbilisi Metro system connects many parts of the city in a flash. It was the Soviet Union’s fourth metro system.
The most widely available transportation vehicle in Tbilisi is the minibus (locally known as Marshrutka). You can go to almost all parts of the city, and the outside of the city, by minibusses. The second-largest system of transportation is municipal buses, operated by the Tbilisi Transport Company.
Now that you know enough about Tbilisi, let us talk about neighborhoods and various districts in Tbilisi where can be listed in your trip schedule. Whether you are planning to move to Tbilisi and stay there for a long time, or just have a short trip there, it must be of wisdom to do a little research about the city and its districts and set some targets. So, here is a rather complete guide to help you know the neighborhoods in Tbilisi.
Here is the list of the regions we are going to talk about in this article, in brief:
- Old Tbilisi
Let’s know more about the most important districts of Tbilisi
Abanotubani is an ancient district of Georgia, where you can enjoy the pleasantly warm water in the Sulfur Baths. It is the essential ancient part of Tbilisi, located in the city center. In addition to traditional scenes, Abanotubani benefits from modern architecture too. The district is flawlessly charming and elegant.
Georgians love Abanotubani for many historical religious buildings it has: Georgian, Armenian, and churches, Mosques, Synagogue, and even Ateshga -Zoroastrian fire temple. Just remember that since Abanotubani is one of the most touristic assets of the city, accommodation fees might be rather high; manage your budget wisely.
This is one of the most fundamental districts of Tbilisi. The name comes from the enormous mountains of Mtatsminda, which is the prominent touristic attraction of the area.
There is a famous park on top of Mtatsminda mountain that lets you enjoy a kind of eagle view on the capital. The park has carousels, water slides, a roller-coaster, funicular, and a big Ferris Wheel at the edge of the mountain. The accommodation prices in this district are relatively high too, which is due to being in the vicinity of the city center.
Vake was once known as a place where Georgian elite, politicians, and scientists used to reside. It is somewhat different today. Modern architecture has occupied the face of the region and you are bombarded with shops, bars, and cafes. Whether it is a good thing or not depends on your viewpoint and your trip goals, but the modern look has made accommodation prices soar to some extent.
Vake looks generally green and is different from the Old Tbilisi. The area does not include any particular cultural or historical landscapes. You can get fresh and lively if you put visiting Vake Park, Turtle Lake (Kus Tba) or Mziuri Park in your plan. Vake is pretty close to Rustaveli Avenue and does not have a metro station, though you can use bus or minibus in the area.
Metekhi is one of the historical districts in the Tbilisi neighborhood. It is believed to be one of the earliest inhabited areas in the city. The area is located on a cliff where you can vividly see the beauty of the Mtkvari River. Do not forget to pay a visit to Metekhi Street and take some shots; you can fairly say it is a smaller version of Paris.
You can visit Metekhi Church too, which is particularly made of brick and dressed stone. The Tower of Metekhi (also known as Isani Godol) is also a must-see destination in Metekhi. From there, you can see how Mtkvari River reflects both the right and left sides of the Tbilisi.
North of the Old Town, just past Rustaveli metro station, is the grassy Vera district. Vera is in the central location of the city. There are numerous gardens and green hidden yards in Vera. Architectural buildings from the 19th century in Vera seems untouched.
If you are visiting Vera, do not leave there forgetting Vera Park. The greenery will surely absorb you, sticking to your memory.
This region, its metro station, and the surrounding areas are some of the historical locations around Tbilisi. Marjanishvili avenue in Tbilisi is one of those beautiful areas where you can enjoy walking.
Many cafes, shops, and theatres are located in this region, and are mostly Arabic and Turkish. Make sure you visit the bank of Mtkvari River, where you can shop, go to theatres, or stop by the huge bazaar at the main square.
This is where the preliminary stones of Tbilisi were put on each other. The history started here. Old Tbilisi is dominated by Mount Mtatsminda, Narikala fortress, and the Kartlis Deda monument. Mtkvari River flows inside the area.
You can enjoy the religious and secular architecture of the city while wandering in the streets. The Old Tbilisi is essentially loaded with mosques, churches, synagogues, and traditional houses from the 19th century.
Saburtalo is a huge lengthy division of Tbilisi — it is 7 kilometers long — and presents no historical or cultural sight. It is located in the northwest of the Old Tbilisi containing buildings with Soviet-era styles. Saburtalo has a specific subway line you can use. If you are into shopping, take a walk in Pekini and Kostava streets. The majority of international food and clothes brands can be found here. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Subway, LC Waikiki, Dominos Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts, Luca Polare, Entree, Biscoto, etc.
Tbilisi Zoo can also be one of your destinations. Do not forget to spend an hour or two beside Lisi Lake, it is absolutely appealing. It is only a 10-minute drive up from Saburtalo.
Armenians were the first people to dwell in Avlabari. This is why you will find this part of the city a little different. After all, Tbilisi is a multicultural city. Avlabari is one of the most traditional districts of Tbilisi.
You can take your children for a walk around Sameba (Trinity) Cathedral. In addition to that, you should note that the Metekhi Church, Armenian Theater, and Rike Park are some of the must-see resorts of the area.
Grab your camera to take some beautiful shots in front of the old houses and apartments in Avlabari. If you cross Mtkvari River from Avlabari, you will end up in the heart of the Old Town.
There is no outstanding sightseeing spot in Dighomi, and you can count on there as a proper place far from the city center. The quietness of the region makes you feel relaxed and comfortable. Sometimes being remote from the crowd is what polishes your soul.
Plan your shopping at a big shopping mall in Dighomi, called Tbilisi Mall. Plus, keep in mind that there are multiple Georgian restaurants along the riverside.
As an absolute wine-producing region, Kakheti is stuck to the word “wine” like a magnet. This historical province is the nicest place in Georgia where you can discover people’s hospitality, picturesque areas, wine, and many other things. If you like to change your mood, eat meat, and drink wine, Kakheti is where you can find all you need.
Among transportation systems, you might find it best to use buses, mini-buses, and trains leaving Tbilisi to access Kakheti. The area lies at the east of Tbilisi – between the Greater Caucasus to the north, and Azerbaijan to the south.
Tskneti is a suburb of Tbilisi located in Vake district, 8 kilometers away from the city center. The elevation in Tskneti is around 700 to 1100 meters above sea level, making the area so high and filled with spectacular mountains. Tskneti’s summer is warm, with an average temperature of 20 degrees Celcius. The winter there is mild.
Generally speaking, Tskneti is a small town just up the hill from Tbilisi. You can go there by bus. The area has Populi and various tinier markets, several drug stores, and a few restaurants.
Tskneti is the optimum place for wealthy Georgians. It has a substantial entertainment infrastructure and a thriving nightlife, making it a memorable destination for travelers. There are many shops, cafes, residential buildings, and several squares.
Kaklebi (კაკლები) in Kartuli (the Georgian language) means walnut. It is because there are many chestnut trees there. These trees have been there since centuries ago; no man has ever planted any trees there; the greenery is completely and totally wild. That is why you can see many squirrels jumping from trees onto cables there.
Knowing this, the government tries hard to protect the area and has stopped human intervention; accordingly, no construction permission has been issued since 2012 and the type of allowed construction for the limited, available land in the neighborhood is for villas. This is the reason why many athletes and major company CEOs reside there to enjoy the peace and quiet with their families.
Kaklebi is famous for its educated and rich residents. Many Georgians living here hold top managerial positions and have relatives living or working abroad. This is why it is considered a prestigious place, though it is not the only prestigious part in Tbilisi.