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Tbilisi (თბილისი) is the capital of Georgia and is also the largest city in the country. The city is located in the southeast of the country on the Mtkvari River and has well over 1 million inhabitants. People have been living here since over 1,500 years and nowadays the city is the cultural and economic hart of the country and for people flying in to the country, Tbilisi will be there starting point. Recent historical events which were of importance for the country, took place at the central Freedom Square, like the Rose Revolution. But there is an older form of history to be found as well, with churches, mosques and synagoges all mixed together and even standing next to each other! From Tbilisi, it is just a short ride to other interesting regions like the Caucasus Mountains, the wine region of Kakheti and also Armenia is nearby.
Tbilisoba is an annual October festival, celebrating the diversity and history of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. It was first held on October 28, 1979, and has since become an established tradition. The festival features open-air concerts of traditional music and dancing and various cultural events, centered on Old Tbilisi, the historical part of the city. Beyond celebrating the city's past and present, people from all over Georgia represent their region at the fair of the harvest.
March 9 marks Georgia’s Victory Day, which celebrates the country’s freedom from fascism. In Tbilisi, Victory Day takes place in Vake Park, where exciting programs are held from dancing to brass band playing, plus the laying of flowers at the foot of the park’s eternal flame and memorial. It is also a day for remembering war veterans and heroes.
Tbilisi experiences relatively cold winters and hot summers. Because the city is bounded on most sides by mountain ranges, the close proximity to large bodies of water (Black and Caspian Seas) and the fact that the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range (further to the north) blocks the intrusion of cold air masses from Russia, Tbilisi has a relatively mild micro-climate compared to other cities that possess a similar continental climate along the same latitudes. The average annual temperature in Tbilisi is 12.7 °C. January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 0.9 °C. July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 24.4 °C. The absolute minimum recorded temperature is -24 °C and the absolute maximum is 40 °C. Average annual precipitation is 568 mm. May and June are the wettest months (averaging 84 mm (3.3 in) of precipitation each) while January is the driest (averaging 20 mm of precipitation). Snow falls on average 15-25 days per year. The surrounding mountains often trap the clouds within and around the city, mainly during the Spring and Autumn months, resulting in prolonged rainy and/or cloudy weather. Northwesterly winds dominate in most parts of Tbilisi throughout the year. Southeasterly winds are common as well.
Tbilisi International Airport (IATA: TBS; ICAO: UGTB) is the main gateway of the country. There are connections to most neighbouring countries and the Middle East. Direct flights from Europe can be taken from London, Munich, Riga, Vienna, Amsterdam, Kiev and Athens. Comming from Asia is best to connect through Dubai or Istanbul. Direct flights via Moscow and Russia at the time of writing have been suspended.
New connections are showing up though, with Georgia being more and more popular lately and more European countries and former Soviet Union republics now have flights, either directly or not, to and from Tbilisi.
From the airport there are several options to getting to the city centre. There is an infrequent rail service to the main railway station or you can take bus 37 from outside the arrivials hall which also finishes at the main railway station. The buses running this route are 'mini-buses' so if you have alot of luggage it's best to take one of the waiting taxis.
There are train international connections with both Armenia and Azerbaijan which leave Tbilisi and have their finale destination in Yerevan or Baku respectively. There are alos a multitude of local services which go to the regional centers in Georgia, although its much quicker to take a bus and usually around the same price.
There are connections to the countries of Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Greece, either by bus or by marshrutka, the Georgian minibus. Buses traveling as far as Istanbul and Athens can take up to two full days to get there.
There are no boat connections in Tbilisi, or even ferries for that matter on the Mtkvari River.
Parking is widespread, but the ubiquitous informal parking attendants will help you reverse out into the traffic; it's all part of the service they offer in return for the usual tip.
Tbilisi, like most ex Soviet capitals, has a Metro (Subway) system. Although the maps shoes 3 lines there are only two with a third "under construction". The red line "Akhmeteli-Varketili" as well as the green line "Saburtalo" both connect with the main railway station, with the former running in roughly a north-south direction while the Saburtalo running east-west. Fairs are very cheap and most stations have the line map in both Georgian and Latin alphabets.
Getting around Tbilisi by foot is quite easy. Walking from the Old Town to Rustaveli through Freedom Square take roughly 45 minutes. Be aware that motorists here rarely give way to pedestrians and if trying to cross a busy road stick with what the locals are doing.
Riding by bicycle around Tbilisi is only for the very brave. With the Georgian 'style' of driving and that fact that motorists arn't use to cyclists can make it very dangerous. That been said, the hills surrounding Tbilisi are frequented by many mountain bikers. Many take the cable car from the district of Vake up to Turtle Lake and cycle down through the forest or over to the neighbouring mountains.
Street side stalls selling Georgian "fast food" are located all over the city. Some kind of hot snack will cost between 0.70-2.50 L.
Georgian traditional cuisine is delicious, cheap, and universal. Just wandering into the likeliest looking local joint in any neighborhood whatsoever, even just a block or two from the main tourist streets, will inevitably provide an excellent dining experience at bargain prices - and quite possibly any amount of proud attention and invitations to drink wine from staff and regulars delighted that a foreigner has discovered their haunt. Beyond the classics of khinkali and khachapuri, meat-eaters could begin with "satsivi" (chicken in walnut sauce) or "chakhapuli" (lamb or beef with tarragon and other herbs), and vegetarians or vegans some of the dishes with "lobio" (beans), "badrijani" (eggplant), or "pkhali" (greens) - or simply pick by random off the menu and let the unique tastes of Georgia surprise you.
One is never far from a corner store opening late selling the bare essentials of life late into the night, which always include booze and bread. Georgia is known as the cradle of wine. Georgian wine was and still is the best in post-Soviet culture. Georgia produces wine, and Georgians respect wine culture. Try one of the famous wines. The region which is popular for its wine production is Kakheti. This place has a great history of wine.
Unless you would like to forget you are in Tbilisi and drink in fancy expensive places where only tourists and expats may be found, Chardini and its connecting streets should be avoided as the most blatant tourist trap in the country. The best pubs and cafes in Tbilisi are tucked in unlikely looking side streets of the Old City, often underground or sometimes without even a sign to mark their presence. Keep your eyes and ears open.
|Cozy and Modest||87 (a)Tsreteli str, apt 26 Didube distr||Apartment||-|
|Green Stairs||Tsinamdzgvrishvili Str 53 (old name) Klara Cetkin str 53||Guesthouse||85|
|GuestApartment||1-st off street, Grtsanisi distr||Apartment||-|
|British House Hotel||Belonski Str.32||Hotel||-|
|Hotel David-Tbilisi||16a Paolo Iashvili str, Sololaki||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Royal||38 Gogebashvili Street||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Royal N-Tbilisi||Gogebashvili 38 str.||Hotel||-|
|My Place Homestay||58 (a) Glsani||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|SkadaVeli||27, Vertskhli str.||GUESTHOUSE||94|
|Tamara||24 Qvemo Zemka Saburtalo||Apartment||-|
|Argo Palace||33 Shanidze street||Hotel||-|
|Tbilisi Hostel||Makhati Turn 22, Avlabari||Hostel||79|
|Picnic Hostel||#14 purceladze st.||HOSTEL||100|
|Georgian House||Tbilisi, Georgia 38 Vakhtang VI street||HOTEL||-|
|Old Town Hostel||Khodasheni str. 7, Tbilisi, Georgia||HOSTEL||84|
|Star Hostel Tbilisi||45 Vertskhlis str.||Hostel||-|
|Solo-Lucky||kikodze 10; Tbilisi, 0105||Guesthouse||86|
|Old City Sololaki Hostel||19. Sergo Meskhi str. Sololaki||Hostel||82|
|Boombully Rooms and Hostel||24 Rustaveli ave.||HOSTEL||84|
|Nest Hostel Tbilisi||Iashvili st 23||HOSTEL||-|
|Why Not? Tbilisi - Legend Hostel||Tabukashvili Street 15 Tbilisi||HOSTEL||85|
|Hostel Home - Tbilisi||Brothers kakabadze 11||Hostel||-|
|Tina's Homestay||Sulkhan-Saba street N 5||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Tbilisi Friends Hostel||Old Tbilisi, Betlemi Str. #28-30 entrance up from ascent Tumaniani street 9||HOSTEL||64|
|Hostel Rock n Roll||#35 tsurtaveli st. #1 qumsiashvili st.||Hostel||-|
|Tourist Houses||Poskhverashvili Street 14 Poskhverashvili Street 14||Hostel||-|
|Old Guesthouse||dadiani st.#30 Tbilisi||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|LTD. Waltzing Matilda City Hostel||Al. Chavchavadze Str. 11||Hostel||84|
|ALV Hostel Tbilisi||Shiraqi str. 30 a||Hostel||-|
|Rest Hostel||68 Dimitri Uznadze st. Tbilisi||HOSTEL||-|
|Hostel Georgia||Chitaia 20||HOSTEL||76|
|Bonney Tbilisi Hostel||Ninoshvili St 19a||HOSTEL||-|
|Irina's Apartment||Khandzteli str9/22||Apartment||-|
|Chubini Family Guest House||20 Chubinashvili Street||HOSTEL||-|
|TEGI Apartment||Shevchenko 5, App. 56||Apartment||-|
|Betsy's Hotel||32-34 Makashvili Street||HOTEL||-|
|Art Hostel||G.Khandzteli cul-de-sac 2,house 4||HOSTEL||-|
|Walker Hostel||19 Gomi street||HOSTEL||-|
|DKD-VERE||Tarkhnishvili str. 17||Hostel||-|
|Vere Inn||53 Barnov St.||HOTEL||-|
|Darchee Hostel||Zandukeli str.||Hostel||-|
|DownTown Hostel Tbilisi||Bazaleti str. #9||HOSTEL||-|
|Besiki4||4 Besiki Street||Apartment||-|
|George's Apartment||Varketili-3, IV M/R||APARTMENT||-|
|Guest Apartment 4 BR||23, Kurdiani Street, Tsereteli Avenue||APARTMENT||-|
|Old Tbilisi||Akhospireli 5||HOSTEL||-|
|Hostel Peace||Erekle II line # 9||Hostel||-|
|Babilina Hotel||31 Nishnianidze str||HOTEL||-|
|Armis Apartment||27, Vertskhli Str.||APARTMENT||-|
|Hotel Elit||Ketevan Tsamebuli ave No 108, Samgori||HOTEL||-|
|Lovely Apartment Tbilisi||S. Meskhi Str. 15, 1 floor||APARTMENT||-|
|Envoy Hostel Tbilisi||45 Betlemi St||HOSTEL||90|
|Kolkhi Hotel||31 Akaki Shanidze Street||Hotel||-|
|DKD-Bridge||68 Khizanishvili str||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Kartli||32 Barnov str.||Hotel||-|
|Vegetarian House Tbilisi||G. Akhvlediani Street 17||HOSTEL||-|
|Comfortable 2BR Apartment||Lagidze Street||APARTMENT||-|
|Luxury Apartment Tbilisi||Bulachauri Street||APARTMENT||-|
|Sleep Inn Hostel Tbilisi||Pier Kobakhidze Str. #5||HOSTEL||-|
|Tbilisi House||14 Nasakirali Str. Avlabari||HOSTEL||-|
|BHM Hostel & Tours||14 Rustaveli Ave||HOSTEL||-|
|Comfortable Guest Apartment||Rustaveli Avenue Sarajishvili Street||APARTMENT||-|
|Hosfer Hostel||No.3, Ritsa Alley Al. Chavchavadzeh st., Rustaveli||HOSTEL||-|
|Ori Beli||Dzmebi Zubalashvilebi 31||HOSTEL||-|
|Shine Hotel - Tbilisi||End of Guramishvili Avenue||HOTEL||-|
|Maria Tours and Hostel||Liberty Square 4||HOSTEL||-|
|Guesthouse Nice||Saiatnova street # 17||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Luca Apartment||Zandukeli st 13||APARTMENT||-|
|Liberty Hostel||Niaghvari str. 6||Hostel||-|
|Mtatsminda||13 David Kipiani Street||APARTMENT||-|
|Hostel Romantik||46. V Dolidze||HOTEL||70|
|Home Sweet Home||Vera, Melikishvili#18||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Lika Guesthouse||Grigol Hantsteli 5||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|TiflisLux Hostel||Barnovi Street 23 Barnovi Street 23||HOSTEL||74|
|Mix Hostel||11 Abo Tbileli str||HOSTEL||-|
|Dadianistudio||12 Dadiani Street, Freedom Square Tbilisi||APARTMENT||-|
|Tbilisi Lomur Hostel||Gurjaani Str. 4||HOSTEL||-|
|Guesthause Zaira||Leselidze Str. 31||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Guest House Tamar||Tsinamdzgvrishvili 66Tbilisi||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Noah's Ark||III Massive I qvartal, korpus "E"||HOSTEL||-|
|Opera Tera Hostel||M. Lagidze6||HOSTEL||-|
|Hotel Elita||Doesi str. 26||Hotel||-|
|TBT Hostel||Griboedovi street 28 2nd floor||HOSTEL||-|
|Tbilisi Budget Inn||21, Kostava Street||HOSTEL||-|
|Green House Hostel Tbilisi||Akhvlediani Khevi 13||HOSTEL||-|
|Old Tbilisi Center Rustaveli Ave||46 Revaz Tabukashvili Street||APARTMENT||-|
|Kazbegi Avenue||24 Alekzandre Kazbegi Avenue Saburtalo||APARTMENT||-|
|Guesthouse Nataly||Tsinamdzgvrishvili 53||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Mia Guesthouse Tbilisi||Zhiuli Shartava Street||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Old Street Guesthouse||Sh. Dadiani str. 7||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Old Tiflis||Beridze St, No.9||HOSTEL||-|
|Tbilisi City Hostel||Leselidze Street #17||HOSTEL||-|
|Tbilisi Rooms||Ninoshvili str. 8||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Lucky Hostel Tbilisi||Machabeli street 2/4||HOSTEL||-|
|Bavly Hostel||No.11, Alexander Chavchavadzi street from Rustaveli||HOSTEL||-|
|Apartment near Parliament||6 Vukol Beridze Street Tbilisi||APARTMENT||-|
|Tbilisi City Hostel||Leselidze Street 17||Hostel||-|
|Grand Hotel Georgia||Telavi str.3||HOTEL||-|
|Caravan Hostel||41 Kandelaki Street||HOSTEL||-|
Hotel Georgian House Tbilisi, rooms from €45, Phone: +99532 791919.
Internet cafés, locally called "internet clubs", are common and cheap in Tbilisi and Batumi but scarce in Kutaisi. Some places offer free WLAN to their customers. At least in Tbilisi, all hostels have free fast WLAN.
There is free Wi-Fi network all over the Tbilisi. Other places might have some hotels, restaurants etc. with (free) wifi.
See also: International Telephone Calls
International calling code for Georgia is 995. The emergency number is 112.
Many Georgians have now have access to a mobile phone and as such public payphones are becomming obsolete in the bigger cities, although there are many places offering phone services, usually attached to an internet cafe of 'Xerox' shop.
Georgia uses GSM (900 MHz and 1800 MHz) for mobile phones and has three mobile operators. Magti, Bee Line and GeoCell. The best coverage is offered by GeoCell which covers most of the country and a fair bit of the mountains. SIM cards can be purchased from all the networks and topped up with scratch cards purchesed from shops or various touch screen 'kiosks' in the bigger cities. It usually works out a lof cheaper compared to roaming with your own cell phone, especially regarding internet costs.
Georgian Post offers a range of services, but don't count on it being very reliable or quick. On top of that they are relatively expensive. It is advisable to post letters in central post offices rather than using the post boxes in the street. Opening hours are usually from 10:00am to 6:00pm from Monday to Friday, some larger ones at Saturday and most are closed on Sunday.
"Georgian International Express Mail Service" is a member of the World Network of "Express Mail Services". It sends letters and parcels to 200 countries and delivers inbound items received by EMS network to all Georgian regions. EMS has branches in Kutaisi, Batumi, Poti, Gori, Marneuli. All items are insured by insurance company "IC Group". Nevertheless, you might use international courier companies lik TNT, UPS, DHL or FedEx, as they are reliable, fast and comptitively priced as well.
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