Georgia is a small country with remarkable economic growth. Before the pandemic, the economy of the country with the approximate area of Bavaria grew strongly, especially the travel industry had breathtaking growth rates. But favourable energy costs, a steadily improving infrastructure and three international airports also make the country between Asia and Europe a very interesting destination in the Near East. At the same time, the country’s currency GEL (Lari) is surprisingly stable.
RELATIVELY SHORT SLUMP DUE TO THE 2020 PANDEMIC
2020 was a difficult year for global tourism, including Georgia. Things were already looking up again in 2021. And for the summer of 2023, the country in the South Caucasus expects a record number of visitors, because at ITB 2023 Georgia will be presented as a partner country with a correspondingly large media and trade fair presence. High time to take a closer look at the destination with mountains of up to 5200m. For many Europeans, this exciting country is still ‚terra incognita‘.
THE COUNTRY AND CAPITAL TBILISI: AN EXCURSION INTO HISTORY
According to local chronicles, Tbilisi was founded by Persian ethnarchs in the 3rd or 4th century. The Persians then built today’s landmark of Tbilisi, the Narikala fortress above the old town. In the second half of the fifth century, the Georgian king Vakhtang I. Gorgassali conquered the town, made it his capital and developed it into a respectable city. His son and successor Datschi completed the city walls. Theophanes of Byzantium is the first Byzantine writer to name the city Metropolis in 571. In 591 – after the end of the penultimate of the Roman-Persian Wars – Eastern Rome and the Sassanid Empire agreed that Mtskheta (the old capital of the kingdom), would fall to Byzantium.
Tbilisi was to remain under Sassanid control. In the seventh century, the city was conquered by the Arabs, then passed into Persian, Byzantine and, in 1068, Seljuk possession. In 1121, after being liberated by David the Builder, it once again became the Georgian capital and, thanks to its fortified location at the intersection of what are now seven European-Asian trade routes, one of the richest cities of the Middle Ages.
MARCO POLO REPORTED ON ‚TIFLISSI‘ IN THE 14TH C.
The Venetian Marco Polo reported that there was a „splendid city in Georgia called Tiflissi, surrounded by suburbs and castles and fortresses“. In the 13th century, the city was devastated by the Khorezmians. From 1386 to 1402, Tbilisi belonged to Timur’s Central Asian empire. After that, the rulers of the country changed several times, and the most diverse influences can be seen everywhere in the capital of Georgia.
TRAVEL FAIR ITB 2023 WITH GEORGIA AS HOST COUNTRY
The world’s most important travel fair will take place in Berlin from 7-9 March. Every year, this international travel show has its own partner country, which is presented in a particularly strong way and comes into the media focus… This year, the partner country of the travel fair is the small but beautiful Georgia. For us Europeans a rather unknown travel destination, but wrongly so! Exotic Georgia is multifaceted and has a breathtaking mountain and natural landscape. In this article, we take a closer look at Tbilisi, situated along the river „KURA“. The metropolis offers countless diverse culture on about 70 square kilometres: art, museums, exhibitions and sights of all kinds.
VERY LIVELY ART & CULTURE SCENE IN TBILISI
One of Georgia’s most famous painters, Temuri Kuliani, presents his latest work live in his gallery Kon-Tiki… A lot of art can be seen here, virtually everywhere in the capital. There is a very talented and creative group of Georgian artists who use the historic settings of the old city to better showcase their work.
In the Old Town of Tbilisi, we authors met two well-known Georgian artists. One is Temuri Kuliani (see photo above), who has completed three courses of study and integrates his knowledge as a painter and engineer in great works. Also notable is watercolour specialist Giorgi Alkhazishvili, pictured below. The heating in the studio had just broken down – no problem: the engineer & painter Kuliani repairs it personally & nimbly…
Watercolour specialist Giorgi Alkhazishvili really knows his stuff…, great paintings that can also be bought cheaply. From around 20 US dollars. Visitors can visit the gallery free of charge and even have painting techniques explained to them. It is located in the centre of the capital’s old town.
HISTORY ADVENTURE – ANOTHER EXCURSION INTO THE FOUNDING PHASE OF TBILISI AROUND 1500 YEARS AGO
The exact origins of the city of Tbilisi, the capital and largest city of Georgia, are not known. Historians and archaeologists assume that it was founded in the 5th century AD. According to legend, the city was founded by King Vakhtang Gorgasali, who named it Tbilisi, meaning „warm place“, because of the natural hot springs in the area. The city has been an important cultural and economic centre for centuries and has been ruled by various kingdoms and empires over the years, including the Persians, Arabs, Mongols and Ottomans.
In the Middle Ages, Tbilisi was a very important trading centre for merchants between the areas of present-day Europe and, for example, ancient Persia. There were large caravanserais in the city centre, one of the most famous being housed in today’s History Museum Tbilisi.
There were overnight accommodations for travellers, and food and drink were also provided. Riders, horses and carts could rest or be exchanged if necessary. A real industry was formed around the travellers and traders. Money also came into the city and you can still see this today in the beautiful facades of many an ancient building. In the 19th century, Tbilisi became the capital of the Russian-controlled Georgian Republic and later of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia.
Today, there are almost daily flea markets and the numerous visitors to these exciting treasure troves can, with a little luck, acquire artefacts from the history of Georgia from the dealers for quite little money. Here you should be able to tactic well, the best price is achieved with the clever skill of the sympathetic buyer…
HAND-KNOTTED CARPETS ‚MADE IN GEORGIA‘
In Europe, handmade carpets from Persia – or Turkey – have become well-known. What hardly anyone knows except Georgians: beautiful carpets have also been meticulously handmade in this Caucasus country for centuries. Some of these works of art take two years to complete. A visit to the „Caucasian Carpets Gallery“ in the old town of Tbilisi is recommended. In a building that is perhaps three hundred years old, carpets up to 200 years old are exhibited. The friendly director Manana Arkania of the carpet & weaving exhibition speaks good English and can tell amazing details about each carpet.
The special feature: they can also be bought, at prices that are favourable by European standards, see also: www.origincarpets.com.
GEORGIA’S CAPITAL: PLEASANT PEOPLE, RESIDENTS AND VISITORS ARE VERY INTERNATIONAL
The author has been travelling in the country for almost five weeks now and has not seen a soul with a mask. Everything seems very relaxed. Tbilisi is a melting pot of peoples – but it all seems very harmonious and peaceful. First impression of Tbilisi in winter: cold (-2C to 7C), but still beguilingly beautiful. Batumi in the west of the country is much warmer, but the economic and political centre is still in Tbilisi. One of the trendy meeting places is in the old town. Here, holidaymakers and locals can sample fine Georgian dishes around the clock, only Monday is a day off. It is located right next to the former post office building.
The capital of the Caucasus country is full of history from the last thousands of years and correspondingly multifaceted. Therefore, it is no wonder that more and more tourists are travelling to Tbilisi. Travellers come from all over the world, and Tbilisi airport is served daily by numerous airlines. The infrastructure of Tbilisi is constantly being improved. For the reasons mentioned above, it is only too understandable that more and more people are moving to Georgia. Today, Tbilisi is a vibrant metropolis and a major tourist destination known for its rich history, architecture and cultural heritage.
GREAT HOTEL CONCEPTS ATTRACT PEOPLE TO THE CAPITAL OF GEORGIA
One of the most famous luxury hotels is the Radisson Blu, located in the heart of the old city and directly on the course of the river, which flows about 21 km across the city. The hotel in the city centre of Tbilisi offers its guests a princely view of the Kura and Mtazminda mountains to the west, the Machata range of hills to the east, Mtabori mountain to the south and then there is the Sololaki mountain range. The luxury hotel has 236 superbly appointed rooms and suites. According to our co-author, the Radisson Blu is the best destination to enjoy the lively city to the fullest.
Radisson Blu Tbilisi Hotel is like a design icon known in Georgia. The slim corner design allowed to integrate some unique features: e.g. pool & fitness area on the 18th/19th floor offers a wonderful view of the capital of Georgia. Of course, there is free wireless high-speed internet throughout the hotel and a picturesque view of the old town and the surrounding mountains. The surrounding area is also attractive: on Rustaveli Avenue guests will find restaurants, shopping and very active nightlife. It is a good idea to visit the old town and Narikala Fortress. It was built in the 6th century and is today the most famous sight of the city.
And the fantastic variety of museums. For example, museums with new art, old art, etc. In principle, there is really everything to marvel at that culturally interested people could consider worthwhile. There is even a museum of Russian cars in Tbilisi. Culture and history at the highest level, that’s an excellent description of Tbilisi in just a few words. If you get bored here, nowhere will suit you.
RADISSON BLU TBILISI ALSO HAS MANY UNIQUE CULINARY FEATURES:
Let’s start with the Iveria Cafe. The pleasant atmosphere can also be found in many a trendy café in Milan, Barcelona or Marbella: https://www.facebook.com/iveriacafe …
The Asian speciality restaurant ‚Umami‘ also enjoys an excellent reputation – both restaurants are also frequented by numerous guests from the surrounding area and used for meetings, for example. Last night at around 10 pm, we authors noticed how well-staffed and international the guests of this speciality restaurant were.
Obviously, many hotel guests have also come here. Delicious food is on, also in Tbilisi. The Asian speciality restaurant Umami serves excellent Asian dishes:
RADISSON BLU TBILISI SPA IS AN OASIS OF RELAXATION
The brave can test their luck at the ‚Casino Iveria‘ or indulge in first-class treatments at the ‚Anne Semonin Spa‘. Hotel guests can refresh themselves in the breathtaking outdoor pool or visit the infinity pool on the rooftop terrace on the 18th floor of the tower. The Radisson Blu is one of the landmarks of the metropolis of Tbilisi.
From the excellent SPA on the 18th/19th floor, the city looks like a picture book into the history of all times… For business travellers and event planners, the Radisson Blu offers a fully equipped business centre as well as 9 meeting rooms, a versatile ballroom and the best hospitality services* in the country (* up to 10000 guests can be kept happy and full by the catering company Silk Hospitality). Here is a really emotionally well done video about the Radisson Blu Tbilisi and partner hotels of Silk Hospitality in Georgia:
CONCLUSION: TBILISI IS DEFINITELY WORTH A VISIT
Hotels in the Georgian capital are indeed a dime a dozen. For those who prefer the luxury of one of the international luxury hotel chains, we recommend the excellent Radisson Blu Tbilisi. The luxury hotel has earned a good reputation as a leading hotel in Tbilisi since 2009. The design of the Radisson Blu Hotel has become a landmark. However, a few days or even a few weeks in Tbilisi is never boring.
In Tbilisi, holidaymakers can immerse themselves in the history of the last 1500 years. There is enough of everything: museums, studios, exhibitions, restaurants of all tastes and above all the wines should not be forgotten, 8000 years of experience in the production of wines is already a great story, that alone makes a visit to Georgia worthwhile once more. There is so much to experience! The hotel described in more detail here, with its two excellent restaurants, is certainly a luxurious highlight in the old town of Tbilisi. The surroundings of the upscale business class hotel are extremely varied and inspiring. Churches of the last centuries and the beautiful river KURA and all kinds of museums and exhibitions make the heart of every culture lover beat faster…
Georgia: A great ♥️ for the Caucasus
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BellaCoola Film Production UG
Bellacoola Filmproduction UG has become known as an experienced film production company with excellent references. Tourism and travel is one of the main focuses. Since a few years, a department „Economy“ has been added and it deals with the reasons for the significantly fallen competitiveness of German industry. Article written by Isatou Camara, Junior Tourism Consultant and Oliver Gaebe, Travel Journalist.
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