Central botanical garden in Tbilisi

In Tbilisi at the foot of Narikala beyond the Sololaki  ridge, the Central botanical gardens sprawl over an area of 130 hectares. They were laid out in 1845, on the basis of the four-centuries-old gardens of Georgian royal house. Their collection numbers some 4,900 species of flora from Georgia, the Mediterranean, the Himalayas, China, Japan, North America and other parts of world.

From Narikala the fortress wall stretched to the advanced Shahis-takhti fort. In 1935 a walk was laid along this line and named after the Young Communist League. This walk terminates at the majestic statue of  Mother Georgia  (khartllis Deda) erected  in 1958 (sculptor Elguja Amashukeli), which has since virtually been kind of Tbilisi’s  emblem. Rendered in a restrained and generalized manner ,  it is a twenty-metre-high figure of a women in Georgia national dress, holding a bowl of wine in one hand and a sword in other one. It is meant to symbolize a people  welcoming friends with wine but  meeting foes with the sword.

Beside the statue is the Grimashvili Museum of the History and Ethnography of Tbilisi. Its stocks total more than 44,000 exhibits consisting of archaeological finds: utensils, tools and also documents describing  the city’s past history, present development and plans for the future.

Another interesting spot in old town is the ancient of Mtkvari, which is called Kldisubani (the hilly district ). The cobbled streets and blind alleys, the small courtyards surrounded on three sides with balconies, the domes of the churches create the atmosphere of a medieval town.

Running upwards from the small Khlebnaya (bread) Square is Azizbekov street lined with numerous houses built in the early nineteenth century. An original house of that period at the beginning of the street features carved balcony railings, columns with intricately worked arch finials, glazed lateral galleries with oriental-type latticework and outside stairs. The building at the end corner of the street displays a balcony typical of Tbilisi houses, and hotels in Tbilisi.

Noteworthy in Gomi  Street starting immediately after Azizbekov Street are a house with a small balcony and mezzanine a two-storey house with a broad balcony and a complex system of passages (such as  are still found in a number of buildings) with galleries glazed with stained glass in floral patterns. Narrow steps cut in the rock lead us up to a square brick structure with a lancet called the Ateshga (fire-worshippers’ temple). According to legend, the Truks built here a mosque which was demolished in 1795. the Ateshga, still carrying its ancient name, may well be its remains.

Gomi street ends in a sixteenth- century bell-tower typical of Georgian architecture of that period. The bell-tower belongs to nearby large Bethlemeh  church. It was built in 1740 on the site of an old church and is faced with dressed stone. The sparing ornamentation is characteristic of eighteenth-century Georgian architecture.

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