I started my exploration of Abanotubani at Gorgasali Moedani, a square in Old Tbilisi. It had a lot of nice reconstructions, especially the hill behind it. There are some restaurants and hotels around the square.
Just off the square, undergoing renovation, is the St. George Armenian Cathedral. It was originally built in 1251 and rebuilt in 1832 and 1881. Armenian poet Sayat Nova is buried in front. It was closed for renovation during my visit. Also off the square to the north are a few small alleyways (Shardenis Qucha, Bambis Rigi, and Rkinis Rigi) full of restaurants and bars.
Walking south, I came to the area known as Abanotubani, or the bath district. It’s a very important part of the city because of its sulfuric hot springs. Lots of historic baths are located here. One of the most famous is the Orbeliani Baths, with the façade looking like it belongs somewhere in one of the “stans” of Central Asia.
It’s a very scenic area with a creek running between the baths and colorful reconstructed homes. The homes on the west side of the creek sit in the shadows of Narikala Fortress.
I wandered up and down some of the streets to admire some of the reconstructed old buildings, and found myself at the Jumah Mosque, built in 1895. It’s the only mosque remaining in Tbilisi, surviving a purge in the late 1930s by Lavrenty Beria, the First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party. Sunnis and Shia pray here together.