I started at Tavisuplebis Moedani (Freedom Square). On one end is the beautiful city hall building and in the center is a tall monument with St. George on the top. In the same spot, a monument to Lenin once stood.
From there I took a little detour along the city walls to Orbelianis Moedani, a nice square with a fountain. Then I walked back towards Rustaveli Avenue past the Museum of Georgia. I was really hoping to have some time to visit it, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. It seems like there are some really interesting exhibits inside and I will definitely make time for it on my next visit.
Across the street from the museum is the old Parliament of Georgia. It was built by the Soviets between 1938 and 1953 and completed by German POWs. A Soviet massacre of 20 Georgian hunger strikers took place here on April 9, 1989, and on the same day two years later, Georgia declared its independence on the same spot. The new parliament building is located in the city of Kutaisi, 231km away.
Next door to the old parliament is School Number 1, a school founded in 1802 for children of Georgian nobility. It was reconstructed after being destroyed in fighting in 1991-92.
Across the street sits the Kashveti Church. The first church on this site was built in the 6th century and the current church was built in 1910. I spent a few minutes inside. It’s nice to stop into.
I then took a detour and walked uphill about 20 minutes to the Mamadaviti Church on the slope of Mount Mtatsminda. The church was built in the 1850s on the site of the hermitage of St. Davit Gareja. It has a very somber mood on the inside.
The Georgian National Pantheon is below and next to Mamadaviti Church. It contains the graves of many important Georgians. The views of the city are spectacular from up there. Further up at the top of the mountain is an amusement park and restaurant accessible by funicular.
From there, it was back down to Rustaveli Avenue to walk to Rustavelis Moedani. On the way, I saw some interesting buildings, but none more interesting than the Moorish style Paliashvili Opera and Ballet Theatre.
I finally made it to Rustavelis Moedani, a very busy square with lots of traffic, a McDonald’s and Starbucks, and the Georgian National Academy of Sciences. The academy was established in 1914. The tower reminded me of a smaller, less ornate version of La Giralda in Sevilla.
I walked to the Tbilisi Concert Hall down Kostava Street to see more architecture, and back up through some of the streets uphill from Rustavelis Moedani. That ended an exhausting day of exploring Tbilisi.