Situated to the south of the Caucasus Mountains, Tbilisi is home to cathedrals and monuments that offer a glimpse into Georgia's medieval past. Visitors flock to the city year on year for its multi-ethnic food culture, botanical gardens and vibrant riverside nightlife.
Founded in the fifth century by Vakhtang l of Iberia, Tbilisi emerged as one of the Silk Road’s most important trading points and was coveted by Mongol and Iranian empires for centuries. It wasn’t until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 that Georgia became a fully independent state. Since then, the Georgian capital has transformed into a cultural and religious melting pot populated by approximately 1.5 million people.
Tbilisi’s architecture showcases both modern and historical styles, with neoclassical, art nouveau and Stalinist structures on display across the city. Head to the City Assembly and State Opera House or visit the Soviet-style Biltmore Hotel – the former location of the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute – to appreciate the buildings for yourself. Alternatively, a pleasant stroll across the Peace Bridge will provide an example of contemporary Georgian modernism.
In Tbilisi’s Old Town, you’ll find colourful lanes guarded by the Narikala Fortress and Mother of Georgia Monument, as well as the city’s famous sulphur baths, botanical gardens and Mtatsminda funicular train. Explore the Sololaki neighbourhood for fine art museums like the Art Palace of Georgia and restaurants serving contemporary Georgian dishes like khinkali dumplings.