Tbilisi’s Left Bank

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June, 2023

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Sightseeing in Tbilisi - Part 1 - The Left Bank

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We spent three nights in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi and enjoyed both a guided tour and free time.

The city is divided by the River Kura, which starts in Russia and flows through Georgia and Azerbaijan into the Caspian Sea. The Peace Bridge was built in 2010 using glass and steel, and its bow shape is said to symbolise Georgia’s transition from the past to a better future. Whilst we found it original and photogenic, detractors say it resembles a giant sanitary towel.

The Peace Bridge led directly into Rike Park with several distinctive landmarks: a huge, tethered air balloon which never moved from the ground during our visit; two large tubular structures housing the Rike Concert Hall and exhibition centre; and a giant piano where I gave an impromptu performance.

From the park we could see the Presidential Palace, only used for ceremonial occasions, and the gold-covered central dome of Holy Trinity Cathedral, consecrated in 2004.
Europe Square, at the park’s southern end, displayed a segment of the Berlin Wall to demonstrate the ongoing relationship between Germany and Georgia: Eduard Shevardnadze, was the Georgian politician who helped topple the wall. The side which faced east Germany, was full of bullet holes.

There were other ways to cross the river, and we took the two-line Metro from Liberty Square to Avlabari on the left (fortunately signage and announcements are in English as Georgian is a unique language). The Avlabari district has a significant Armenian population and one of two Armenian churches in the city, the 18th century, newly renovated Ejmiatsin Armenian Apostolic Church.

Crossing to the left bank via the busier road bridge, the Metekhi Bridge led to a promontory with a 1960s statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali on horse, the Metekhi St Virgin Church and splendid views back across to the right bank.

See also:
Sightseeing in Tbilisi – Part 2 – The Right Bank
Sightseeing in Tbilisi – Part 3 – Rustaveli Avenue

Helen Jackson

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