The Hidden Treasure of Tbilisi’s Architecture - Inside 3 Remarkable Houses
21 May, 2015
The Hidden Treasure of Tbilisi’s Architecture - Inside 3 Remarkable Houses
Tbilisi is famous for its diverse architecture that occurred due to the blend of different cultures. Yet since it is a small city, you may easily find buildings from different periods occupying the same street. But few tourists know about incredible old houses hidden in different districts of the city that can be considered excellent representatives of its architectural heritage. Here we present three most exceptional old houses of Tbilisi, which are distinct for their unique design, architecture and amazing
entrance halls.

“On the walls of the house one may find painted scenes from The Knight in the Panther’s Skin, the Georgian medieval epic poem.”

The Pearl of Tbilisi

While walking down the Aghmashenebeli Avenue, it is impossible not to notice a beautiful old house, decorated with amazing carvings. Despite being old, this house has not lost its attractiveness and is still considered an outstanding example of Tbilisi’s architecture. It only takes passing through its front door to find oneself in heaven.
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This magnificent house was built by Erasti Chavchanidze, a well-known philanthropist and public figure who was one of the first guild traders in 1903. Erasti was a little boy when he started to work at a German merchant’s haberdashery. The boy learned German very quickly. The owner of the shop liked his smart employee so much that he sent him to Leipzig, where he received high-quality education.
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Like most of the houses dating back to that period, the ceiling of the entrance was decorated with depictions of angels. Moreover, on the walls of the house one may find painted scenes from The Knight in the Panther’s Skin, the Georgian medieval epic poem, mimicking illustrations by Mihály Zichy.
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Unfortunately, this unique piece of our country’s cultural heritage is on the brink of collapse. If it is not restored soon, the house that has endured a century will simply disappear.
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A unique stained glass house on Betlemi Street

This eye-catching vintage house is the only house decorated with colorful stained glass windows on Tbilisi’s Betlemi Street, which is built on the Sololaki rocky slope. The old building dates back to the 19th century and is one of the distinct attractions for the tourists, having preserved its stained glass windows for over a hundred years. The building’s balconies are decorated with exquisite carvings and ornaments.
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The unique house is very old and requires renovation, but unfortunately, the inhabitants of the building are not able to cover the expenses. The entrance is damaged and the beautiful wooden stairway is deformed, much to the shame of Betlemi district, which represents one of the most interesting places of the city from an architectural point of view.
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“Peter Tchaikovski and Knut Hamsun used to stay in this hotel.”

London Hotel – The favorite spot of world geniuses

London Hotel is a unique vintage building that Tbilisi has preserved. It located on Atoneli Street #31. The hotel was opened in 1875 and was one the first buildings to receive an electricity line.
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The building with classicist elements was built by the Zubalashvili brothers, a Georgian family of businessmen and benefactors. The main attractions of the building are its entrance hall and the unique staircase, despite their poor condition.
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In spite of the hotel’s small size, it was considered to be the best hotel at its time. This is the place where most of the foreign visitors to Tbilisi used to stay. At different times, London Hotel hosted the Russian composer Peter Tchaikovski, the famous Norwegian writer and Nobel Prize winner Knut Hamsun as well as the Georgian poet Terenti Graneli. Moreover, Ilia Chavchavadze, the prominent Georgian public figure and writer was a regular at the hotel’s restaurant.
During the First World War, the Zubalashvili brothers allowed the building to be turned into an infirmary and despite decades passing since the war’s conclusion, it was never restored to its previous capacity as a hotel.
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Author: Lika Chigladze
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