Tbilisi’s sulfur baths is exactly what you need on a cold rainy day – Ukrainian blogger
30 October, 2015
Tbilisi’s sulfur baths is exactly what you need on a cold rainy day – Ukrainian blogger
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Various kinds of sulfur baths of Tbilisi are the integral part of the country’s culture. A Tbilisi-based blogger and a traveler from Ukraine named Dariko offers her readers and tourists yet another interesting article about where they can relax and get to know the local culture simultaneously on a rainy autumn day.

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Here is what the foreign blogger writes:

"Autumn has finally arrived to Tbilisi. End of October is the right time to feel the temperature
decrease up to scary +12 or even frightening +10 Celsius, to see some rain and fog behind the window… But what if you’re a tourist with just a day or two to see everything? Do you feel like sitting in a hotel or apartment? No? My usual recommendations (in case there are no festivals or concerts in the city) are: Museum of Soviet Occupation and National Gallery (I like them myself), Zurab Tsereteli Museum of Modern Arts, Rezo Gabriadze Marionette Theater, Kakha Bakuradze Movement Theater or Pantomime Theaterю. Finding veritas in vino (I mean wine tastings in multiple cellars) is also a good idea.

But one of the most proper and authentic option in case of rain (also: sadness, hangover, need of real Georgian experiences) is a visit to sulfur bath. I avoid quoting Alexander Pushkin’s praise of Tbilisi baths, however, I have also never experienced something better. Probably because I am not allowed to visit a traditional one (Russian style) with its infernal heat and steam, this kind of thermal water is my best way to get at least some hot treatment.

The main reason of a visit to a sulfur bath is experiencing the healing effect of hot sulfuric water, which is flowing into pools directly from the source. No above mentioned infernal steam! You take shower, stay in the pool for a while, and then, if you want, mekise (bath attendant, masseur) arrives to give to your stressed body a proper session of rubbing, scrubbing, cleaning and strong massage. After that your skin becomes very soft and gentle. Then you can go to the pool again – don’t stay inside too long, it is better to do it repeatedly for 5-7 minutes.

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However, there were other reasons for visit: communication. All the websites for tourists say that in good old times the bath was a place to share city gossips and news. To me, a visit to a bath is associated with an episode from the book “Ali and Nino” as young man from Azerbaijan was visiting the relatives of his future wife in Tbilisi, he drank too much at supra (feast), and the next morning the relatives took him to the bath. While he was having strong massage and chilling in miraculous smelly water to feel alive again, the other men in the bath had conversations about what was going on in town and even treated themselves with some delicacies. It was described in such a lively manner, that during my second touristic visit to Tbilisi in 2013, I couldn’t resist and headed to Abanotubani, the ​​sulfur baths district.

After moving to Tbilisi, I often go there as well. Of course, there are some other places where you can improve your health in sulfuric water – as I wrote once, there is a very cool new bath at Lisi Lake, and on the left bank, around David Aghmashenebeli Avenue, there was something as well. However, I remain faithful to the real heart of Tbilisi, and if I don’t have a proper company for going there and renting a separate room, I go to the public female bath (however, I do pick a time when it’s not crowded). Back to the reasons to visit: yes, people really come there to talk, many of them know each other. But since Tbilisi has grown dramatically, the gossips and rumors than circulate there, are usually about Ortachala and Avlabari districts.

Recently I had a group of tourists from Sweden, who were about to experience that hard massage and super influence of sulfuric water for a reasonable non-touristic price. Then I realized that I haven’t completed more or less detailed “market research” during my two years here… Alright, now, after such a long waltzing around the bathhouse topic, I am about to explain you briefly and clearly, where you can experience traditional spa Tbilisi style.

Let’s go!
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