“Tbilisi is like a European city that grew up in a different universe” – Georgia on Chris Morgan’s mind
04 June, 2016
“Tbilisi is like a European city that grew up in a different universe” – Georgia on Chris Morgan’s mind
The Guardian has published famous author Chris Morgan Jones’s article where the writer shares his impressions on Georgia , its landscapes, culture and cuisine. In the article we read that the popular writer traveled to Georgia and drew his inspirations for his latest novel The Searcher exactly here. Here is what he says about Georgia and its capital Tbilisi:
geotv.ge
Georgia is a gift to a novelist: it seems to change every 10 miles. Tbilisi and the mountains in the north-east
– the places I use in my new book – are particularly rich. It was important to me to pick a location as alien to most readers as it is to my main character, who finds himself a long way from home and utterly out of his depth. And it has Russia to the north – a long-term enemy/rival/meddler in Georgian affairs – to add tension.

Tbilisi feels European, medieval and completely foreign all at once. Two things make it unique: its geography and the dilapidated beauty of the old city. It’s on the banks of the Kura river, and to the south the old town climbs up a high ridge, on top of which sit Narikala fortress, the television tower and the cable car station. Within minutes of arriving there you know exactly how the place is put together. In the old town, every building seems to house a dozen stories, and every third one seems to be crumbling. Vines grow up the walls and flowers from every crack.

The history of Georgia is all invasions, yet the country has survived with its own language, alphabet and culture

The city has been sacked and burned to the ground countless times. The history of Georgia is all invasions, yet the country has survived with its own language, alphabet, religion and culture. You feel this every step you take in Tbilisi, not least because it looks both familiar and like nowhere else. It’s like a European city that’s grown up over centuries in a slightly different universe.

The word Soviet often comes up when you talk to people about Tbilisi. It was part of the USSR, but aside from some Communist-era apartment buildings in the suburbs it doesn’t feel like any other former USSR city. It’s 2,000 years old and very much its own place. Its years under Soviet rule have left a far lighter impression than many other cities.

Signs on church doors around the city say “no guns inside”. And another surprising thing is the bold modern architecture around every corner (especially the police stations, which have been deliberately designed to be transparent).
geotv.ge
The view from the fortress takes some beating. The easiest way to get there is by cable car from Rike Park, by the river. It will cost you all of 60p, and you can see the entire city stretching up and down the river, dotted all over with the country’s distinctive conical church towers.

The unpronounceable old capital, Mtskheta, offers another spectacular view.
From the sixth-century Jvari monastery, 12 miles from Tbilisi, you can see two rivers in their deep gorges converge at what you can readily imagine was the centre of an ancient world.

geotv.ge

We had the best night out at a winery in Tsinandali, an hour from Tbilisi. It’s the house of Georgian poet Alexander Chavchavadze. Georgians make amazing wine, and they like to drink lots of it. We had a traditional Georgian feast called a supra, with lots of toasts (to God, Georgia, women, great poets, mountains) and after each one a tumbler of white Kakheti wine. I lasted about an hour and a half and woke up the next day on the bathroom floor in my hotel room. Not dignified, but fun.

Apart from wine, Georgians drink chacha, which is basically grappa.
People distil it at home or know someone who does. It always seems to come in old water bottles and it’s much better than you think it’s going to be.

geotv.ge

PurPur must be the most beautiful restaurant in Tbilisi. It’s in a quiet corner of the old town, and every inch is covered in fabrics, antiques and murals. It does good drinks and food, but the main reason to go is the atmosphere. After a couple of Manhattans it’s possible to think you’ve dropped out of time. I also like Pastorali, especially in the evenings, when you can sit outside and watch the city at play. It does great khachapuri (Georgian pizza, sort of) and salads with walnut dressing.

In the past few years boutique hotels have popped up all over Tbilisi.
Hotel Kopala has fabulous views of the castle and river. It plays a supporting role in my book. Ask for rooms in the old building.
geotv.ge

The natural sulphur spring baths in the old city are not to be missed. Only five now remain, but somehow they’re at the heart of the place. The one I went to has private rooms and a legendary proprietress called Gulo. Sip Turkish tea and soak yourself where Alexandre Dumas and Mongol invader Tamerlane once did.

Gori, Joseph Stalin’s birthplace, is not far from Tbilisi.
Its museum, with the house where he was born and his personal railway carriage, was founded by Lavrentiy Beria, a fellow Georgian who was the hugely feared head of the secret police in the second world war. When I visited, there were plans to turn it into a more critical testament to Stalin’s legacy – but it had a great deal of sinister, fading power.
geotv.ge
Tusheti, in the far north-east of Georgia is only accessible by a quite terrifying road.The BBC featured it in its World’s Most Dangerous Road series in 2013. It’s a remote, almost forgotten paradise of towering mountains, clear rivers, wild horses, wolves, bears and – if you happen to be there for the summer festival – prodigious feats of drinking", - The article reads.

Source: The Guardian

Related stories:

A Fierce Toast From Alice Feiring’s Drinking Horn - The New York Times

CNN: Heavy drinking in Tbilisi, Georgia

“Raise a glass in Georgia” – CNN’s Anthony Bourdain joins Georgian feast


Save
Print
Other Stories
Things to keep in mind while travelling to Georgia
If you are planning to visit Georgia, Georgian Journal will provide you with important tips and recommendations.
3 Innovative startups created in Georgia
Georgian students have created a number of interesting startups in recent years.
Stunning Georgian Monasteries captured by Giorgi Nikolava
Georgian photographer Giorgi Nikolava has captured beautiful views of Georgian Monasteries.
Georgia, I love you - Georgian policemen's honorable behavior leaves tourist excited
"The Georgian police went above and beyond my expectations" - writes Nicole on Facebook.
Cave cities to visit in Georgia
Georgia boasts its unique caves spread out across the country.
Top 12 Must-See Places in Georgia
If you are going to visit Georgia, there are top 12 places you must visit throughout the country.
Unique Qvevri-made whisky by Alexander Distillery
Whisky is a strong alcoholic beverage, an aromatic drink, which is made from fermented grain mash in oak barrels.
Virtual tour to snowy Georgia by Shermazana
Georgia is distinguished by its unique nature. Georgia boasts its Mountains, lakes, rivers and a sea, forests and resort towns, all found in a single country.
History of the Georgian resort town Borjomi
Borjomi is a resort town located in the region of Samtskhe-Javakheti, Georgia.
CNN about abandoned Tskaltubo Spa
CNN has recently published an article about the abandoned sanatoriums of Tskaltubo, a town in the west part of Georgia.
4 Estonians and a Lithuanian who farm tea in Georgia
What comes to your mind when you hear Georgia? Lots of things: wine first of all, cuisine, nature and mountains covered with snow all year, tourism, but what about tea?
Georgia celebrates National Flag Day
Today on the 14th of January Georgia celebrates National Flag Day.
Imeretian vine species: Black Acorn
Georgia boasts more than 500 varieties of indigenous grapes, some of them are not found anywhere in the world.
The New York Times advices Americans to visit Batumi in 2019
“Tbilisi, Georgia’s charming capital, has been flooded with tourists over the past decade”
Georgian mountain town Mestia on the travel hotlist
The daily newspaper Daily Express in the United Kingdom has recently published an article about the top up-and-coming travel destinations for this year.
Washington Post about Georgian wine on Mars and Chakrulo
Washington Post has recently published an article about the IX Millennium project and the Georgian team experimenting on grape varieties and Mars-like soil.
Tbilisi covered with fireworks on the New Year’s Eve
Old Tbilisi was entirely covered with fireworks on the New Year’s Eve in Georgia.
Alilo – Christmas tradition in Georgia
Alilo is a traditional Georgian Christmas song performed the night before Christmas.
Georgian wines to taste for Christmas and New Year
Georgia is the country where the earliest evidence of grape wine-making was found.
8 Georgian buildings nominated at the Mies van der Rohe Award
8 Georgian buildings have been nominated at the European Union Prize of Contemporary Architecture, Mies van der Rohe Award 2019.
Georgian wine wins gold medals in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Georgian wines have recently received gold medals at the International Wine Tasting Competition “Vine East”.
Founder of brandy tradition in Georgia – David Sarajishvili
Wine making has long tradition in Georgia. It has been made for centuries in this country and scientists sometimes call Georgia a cradle of wine.
“Mekvleoba” and “Bedoba” – New Year traditions in Georgia
New Year is one of the main celebrations in the wintertime.
Wintertime paintings by Georgian artists
The wintertime is always associated with snow, Christmas and New Year.
Festive decorations in different parts of Georgia
Georgia gets ready for Christmas and New Year.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
17.02.2019
18.02.2019
USD
1
USD
2.6413
2.6413
EUR
1
EUR
2.9791
2.9791
GBP
1
GBP
3.3851
3.3851
RUB
100
RUB
3.9608
3.9608