Discover Georgia
Most charming historic buildings of Tbilisi - A trip through the city’s past
30 April, 2018
Tbilisi, Georgia’s beautiful capital, is distinguished by a number of features making the city a unique combination of a modern and old. The old part of the city attracts both tourists and the locals, since the city architecture reflects the country’s rich history. If you want to discover what Tbilisi really looks like and why so many international publications write about these jewel of Caucasus over and over again, then you should definitely take a walk through its labyrinth of
narrow streets. The cobbled stoned city with wooden balconies and old courtyards coupled with art novae buildings is mostly famous for its cosmopolitan nature, where churches of different religious peacefully reside side by side, while the disco terrace with colorful illuminations overlooks them.

For centuries, the friendly wooden houses with balconies and alleys have climbed the side of mountainside under the 4th century Narikala fortress. Its courtyards and winding cobbled streets, known as the ‘Asian’ quarter of the Old Town, have delighted visitors and inhabitants alike with one of the most friendly atmospheres of any of the world’s old towns.
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Friendly wooden houses of Old Tbilisi

Although the city’s urban landscape fascinates the visitors, still many of the valuable buildings have not survived, pre-19th century city, due to the devastating Persian invasion of 1795. Yet, the city is graced with rich culture and heritage, represented through it landmarks.
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Original balcony in Tbilisi

The district is full of tourist attractions, including churches, museums, sulphur bathhouses, and peculiar wooden houses with open, carved balconies.
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Many of the valuable buildings have not survived

Apart from well-known attractions and landmarks that are exposed and visible to everyone, there is much more to see in the city. There are many distinguished buildings and places with exciting stories behind them in Tbilisi. These beautiful old buildings are adored by the local residents of Georgia and foreign visitors of the country as well.
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There are many distinguished buildings and places with exciting stories behind them in Tbilisi

Here we present the most notable old houses and buildings of Tbilisi, that stand out for their architecture or stories.

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The city architecture reflects the country’s rich history

Old house at Aghmashenebeli Avenue

It is impossible not to notice a beautiful old-style house while walking down on Aghmashenebeli Avenue, Tbilisi. The building is located at Aghmashenebeli Avenue, No. 36.

Despite the fact that the house is quite old, it preserves its unique charm until today. It is enough to step inside the house and you will find yourself in totally different world.
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Beautiful old-style house at Aghmashenebeli Avenue

The house was built between 19th-20th centuries by famous philanthropist and public figure Erasti Tchavtchanidze.

As it was typical to the luxury houses built at that time, the interior is adorned with golden patterns. Angels are looking down from the ceiling, while on the walls are well-known scenes from epic Georgian poem The Knight in the Panter’s Skin, by renowned medieval poet Shota Rustaveli.
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Interior of the house

It is worth mentioning that the illustrations are created by famous 19th-century Hungarian painter Mihály Zichy.
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The illustrations are created by famous 19th-century Hungarian painter Mihály Zichy

He produced the classic illustrations that have been frequently used in editions of Rustaveli's poetry.

Unique vintage house at Betlemi Street

A 19th century old wooden house on Betlemi Street, No. 3 is a real architectural jewel of Tbilisi. It is noteworthy that this eye-catching vintage house is one of the few houses decorated with colorful stained glass windows in the city.
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Unique vintage house at Betlemi Street

The old building is one of the distinct attractions for the tourists, having preserved its stained glass windows for over a hundred years.
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The building preserved its stained glass windows for over a hundred years

Yet another remarkable feature of this building is its balconies decorated with exquisite carvings and ornaments as well the beautiful spiral staircase.
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The old building is one of the distinct attractions for the tourists

Former Hotel London at Atoneli Street

London Hotel is a unique vintage building located on Atoneli Street # 31. The hotel was constructed in 1875. The building was built by the Zubalashvili brothers, Georgian businessmen and benefactors, who built a number of exquisite buildings, such as Marjanishvi Theatre and the Neo-Gothic Cathedral in Batumi.
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Former Hotel London at Atoneli Street

It is well-known fact that Knut Hamsun, a famous Norwegian writer and Nobel Prize winner in literature, used to stay here during his time in Tbilisi, in 1899.

London Hotel was considered to be one of the most luxurious hotels in the city and it was the favorite place for the foreign visitors of the country.
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London Hotel was considered to be one of the most luxurious hotels in the city

Additionally, the famous Russian composer Peter Tchaikovski also stayed there.
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The Interior of the building is decorated with original metal staircase

The Interior of the building is decorated with unusual masterful artworks and original metal staircase. The entire atmosphere of the old hotel creates mystical environment, which will definitely make you feel like you are travelling through time.

Georgian “Hogwarts” - 19th century Women’s Gymnasium in Sololaki

This unusual and interesting brick building can be found in Sololaki district of Old Tbilisi, if you walk down the Shalva Dadiani street towards Lado Asatiani street. A 19th century Neo Gothic building is one of the architectural jewels of Tbilisi. At first sight, this unique building might remind of Hogwarts, for its specific architecture and peculiar façade.
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Georgian “Hogwarts”

It is one of the oldest school buildings in Tbilisi, which was built by architect Alexander Ozerov in 1903-1905 for the girls gymnasium. Currently, authorized School No. 6 is located there. The building stands out for its Neo- Gothic architecture that has been preserved to this day.
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The building stands out for its Neo- Gothic architecture

The house of Melik-Azariants at Rustaveli Avenue

Another distinctive building of Tbilisi is located at the main street of the city, Rustaveli Avenue No. 37. The house of Melik-Azaryants is the symbol of old Tbilisi built according to the project of the architect Nikolay Obolonskiy.
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The house of Melik-Azariants at Rustaveli Avenue

The charming building was constructed in 1915 under the order of famous philanthropist Alexander Melik-Azariants.
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The charming building was constructed in 1915

Even at the beginning of the 20th century, the house had its own power supply, water pipes, heating. Additionally the building incorporated art gallery and a garden full of exotic plants; cinema and a photo salon.The stone mourning wreaths on its towers remind of a 25 -year-old merchant's daughter, who died soon after the completion of the construction works.
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The stone mourning wreaths on its towers remind of a 25 -year-old merchant's daughter

The former Wedding Palace in Tbilisi

The former Wedding Palace is yet another especially beautiful building in Tbilisi designed by the architect Victor Djorbenadze and constructed by Givi Pitskhelauri in 1984 as a wedding venue. It is located at No 21 Bochorma Street, Tbilisi.

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Former Wedding Palace in Tbilisi

The building, drawing on influences as diverse as 1920s expressionism and medieval Georgian church architecture, met with mixed critical reviews.

The Wedding Palace was visited by many outstanding people such as Margaret Thatcher in 1987 and Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan who renewed his vows with wife Bron while touring in 1990.
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The former Wedding Palace is yet another especially beautiful building in Tbilisi

In 2002 it was purchased by the oligarch Badri Patarkatsishvili for use as his personal residence. In 2013, the Wedding Palace was leased to a private events company and currently hosts weddings and corporate functions.

National Bank of Georgia at Leonidze Street

The extravagant building of Bank of Georgia is located at No. 3 Giorgi Leonidze Street, near the Freedom Square. From Freedom Square you can go up along Leonidze street where on its right, at the distance of 20-30 meters you can see the building of the National Bank of Georgia - the former Mutual Credit Society.
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National Bank of Georgia at Leonidze Street

The building was erected in 1913 by an Armenian architect M.Ogajanov.

When Soviet power was established, the building was confiscated and given to the State Bank. In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was partly damaged and then restored. Originally it had only two floors and in 1960 a third floor was added to it. The main façade that overlooks the street was designed in a modernist style.
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The building was erected in 1913 by an Armenian architect

The facade is decorated with relief ornament and figure compositions. One can see two figures of naked athletes, Pluto and Mercury that are engraved on its front facade.

Historic residential house at Dadiani Street

Another jewel of Tbilisi’s architecture, beautiful old house decorated with original ornaments is located at Shalva Dadiani Street No 34. It is worth mentioning that the house has a status of Cultural Heritage Monument. It is considered to be one of the oldest buildings in Tbilisi.
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Historic residential house at Dadiani Street

The special charm of the building is a rounded wooden balcony decorated with carved details that are typical to the old houses built in Tbilisi.
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The house was constructed in the middle of the 19th century

The house was constructed in the middle of the 19th century. In 2016, the tender was announced for the rehabilitation works of the old house. The rehabilitation project aims to bring back the original appearance of the building. The building is already undergoing restoration works.

The Writers’ House at Machabeli Street No. 13

The Writers' House, one of the oldest and most charming buildings in Tbilisi, is located on the street named after Ivane Machabeli, the famous Georgian writer, translator and publicist, and one of the founders of the new Georgian literary language.
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The Writers’ House at Machabeli Street

Once the house belonged to Davit Sarajishvili, a famous philanthropist, and the founder of Georgian brandy production.

This house was built in 1903-1905. The building was designed by the German architect Carl Zaar. The façade incorporates elements of modernist, baroque and rococo styles.
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This house was built in 1903-1905

After Sarajishvili’s death the building was purchased by famous merchant Akaki Khoshtaria in 1919. Later in 1921 when Georgia was occupied by the Russian Red Army the building housed the Artists’ Union. Finally, it ended up as the Writers’ House of Georgia.

Residential Blue house with carved balconies at Rustaveli Avenue

The turquoise House with amazingly beautiful carved balconies is located at Rustaveli Avenue No. 54, behind the Georgian National Academy of Sciences building.
The house was constructed in 1897. It used to belong to the famous lawyer and economist Vasil Gabashvili. The house was designed by architect Korneli Tatishchev who was also the architect of the famous Rustaveli State Theatre.
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Residential Blue house with carved balconies at Rustaveli Avenue

Its facade is the synthesis of baroque and rococo styles. This building is distinguished by its carved wooden lace façade, exquisite balcony painted entrance and a beautiful garden with round fountain. One will hardly find similar carved façade and balcony in Tbilisi.
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Even Joseph Stalin was captivated by its unique beauty

Even Joseph Stalin was captivated by its unique beauty – as it is known, after the Second World War, the Soviet Government destroyed many gorgeous buildings on Rustaveli Avenue and this house was also supposed to be demolished, but the famous therapist Nikoloz Kipshidze, who was Stalin’s private doctor and the husband of Vasil Gabashvili’s daughter, showed a photo of the house to Stalin and asked him to save it from destruction. As a result, the building survived and has been preserved to the present day.

Photos courtesy Tsira Elisashvili

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