How Tbilisi's recreational zones were built and what is left of them today
20 July, 2018
How Tbilisi's recreational zones were built and what is left of them today
Tbilisi, which was once covered entirely by green and recreational zones, is gradually succumbing to the relentless demand for further urban development. These places look totally different in photographs taken during the Soviet period. In a city, where 0.5 million people lived at the time, the percentage of green space required per capita was 15m2, However in reality it was only 8m2. The highest percentage of green space per capita was in 1983 – 13m2. Unfortunately, currently, this index is very
low- 3m2.

Now, we will talk about the various recreational zones of Tbilisi and what is left of them.

Vake Park
Construction of Vake Park (in the centre of Vake ditrict) started in 1945. The original design for the park by Quchu Dgebuadze and Neli Tsitsishvili was to cover 226 hectares. However these days, it only covers 19 hectares. The main focus at the park is the Glory Memorial to World War II, located on the ridge.

Dighomi Forest-Park
The largest forest-park of the capital city is situated between the streets of Akhmeteli and Lubliana. In 1934, the Forest- Park covered 75 hectares. There used to be a basic seedling agriculture located here . Currently, only 20.5 hectares are left of this Park.

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Photo courtesy: www.tbsg.ge

Vera’s Garden
Nowadays, its area is less than 4 hectares. Previously, the gardens stretched from the Blue Monastery to the confluence of the rivers Vere and Mtkvari. Later, a part of the gardens was used as a cemetery. In 1898, when urban development took up a major part of the Vera district, by consent of the Exarchus of Georgia, the City Council stopped the Garden’s use as a cemetery and reverted to re-establishing it as a garden. In the Soviet period it was called Kirovi and in 1933 the garden construction was started according to the design of agronomist/decorator Machavariani. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Garden’s name reverted back to Vera Garden.

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Photo courtesy: www.tbsg.ge

Alexander's Garden
Today, the upper terrace of the garden carries the name of 9th of April, and the lower one – Giorgi Leonidze. However, the public calls it Alexander's Garden (as in the old period) or Alexandrovi’s Garden. This name was taken in honour of the Russian Emperor – Alexander the Great . Alexander's Garden is officially the first public recreational park in Tbilisi and dates back to 1859. The German architect Oto Simons was engaged to create the garden, which was to be divided into two terraces. The Park was officially opened in 1865 and is said, to have covered an area from Rustaveli Avenue to the bank of the Mtkvari. In the 19th century, the garden was separated into two parts by a road, which exists nowadays as well, and is called – Tabukashvili Street. In the 20th century, for a short period, trams also traveled along this street.

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Photo courtesy: www.tbsg.ge

Zoological Park
Tbilisi Zoo was founded in 1927 by the decision of the Executive Committee of the City Council. 70 hectares (later 120 hectares) of land were allocated for the Zoo in the gorge of the river Vere. In 2015, major parts of the Zoo Park were flooded. As a consequence it was decided that the Zoo should be re-located to an area around the Tbilisi Sea. The process is already underway. Another new park area will ultimately take its place.

Garden of the Mother Tongue

Garden of the Mother Tongue is situated on the right bank of the river Mtkvari. Previously, Madatov’s island was located near this garden, but disappeared after the level of the river Mtkvari rose. Decisions about the creation of this garden were taken after World War II, when Stalin's highway was built on the bank of the river. Garden of the Mother Tongue is a well-known meeting place. In 1977, after adoption of the Soviet Constitution, the Supreme Council of the Georgian SSR developed a constitutional plan.According to this the Georgian language was declared no longer an official state language. This was followed by a series of public protests. On the 14th of April 1978, great demonstration were held in the garden demanding that the status of the Georgian language be reinstated. The demonstrations proved to be successful in achieving their desired aim and so the 14th of April was later announced to be the Mother Tongue Day.

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Mziuri

The idea of creating a Children’s city belongs to the eminent Georgian writer – Nodar Dumbadze. Construction commenced in 1981, in the gorge of the river Vere. The length of the “Mziuri” was 15 km according to the project. Later on, several residential blocks and a Police Station were built.Following the flooding in 2015, lower parts of the park, located on the bank of the river Vere, were damaged.

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Photo courtesy: www.tbsg.ge

Expo-Georgia
The history behind the creation of the exhibition centre starts in 1958. The State decided to build the exhibition pavilions to celebrate the 1,500 year anniversary of Tbilisi .They organized exhibitions of industrial products. A wide range of building activities started in 1961, and as a result, 11 pavilions, a greenhouse, pool and park were constructed. Once a year, the space was allocated for international exhibitions. Between 1994-1998, the organization was privatized and the company became a joint stock company. The Infrastructure was renewed and the green space refreshed.

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Photo courtesy: www.likealocalguide.com

Park of Tbilisi Sea

The Tbilisi Sea was created in 1951 with 31 million cubic meters of water. In the old days , there were so-called ,salty lakes, where Tbilisi citizens would gather. In the nearest area of the sea,(which is over 250 hectares), is located Dendro Park . This Park was established in 1956 following an idea by Joseph Mjavanadze, and practical support from the Secretary of the Central Committee – Vasil Mjavanadze. Initially, the park was 250 hectares, but later increased by an additional 50 hectares.

Rike Park
This Park was opened on the 26th May 2010, . It is shaped like map of Georgia with each region connected by paths to each other. Rike was the name of the left bank of the Mtkvari in the late middle centuries. In the 17th century, Rike was a place for competitions . However, it was frequently flooded because of the rising the level of the Mtkvari. In the 19th century, there were markets, Karvasla, and workshops, etc here . By the beginning of the 2000s, restaurants started to appear but these were removed later because of the construction of Rike Park

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Photo courtesy: www.ka.wikipedia.org

Mtatsminda’s Park

Mtatsminda’s Park is the highest park in Tbilisi, and was established in 1930. Its area is more than 100 hectares. The Park has changed over the years and currently is one of the favorite places of Tbilisi citizens.

Botanical Garden
There were 3 gardens situated in this area four centuries ago. They all belonged to the then royal family and were called the King’s Gardens. In 1795, Agha Mahmad Khan burned Tbilisi and many people were killed. From 1801, the gardens became state property and were called the “State Treasury Gardens”. By Order of Vorontsov, in 1845, the gardens were called the “Botanical Gardens”. From 1900, totally new methods of planting were adopted for plant collections in the garden. These methods are recognized as major principles of plant collection layouts today. The original area of the gardens amounted to some 128 ,000 hectares.However, today this is significantly diminished.

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Photo courtesy: www.qronikaplus.ge

Mushtaid’s Garden
This garden was built by Mir Phete Agha Sade Tavriz, who fled Iran in 1830. He was a religious leader of the Mujahidin Shiites in Iran’s Azerbaijan. The Government of Russia gave him sanctuary in Tbilisi, where he lived with his family for many years. On precisely the spot where he lived , he planted a garden. After a certain period, Mir Phete Agha returned to Iran and the Tbilisi house and garden were sold to a private person. Since then the garden has had various owners but it was only at the end of the 19th century, that the government decided to take care of it. In 1935, a children’s railway was installed at the garden.

Roses’ Garden
Former Gork’s Garden, is currently named “Roses’ Garden” and is situated on the Aghmashenebeli Avenue. Reconstruction of the garden was carried out in 2011. Nowadays, the area of the garden is significantly decreased.

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Photo courtesy: www.meidangroup.ge

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