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Tbilisi, Georgia, Europe - Pictures of the Old City (KGB, Still Watching You!)

Updated on September 3, 2018
Paraglider profile image

Dave has completed 44 years in the Broadcast industry. He visited Tbilisi for 3 days in 2010 and collected this content in his spare time.

Tbilisi - a great old city

In 2010, I had the opportunity to visit Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia (Europe, not USA!) It was a working trip of only three days, so I didn't have much chance to look around. But as most people have no chance to visit such places, I thought readers might enjoy these few photographs from my trip.

Tbilisi is an ancient city in an ancient country, with the pride of culture to match. This is no mere (ex) Soviet satellite. They have their own language, their own unique alphabet which is quite different from both Russian and Western Europe. Their cuisine is highly distinctive, and rich, making much use of dairy products. And they pride themselves as being the wine cradle of Europe, sticking to traditional methods that have largely been driven out of France, Germany and Italy by commercial pressures. I can vouch for the wine, especially the deep rich reds, though the locals tend to favour their white wines for everyday drinking.

A couple of disclaimers - the pictures are by a 2010 mobile phone VGA camera, in failing available light, and are not of particularly good quality. I have also airbrushed out people's faces. Georgia had recently been at war with Russia and there were still, shall we say, tensions in the Caucuses. It pays to be careful.

When I first published this article in 2010, for contractual reasons, I was not at liberty to say why I was in Georgia. In fact, I was there in a technical consultative capacity, to help facilitate the Newsroom design and launch of PIK TV, a Russian language news, documentary and cultural channel. PIK TV (First Caucuses News) offered an alternative to the Kremlin controlled RT Network.

Sadly, the channel was closed down after just under two years. (There was always going to be political pressure to this end).

Pictures from Tbilisi, Georgia

a very old cafe interior in the oldest part of tbilisi
a very old cafe interior in the oldest part of tbilisi | Source
Tbilisi is built on many levels. Also the city is full of greenery, trees, ivy..
Tbilisi is built on many levels. Also the city is full of greenery, trees, ivy.. | Source
just some old brickwork - narrow streets, cobbles
just some old brickwork - narrow streets, cobbles | Source
walking in tbilisi town centre
walking in tbilisi town centre | Source
this chap is fronting a cafe/restaurant downtown tbilisi
this chap is fronting a cafe/restaurant downtown tbilisi | Source
tbilisi is full of old churches, towers, fortifications from way back in time
tbilisi is full of old churches, towers, fortifications from way back in time | Source
pedestrian streets, tables & chairs outside tbilisi KGB restaurant (on the right)
pedestrian streets, tables & chairs outside tbilisi KGB restaurant (on the right) | Source
sitting outside tbilisi KGB restaurant
sitting outside tbilisi KGB restaurant | Source
KGB sun blind, from behind. "KGB - still watching you". Black humour maybe, but you can be sure there's an element of truth in it.
KGB sun blind, from behind. "KGB - still watching you". Black humour maybe, but you can be sure there's an element of truth in it. | Source
hanging vines, evening in tbilisi town centre
hanging vines, evening in tbilisi town centre | Source
georgian script over a shop front at night
georgian script over a shop front at night | Source
Tbilisi is on a river, the Mt'k'vari, which cuts a deep gorge through the city
Tbilisi is on a river, the Mt'k'vari, which cuts a deep gorge through the city | Source
a very new (post-Soviet) river bridge, tbilisi
a very new (post-Soviet) river bridge, tbilisi | Source
yours truly on said bridge, with the georgian president's official residence over right shoulder
yours truly on said bridge, with the georgian president's official residence over right shoulder | Source

And That's About It...

I'm not going to pretend to know more about Tbilisi, Georgia, than rubbed off in three short days. My memories are of a friendly proud people, intent on safeguarding their ancient culture and traditions at all costs. When they raise a glass, which is not infrequently, their toast, translated, is - Victory to us!

Thank you for reading.

Hey, wait - I've found a few more pics!

floodlit church by night - georgia is largely orthodox
floodlit church by night - georgia is largely orthodox | Source
this was breakfast, in tbilisi french cafe
this was breakfast, in tbilisi french cafe | Source
more trees in the middle of tbilisi, distant mountains
more trees in the middle of tbilisi, distant mountains | Source
ditto
ditto | Source
tbilisi kopala, where we relaxed after work, enjoying views over the old town and river
tbilisi kopala, where we relaxed after work, enjoying views over the old town and river
view from tbilisi kopala
view from tbilisi kopala | Source
and again, it's that same bridge. The locals nickname it the 'Always' bridge. Need I explain?
and again, it's that same bridge. The locals nickname it the 'Always' bridge. Need I explain? | Source
still from tbilisi kopala
still from tbilisi kopala | Source
some nice old decorative walling, tbilisi centre
some nice old decorative walling, tbilisi centre | Source
and some reflected sunlight downtown
and some reflected sunlight downtown | Source

Comments

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    • Paraglider profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave McClure 

      7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Hi Robert - It is a very old city, but the pictures were mostly taken in failing light, with a phone camera, so perhaps they don't do the colours justice. Thanks for the visit :)

    • profile image

      Robert 

      7 years ago

      Good pictures but, very sad color's, dark and old

    • Paraglider profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave McClure 

      7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Samuel - I would like to spend more time there but the opportunity might not come again. I can't tell you much more about it because I was only there for 3 working days. I'm sure you'll enjoy it if you go.

    • profile image

      samuel 

      7 years ago

      Hi, can you please tell me more about this place, I would probably be going there at the end of february to futher my education..

    • Paraglider profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave McClure 

      8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      japtaker - thank you for telling me. I think the spirit of Georgia has not changed at all. I hope to be back sometime in February. And if it works out, I'll come back with some better pictures!

    • japtaker profile image

      Justin Aptaker 

      8 years ago from United States

      What wonderful, fond memories you have stirred up with this article! I actually lived in Tbilisi for about three years during my childhood/early adolescence. Just seeing these pictures is an emotional experience for me. What a beautiful country it is, and what a beautiful, hospitable culture. I do wonder how much has changed since I left there...

    • Paraglider profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave McClure 

      8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      just because :)

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 

      8 years ago from US

      Good Dave, I miss traveling. Get some more pics when you can. I will wait for your hub again.

      And yes Asian women are great spec. Filipinos. I know just because....

    • Paraglider profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave McClure 

      8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Hi Maita - I'm probably going back before the end of January. Hope so :)

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 

      8 years ago from US

      Awesome, a beautiful ancient place. Cheers, victory to them, I saw you there and the pics are great! Maita

    • Paraglider profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave McClure 

      8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Hi Alice - Tell her to take lots of warm clothes. It's pretty cold at this time of year! I think she'll enjoy it.

    • Alice in Wonder profile image

      Alice in Wonder 

      8 years ago from South Texas

      What timing, my daughter's friend will be leaving for Georgia to take a teaching job in the first of January. Going to send this to both of them. Thanks so much!

    • Paraglider profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave McClure 

      8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Hi James - I might be going back briefly in January. If so, I'll take a decent camera :)

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for this fascinating look at Tbilisi! I loved the photographs. And for the first time, I've seen your face! :D

    • Paraglider profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave McClure 

      8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Thanks Tony. I'm hoping to go back early in the new year, unless the whole of Europe is snowbound of course!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Fascinating glimpse of a city I hve heard of but know little about. Thanks for sharing. The photos have a strange quality due to the phone camera but are still good to look at.

      Thanks for the trip!

      BTW such a funny coincidence that your comment just above you start with "Hi Q" - here in South Africa that is the name of a wheel and tyre company!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Paraglider profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave McClure 

      8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Hi Q - thanks for the visit, always welcome :)

    • Quilligrapher profile image

      Quilligrapher 

      8 years ago from New York

      Hi Para,

      Thanks for sharing your interesting pix from Tbilisi.

      Q.

    • Paraglider profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave McClure 

      8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Hi Shades - thanks for the visit. Living in Qatar, where everything is grey and dusty, with very little green, it's always a pleasure to have a few days almost anywhere. That's why I even photograph random trees - they are novelties to desert eyes!

    • Shadesbreath profile image

      Shadesbreath 

      8 years ago from California

      Very cool little glimpse at this place. I envy your traveler's spirit, motivation and energy. I'm glad you took the time to put this hub up. I'd much rather see someplace new and cool through the lense of a cell phone and the mind/heart of a real person than some glossy, touched up pictures of the same commerical places over and over again.

    • Paraglider profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave McClure 

      8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Hi Micky - Not so much foggy , but mostly the pics were taken in the evening after work, when the light was failing. It's a great city to walk, but the cobbles would be nasty on a bicycle!

      always exploring - that bridge is one of the very few hi-tech pieces in the city. Mostly it is very old, plus of course a lot of soviet era apartment blocks which are quite ugly. They haven't had much money since they regained their independence.

      girlpower - thank you. That was exactly my intention. I'm lucky to be able to travel widely for work.

      ilmdmaily - I'd encourage you to go. There are problems of course, high unemployment, and many who have been unemployable since the end of the soviet, havimg been unable to adjust. But there is certainly a healthy buzz to the place.

      Visas. I entered without a visa on a British passport which they didn't even stamp on arrival, suggesting there's no fixed term of visit. I guess a Russian passport would be less welcome ;) In three days, I saw plenty of Georgian women and would say that in general they are quite open and friendly. The younger ones dress nicely and make a point of looking Western, i.e. non-Soviet. The only one I had a chance to speak to at any length features in picture no 4.

      By the way, George Bush is regarded as a hero in Georgia, for his support of Misha (Mikhail Saakashvili, the President) in his stand against Russia. The main city bypass is called George Bush Avenue!

    • ilmdamaily profile image

      ilmdamaily 

      8 years ago from A forgotten corner of a dying empire. OK, it's Australia :-)

      Awesome hub Paraglider!

      I'm desperate to get to Tbilisi...I wouldn't mind living there for a while actually. You don't ever see much of Georgia in the news (except insofar as it is occasionally Russia's whipping boy)...which seems a shame to me, for I get the impression that it's an incredibly dynamic place with a lot of creativity ready to come out. Certainly that's the impression i've gotten from that whole rose revolution thing.

      I also heard they don't require foreigners to obtain visas to visit, being happy instead that the world at large just recognises their independence (of which tourists play a vital role)...is this true?

      May I ask also, what is your assessment of Georgian women? The heart of a lonely traveller wants to know lol.

      Good work, mate!

    • profile image

      girlpower 

      8 years ago

      thanks for the pictures of a place many of us will never see, through your eyes you gave us the gift of knowledge of a place hidden from the world.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      8 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Very beautiful pictures,and one bridge named after me,'always',a little humor here.Thanks for sharing.

      Cheers

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Awesomely beautiful! Great job! Looks a little foggy. I don't get good pics in the rain or fog. These were nice though! God bless!

    • Paraglider profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave McClure 

      8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Thanks VioetSun - if I do get the chance to go back, I'll take a decent camera this time :)

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 

      8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      I enjoyed looking at the photos, I love old structures, cobblestone streets which we generally don't have in the USA. I love the famous St. Patricks Church in NY because of the architecture of the building and often would visit. Thanks for the share!

    • Paraglider profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave McClure 

      8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Jupiter - if you get the chance, take it. This is a fine old city. Thanks for commenting.

    • nextstopjupiter profile image

      nextstopjupiter 

      8 years ago from here, there and everywhere

      Great pictures, an invitation to visit the Georgian capital, thanks!

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