In Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, you can enjoy a bath with hot sulphurous waters or folk festivals with traditional Georgian dances.
Tbilisi, founded as a fortress-city in the V century, is the nation’s capital, its largest city and has been admired by famous people such as Leon Tolstoy and Alexander Dumas. Situated at a strategic crossroads between Europe and Asia, it has been invaded by Persians, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, and Bolsheviks – none of whom were able to crush the energetic and artistic creativity of a people who consider dance to be an expression of Caucasian identity.
Every corner of Tbilisi is quite captivating. Its bewitching spell is cast over the whole of this safe and friendly metropolis in which guests are considered a “gift from God”. The Georgian capital is leading the way in the country’s development. It is an example of urban harmony in which classical architecture and Art Nouveau mix wonderfully together.
Baths from the XII century can be found under the Narikala fortress, in the Abanotubani district. They possess the natural properties of sulphur waters, as King Vakhtang observed when he founded the city of Tbilisi, which was first called Tpili, an old Georgian word meaning “warm springs”.
Near the sulphur baths, there is a group of buildings that symbolize the country’s tolerance: the only Mosque in the world in which Sunni and Shiite Muslims pray together; the Great Synagogue of the Jews who, after the Ottoman Turk invasion of the city of Akhaltsikhe, resettled in Tbilisi towards the end of the XIX century; the “Sioni” or Georgian Orthodox Dormition Cathedral, site of the “Catholik” Patriarchs of Georgia until the consecration of the “Sameba”, or new Cathedral of the Holy Trinity; the Armenian Church of Saint George, in which the poet Sayat-Nova, the “king of songs,” is buried; and the Catholic Church of the Assumption.
At the end of the harvest, colourful folkloric celebrations take place in the wine making areas. These are an expression of the sociability, optimism and unbridled joy that comes from living in an open and prosperous country. A demonstration of passionate national pride, they illustrate how Georgians love to celebrate their strong sense of identity. Their dances, full of passion, leave a lasting impression.