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[:RU]Walking around the Old Tbilisi. Baths in the center of the city and favorite places of the townspeople.[:]

[:RU]What is needed for this feast? If you are in Georgia, nothing more from you and is not required, the feast itself is formed. The very culture of drinking and eating the food as if born here, in the Caucasus Mountains. Even if you went to Georgia with one sole purpose — to go skiing — all the same meal you will find. And while it has not found you, and you can stroll through the old town.

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TWO favorite places

From the airport to the city able to take us by car. The sister suddenly formed an acquaintance in Tbilisi, who drove us directly to the center so fast that I did not even have time to realize that we are in Georgia. The roads free for about four hours in the morning. Drive is dashing, and therefore unusual even for Muscovites. For some reason when overtaking pressed to the overtaken car as close as possible, honking horns all. Well, if it occurs on the straight and wide avenues of the city, but what if it is widely practiced in the narrow mountain roads? This is Georgia. Here the lead as dashing and without looking back, as well as wine drinking. People cheerful and a bit reckless.

One of my colleagues — Tbilisi. He was born here, has long lived and worked, and now frequent visitor to the family. All ski equipment we left on leave in the hostel, the guys from whom he knew well. The guy that was on duty that day at the reception made us to drink tea from the road and began to talk about Tbilisi. He loves the city and knows it inside out. He draws a diagram on the memory of the old city and encircling attractions. In his uncle Peter, once he even visited his uncle at a party. Russian still remembers, but not as a child: some words he embarrassed refines us and happily displays Russian letters in the names of streets in their makeshift map — «has not forgotten», he says. Tensions between the two countries do not allow it right now so simply to visit his uncle. Georgia several years ago unilaterally abolished visas for Russians, but a reciprocal step was not done. Visa to Russia — is still dreary enterprise for young Georgians.

In the city center it encircles us his favorite place: the area Lado Gudiashvili and street-ladder, ending Chamber observation deck, hidden away in the middle of houses and temples. In both places Tbilisi if you sit at a table and poured wine into glasses, reveals his soul in quiet conversation. On the lookout not crowded. Only the lonely elderly absently admiring the view of the spring through the winter Tbilisi rare blooming roses and a nude vine grapes. It can be seen and, more importantly, the whole town heard how the children laugh at the bottom, the signals to each other machine in the street Leselidze like cats meow from open windows as my grandmother talking, it seems through entire neighborhoods.

About Square Gudiashvili our interlocutor told in detail. This area is a miniature park, lost among the dilapidated neighborhoods undress the old town. Its only inhabitants — frozen in bronze lovers. Are themselves, embracing under an umbrella, and dripping water that licked a stray dog, is a real, live — such sentimental fountain. Couple surrounded by bleak picture. Amidst the devastation and desolation. Some of the once-beautiful old town houses now stand rickety and decrepit, empty and derelict. Even without signs of its former greatness. Sad to say about this place our of Tbilisi. Some time ago, the old home under the guise of reconstruction in general wanted to demolish and build a modern faceless monoliths — is everywhere was in the Georgian capital. One house even had to bulldoze and now in its place the pit with a pair of abandoned concrete columns unfinished new building. The rest of the residents defended the park and its unique architectural appearance. But restoring the building no hurry — either there is no money, or desire. So they are like a feeble old men, with broken windows, fences of mouldering, all props, which in turn are themselves already so decrepit that rely on their backups while maintaining the delicate balance of the whole structure.

WHERE BATH IN THE HEART OF THE CITY

The story of our newly inspired guide for a walk. I must say that Tbilisi, known to our ancestors as the Tbilisi — a city with a rich history, traces of which were everywhere. To get to know him better, you should at least three days: the first day — for the city, the second — the ancient capital of Georgia, Mtskheta, the third — on the walk from the category of «aimlessly» to communicate with the city. On the atmosphere he somehow reminded me of Istanbul — the same ancient, sunny and a bit sad. In these cities, even if you looked at all the fun, you just want to spend a few days to catch my breath, as I once did in Istanbul. Similar city and its antiquity centuries of accumulated wisdom contribute thoughts and perfectly balance all the experiences. They seem to be some «friends». Of them well to leave the train, then to a couple of days before going home, right impressions subsided and ripe.

 

But squandering time on trains — is now expensive for me, and I fly a plane, uzhimaya trip in record time. That’s why we only daylight to explore Tiflis, and in the evening we’d be in the snow of Gudauri.

It’s amazing: in Tbilisi almost never snows in early February, blooming roses, and for some 150 kilometers away, the road is often closed due to avalanche danger, and the drivers put chains on the tires to drive in icy hill on serpentine. The thing Tbilisi microclimate: the city is located in the basin, heated directly from the bowels of the earth hot groundwater.

City and a half millennia ago, was born in the place where they erupt from the land of the hottest water. Why, even the name of Tbilisi is a «warm spring». Now the heart of the city is located a quarter of sulfur baths — Abanotubani. There we went early in the morning as soon as the sun rose.

The first baths were built on springs back in the sixteenth century, and even almost not changed since ancient times. There were here and Lermontov, and Tolstoy, and Griboyedov Pushkin … Last even admitted that he has never seen anything luxurious Tiflis baths. Sami facilities are located underground, as it were, and we’ll see from the street only their stone arches with turrets-holes through which light penetrates into the pool and fresh air. Ban then a dozen, to suit different tastes and budgets. There are common, there are personal, there are private, there is state.

To be honest, I originally did not plan to go to the bath and wanted to restrict inspection quarter outside, because was not too prepared in the choice of a particular institution. But suddenly wanted to touch the legend and relax after a night flight and chose almost the first door. All session in the pool of personal worth about a thousand rubles, but not with man, but with the room, you can go at least five of them. However, as I understand it, we came upon a rather expensive restaurant, and you can find cheaper generic baths and all very accessible. Inside was a hazy twilight, a strong smell of sulfur, which is understandable — something medical sources. But the atmosphere of sheer neglect reigned everywhere, from dirty floors and shabby furniture, finishing with a rusty pipe instead of a shower and tiles falling off the walls of the bath. The sight of an expensive bath was sad. It might seem like you can run and trivialize this historic monument? Here you can arrange well and arrange well, offering more and more services and improving service. But, alas, I saw only enough hamovatoe neglect and attitude towards guests. Rumor has it that now from the iconic meeting place and communication Tbilisi baths turned into a hotbed of prostitution and unsanitary conditions, though, in my opinion it is not so bad. A bath procedures themselves, of course, beautiful. In the beginning, we were warned that the water is high in sulfur, and long it can not be. Couples relax and sleep, soothe the body and spirit, and even kill bacteria. They say, and provide useful elements. So it will be in Tbilisi, still recommend. Choose a bath carefully, you might have more luck.

Old Old Town

Tbilisi I liked the amazing combination of city and nature. Here, right in the historic center, if you walk along the creek a little further warm baths of Tbilisi, is a large waterfall and gorge. Immediately historic center is transformed into a blooming botanical garden, a riot of greenery, even now, in the middle of winter.

Around the pools, in the hills, is located three-manicured streets of four-story buildings in traditional style, with carved wooden columns and graceful balconies. But this model the old town, as if preserved for tourists, ends very quickly. Then it begins what is almost can not be seen in Europe or in Russia. Entire neighborhoods of the old city, built up with houses of the eighteenth-nineteenth centuries, is still inhabited, and keep the spirit of the time. Many of the buildings are wooden and crumbling, through its inhabitants still kept on parole, but ready to collapse at any moment. There is no one to support them, no one to restore them. But resettle residents also no hurry. So they stand, decorated with ornaments and carvings, with a balcony, which, glancing, threatening to fall on the heads of passers-by. At every turn there are things of the past. Here is a table of a century ago, indicating the grocery store. And here is the store at the same location. Changing only generation. A Tbilisi cakes and khachapuri all also sell through the door of the basement, where the morning comes the aroma of fresh bread. Walkers in these lanes and you think about how fast now eludes us time. I remember the smells of childhood: in our high-rise district also bake their own bread, and spread the fragrance of many yards. Now, the bakery is not needed, it was closed. All change is not something that a year later — a month and a week longer recognize objects. And the bread is no longer smells. And here, in the old city of Tbilisi, all is still, as in the Museum of Ethnography.

Then already in Sololaki District, which just interesting to see life. Quiet, green and lively area with no sign of interest, but with their courtyards and cats.

Spudded in its depths, and then sit down to dinner at some local edalni — a pleasure. In general, almost every Georgian edalni — a holiday belly. Back in Moscow, I was armed from his colleagues Tbilisi whole set of names of Georgian dishes are worth a try. I fill up the arsenal and our new friend from the hostel. Khinkali, khachapuri, pkhali, chikhirtma, kabab, Kupat, suluguni and so on and so on and so forth. It is tempting to take it all, but even choosing heels khinkali from a wide range of species, you will watch face puzzled waiter or a smirk, «but you seem to be a beginner in the matter of Georgian cuisine …». Portions are huge, Georgians can eat a lot. But the habit eats even two-three huge khinkali. One day I otelsya so that it seemed, in the evening on the Big Caucasian Ridge are racking me, like a huge balloon.

TOYS SAAKASHVILI

In addition to its observation deck, which was mentioned above, there is another. It is located on a hilltop crowned fortress Narikala. Straight from the embankment of the river Kura to lead the newly opened cable car. Its carriages sweep exactly above the roofs of the old town and the townspeople delivered up. From there you can walk back down, straight through the old town or the beautiful route through the botanical garden.

From the observation deck you can see how over the past few years, the city of Tbilisi has changed significantly. Someone said it sarcastically, someone with regret and nostalgia. The merit of this belongs to Mikhail Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, known for his ambitions and eccentric actions. Saakashvili has pursued a policy of sharply focused on the West. When it appeared in street names American names, the appearance of some quarters of the old city began to resemble European cities. He claimed daring architectural projects and put them into the heart of the capital, not particularly caring about the style, nor the subsequent demand. In his order in Tbilisi was built a number of new infrastructure projects, government, cultural buildings, tourist facilities. Many of his ideas seemed absurd, yet been implemented. Until now, citizens argue about his legacy. Almost everyone with whom ever to communicate, agree that when Saakashvili’s domestic plan was better than when someone else before and after it. It is said that in the first year of his presidency Tbilisi has added new roads, flyovers — largely decided transportation and other infrastructure problems. But then already begin opinion.

Easy to see modern architectural inclusions, which are now visible from the upper observation deck. The photos will be overwritten even Photoshop. Our of Tbilisi, so warm loving their city, regretted tells us, «Saakashvili toys»: a new bridge of peace, the presidential palace, the home of music and the home of Justice. All of them, though, and are now the city utility service, built in a very modern style, and does not fit the traditional image of the ancient city. One of the toys — the railway to the airport, still have not demanded by passengers. It is not clear for whom this branch was built, if it goes on it only three or four pairs of trains per day, and then not in the best during peak hours, and when there are almost no departing and arriving aircraft. So these were scattered toys, there is no one to gather them. Tbilisi has changed.

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