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Georgia

Georgia Keyvisual Churches

It’s been wisely noted that the closer you are to a border, the more opportunity you see.

Georgia Tbilisi Archeology Museum

Tbilisi's former Museum of Archaeology

Georgia Tbilisi Inside

Tbilisi A snapshot of Old London, a former hotel

Given Georgia's location—sandwiched between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, and bordering Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan—it’s easy to imagine this adage being muttered on street corners, atop mountains, in valley depths, and beyond.

Georgia Tbilisi Carpets.

Tbilisi Craftspeople often sell their creations to passersby on the street

Georgia Land
Georgia Tbilisi Exterior

Tbilisi A typical wooden balcony on a traditional Georgian house

Georgia is beginning to find its feet on the new international stage, blossoming from its former Soviet Socialist Republic status after declaring independence in 1991, and the contrast one sees between its rich history, well-rooted conservativism, Christian orthodoxy, and emerging young spirit eclecticizes its cultural offerings to dizzying heights.

Stamba Cafe

Stamba Hotel is home to its own coffee roastery and cafe

Georgia Rooms 01

Stamba Hotel, housed inside a Soviet-era publishing house in Tbilisi

Firstly, the capital of Tbilisi is known for its wild ways. The thrum of the city’s clubbing scene has drawn comparisons to that of post-reunification East Berlin in the 1990s and has pricked the ears of techno-lovers all over the globe thanks to destination clubs like Bassiani and Khidi, which are set inside a drained-out swimming pool and an old Soviet-era bridge, respectively. But it’s the other wild side that demands more than just a moment in the limelight: Beyond the walls of the National Botanical Garden of Georgia and the lavender-scented Rike Park, complete with its controversially curvaceous Bridge of Peace, is an ever-present streak of wild nature running through the city. Poplar trees mimic church spires, ivy climbs up to the colorful wooden balconies of traditional Georgian houses and ecclesiastical monuments, the “Fig Gorge” seems to rip through the Abanotubani sulphur bath district, and the Mtkvari River meanders its way north past the former capital of Mtskheta to Tbilisi National Park, the oldest of nine national parks in the country.

Just off the Silk Road where Europe brushes shoulders with Asia, Tbilisi is a historical melting pot that’s now shimmying into the sights of those seeking their fix of far-flung arts. Thanks to our friends at Movement for giving us a glimpse of the Georgian capital’s ever-fluid soundtrack.

 

Georgia Tbilisi Wild Trees

Georgia's wilderness often creeps into its cities

Georgia Tbilisi Lolita Club

The nightlife in Tbilisi is often compared to that of Berlin in the 1990s

Greenbox Baias Greenbox Oda Greenbox Pheasants

Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions of the world and home to a number of experimental winemakers.

 

Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions of the world and home to a number of experimental winemakers.

 

Greenbox Baias
Greenbox Oda
Greenbox Pheasants

In fact, head out of the city in any direction and you’ll notice that you’ve been besieged by geographical wonder all along: The Greater Caucasus mountains run along the Russian border to the north, while The Lesser Caucasus mountain range roughly follows the Armenian and Turkish borders to the south and southwest. The smaller Surami and Imereti ranges dominate much of the land between the two, and there’s the occasional volcano thrown into the mix. Considering its relatively small size, Georgia boasts an incredibly diverse topography. Not only does this explain why the boxed-off country is so culturally and linguistically different from its neighbors, but it also nods to the nationwide affinity for skiing. Gudauri, just 120 kilometers north of Tbilisi, is the biggest and most popular ski resort and offers all the conveniences of its Western European counterparts, while Bakuriani, in the highlands of the Koktha-Mitarbi region 160 kilometers west, was purpose-built as an Olympic training facility for the Soviet National team and will play host to the Fédération Internationale de Ski Freestyle, Freeski and Snowboard World Championships in 2023.

Georgia Slideshow Train
Georgia Slideshow Picknick
Georgia Slideshow Mountains
Georgia Slideshow Cows
Georgia Slideshow Old Sign

It’s also in these valleys that Georgia cultivated a serious love of wine that seems to permeate every aspect of life. Delve into the country’s art history and you’ll see decorated Kvevri clay jars used to ferment grape juice; brush up on Russo-Georgian politics and you’ll see crying over spilled wine; talk to a priest or a farmer and they might just invite you for a traditional supra feast. But the trampled fruits of the country’s 8,000-year-old viticulture aren’t just reserved for the traditionalists.   

The fruits of the land are good for more than just wine. Nino Zambakhidze was nominated Young Global Leader at World Economic Forum for her technology-focused work with the Georgian Farmers’ Association, which aims to strengthen the country's agricultural sector.
Georgia Tbilisi Winery

Georgian Winery Tbilisi A traditional clay Kvevri on top of a car outside a winery

Georgia Tbilisi Restaurant

There’s a youthful entrepreneurialism across the country that seems immutable and forever forward-moving. Names like Sofia Tchkonia and Demna Gvasalia are now firmly established in the fashion world—stealing the spotlight from Paris et al. for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi in 2015—while designers such as Nata Janberidze and Keti Toloraia have had their work showcased at such institutions as The Future Perfect in New York, Spazio Rossana Orlandi in Milan, and London's Mint Gallery, all to critical acclaim. Architects such as Giorgi Khmaladze (who managed to get a McDonald’s featured in Dezeen) and collectives like Medium are revitalizing their home country with playful architecture, while Georgia’s contemporary art scene is thanking its lucky stars for such institutions as the Tbilisi State Academy of Fine Arts and the many now-big names its turned out.

Georgia Artist Mc Donalds

The Giorgi Khmaladze-designed McDonald’s fast food restaurant in the Black Sea port city of Batumi

Georgia Rooms Studio

Nata Janberidze and Keti Tolorala founders of Georgian interior and product design studio Rooms - Credit: Levan Maisuradze

Georgia Rooms Max

Max Machaidze designer based in Tbilisi - Credit: Tina Shaburishvili

All in all, Georgia is glimmering. Beyond the claims of Georgia’s “moment” is something timeless, ineffable, and worth experiencing firsthand. Discover our hotels in Georgia, in Stepantsminda, Bakuriani, and Tbilisi below.

 

Words Tom Osmond   Date 23 February 2021

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Get an inspiring take on life in the city known as “The Asian Paris” from Travel Colours Guide—Tbilisi. Packed with more than 130 beautiful photographs; insider tips on the best places to eat, shop, drink, and take in the art scene; and a special section on the mountain region of Kazbegi, this is the perfect companion for your next trip to the Georgian capital.

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Georgia’s First Indoor Vertical Farm

Meet Tusya Gharibashvili, a young and innovative entrepreneur, who developed the first urban vertical farming project in Georgia.

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Destinations

Georgia Rising: A Journey Into the Caucasus

Our writer and photographer ventured into Georgia in search of places for renewal, shelter, communion, and expressions of the sublime. Here’s what they found.

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