Friday, 20 April 2018


A committed flâneur myself, I appreciated the invitation from Calvert Journal correspondent Daryl Mersom to take a wander through the different quarters of Tbilisi to marvel at the contrasting and complementary styles of the city’s cultural influences, with the conviction that architecture is not best experienced with an itinerary or by a windshield tour but rather by walking.
From the Old Georgian for a “warm place,” the city was founded in the fourth century BC around a sulphurous thermal spring, an area referred to as Abanotubani, and the settlement has since been at the crossroads of successive civilisations, often in competition over the territory due to its strategic location, and these waves of influence have let their marks and have informed a rather vibrant cosmopolitan capital.
The iconic Wedding Palace designed by Victor Djorbenadze in 1984, purpose built as a matrimonial venue but now a private residence that can be rented out for special events and the 1975 Ministry of Transportation (now the headquarters of the national bank) by Zurab Jalaghania and George Chakhava were not directly included on the meandering path but are alluded to as component parts of the city’s architectural character.  One encounters a rich mixture of Byzantine, Soviet Modern, Beaux-Arts and Neoclassical styles and there’s a certain allure to this panorama that we would like to see in person.