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Silk Road Tours

Silk Road Tours offer tailor made holidays through Central Asia, The Caucasus, Middle East and North Africa

Tbilisi

Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, is a charming city arrayed along the banks of the river Mtkvari. The name Tbilisi derives from tbili, meaning warm and refers to 30 hot springs on the slopes of Mount Tabori which in the 12th century supplied water to 65 bath houses. This and the city’s highly defensible location surrounded by Mtatsminda and Tabori mountains as well as the Solalaki Ridge has meant the area has been inhabited for at least 3,000 years. Tbilisi has been home to many different communities over the centuries and it is in the old town, or the Maiden, that this really comes alive. Here can be found the Armenian Church of St George, the Sunni Mosque, the synagogue and Sioni Cathedral – seat of the Catholicos of the Georgia. In the Azeri quarter can be found the bathhouses of which perhaps the most spectacular is the 17th century Orbeliani bathhouse with its striking façade of bright blue tiles. The museum of the History of Tbilisi is housed in a former caravanserai originating from the 1650’s and evoking Tbilisi’s ancient role as a branch of the Silk Road. The best way to get a sense of how Old Tbilisi would have felt is to explore the Betlemi area which is now a protected districted that is undergoing extensive renovation to restore the multi-storeyed houses with balconies and stained glass windows overlooking the narrow street below. Some of the best views of Tbilisi can be seen from the ancient Narikala fortress which overlooks the city and has stood guard since at least the 4th century. Beyond the Old Town, Tbilisi has a very modern feel with excellent restaurants and bars filled with a young, fashionable crowd.