TBILISI – DAY TWO

1-2016-10-08-14-27-29As I see it, Tbilisi’s physical appearance (if we can only speak about the “physical appearance” of cities) is characterized by rather simple architecture of its box-like buildings. The buildings are mostly grey in color and, as a rule, they have loggias – balconies are rarer. Narrow streets fork left and right from broad avenues, which, as a 2-2016-10-08-14-30-16rule, have several lanes and heavy traffic. Huge plane-trees (platanus) grow everywhere. They form thick roofs over smaller streets, and are also a nice protection from the scorching sun on the sidewalks of thoroughfares. Incidentally, we are well into October now, but the temperatures are rather high: the forecast for the next three days is 3-2016-10-08-14-30-2720-25 degrees Celsius (my FB friends from Ukraine tell about 4-6 degrees in Kyiv and say they are turning on heaters).

Other trees are coniferous. I call them pine-trees, but they look slightly different from those that grow in the vicinities of Kyiv. Besides you will never see pine-trees 4-2016-10-08-14-33-37in the center of Kyiv.

The area is rather hilly. Every time you feel like you are going either “up” or “down” a street. The rugged horizon rises high because of the steep mountainous ranges round the city.

Lots of cars. At least, the ratio between cars and pedestrians is definitely higher 5-2016-10-08-14-34-59in Tbilisi than in Kyiv. My impression is that there are more cars than walkers here.

All along streets (no matter how big or small the streets may be) there are sales outlets called “marketi.” That makes things rather convenient: you go out of your apartment house, turn any way you like and buy whatever you like. 6-2016-10-08-17-34-01Situated so close to each other and being so versatile as regards the goods sold, the “marketis” remind me of corner shops in England. At least, their function is similar. Such multitude of smaller points of sale is impossible in Kyiv downtown. I attribute it to traditions of trade that have stronger roots in Georgia than in Ukraine. In Kyiv small business is being inhibited. The latest wave is the “anti-kiosk” campaign. The “city fathers” are concerned about what Kyiv will look like during the Eurovision song contest next year, so they are knocking down “small architectural forms” and repressing their owners.

7-2016-10-08-17-39-07Yesterday Irakli took us to the Mtatsminda Pantheon. The name comes from Mount Mtatsminda, on whose slopes the Pantheon is situated. Here, significant Georgians are buried. If you already know something about the Georgian history and culture, you will definitely appreciate the place. However, this site on the territory of St. David’s Church (“Mamadaviti”) is also a good starting point for those who are going to do the Georgian studies “from scratch.” Among celebrities on whom Georgia prides and who lie here, are the romanticist poet Nikoloz Baratashvili, the 8-2016-10-08-17-50-32father of the Georgian ABC-book for children Iakob 9-2016-10-08-17-18-26Gogebashvili, the first president of independent Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the writer Nodar Dumbadze, the poets Vazha Pshavela and Akaki Tsereteli, the Russian writer Alexander Griboyedov and his Georgian wife Nino Chavchavadze… In this respect Georgia has the edge over Ukraine: it knows how to honor its true sons and daughters.

I admired Irakli when he was guiding us through Mtatsminda. His love of Georgia and his knowledge of its history and culture appeal to me. Besides, Irakli introduced a strong personal note into his narration telling us how they, as students, used to walk up all the way to the Mount (this time we, “foreign guests”, were lifted up here in the funicular), and absorbed the aura of the place.

The place gives a wonderful panoramic view of Tbilisi which is even more beautiful at night.

 

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