Tbilisi: A Hidden Gem with Bathing Tradition

  • Tbilisi: A Hidden Gem with Bathing Tradition
  • Tbilisi: A Hidden Gem with Bathing Tradition
  • Tbilisi: A Hidden Gem with Bathing Tradition
  • Tbilisi: A Hidden Gem with Bathing Tradition
  • Tbilisi: A Hidden Gem with Bathing Tradition

Tbilisi, formerly known as Tiflis, is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Kura River with a population of roughly 1.5 million inhabitants.

Located on the southeastern edge of Europe, Tbilisi’s proximity to lucrative east-west trade routes often made the city a point of contention between various rival empires throughout history and the city’s location to this day ensures its position as an important transit route for global energy and trade projects. Tbilisi’s varied history is reflected in its architecture, which is a mix of medieval, classical, and Soviet structures.

Perhaps one of the most distinctive pleasures is walking through Tbilisi’s Old City, with its old-style balconies, ancient churches, winding streets, and charming shops. Be prepared to see a number of eclectic sights, from the abandoned streetcar near Erekle Street to the art galleries of Chardini Street to the stunning modern art lining Sioni Street. Sub-neighborhoods include Sololaki, with its elegant restaurants and art nouveau architecture, Old Tbilisi proper – with sites ranging from churches to mosques to sulfur baths, Betelmi – housing two of the city’s oldest churches and the stunning vistas of the Narikala Fortress – and Mtsasminda, just up the mountain from Rustaveli Avenues, a more sedate, “livable” district filled with charming old houses and a number of families.

The bath district is called Abanotubani and is on the south side of the Metekhi bridge. It is easy to spot with its small domes on ground level. There are several small baths offering different levels of comfort. The baths are relatively small, and you may have to wait for a pool to become available. English service is not guaranteed. Massages are available; however, they are more like a washing, but well worth it for the experience. You should bring your own towel and beach sandals (available for a small fee). Some travelers have suggested the Royal Baths is a much better alternative to Sulfur Baths (they are next to each other). Sulfur baths tends to double the price at the end of the massage and bath in spite of your original agreed price.

Also in other districts you can find sulphur baths. For example in the Kiev-ulica, A bit south east of metro station Marjanishvili, around the corner of hostel Green Stairs, there is an old, characteristic bath. In the evening you can get a private bath for 10 lari (although they call them roubles) and an additional towel is 2 GEL.

Credits
via wikitravel and wikipedia - Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0
Photo Credits
1. Cafes in downtown Tbilisi, Georgia via Permaveli cc

2. Rustaveli Avenue just past Mitropan Laghidze St via James Emery cc

3. Sulphur Bath via Jüri Kaljundi cc

4. Abanotubani via Rike Fotos cc

5. Tbilisi sunset via Vladimer Shioshvili cc
Video Credits
AlJazeeraEnglish via YouTube