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4 EDITOR S LETTER A lmost hours after Vladimir Putin s ban on flights to Georgia in response to massive anti Russia protests in Tbilisi Georgians came up with different ideas of attracting tourists from other countries One such was the creation of the public Facebook group Spend Your Summer in Georgia Last checked it already had 130 thousand members many planning to visit our country some of them had already been here and some were locals offering impressive discounts on tours and lodgings This sort of activism has worked before when Russia weaponized the wine market it forced Georgians to look to other places for new wine markets helping Georgian wine to recover from Soviet and post Soviet hardships explore its own history and identity and to cherish its diversity even more Georgians believe that diversification of the tourism economy is a much needed step for further success If you are with us share with others whatever your personal Georgian adventures have been don t forget that spreading the word about Georgia has a double meaning for us now So let Georgia become your summer reading E D I TO R I A L Project Director Tina Osepashvili Chief Editor Tamar Babuadze Translator Irakli Beridze Copy Editor Shawn Basey Art Director Designer Anna Shukhaeva Sales Director Tina Osepashvili Distribution Manager Tamar Papava Logistics Alex Mamasakhlisi Text Natia Akhalashvili Tamar Esakia Nino Chimakadze Salome Kikaleishvili Tinatin Mosiashvili Manana Qveliashvili Ia Prangishvili Nini Darchia Photo Tamar Esakia Tinatin Mosiashvili Manana Qveliashvili Cover Photo by Sutirta Budiman Unsplash Printing House Dios 2017 PUBLISHING INDIGO Publishing LTD INDIGO 38 I Gogebashvili St Tbilisi Email info indigo com ge Advertising 591 333 399 All rights reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission from the publisher ISSN 2587 5388

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Shopping and Entertainment City Tbilisi Kakheti Highway 2 AI Tvalchrelidze st

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CONTRIBUTORS Natia Akhalashvili Not many things come close to the joy of discovering new flavors And restaurants more than anything else provide vast and yet succinct information There at any local restaurant I can carry on discovering new flavors and at the same time observe a family or a group of friends dining or celebrating at the table next to mine This sort of observation tells me much more than any guide on a 3 hour tour which is why I am on the lookout for restaurants frequented by locals In this Adventurer issue I will try to recommend places to discover flavors and characters of Tbilisi from the local perspective Tinatin Mosiashvili I teach Georgian geography in university and I am especially excited whenever I get a chance to speak about Georgia s mountainous regions Anyone who has been to a mountaintop can relate to that To me mountains and peaks are like people so let me introduce to you two of my favorite regions Khevsureti and Tusheti with their mountains and people bigger than mountains Manana Kveliashvili If you re debating where to spend this summer longing for the sea yet unable to give up on the mountains then come to Adjara Once you have achieved your heart s desire by the sea head to the terra incognita of mountainous Adjara With its unique landscapes spectacular scenery warmhearted people and amazing traditions of hospitality it is bound to meet your expectations

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8 CONTENTS page 52 GEORGIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES 12 The New Yorker Medium Grub Street Fortune Los Angeles Times The New York Times BBC Sounds Daily Beast FOOD AND DRINKS 18 19 21 23 27 30 Best Restaurants in Tbilisi Green Hideaways Street Food Space Green Spaces Bohemian Hotspots Non Georgian BAR HUNTING 34 Saelcho Prince Bar Drama Bar Dose Bari Barshi SHOPPING 40 New brand Concept stores page 26 STORY 44 Say Hello to a Georgian Winemaker Baia Abuladze Baia s Wine VISIT TO THE ARTIST S STUDIO 50 Tamar Nadiradze s Space SWIMMING POOLS 52 Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel Radisson Blu Hotel Batumi Tbilisi Yacht Club Restaurant La Cote Schuchmann Wine Chateau Villas and Spa Krtsanisi Pool Holiday Inn

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10 page 112 MY PERSONAL FAVORITE page 44 Daria Kholodinina 17 Tini Nogaideli Michel 91 Sergi Gvarjaladze 131 AT THE SEASIDE 58 Coastal Adjara 66 Off the Beach 75 Where to Eat Drink Dance in Batumi TRAVEL 92 How Beautiful is Tusheti 112 Khevsureti a Trekking Paradise of Medieval Towers and Natural Beauty ARTS CUTURE 132 House museums in Tbilisi page 92 ENTERTAINMENT 144 Summer Events 2019

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12 GEORGIA IN THE The Culinary Muse of the Caucasus By Lauren Collins As Americans look to Georgia for inspiration Georgians are looking to Barbare Jorjadze Right now that is Georgian food The hospitality trend forecaster af co recently named it Cuisine of the Year The Dish of the Year the company says is khachapuri a term that refers to any number of Georgian cheese filled breads the 2018 winners were Israeli food and rotisserie chicken As Darra Goldstein explains in The Georgian Feast one of Georgian food s hallmarks is its use of walnuts whose richness is often set off with a souring agent like vinegar or yogurt Cilantro is the most common herb in Georgian cooking but tarragon is the most talismanic flavoring everything from stews to a carbonated drink that you can order at restaurants like a Coke Blue fenugreek is used frequently as are dried and crushed marigold petals but if Georgian food has a presiding color it s green Many of the most tantalizing parts of its repertoire derive from vegetables and fruits I m counting the days until I can try making chrianteli a cold soup Goldstein s recipe brings to mind a William Carlos Williams poem Pit and stem two pounds of cherries Pass through a food mill Mix the pur ed fruit with one eighth teaspoon salt half a pressed garlic clove and three minced sprigs of cilantro and dill Chill Garnish with minced scallion Then there s Georgian wine Photo by Dina Oganova for The New Yorker International Headlines

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13 Into the Caucasus and Back in Time Henry Wismayer The Georgian Cooking at Chelsea s Chama Mama Is Gobsmackingly Good By Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld A trek along Georgia s Svaneti Trail offers a timewarp world of medieval villages and jaw dropping scenery At daybreak we set off early climbing around 2 000 feet out of the Svan Valley We hit the ridgeline in brilliant sun emerging from the forest onto a gravel river stalked by chair lift stanchions monuments to the nascent Tetnuldi Ski Resort that operates here in winter then forked off into a gorge tumescent with wild flowers If the Svan Valley had marked a transition point between new world and old then Adishi the village we reached a couple of hours later was complete immersion On increasingly frequent visits the Underground Gourmet gobbled renditions of such old country classics as tolma hot lamb stuffed grape leaves ekala pickled sarsaparilla greens mingled with a spicy walnut paste and gebjalia little roulades of fresh cheese seasoned with mint and chilis Among the large plates you want the shkmeruli essentially roast chicken in a bowl of cream of garlic soup or the butcher s special whenever it s a minced beef and pork kebab rolled up in a lavash like a Persian rug Better than both is the chakapuli with braised lamb a soupy stew of tender meat whose superb flavoring agents are a sour plum sauce and a truckload of tarragon

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14 GEORGIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES Georgia too relied on the Russian market until a decade ago Georgia lost 90 of its market when Russia banned the import of Georgian wine back in the middle of the last decade says Lisa Granik a master of wine currently at work on a book about Georgian wine Thus since at least 2010 there has been an ongoing promotional campaign in Georgia to increase exports to specific markets A Wine Soaked Ball Unites a Georgian Village But Only After Dividing It By Andrew Keh Every spring in Shukhuti a black leather ball is sewn together to play Lelo Burti a brutally physical folk game The winners carry it straight to the cemetery Pete Kiehart for The New York Times These Eastern European Countries Are Home to Some of the Most Dynamic Winemakers Right Now By Jim Clarke Every spring in the village of Shukhuti in western Georgia a single black leather ball is sewn together to play Lelo Burti a brutally physical folk game a singular blend of a large scale rugby match and an even larger street fight that was once popular all around the region of Guria but is now only played here once a year on Orthodox Easter The ball is the only equipment and the eventual trophy It is kept by the winning team and immediately after the game set down at the grave of their choice to honor that person s memory Lelo Burti was granted status as a nonmaterial monument of culture five years ago by the Georgian government But once the actual game begins there is little ceremonial about it It is a living breathing brutal pastime It arouses genuine passions and profound injuries

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15 Khachapuri Ancient Stuffed Crust Pizza Is One Of LA s Hottest Dishes By Claire Downs Thanks to the debut of singledish spot Tony Khachap ri in Hollywood and the opening of several restaurants in New York City khachapuri has become an Instagram hot dish With its glistening gondolashaped boat of chewy dough topped with an egg oozing a perfect string of golden yolk how could it not But the dish is nothing new Khachapuri predates social media by nine centuries Its roots stretch back to the 11th century and the Georgian Golden Age when art literature culture and cuisine flourished in the kingdom of Georgia Before that a variation of khachapuri may have come from India thanks to traders traveling along the Silk Road In Los Angeles the pull and tear deliciousness of khachapuri has been delighting Georgian Armenian and Lebanese communities since the 1920s Adjarski adjarian adjaruli adjarakah hachapuri egg boats egg pizza gondola pizza Khachapuri has many aliases It depends on who you ask and what the sign next to the footballshaped bread icon reads Singer and song collector Sam Lee travels to Tbilisi to explore the ancient polyphonic folk songs and sacred chants of Georgia He discovers a nation where singing is in the blood With some of Georgia s finest singers and musicologists as his guides Sam is introduced to the ritualistic folk songs that are said to control the weather and even cure the sick He is invited to a feast high on a mountainside above Tbilisi where he meets the Chamgelianis a singing family from the remote region of Svaneti who are keeping the tradition of age old pre Christian folk songs alive At the beautiful Kashveti Church in the heart of Tbilisi Sam meets singer and ethnomusicologist John Graham who introduces him to the liturgical chanting tradition These orthodox Christian chants feature sacrosanct melodies that are said to have been passed down by God and transmitted orally over the centuries

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16 GEORGIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES Bone Collector This Caucasus Ghost Town May Be the Creepiest Place on Earth by Benjamin Kemper Peek inside and you ll be met with skulls femurs vertebrae and teeth piled so high you can t see the floor Something horrible happened here and no one is quite sure what Dark tourism the type of sightseeing that revolves around tragedy and death is more popular than ever just ask the half a million people who queued up last year to wander Paris catacombs But one of the world s most bone chilling destinations the Anatori Crypts in northern Georgia has surprisingly flown under the radar of the goosebump seeking masses From afar it doesn t look like much three crumbling stone structures perched on a ridge An abandoned hamlet you might think or an old lookout post after all Chechnya is just two miles away But peek inside a cobwebbed window and you ll be met with a scene so macabre it might knock you off your feet skulls femurs vertebrae and teeth piled so high that you can hardly see the floor Something horrible happened in Anatori and no one is quite sure what Why would these ancient tribesmen knowingly willingly lock themselves away to die among dozens of rotting corpses According to historians and local oral history they were making a last ditch effort to save their compatriots from the plague

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Best Restaurants Text by Natia Akhalashvili

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19 Green Hideaways W I N E FAC TO RY 1 G hvinis Karkhana 1 Wine Factory in Georgian in the Vera neighborhood is a historical landmark built in the late 19th century maintaining its prestigious status throughout the Soviet era The name Ghvinis Karkhana 1 has its roots in the Soviet past when an actual factory of that name operated here Today however its territory includes a museum for more information please see the winter 2019 issue of Adventurer several restaurants entertainment facilities a food market a flower shop an old enoteca an antique shop a cocktail bar a wine shop a culinarium where culinary masterclasses are delivered and even an outdoor movie theater The wine factory also incorporates an old garden with enormous trees one of them even older than the factory itself Spending a summer evening here is the best way to escape Tbilisi s heat and there are several nice hideaways we can recommend SHUSHABANDI Open 12 00 PM 6 00 AM Call 558 23 10 50 brunch buffets and vegetarian Good for kids Shushabandi towers over the wine factory s vast terrace and Melikishvili Avenue This section of the restaurant mirrors a quintessential Tbilisi style interior Even today many urban homes are adorned with similar wood framed glass balconies known in Georgian as a shushabandi hence the name of the restaurant The restaurant consists of several areas two Bohemian style dining halls open terraces and a small room housing a bar Between one of the halls and the bar room there is what seems to be a magical door separating two different dimensions On one side there is the dining hall where you can enjoy Georgian dishes and wines and likely listen to old traditional songs while on the other side you will find yourself in a cocktail bar with disco music blasting over Marshall brand loudspeakers the perfect way to make you feel like dancing The place s excellent bartenders will come up with cocktails matching your mood and taste Pay attention to another room inside the bar which Shushabandi restaurant

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20 BEST RESTAURANTS GREEN HIDEAWAYS leads out into a small round balcony where you may encounter people seeking peace and quiet and enjoying fresh air just like you A new space more on the Near Eastern side stylistically is expected to be added to Shushabandi this summer This lounge with dim The place s excellent lighting will serve Western Asian dishes and feature a DJ along bartenders will come with the aesthetics of The Arabian up with cocktails Nights In the meantime just matching your mood keep in mind that Shushabandi offers a modernized version of and taste Georgian cuisine We recommend the classic Imereti style roast chicken in blackberry sauce and snacks like tone Georgian bread bruschetta with toppings from all over Georgia such as guda cheese from Tusheti and lori ham from Racha or even fig preserves which seem to be made to accompany meat and p t and hold a special place in the assortment of traditional Georgian preserves

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21 STREET FOOD SPACE A s mentioned above Shushabandi overlooks a vast terrace which is actually Street Food Space where you can get to through the flower shop entrance or via the Candy and Taqueria terrace The joint is open from noon to midnight Here you can try street food from a variety of brands like pitas with different stuffing at Poma and possibly wash them down with chacha grappa homemade wine or gin and tonic Next is Chichico with airy chicken meat wrapped in waffles and smothered with all kinds of sauces Crepe Factory on the other hand offers diverse pancakes and sangria Big L Grill Bar serves five kinds of hotdogs different sandwiches draft beer cocktails and Zhuzhuna a new sparkling Georgian wine brand Here you can also buy handicraft items The music is loud enough and people are constantly swarming around especially on weekends You can easily spend a few hours here VERIS DUQANI Veris Duqani is another project by the celebrated Tbilisi based chef Keti Bakradze The restaurant opened almost a year ago to emerge as a place serving traditional conventional Georgian dishes with a delicate innovative touch or two and meals based on auteur recipes discovered in private household collections to enrich the food with a special flavor verisduqani

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22 BEST RESTAURANTS GREEN HIDEAWAYS Veris Duqani is modeled after a typical Tbilisi diner from the 19th century Bakradze truly embraced the approach in developing the concept of this restaurant which offers a wide choice of affordable wines with simple and affordable dishes You may find yourself debating between the following trios purple tomatoes basil squeaky sulguni cheese or guda cheese tarragon shoti bread toasts But that s not all More temptations are on their way in the form of baby potatoes fresh green tkemali sour plum sauce and roast chicken vs fried tree mushrooms and the most delicious thin Imeruli Imereti style khachapuri based on a recipe from Bakradze s own grandmother As you may know the beauty of Imeruli khachapuri is Veris Duqani has its thin and soft crust At Veris both indoor and Duqani you can outdoor space always count but in summer on extra quality guda cheese from nothing compares Tusheti In case to sitting in you are curious about this cheese the factory s variety Veris courtyard of Duqani is your course place in town Open 12 00 AM 2 00 AM Call 591 39 32 32 Serves lunch dinner drinks and coffee Good for groups

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23 PINZERIA BY BONTEMPI We wrote about this place in our previous issue but it so perfectly harmonizes with the Wine Factory summer setting that we must absolutely repeat ourselves it is one of the finest Italian restaurants in Tbilisi one offering an open area a DJ on weekends cocktails in an outdoor bar and special pinzas baked by an Italian chef PiNzeria has a very attentive warmhearted owner ready to chat with you and even offer you a glass of appetizing wine TAQUERIA TEKO S TACOS A cheerful colorful environment with Mexican style potato wedges tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa sauce which goes perfectly well with Georgian dishes too This restaurant is the project of famous Georgian chef Tekuna Gachechiladze who guarantees the quality of ingredients the originality of dishes and a refined taste which you can see for yourself The restaurant has an outdoor area with colorful chairs and tables cacti agaves and palm trees where scores gather to spend summer evening drinking tequila and having fun Green Spaces NEAR TBILISI I n the summer especially on hot days Tbilisi s residents traditionally head out of town to picnic and relax with summerhouse green areas around the city having always been favored to that end such as Okrokana Tskneti Kojori and Betania Many owned and still own summerhouses here For those who usually seek restaurants with cool open areas here are two of them PinzeriaTbilisi taqueriatekostacos cheftekuna

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24 BEST RESTAURANTS GREEN SPACES NEAR TBILISI CHVENI EZO RESTAURANT near Bulachauri Restaurant Chveni Ezo Our Yard in English is located on the right side near the Bulachauri village exit off the Tbilisi Gudauri Highway You can dine here in an indoor banquet hall and special booths but in the summer the green courtyard is everyone s favorite While waiting for your order in the shade of lime and walnut trees you can watch your children have fun in the courtyard s special playground The courtyard offers a wooden swing and gazebos also built of wood and covered with tiles The distance between the gazebos is large enough to prevent noisy feasters next door from bothering you though the loud live music after 7 P M may irritate you anyway The food here is traditional Georgian with conventional restaurant flavors From July through early September make sure to order Caesar s mushrooms and crown your meal with cold desserts like strained matsoni kefir with honey and walnuts chveni ezo bulachauri Call 599 80 18 01 Serves breakfast lunch dinner coffee and drinks Good For Kids

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25 ZGHAPARI RESTAURANT near Tzitzamuri Zghapari is a genuine paradise of Imereti cuisine just 10 minutes by car from Tbilisi on the right side of the road near the village of Tsitsamuri one kilometer after the Jvari Monastery in Mtskheta You can see the restaurant s yard from the road exiting into a green willow alley with gazebos and small roofed huts nested here and there and cats prowling around in the greenery The food and service here will make you feel like you re in a typical Imereti village cheese is broken into pieces just like it s done in rural areas thin Imereti style mchadi cornbread is baked in clay ketsi pans pkhali minced vegetable dishes are seasoned with walnuts vinegar and spices and again quintessential Imereti style roast chicken is served with blackberry sauce or depending on your choice with fresh tkemali sour plum sauce To cap it all off they will bake amazingly thin and yet cheese laden khachapuri cheese bread and even treat you to a crispy crunchy roasted suckling piglet if you make a reservation in advance You can also count on seasonal fruit beverages and also depending on the season Caesar s mushrooms fried to perfection Zgapar Open 9 00 AM 11 30 AM Call 596 00 09 00

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26 BEST RESTAURANTS GREEN SPACES NEAR TBILISI RESTAURANT AGARAKI in Betania Just 20 minutes from Tbilisi on the Kojori Betania crossroad at 1200 meters above sea level you find yourself in a vast yard nested in greenery with fresh air the famed Betania breeze mesmerizing views and fine Georgian European cuisine You can spend all day here swings hammocks and lounge style food are at your disposal Feeling really hungry No problem They ll serve a fresh dish of your choice or roast khinkali dumplings Call 557 16 11 44 or 599 26 02 08 Open until 10 PM every day except on Mondays RestoraniAgaraki

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27 Bohemian Hotspots NEW IN TBILISI Text by Nini Darchia THEY SAID BOOKS 10 Akhvlediani str They Said books is a concept store where you can discover special books and various gorgeous items while sipping delicious specialty coffee The store s interior and furniture was designed by artist and designer Lado Lomitashvili Lado Lomitashvili I built it all around books and coffee as dominant features and tried to link the two matters I delved into every possible shade of coffee from raw bean green and carrot like orange to brown and finally black To cap it all off I used blue the key logo color of They Said Books These colors also defined my choice of materials though I decided against any material in its original form Just like every book I wanted every material to have a story of its own which is why I opted for rusty texture that also matched my concept in terms of color The store also has a big long table to create more space for interaction between visitors The

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28 BEST RESTAURANTS GREEN SPACES NEAR TBILISI store features IDEA the exclusive supplier of books for London s concept store Dover Street Market IDEA creates limited editions of amazing books now available in Tbilisi too The IDEA aisle also displays the brand s t shirts and bags using 100 natural materials The store brings together myriad books from such publishers as Phaidon Abrams and Chronicle MoMa Books Taschen Skira and others The collection of books is constantly updated and new publishers are frequently added While enjoying your cup of coffee you can browse through publications on architecture interior design music fashion photography cinema and visual arts also travel guides culinary books and books about various beverages or cars and indie magazines The store does not carry Georgian publishers products with the exception of one supplement the only Georgian series of critical publications The store also offers a short menu with health food items and breakfast Another interesting detail here you can buy the chair you are sitting in or the coffee cup you are drinking from along with the specialty goods showcased on the lower floor of course CAF OLIVIA they have the finest choice of delicious bread here Olivia with its exceptional signature aesthetics green area in the courtyard huge plants and bedazzling mirrors may remind you of a typical caf from a French movie The owners of four remarkable cafes and restaurants decided to create a gripping synthesis embodied in Caf Olivia an establishment initially operating as a breakfast parlor but currently serving dinner and supper You can also drop by for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake but keep in mind that they have the finest choice of delicious bread here Olivia s in house bread made with healthy ingredients and without additives or yeast is perfect for your breakfast Speaking of breakfast I strongly

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29 32 Vasil Barnovi Str Vera Area Call 0322 98 54 39 Open 12 PM 11 PM Serves breakfast lunch dinner coffee and drinks recommend a glass of yogurt with granola and by all means invariably delicious omelet Equally yummy is Olivia s salmon toast with avocado Visit Olivia and see for yourself that they serve what I call the best strawberry banana and chocolate syrup pancakes in town Olivia may trigger a new study and probing into Vake a showy neighborhood developed in the Soviet period away from Tbilisi s traditional tourist routes The area s architecture and people you encounter in the street are sure to demonstrate what the Soviet elite was all about and how this phenomenon has been transformed by Vake into a new reality

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30 BEST RESTAURANTS Non Georgian I M M I G R A N T S CO O K CHINESE RESTAURANT NEW ASIA This restaurant has two branches one at 3 Gamrekeli Street and the other at 5 Griboedov Street Praised as the best Chinese restaurant in Tbilisi it employs Chinese cooks and frequently hosts visiting or Georgia based Chinese natives Unlike in other countries the Chinese diaspora in Georgia is relatively small there are no Chinatowns here Still the first Chinese restaurant opened in Georgia as early as the late 1990s to usher in radical novelties into Tbilisi s flavors based on its old uniform traditional cuisine Reportedly this Chinese restaurant is responsible for encouraging Tbilisi s residents to drop the tradition of eating bread with every dish New Asia has been around for several years and has built a solid following The restaurant s menu combines dishes from various regions of China including Peking duck and Sichuan chicken Still this establishment slightly deviates from traditional Chinese flavors probably because of an attempt to adapt to Georgian customers Open 12 00 PM 11 00 PM Call 595 65 52 55

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31 Conference spaces AT IOTA HOTEL TBILISI 10 Lermontov Street Tbilisi Call 032 2 40 30 70 I OTA HOTEL TBILISI in the heart of Old City is your best shot at myriad rituals and events such as solo traveling dinner with friends official receptions cozy intimate meetings and others It is equally perfect for business gatherings in various formats And that is ensured by the hotel s three conference halls with different aesthetics color palettes moods and purposes Meetings can also be held in the Wine Observatory Each space showcases organic building materials and refined aesthetics with the key emphasis on wood texture Guests are offered a menu with a wide choice of items including coffee tea breaks and lunch meals Web page iotahotels com IOTA HOTEL TBILISI IOTA COPPER 75 m2 for up to 60 guests IOTA GREEN 75 m2 for up to 60 guests The two can be combined to make up one space IOTA COPPER GREEN 150 m2 for 160 guests IOTA HUB 55 m2 can accommodate 30 guests

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BAR HUNTING in Tbilisi Bars visited and reviewed by local party goer Nini Sparsiashvili

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34 BAR HUNTING IN TBILISI 20 Paolo Iashvili Street Tbilisi Saelcho is open every day from noon to 1 AM Call 577 99 94 09 SAELCHO I would be lying if I told you that this place and I shared deep historical ties Still it brings back fun memories and reminds me of the friendly environment from the past which will inspire you to keep going back to Saelcho The place is swarming with tourists of course so you may have already heard of it And even if you have not you may just bump into Saelcho while wandering the streets because it is located in one of the most popular touristic areas of the city Sololaki The atmosphere here however is home like This place will make you forget sipping your cocktails slowly and will turn you into a rapid shot quaffing drinker of tequila or J germeister with beer or even wine as a possible follow up Everything here costs between 4 and 10 GEL The aura of comfort and friendliness must be stemming from the bar s owner and his friends just a brief exchange of remarks with them shows that Saelcho they are happy folk with a great sense of humor who organize frequent jazz events and invite Georgian musicians both contemporary and traditional also holding GoT screenings together with their patrons And if they are looking for the next fun thing to do they may announce an elarji stretching contest You may have heard of elarji Georgian grits with melted cheese something similar to Italian polenta though the Georgian stuff mixed with cheese can be stretched infinitely like pizza dough

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35 IN THE HOUSE OF MELIK AZARYANTS The former residence of 19th century Tbilisi based grand merchant Melik Azaryants see Adventurer 2 for the detailed history of this building presently houses two famous bars which is why a sense of duality haunts you as you are having fun here In other words on one hand you are in an old house suffused with history and on the other you are enjoying contemporary music and a bird s eye view of modern Tbilisi PRINCE BAR 37 Rustaveli Avenue The bar is open from 7 pm to 4 AM on Fridays and Saturdays and from 7 pm to 3 AM on weekdays and Sundays Call 593 16 70 57 Prince Bar Prince is your kind of bar if you prefer cozily dim places to have a drink or two and spend quality time with friends Attending events here guarantees participation in oodles of fun though fun is in the air here even without special events The bar offers a wide range of drinks various cocktails and shots depending on your mood and choice that will cost you somewhere between 5 and 15 GEL At Prince you will be served by very polite and joyful personnel fluent in the English language Thus before heading to Prince make sure you are in the mood for drinking entertainment and fun

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36 BAR HUNTING IN TBILISI DRAMA BAR If after having sated yourself with drinking and having fun at Prince you feel like doing something different like intense dancing in a more club like setup all you have to do is drop by Drama Bar next door This place is also frequented by electronic music fans who for whatever reason don t exactly feel like listening to heavy music in a big club today And this is when Drama Bar with its less club like evening atmosphere rises to the occasion The place often features excellent talented Georgian and foreign DJs still it is mostly Georgians gigging here Sunday is reserved for rookie musicians as though giving them a chance to test their skills to see what communication with the audience and grabbing the listener is about Drama Bar charges an entrance fee between 10 and 20 GEL The only problem there can be face control The only reason I can think of why one would not be admitted is that Drama Bar is pretty small Other than that I see no other explanation Some people pass face control on one day but are denied entry the following day Just give it a shot and see the drama at Drama Bar DRAMA Bar 37 Rustaveli Avenue Open from 10 pm to 3 am on Thursdays Fridays and Saturdays And from 10 P M to 2 A M on Sundays

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37 DOSE Dose differs from the bars above in that it is located in Old Tbilisi a neighborhood with lots of tourists In the morning you can enjoy a cup of tea with desserts or sandwiches Keep in mind that they also carry special green coffee beans roasted on demand The bar s atmosphere is ideal to start your morning with jazz soft music and recurring light changes at specific times of day In the evening the place does a 180 degree turn and offers a totally different atmosphere Along with lighting music also switches mostly to techno with the spirit of active rest in the air I recommend the bar s eponymous specialty cocktail Dose keeping the ingredients a secret to let it surprise you though you should know in advance that it is a sugarless drink The drinks here for the most part are granulated sugar free and made from fruits Everyone is crazy about Dose s organic wines in line with the bar s sugar free traditions of course Dose 4 Ivane Machabeli Str Open from 8 am to 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays and from 8 am to midnight on weekdays and Sundays Call 591 78 50 50

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38 BAR HUNTING IN TBILISI BARI BARSHI 9 Kikodze Street Open from 6 PM to 3 AM on Fridays and Saturdays and from 6 pm to 1 AM on weekdays and Sundays Call 591 99 72 67 BariBarshi1 The strongest tourist attraction point of Bari Barshi in my opinion is that it hosts events and gigs featuring numerous talented Georgian musicians and performers Film screenings including large screen GoT battle scenes followed by discussions go perfectly with alcohol something this place certainly does not lack Besides standard cocktails and shots the bar offers a variety of unique drinks you cannot find anywhere else simply because they come up with these drinks on their own and even choose funky names for them such as Sex on the Bar I ll Stay with My Girlfriend I m Driving and Van Gogh The prices here are moderate and acceptable with drinks costing from 4 GEL to 15 18 GEL tops

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New hotspot IN THE OLD CENTER T he rehabilitation of Orbeliani Square and the surrounding area has been completed 20 buildings in the historical area have been rehabilitated where 13 of them represent historical and cultural heritage sites Internal courtyards were fully renewed architectural and artistic details of the monuments with its wooden and steel elements have been restored and decorative lightings were installed on the surrounding buildings More info at tbilisi gov ge Two recreational areas April 9 and Orbeliani Square were rehabilitated and two main streets were transformed into pedestrian zones

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40 SHOPPING Where to shop NEW BRAND K SHKASH is a Georgia based brand manufacturing face and body care products offering customers vegan and vegetarian goods based on unique formulas K SHKASH is ideal for those leading a fast paced life yet eager to dedicate some time to personal care and more importantly looking for pleasure in the process The brand drawing on family recipes discovered in great grandma s notebook is keeping pace with the latest global trends and uses only certified organic ingredients for all their products Based on the organic grape seed oil day cream Maniii by K SHKASH kashkashskincare Kashkash Georgian in the Georgian language means effulgence radiant splendor luster

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41 We believe in the sun We believe that the sun lives in each of us and every time we shine from inside we create beauty We believe that the sun is love and the Earth is driven by love This endless cycle of life is what keeps us under the same sun yet each of us unique That s why we create handmade products using natural ingredients that grow under the sun on our planet Earth We believe in sunshine that s created by tiny pieces of the sun inside every human being We have no name no nationality no age no gender We are the people of the SUN The brand s philosophy nourishes its present activities and ideas for future development KASHKASH Natural Handmade Skincare Products Order from www kashkash me Morning Luster Sunset Rays Body Lotion Bar

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42 SHOPPING Chaos is a multi brand store complemented by the recently opened vegetarian Chaos Caf Chaos showcases exclusive collections from Georgian designers Nikolas Grigorian Gola and Tamar Kopaliani also the latest from J W Anderson Vivienne Westwood Justine Clenquet Eytys Shrimos Alexander Wang Carne Bollente and RE DONE Besides clothing niche publishers and Pawaka glasses are also found at Chaos Chaos Concept Store Address 14 Merab Kostava Street Sauvage is a conceptual store where you can find glasses from the trendiest niche brands such as the latest collections rolled out by Ann Demeulemeester Kuboraum Rigards Alessandra Rich TavaT Vava Mykita Dries Van Noten and Innerraum The store also offers niche perfumes Inside the facility there is another store MATERIUM Concept Store which displays for the most part women s and men s clothing from young Japanese designers Sauvage Concept Store Address 18 Chovelidze St ChaosConceptStore sauvageconceptstoreTbilisi

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ADVERTISING 43 Black Tomato HOSTEL WINE BAR 17 Merab Kostava Street Kutaisi B lack Tomato is a vintage hostel and wine bar in the old district of Kutaisi western Georgia The hostel offers private as well as dorm rooms and accommodates 27 guests in total This newly emerged place in Imereti includes common areas such as kitchen library board game area relaxing area balcony and garden Thus providing a perfect space for you to enjoy your holiday have some rest or meet and get inspired by people from all around the world Email hello blacktomato ge Call 995 568 777 321 Price per bed 15 25 GEL Price per room 70 90 GEL Breakfast 10 GEL per person

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44 STORY SAY HELLO TO A GEORGIAN WINEMAKER Baia Abuladze Baia s Wine SHORT PROFILE Baia Abuladze is the founder of Baia s Wine Her family owns vineyards in the village of Meore Obcha Baghdati where they produce up to 8 000 bottles of wine for export to the US Switzerland Germany Austria France and Sweden Baia s Wine uses 5 Georgian grape varieties to make wine Krakhuna Tsitska Tsolikauri Otskhanuri Sapere and Aladasturi Imeretian varieties that the company relies on and cherishes

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45 T he winery itself is also a vibrant tourism destination hosting scores of wine and culinary tourists You can easily pinpoint it on Google Maps also on Wine Route Maps the official state run program installing road signs to lead you directly to her winery among many others Q Every other family in Georgia if not every household makes its own wine And that was the case even under Soviet rule when homemade wine was given preference over factory made wines because it was organic with fewer additives Yours is a winemaking family too A Four generations of my family have been engaged in winegrowing and winemaking which is not uncommon in our village where many households make their own wines though we have always been regarded as a strong winemaking family Our vineyards were quite small by Kakheti s standards But by Imereti s standards where winegrowing lands are sparse owning a 1 5 hectare vineyard was a big deal Compared to many other local farmers we were harvesting more grapes and that set us apart from the bunch Q How did you advance to the next level from homemade winemaking to manufacturing And what was your motivation What inspired you A I never imagined I would create a business from our traditional family occupation something based on the knowledge handed down by

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46 STORY our ancestors something that was always the source of joy in our home as far back as I can remember To me making wine was always both part of my everyday life and an enjoyable activity However I gradually started considering doing business after we became involved with the 2010 New Wine Festival We observed larger companies and start up wineries alike learning much from both In fact it was at the festival that the idea of starting a business was conceived In 2015 we won 5 000 GEL under Enterprise Georgia a state program and bought bottles and a small bottling line Q What does family run production mean How are the roles divided A My mother and grandfather are teachers but they have been involved in winemaking all their lives My sister Gvantsa holds a Master s degree in Agronomy and her knowledge is the source of every experiment every search for new flavors in our family You should see her a skinny girl tending vineyards with a sprayer on her back We consult Gvantsa whenever we need to choose new substances to use when to harvest or switch to organic production Gvantsa also makes her own red wine which she usually exports though lately it has become very popular in Georgia so we

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47 You should see her a skinny girl tending vineyards with a sprayer on her back have started selling it in the local market too I am not a professional winemaker but I have attended professional courses My younger brother Giorgi is in his third year studying viniculture and he brings home a new piece of knowledge every day All that emboldens us and we hoping and relying on one another s knowledge have accomplished a lot Q What is the concept of Baia s Wine A At first we did not give it much thought but now we certainly want to be a company manufacturing organic wine It is our second year of organic production which I believe is good for our environment our customers and the country as a whole Q Which wine was your first in the market How did the audience come to know you A There were two white wines Tsolikouri and Tsitska Tsolikouri which we offered for sale so the wine community came to know us through Imeretian wines Next we became members of the Farmers Association so now we are also known for our exciting farming too Q Do you have an action plan And where do you see your company 10 years from now A We have been guided by a business plan for over a year now For example we were expecting to complete the construction of our winery by the end of this year which we have already done Next year we are targeting an organic certification We also have a 10 year plan we want to expand our vineyard to 10 hectares but it will not be the 2 3 dominant varieties Instead we want to put together and grow a collection of ancient varieties All the while our production must be fully organic and we also plan to expand our sparkling wine output

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48 STORY Q Where do you see the Georgian wine sector ten years from now Based on what would you make this calculation A I have no doubt that in ten years the Georgian wine market will have taken over its niche sector positioning itself in the international arena as a successful small organic manufacturer and making a global name for itself as the homeland of unique varieties and original technologies My conviction stems from the trajectory we have already taken Small manufacturers that are just taking the first steps will in ten years successfully represent Georgia in the market of traditional winemaking Q Foreign visitors often say I have never tasted anything like Georgian wine It s totally different How would you explain why why is it so special A Firstly we are really excited to hear praises of Georgian wine Secondly the main difference lies in the grape varieties What you drink here is not Riesling Pinot Noir or Chardonnay Our country boasts an amazing diversity of grape varieties and we have different winemaking methods Our wines are more full bodied and our flavors are more pleasant in many ways I must say that by tasting Georgian wine you get a picture of what wine must have tasted like thousands of years ago The taste of Georgian wine is the taste of the most ancient wine not of industrial but of ancient wine And if you want to try the same taste as 8 000 years ago you need to come to Georgia Q Baia s Wine is a wine company deeply rooted in the soil of Imereti drawing on Imeretian grape varieties Please introduce us to Imereti and its wine A Imereti is the most distinguished region in All the while our production must be fully organic and we also plan to expand our sparkling wine output

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49 The taste of Georgian wine is the taste of the most ancient wine terms of terroir beneficial for quality grapes and vineyard keeping What sets Imeretian wine from the rest of Georgian wines is its balanced acidity that harmonizes with fruit and honey flavors Imereti grape varieties produce pleasant white wines and not only our red wines are known for a nice proper acid level That is why Imeretian wines are a perfect match for so many dishes that they will make you fall in love with both the food and wine Q Baia please improvise a classic Imereti dinner menu for our readers and pair it with wine A Imeretian cuisine is more on the vegetarian side and many flavors draw on vegetables We are very good at mixing vegetables hazelnuts or walnuts with the addition of fresh salads well seasoned beans chicken cooked in a variety of ways fish dishes with myriad variations mchadi cornbread and cheese As you know mchadi is a gluten free product a healthy and yummy alternative to bread There you have it a typical Imeretian meal which I would pair with Krakhuna chilled Krakhuna will be the frosting on the cake at our Imeretian table

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50 VISIT TO THE ARTIST S STUDIO Tamar Nadiradze s Space M eet artist Tamar Nadiradze 27 She has completed an illustrations and design course at the Academy of Fine Arts and hosts an informal Master s degree program at the Center of Contemporary Art in Tbilisi Her experience includes designing for book festivals and illustrating kid s books Next she switched to art books and has teamed up with her friends to deliver workshops on ways to create them Tamar Nadiradze has authored several art books of her own When did you start drawing w A human being starts drawing pretty much after birth I d always painted but after learning how to read and write I wanted to draw what I had read I would read age inappropriate books so to

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51 best help me convey the intellectual as well as more gentle emotional aspects of my paintings speak For example I was 7 when I started reading Victor Hugo and Georgian history I loved playing and having fun on my own The post Soviet 1990s were very impactful Though I was just a child I took everything close to heart watching my parents struggling to survive I have numerous themes from that period and curiosity interest and later self expression make up a cycle I have been running since childhood What is your language of expression w My main language of expression is painting for which I use only a few materials like paper watercolors and a pencil because they What is your inspiration w It sounds clich but I constantly draw inspiration from my environment and from people though above all else I myself am the main source of my inspiration It is a very exciting process to be a mediator between people and culture based on your own mental faculties and senses all of which ultimately yields concrete results a painting for instance Name a few symbols you use more frequently than others w There must be just a few of them such as nature and plants as images reflecting the landscape of human reason It may be your immediate environment or inner world or your body in different states Do you have regular areas and or topics of study w The environment where I live is my regular area of study I always ponder the ways reality impacts me and how my mentality changes in relation to it By mentality I mean both emotional and analytical properties

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52 Swimming Pools AT T WO A M A Z I N G LO C AT I O N S O F R A D I S S O N B L U I V E R I A H OT E L TBILISI SPA CENTER Traversing Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel s top two floors Anne Semonin Spa overlooks Tbilisi in its sun drenched brilliance With its massive floor to ceiling windows light pastel tones aerial views this 1 600 square meter spa offers nourishment for all human senses and wonderful outdoor pool for those ones enjoying sun tan and day parties Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel 1 Rose Revolution Square Call 995 322 402 200 Web page radissonblu com en hotel tbilisi

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53 BATUMI RETREAT A tranquil and wonderful retreat besides the Black Sea the Anne Semonin Wellness Spa Center at Radisson Blu Batumi spans 1 800 square meters of treatment rooms outdoor pool and spa facilities Unwind in the sauna or aroma steam bath and indulge your senses with essential oils body treatments and massages Radisson Blu Hotel Batumi 1 Ninoshvili Street Call 995 422 25 55 55 Web page radissonblu com en hotel batumi

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54 SWIMMING POOLS KRTSANISI POOL Summer is around the corner which means that those who are too busy to get out of the city must seek alternatives within Tbilisi One such great alternative is the pool at the Krtsanisi Residence at 43 Krtsanisi Street Although the Krtsanisi pool is in the heart of the city it is surrounded by beautiful mountains a detail that turns this place into something special On top of boasting mesmerizing views Krtsanisi Street is praised throughout town for its clean air with not nearly as much automobile pollution And all that means it is a perfection recreation area The place offers top level services clean water pleasant music a bar and impressive views but that s not all The prices here are quite affordable On weekdays it will cost just 35 GEL to enjoy the pool KrtsanisiResidenceComplex Krtsanisi Residence Complex 49 Krtsanisi Str Tbilisi Call 574 99 98 74

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55 HOLIDAY INN The Holiday Inn pool found at 1 May 26 Square in Tbilisi is the best choice sunshine and swimming fans can make At the pool you will find yourself amid a rich floral setup with minimalist design The pool s crystal clear water myriad plants and bar open until 11 PM along with nice music provide everything one may need to relax after a week of hard work and to embrace the true atmosphere of summer Prices depend on the customer s interests and the choice is quite wide A weekday costs 50 GEL and weekends 75 GEL There is also an 8 day package for 300 GEL and an unlimited monthly pass for 550 GEL A season pass costs 1 300 GEL and a 20 discount is offered through May Notably a season pass includes one hour of free massage and one hour of free parking and a one free guest pass HolidayInnTbilisi Holiday Inn Tbilisi 1 26 May Square Call 032 2 30 00 99

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56 SWIMMING POOLS TBILISI YACHT CLUB RESTAURANT LA COTE Tbilisi Yacht Club Restaurant La Cote on the Tbilisi Sea is a seasonal establishment so it is already welcoming guests Undoubtedly it is one of the nicest places in town you can visit in the company of your family or friends or even alone The club owns a raft on Tbilisi Sea where you can swim and enjoy tanning also a restaurant serving mouthwatering European and Georgian dishes spellbinding green areas and a bar Besides being located only 10 minutes away from the city in an area where it is always cool the main reason why you should visit the club lies in its exclusive offers such as a yacht tour for 8 10 people for 500 GEL per hour also water skiing and a catamaran tour something you cannot find anywhere in Tbilisi 1 Sikhvarulis kheivani Tbilisi Call 568 25 22 66 LaCote

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57 SCHUCHMANN WINES CHATEAU VILLAS AND SPA This resort is a 10 minute drive from Telavi Kakheti and is equipped with all sorts of amenities nestled within a dreamlike environment with a view of the mostly snow covered Caucasus Mountains The Chateau features a fine restaurant unique wine cellar exquisite wine spa and much more The central part of this complex is the large swimming pool offering high hygienic standards and an excellent environment for relaxation sun bathing and fun with friends In the early mornings the pool is mostly empty which might be a delight for fans of swimming Visit the Chateau and enjoy its blue waters and spectacular views alongside other amenities Kisiskhevi Kakheti website schuchmannwines com

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Coastal Adjara What associations does Adjara bring to your mind Is it Batumi Any particular landmark Maybe the Boulevard How about the moving Statue of Ali and Nino Or the narrow streets of the old city those interwoven and yet all leading to the sea If that s all you think of yet think you ve seen it all then it s about time you discovered a new Adjara a smaller one with colorful and sunny coastal villages full of merry people Text by Manana Qveliashvili Special Reporter from Batumi

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60 AT THE SEASIDE COASTAL ADJARA L et s start with Sarpi a coastal village divided into two sections One part is in Turkey and the other is in Georgia with an enormous fence dividing the two Most of the village s population is of Lazi descent There are about 2 000 Lazis living in Georgia mostly in the Sapi Kvariati area in Adjara Besides Georgian you can also hear Lazi speech in Sarpi Lazi is a Kartvelian Georgian language reportedly spoken by more than 1 6 million people Most of the Lazi people live in Turkey Sarpi has the smallest Black Sea beach located on the Georgia Turkey border not the quietest place on earth not least because of the main highway passing just above it and connecting Sarpi to Batumi Nonetheless this section of the beach is swarming with people in the summer Why Because of the beach s crystal clear seawaters and Kvaomakha a mammoth cliff protruding into the sea The word Kvaomakha in the Lazi language means a ridged cracked stone The horizontally layered cliff offers terrace like areas for tourists and locals to gather in summer Jumping off Kvaomakha into the sea is in a way an extreme sport activity If you ascend the path to Sarpi you will suddenly find yourself in a mountain village overlooking the sea And the views are the main attraction of the village where every elevation offers a spot to enjoy the sight of the sea to snuggle in the meadow and take in the peaceful swaying infinity In September the annual Kolkhoba festival is celebrated in Sarpi The villagers gather by the sea to hold various performances The festival s guests can listen to

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61 Lazi songs try local dishes and familiarize themselves with Lazi handicrafts Besides in Sarpi Lazis also live in Kvariati a small Black Sea coastal village with a beautiful peaceful and special location Kvariati similar to Sarpi consists of two parts Coastal Kvariati and Hilly Kvariati with a highway in between Kvariati scattered on a mountain slope offers fantastic views of the infinite horizon There are numerous family run hotels in the village Looking for a tranquil and pleasant place ten minutes from the beach Then Kvariati is your best vacation destination Unlike Sarpi Kvariati s coast features rows of caf bars and bungalows of which the Rakushkebi Caf is something else Rakushkebi is located where the sea has chiseled out a small bay between Sarpi and Kvariati Known for its original colorful design this caf has been Kvariati s calling card for years People come from Batumi and other cities to this place because this small caf offers an atmosphere unseen anywhere else The boundary between Kvariati and Gonio is hypothetical Yes the road sign reads that you have just exited Kvariati and are about to enter Gonio but visually almost nothing changes The only difference is that Gonio s coastline is a bit noisier and has more tall buildings Pretty much every fam ily rents out an apartment here in the summer Tourism is the main source of income for Kvariati s residents In the summer cafes and bungalows operate in every corner playing all kinds of music and offering all kinds of services Gonio includes Gonio Apsaros Museum Reserve complete with an ancient fortress Historians believe that the earliest human settlement in Georgia must have been built in the area around the fortress The Gonio Fortress itself found by the seashore was built by the Romans and is believed to be the resting place of the Apostle Matthew At the time of construction it was of crucial Jumping off Kvaomakha into the sea is in a way an extreme sport activity strategic importance serving as a key crossroads between the Kolkehti Plain and the Near East After the 1547 conquest of Chaneti by the Ottomans the Gonio Fortress housed an Ottoman imperial garrison for a few centuries The Ottomans maintained control over the fortress until 1878 when it was handed to the Russian Empire by authority of the Treaty of

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62 AT THE SEASIDE COASTAL ADJARA San Stefano The ancient Greek historian and philosopher Arrian links the story of the legendary Argonauts to Gonio Apsaros According to him while fleeing from Colchis Jason and Medea murdered Medea s brother Apsyrtus there Legend has it that King Aeetes buried his son where today the Gonio Fortress is Similar to Sarpi and Kvariati Gonio s beach is a clean perfect place to rest Gonio and Batumi are separated by the Chorokhi River and unpopulated areas North of Batumi there are the Botanical Garden and Green Cape The Green Cape coast with its semi virgin landscapes is uninhabited and easily accessible from Batumi s side near the entrance of the Botanical Garden which means that you can also reach the place by public transport Urban legend has it that the Black Sea is the clearest around the Green Cape In the summer you will come across tents all over the Green Cape a place favored by campers To get from the Green Cape to Chakvi you will have to return to the main highway Chakvi is a coastal settlement with two story homes and crystal clear sea waters The coastline is more or less developed with one five star and several smaller hotels Besides the sea Chakvi used to be famous for tea plantations In November of 1893 one Liu Jun Zhou a Chinese tea cultivation expert arrived in Chakvi in the company of nine other Chinese specialists at the invitation of the Russian merchant Konstantin Semenovich Popov They brought thousands of tea saplings and hundreds of sacks of tea seeds Liu Jun Zhou started growing tea in Chakvi Kapreshumi and Besides the sea Chakvi used to be famous for tea plantations Salibauri His product was known as Princely Tea which received a gold medal at the 1900 Tea Exposition in Paris Liu Jun Zhou stayed in Chakvi until 1926 The house where he and his family lived has survived and stands out from the other buildings

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63 in Chakvi with its exceptional architecture The idea of opening a tea museum here has yet to materialize Still we recommend visiting Liu Jun Zhou s house It has no doors or windows nor is a ticket required to enter Your Instagram account though will be several gripping pictures richer inspired by the house s interior Tsikhisdziri another seaside village is also near Chakvi There are no cafes bungalows or beach infrastructure in Tsikhisdziri Instead there is a sea with the clearest blue water and an isolated coastline with giant coniferous trees Tsikhisdziri is your kind of place if you steer away from noisy crowed beaches and prefer peace and quiet Besides the sea Tsikhisdziri features the unique Petra Fortress the only fortification in Georgia built on an inaccessible cliff by the sea In the 5th century AD the Byzantine Emperor Justinian the Great ordered his court official John Tzibus to build this fortress which played a significant role throughout the Middle Ages Today only the ruins of the fortress have survived The views from Petra will make a lasting impression on you Today a citrus orchard is arranged in the fortress The green terraces have survived from the communist era and are now an integral part of the monument putting the finishing touch on the appearance of the fortress ruins And if you happen to stay in the Petra Fortress at sunset don t rush back but wait for the burning red sun disk to sink into the sea The horizon turns purplish at first then grows darker eventually to give way to the dusk enveloping the sea The tranquility instilled by contemplating the sea and horizon will last you a whole year until you revisit this now familiar landscape

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64 AT THE SEASIDE Panorama Kvariati K variati is a small village divided years ago by a highway into two sections seemingly marking the boundary between two different Adjaras coastline and mountainous Coastline Kvariati is a cozy little settlement with clean beaches covering the first coastal zone and enveloped in greenery with palm laden farms and swimsuits constantly swinging on washing lines Nearby you will find smaller or larger hotels and bungalows quite noisy at night though the only thing in Kvariati that may cause something resembling an argument is taste otherwise everything is down with entertainment and More info at panoramakvariati com panoramakvariati

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ADVERTISING 65 fun however noisy it may be Soon however this peace and quiet will be replaced by an upcoming hotel with a brand new concept Soreprim Group Mazureau a holding company with 56 years of experience in the market is implementing a project titled Panorama Kvariati including 90 fully renovated exclusive apartments with furniture and equipment a wine tasting hall a panoramic restaurant on the roof a bar and lounge apartment rental operation real insurance and concierge and security services Throughout the process of developing the concept and launching construction the project s authors put themselves in their prospective clients shoes What unexpected exclusive experience could pleasantly surprise us in Kvariati Only after having found an answer to this question the team chose their building materials cladding samples interior design and accessories and a diverse package of services including car services that help you save time traveling between Kvariati and Batumi in case you end up staying late having fun or doing business in Batumi for example Staying in this aparthotel is like living between two realities with the small peaceful settlement of Kvariati outside and the hotel inside towering in the middle of the beach just steps away from the sea It s top notch luxury lavish interiors and services are poised to place Kvariati on the map of world class destinations Soon Panorama Kvariati will offer both vacation rentals and apartments to own or rent out Kvariati s fundamental transformation is just around the corner Call 995 598 24 00 02 E mail panoramakvariati gmail com

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66 AT THE SEASIDE Off the Beach W H AT TO S E E I N A DJA R A Text by Manana Qveliashvili I f all that Adjara brings to mind is the sea and Batumi it s probably about time you familiarized yourself with the sunny mountainous alpine pasture of Adjara There is much more to Adjara than just the sea or Adjaruli khachapuri cheese bread the pearl of local cuisine though it may be Hardworking people with big hearts live here They are the uncontested champions when it comes to putting one s heart into singing and dancing It just runs in their blood Adjaruli men plow and plant at the top of the mountain They tend vineyards on steep mountain slopes and grow different grape varieties that make for the most delicious wines And it is up to guests to pick their choice of wine to enjoy whether it be Ojaleshi Chkhaveri or Tsolikauri Adjaruli women are up with the chickens to milk the cows process the milk and make cheese butter and kaimaghi sour cream The agricultural goods produced by mountainous Adjara eventually end up in Batumi s farmers market Adjara especially its mountainous section is a land of hardworking dedicated people who love hosting guests and are really good at it You will never Adjarians are the uncontested champions when it comes to putting one s heart into singing and dancing It just runs in their blood regret traveling there Let s start our journey from Mtirala along the Kobuleti Chakvi Ridge a destination offering an equally unforgettable experience all year round

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67 MTIRALA NATIONAL PARK In the village of Chakvistavi near the visitor information center by the entrance of Mtirala National Park you will be offered several routes One will take you down a trail with direction signs leading up and down hills allowing you to jump over mountain brooks and after the final uphill find yourself facing an enormous waterfall listening to the water crashing on the rocks Enjoy some rest in the bosom of nature and take the same trail back The second route leads into the village You will find several small cafes and restaurants on your way where you can take a break and enjoy authentic Adjarian coffee or you can just keep on pushing The path which stretches along the Chakvistskali River is simply gorgeous At the end of the road you ll find a manually operated cable car built by a local man taking people across the river All you have to do is pay a couple of GEL snuggle into the car and the next thing you know you are on the other side where the second footpath with signs for directions leads up to MtiralaNationalPark How to get there From the Chakvi Settlement where any public transport can take you you will have to hire a cab for 25 30 GEL to the Mtirala visitor information center Where to stay The visitor center offers standard double rooms for 50 GEL There are several family run hotels in the village where you can spend a night for 20 30 GEL

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68 AT THE SEASIDE OFF THE BEACH Services A zip line ride costs 15 GEL and the adventure park offers two routes the short one with 6 barriers costs 20 GEL and the long one with 11 barriers is 30 GEL For 50 GEL you can hire a horse All you need to do is get in touch with Khvicha Kontselidze at 558 65 39 62 Mtirala Waterfall If you are into extreme sports you have two options You can team up with an instructor and go zip line flying or venture solo into the adventure park with a rope course to overcome numerous obstacles The village of Chakvistavi is an integral part of Mtirala National Park One may say even that it is right in the middle of the park In recent years the village s population has returned and the place is especially animated and lively in summer You can reserve a meal at one of the households visit the park and the waterfall and come back just in time to enjoy some Adjarian dishes The waterfall is called Mtirala weeping in the Georgian language for a reason it seems to rain here all the time If you are lucky enough to come here in good weather in the morning it will surely rain in the evening so make sure you always have a raincoat with you On your way from Mtirala to the Machakhela Gorge you will pass along the seacoast where I strongly recommend dropping by Cape Green for a couple of hours of tanning or just listening to the sounds of the sea on the beach Whenever you are ready you can continue your ascent of the mountain MACHAKHELA GORGE On your way from Batumi to mountainous Adjara you will bump into the village of Acharistskali The road sign will tell you to turn right for the Machakhela Gorge So you turn right and that s when your true adventure begins Just past the entrance you will see the statue of the Machakhela Rifle a monument erected by the local residents Some 150 years ago they were unrivaled in all of Adjara in flintlock manufacturing Equally famous were the Machakhela blacksmiths whose weapons were held in high esteem not only in Georgia but also throughout the Ottoman Empire Fans of ethnography are

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69 advised to visit the village of Zemo Chkhutuneti Its ancient mosque presently houses a museum of ethnography and preserves the history of the gorge in general The museum was founded in 1984 by Nugzar Nagervadze a local resident who used quite a peculiar method to collect artifacts He put the residents of Zemo Chkhutuneti into two teams and held a competition in donating exhibits For example a donated family dagger or a Machakhela rifle equaled 100 points a wine jar or other household item garnered 5 points Most of the museum s artifacts were collected during this competition The museum s exhibits reenact how people lived in ancient Adjara what they wore what kitchenware they used and how they entertained themselves If you love wandering through pristine nature you have three routes to choose from in the Machakhela Gorge One is called Mtavarangelozis Biliki Archangel s Trail stretching 4 kilometers and ending by the foot of Mount Mtavarangelozi From the top of the mountain you can enjoy magical views of Batumi a truly lasting experience How to get there It is easiest to take a car to the gorge Where to stay There are many family run hotels in the Machakhela Gorge A one night stay costs 10 GEL and a day with three meals 4 5 GEL

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70 AT THE SEASIDE OFF THE BEACH The second route is called Kokoletis Biliki a path you can cover either by car or on foot wander through virgin nature camp and relax The third route is known as Chanchkeris Biliki Waterfall Trail which makes sense because it takes you to a waterfall by car or on foot just the same the choice is yours TAGO How to get there You can catch a ride on a shared taxi or take your own car to Khulo from where you take a cable car ride to the village Where to stay There are several family owned hotels in Khulo with prices fluctuating between 15 and 40 GEL per day You can reach Guram Tsetskhladze the owner of one of the hotels at 598 09 61 43 to enjoy your stay with three meals a day for 40 GEL or another hotelier Zurab Tsetskhladze at 598 09 59 09 to rent a room with three meals a day for 40 GEL and without meals for 25 GEL Tago is the only village in the Khulo Municipality connected to the outside world via a cable car stretching from the center of Khulo to Tago at 1000 meters above sea level It usually takes 8 10 minutes to find yourself in a quintessential Adjarian village with log houses bright green pastures and warmhearted people There are about 70 households living in the village mostly pursuing horticulture and cattle breeding The cable car appreciated by tourists as something exotic is the shortest and fastest way of connecting to the region s center for the locals A ride costs only 20 tetri Tago s villagers use the cable car to transport their goods for an extra price For example they pay an additional 20 tetri for a hay bale and a sack of potatoes The cable car has a set schedule opening at 8 30 AM taking a break at 1 PM resuming at 3 PM and closing at 7 PM The village itself is an exciting site especially the narrow path running between fences from the cable car station to the center with quaint houses lined up on either side A mosque and a school are the key features of the village s center Potato farming and cattle breeding are the main sources of income for the locals If you prefer hiking and are not afraid of long distances on foot you can enjoy a walk from Tago to Skhalta This 7 kilometer trail passes through a forest and usually takes a couple of hours

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71 SKHALTA The Skhalta Gorge best illustrates the diversity of Adjara Down the Batumi Khulo Akhaltsikhe Highway you will see an exit sign to the Skhalta Gorge At the entrance of the gorge you will find an ancient arch bridge known locally as Tamar s Bridge There are 25 stone arch bridges in Adjara Legend has it that they were all built by Queen Tamar which is why the locals refer to them as Tamar s Bridges Generally all good deeds and great feats every arch bridge and string fortification are ascribed to Queen Tamar s merit It is nearly impossible to find even a single village where at least one landmark is not linked to her name Legends claim that if a given village s main stream is named after Tamar it means that she passed through the area and drank from this stream eight centuries ago If you come across a field named after her you will know that Queen Tamar stopped and camped there with her troops Similarly a hill immortalizing her name must be a place where Queen Tamar s How to get there It is easiest to take a car to the gorge Where to stay There is one family run hotel in Skhalta Please contact Nugzar Shainidze at 555 20 34 03

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72 AT THE SEASIDE OFF THE BEACH warriors washed their mud covered feet and the mud piled up to form a hill The road to Skhalta runs alongside the Skhaltistskali River On your way near the village of Purtio you will find a cold mountain stream where you can get some rest buy fresh fruits and socialize with the locals The most impressive landmark of the gorge is the 12th century Skhalta Monastery which has stood the test of time and survived to this day The village of Skhalta also features the Museum of Sherif Khimshiashvili or Sherif Bey Khimshiashvili the last ruler of Zemo Upper Adjara and leader of the national liberation movement of Muslim Georgia The museum occupies the house of Adjara s Bey and displays his personal effects such as silver copper and china tableware weapons photos and oil paintings How to get there A vehicle road leads up to Chirukhi so you can catch a car ride Alternatively you can take a shared taxi to the village of Shubani and then walk down a 10 kilometer path Where to stay You can bring a tent with you and camp in Chirukhi There is also Mereti a tourist shelter where you need to make a reservation in advance Please get in touch with Mereti Manager Revaz Putkaradze at 577 17 57 52 CHIRUKHI Summer is the best time to travel to mountainous Adjara because for one the populations of Adjara s villages are stationed in alpine pastures at this time Almost every gorge in Adjara has its own pastures each special and beautiful in its own way And Chirukhi is one such summer pasture in the Shuakhevi Municipality where the populations of the surrounding villages spend only three months in summer That is why visiting Chirukhi is recommended in the summer There is a small lake amid the pastures sandwiched between mountains The lake offers a mesmerizing sight early in the morning From Chirukhi you can walk to Beshumi Resort The 36 kilometer Chirukhi Sarichairi Khikhani Fortress Tetrobi Pass Beshumi Goderdzi Pass route takes 3 4 days and it is the best route to familiarize yourself with mountainous Adjara

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73 If you decide to embark on this route make sure you visit the 10th 12th cc Khikhani Fortress built on a steep slope and praised as one of the most unassailable fortifications in Georgia Before setting off I recommend making thorough preparations and planning BESHUMI Beshumi is a summer destination at 1900 meters above sea level one with prospects of transforming into a winter resort in mountainous Adjara The main obstacle on your trip will be the 47 kilometer road connecting Beshumi to the center of Khulo It takes as long as three hours to cover this unpaved road All these difficulties however will be dead and buried as soon as you see the bedazzling landscapes at the end of the road The resort offers both modern cottages and old log huts used by herdsmen in the summer when they come up to the mountains from the villages of the Khulo Municipality to tend their cattle and make organic products like braided cheese mountain butter kaimaghi sour cream and a dairy based kuruti dish Adjara boasts special dairy production traditions Local women process milk in a special milk cream separator and use the processed milk to make braided cheese and store the cream which later turns into what is known as kaimaghi It tastes very much like sour cream is quite filling and usually enjoyed with mchadi cornbread As for kuruti it is a true star the pearl of Adjarian cuisine a delicacy of sorts It takes a lot of time and effort to make it Kuruti uses soft nadughi cottage cheese which is run through a strainer Next it is stirred in a mix of milk and corn flour then kaimaghi is added to give the mix more elasticity after which it is divided into small balls The balls are sundried a process that ideally takes about a month How to get there Beshumi is 7 kilometers from Goderdzi Pass Where to stay Before heading to Beshumi I recommend booking a cottage You can make a reservation at the Meteo Hotel on Goderdzi Pass or stay in family run hotels Please contact Meteo Hotel Director Jumber Chkonia at 591 24 44 44 or Vazha Diasamidze at 598 88 60 60

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74 AT THE SEASIDE OFF THE BEACH Sundried kuruti can be stored for a whole year The population of mountainous Adjara is very hardworking and they invest an enormous effort to put food on the table That is probably why the dishes characteristic of mountainous Adjara are so filling GREEN LAKE How to get there You can catch a cab for 25 30 GEL to get from Goderdzi Pass to Green Lake If you are into walking it will take you a few hours of contemplating a spectacular scenery The road through Goderdzi Pass branches into four directions one leading to Batumi the second to Akhaltsikhe the third to Beshumi and the fourth to Green Lake one of the most popular routes in mountainous Adjara You will find plenty of camping and picnic areas around the lake Resting by Green Lake and gazing up at the star studded sky at night guarantees an unforgettable experience In summer various folk festivals are held in mountainous Adjara Shuamtoba is one such celebration and guests from all over Georgia come to Beshumi to participate in it Horseraces folk songs mountain cuisine and many other exciting things happen during Shuamtoba You can plan your trip to include the Shuamtoba festival It is up to you though because there are many other exciting places to discover in Adjara many interesting people to meet and numerous mouthwatering dishes to try

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75 Where to Eat D R I N K DA N C E I N B AT U M I Text by Ia Prangishvili Batumi based special reporter T he ancient port of Batumi on the Black Sea coast is the second largest city in Georgia At first Batumi s architecture mostly featured two story buildings and mansions with piano nobiles along with abundant historical houses of different architectural styles and characteristic courtyards and public areas In the past 15 years however some of Batumi s so called Italian courtyards and palaces have been replaced with high rises Although Batumi s skyline is changing on a daily basis the signature characteristics of Old Batumi increasingly hard to capture but alive and kicking are still found in the city s historical areas the noisy Italian courtyards and the traditions cherished by the locals To discover this side of Batumi come join us on this tour Interesting The port city of Batumi has always been multicultural as clearly evidenced by the places of worship built in the city at different times including congregational mosques and Orthodox Roman Catholic and Gregorian churches Some of them were built in the 21st century others in the past century or even earlier For example on Kutaisi Street in Old Batumi you will find a small West Asian neighborhood with hookah lounges and Arabic and Turkish restaurants where you can enjoy various types of chorba soup meat or vegetable dishes Equally numerous here are teahouses where men use transparent narrow necked glasses to sip from while rolling their backgammon dice

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76 AT THE SEASIDE WHERE TO EAT DRINK DANCE VINYL BAR 12 Nodar Dumbadze Str Era Europe Square is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city Besides being a place for entertainment and leisure the square has a political importance to Batumi s residents because it is here that they gather to protest the city s various social issues And it is here in the city s central square that you ll find Vinyl a small bar and an excellent hideaway to visit in the company of friends or alone Although the bar is frequented by various local cliques you ll still get a feeling that everyone knows everyone here because the personnel greets even newcomers like old friends Here you can order a cup of Turkish coffee espresso or instant coffee also various alcoholic beverages like Georgian beer bottled vinylbarbatumi wine chacha and a relatively new Georgian drink called Rezognac first distilled by Georgian biologist and diplomat Revaz Adamia in 1985 It is a lighter alternative to cognac with orange lemon and grapefruit flavors Prices at Vinyl are affordable The citrus colored walls at Vinyl are embellished with vinyl LPs signed and painted by the caf s guests and friends They re also adorned with various musical instruments and Vinyl s calling card Jimi Hendrix poster Reportedly the surname Hendrix is used as a verb here so Vinyl is a place to Hendrix and for Hendrixing Vinyl features live performances by a flute player versed in a variety of genres like rock jazz alternative and others In a nutshell Vinyl is a place where exciting dialogues and pleasant music can be found

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77 CAF K2 12 14 Nodar Dumbadze Str Caf K2 is found next to Vinyl arranged in a quaint Italian courtyard on Europe Square Chandeliers ornamented with colorful pieces of cloth hang down to create a magical atmosphere especially in the evening The courtyard is full of greenery with hammocks stretched in the shade k2cafebatumi between the trees and nonstop soothing music in the backdrop It may get cloudy but do not run for shelter because your table umbrella will protect you from possible summer raindrops Caf K2 is a nice place to enjoy a delicious meal The menu includes every main cold and hot dish found in traditional Georgian restaurants The caf s prices are moderate The courtyard is considered an open space so it is all right to smoke a rare exception given the latest regulations adopted in Georgia

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78 AT THE SEASIDE WHERE TO EAT DRINK DANCE CONTE BAR 1 5 Zviad Gamsakhurdia Str Conte Bar is housed in the Contemporary Art Space a gallery hosting exhibitions of contemporary artists film screenings and discussions on art and social issues Even outside these events Conte is always packed From 10 A M Conte Bar serves a traditional breakfast menu with an omelet You can also order a burger or veggie wrap With a cup of coffee we recommend the bar s cake of the day such as avocado and chocolate cake apple tart or espresso chocolate cake which make up only a small fraction of the homemade desserts baked by the bar s owner and delivered to the delight of guests Umbrellas and colored metal tables and chairs are lined up along the outer perimeter of the contebatumi bar In the evening DJ sets are held here and this small section of the street turns into an openair dance and music festival

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79 LEUVILLE 1 Gorgiladze Str Leuville just 5 minutes from Era Square is a caf bakery drawing on French and Georgian culinary traditions with its menu listing authentic khachapuri cheese bread and Laghidze waters alongside French croissants and airy fluffy triple cheesecakes The name of the caf bakery Leuville derives from the Leuville Estate near Paris bought by the exiled government of Georgia after fleeing the country from the Bolsheviks in 1921 The estate eventually became a haven for Georgian refugees in France Leuville s interior similar to the menu is exciting and diverse perfectly harmonizing stone wall tiles LeuvilleBatumi and colorful stained glass panes soft and heavy wooden furniture uncoated stone wall sections and fresh flower garlands hanging on the wall The caf is kid friendly adapted to their needs Leuville is open from 9 A M to midnight and its prices are slightly above average For discounts please visit the caf bakery at noon during Happy Hour

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80 AT THE SEASIDE WHERE TO EAT DRINK DANCE Recommendations FOR ADJARULI KHACHAPURI Text and illustrations by Paata Shamugia I had my first khachapuri cheese bread back when I was a student That one time was enough to permanently galvanize all my taste buds I have no idea why I am so fascinated by it Maybe its form It looks like a boat it was invented in a seaside town after all enticing you to adventure But I have to admit that after gobbling down a good portion of Adjaruli all my adventures boil down to sprawling and dreaming fair enough I love its content and how you get to take part in its creation Well it s not exactly you putting together the contents and you don t even serve it the waiter does but mixing together the ingredients the cheese butter and egg that s when you get to have your say which creates a sweet illusion of participation Adjaruli khachapuri is like Jon Jones of UFC you can t compare it to anyone or anything be it khinkali dumplings kebab and so on because nothing compares My favorite place to dine out in Tbilisi is Retro They serve excellent Adjaruli Retro is my kind of place in Batumi too though the competition here for the title of best Adjaruli is much fiercer The Adjaruli at Askanelebi or Old Batumi is just as good as at Retro if not better The crust is out of this world and so are the cheese and butter mind you butter not margarine A doughy crust is the last thing I want in my Adjaruli cheese bread ask for it tsomgamotslili though if you do like your doughy crust then ask for it tsomit A self respecting Adjaruli pie must be crispy and crunchy The setup and acquaintanceship with chefs mean nothing to me In fact I ve never tried to make friends with them I d rather keep the mystery alive so I can convince myself that the creator of such yummies must be a pleasant person instead of becoming acquainted personally and consequently disappointed I guess what matters here is how they do their job and that s when they are at their best

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Acharian Khachapuri Cheese Bread Old truth tried and tested and trusted You are what you eat So four times a week I am Adjarian cheese bread Medium sized and the crust removed Baked until crisp with its mouth ajar Like the characters of Erlend Loe No one can override a catchphrase Even Adjarian cheese bread So the saying goes Adjarian cheese bread has a big heart It is big with the big guys and small with small fish There is also the Titanic cheese bread at the Machakhela diner Though I have no heart to bite into it Still love that s all it is about Poetry by Paata Shamugia Published for the first time in the culinary supplement to Indigo Magazine Yes so trivial it is Unless you love it You can t make it It just won t let you Bake it until crisp Remove its crust From boat shaped body Nor will it let you anchor your fork Or lay your finger on its crunchy edges Therefore love Adjarian cheese bread As thou dost love thyself And only then set out to make Smaller sized or medium or even that Titanic With crust or otherwise without And dough it must be silky soft like babes babbling And cheese make sure it is airy like Mona Lisa s smile And butter yellow in color just like the Vatican banner The egg you choose rough textured memories embarrassing to resemble The oven must be hot hot as the lover s mouth And then And then you shred the smile of Mona Lisa And fly the Vatican banner in the middle And scatter embarrassing memories here and there Then mix it all up and stick it in the lover s mouth Just like I said love that s all it is about

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82 AT THE SEASIDE WHERE TO EAT DRINK DANCE UOLLI RESTAURANT 43 Memed Abashidze Ave UOLLI Restaurant is housed in an ancient brick building next to the Public Broadcaster in the second linear section parallel to the coastline The hall leading into the restaurant consists of green bottle walls The interior s pinkish walls feature gold framed mirrors and the ceiling is studded with myriad bulbs The tropics underpin the interior s concept bamboo ladders to the ceiling palms and other plants in pots or printed on the wallpaper The restaurant s backyard is equally green with tables under green umbrellas and neon lighting in the hallway For breakfast UOLLI offers millet porridge and fresh cappuccino also chikhirtma chicken broth with eggs and parsley or pierogi dumplings with mashed potatoes and cheese for dinner uollirestaurant As for food and beverage prices here they are pretty much the same as in other restaurants and can even be considered affordable

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83 CAF BAR FANFAN 27 Egnate Ninoshvili Str On the crossing of Egnate Ninoshvili and Melikishvili Streets near the entrance of Batumi s Seaside Park there is one of the oldest houses in town one recognized as a monument of Batumi s cultural heritage The first floor of this thin brick building is occupied by Caf Fan Fan The caf s interior combines the peace and quiet of Batumi s oldest house and the elements of a modern caf such as round wooden tables with rich tablecloths vases with flowers colorful vintage tableware and furniture mirrors and flickering lights and shades all around and invariably pleasant music Periodically DJs are also invited to perform here The menu of Fan Fan is diverse You are welcome to enjoy Black Sea mussels with moldy cheese sauce and follow it with traditional Georgian pelamushi thickened grape juice or homemade sparkling tarragon lemonade Fan Fan s prices fluctuate between affordable and slightly high depending on the complexity and exoticness of a given dish Several tables are set aside outdoors for smokers fanfan batumi SOLO PIZZA 44 May 26 Street You already know that Batumi is a multicultural city Caf SOLO Pizza for instance enables you to commune with the spirit of Italy The restaurant serves pizzas with special flavors drawing on basil sausages and cheese from the Mediterranean The secret behind the flavor of SOLO Pizza s espresso lies within the coffee beans from the famous La Zagara caf operating since the 18th century Even pasta in SOLO Pizza uses Italian flour And you will be offered limoncello and Italian wines of course We strongly recommend the caf s specialty salad Solo with several types of lettuce roasted walnuts pesto and homemade Italian recipe sundried tomatoes Feeling like staying at home because of the blazing sun or Batumi s characteristic rain Well the caf offers free delivery so you can enjoy fresh hot dishes in any

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84 AT THE SEASIDE WHERE TO EAT DRINK DANCE part of town just 15 minutes after you place your order SOLO Pizza s kid and animal friendly atmosphere is exemplary in Batumi Besides special tables for the little ones strollers are always at your disposal in case you have decided to carry your baby to the caf As for your pets SOLO Pizza will serve them free of charge LAGUNA KHACHAPURI DINNER 18 Zurab Gorgiladze Str Arguably khachapuri cheese bread is the most famous Georgian dish There are a number of its variations of which one of the most celebrated is Adjaruli khachapuri the Adjarian cheese boat something you absolutely must try if you are visiting Batumi Adjara s capital Laguna in the heart of the city on Gorgiladze Street just 10 minutes from the beach is one of the long standing khachapuri diners in town Laguna s plain interior features walls with round pebbles and wooden chairs and tables with a marble top The half open wall behind the counter enables you to peek into the kitchen where delicious khachapuri cheese bread is baked in a huge blazing hot oven Your order will be served in no time like 10 15 minutes The star dish on Laguna s menu is Adjaruli khachapuri priced depending on the size An egg and chunk of butter are usually added to the fresh baked pie but the beauty of it all is that it is just as good even without the egg About 15 years ago this caf introduced a new type of Adjaruli khachapuri one with the crust filling removed Nowadays many other cafes serve this lighter version of the normally very filling and cheese and butter laden khachapuri As the pie is baking and the filling is bubbling the cheese produces a liquid that saturates the dough The baker then removes this soaking dough to leave a harder crunchier part of the pie with cheese Adjaruli khachapuri comes with a knife and fork Locals however hardly ever use utensils to eat khachapuri probably because it is a lot yummier eaten by hand

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85 DELIRIA RESTAURANT 8 Kazbegi Str Deliria is a family style thematic restaurant occupying an old Batumi type mansion with a piano nobile and a courtyard behind an iron gate Deliria is housed in the owner s ancestral mansion built as early as the late 19th century The homelike atmosphere is fortified by old family album photos along the walls an old fashioned fireplace and a piano in the corner of the main dining hall with a retro samovar analog cameras and other items on top of the piano The restaurant has a veranda and a courtyard surrounded by greenery where white bulb garlands are lit in the evening You and your friends are also welcome to sit by a bonfire and listen to live music Deliria s family like atmosphere is also reflected in its menu which besides various Georgian and European dishes includes homemade lemonade and desserts Unlike other cafes Deliria serves traditional Georgian snacks like chiri and churchkhela RESTAURANT BERN 17 Rustaveli Str Restaurant Bern is located in the so called Chekhov House at 17 Rustaveli Street The historical value of this 19th century building is significant The first elected Batumi Mayor Luka Asatiani lived in this house and prominent Russian authors Anton Chekhov and Maksim Gorky have also stayed here Bern opened here about three RestaurantDeliria

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86 AT THE SEASIDE WHERE TO EAT DRINK DANCE years ago The building s first floor is occupied by a pub second by Restaurant Bern and third by a glass pane terrace offering views of the city s historical neighborhood The restaurant s interior is full of greenery soft colorful furniture and different types of light fixtures Given the building s historical significance though all three floors have kept the structure s authentic appear Given the building s historical significance though all three floors have kept the structure s authentic appearance Bern Batumi ance Do not let the fancy setup mislead you prices here are quite affordable Bern s pub serves hot khinkali dumplings usually 5 10 per serving which we believe is enough for one person Cold beer is perfect for washing down khinkali dumplings and the menu offers both Georgian and German draft beers If you are big on sports make note of this pub showing all major sports events live For a lighter meal we recommend the Georgian ajapsandali summer dish at Restaurant Bern The key ingredients of this vegan dish include eggplants tomatoes hot and bell peppers fresh herbs and various spices It is eaten hot or cold As for dessert we recommend crispy golden Belgian waffles served with chocolate ice cream and fruits here

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87 LUCA POLARE 3 Irakli Abashidze street Boulevard near restaurant New ship Boulevard near hotel Sheraton Batumi Needless to say hot summer days call for refreshing ice cream There are two ice cream parlors in Batumi and both use Italian recipes without color or flavor additives Luca Polare is located at 3 Abashidze Street former Blagoevgrad Street in one of the Old Batumi neighborhoods The parlor makes almost 60 different types of ice cream featuring organic ingredients fresh milk and fruits For vegans we recommend tangy sweet and sour blackcurrant ice cream with lemon juice and sugar Along with the most delicious hot chocolate and aromatic coffees Luca Polare s menu includes apple strudel carrot cake and cherry tart LucaPolareOriginal White and brown are the dominant colors in this store where it is always refreshingly cool and pleasant music is heard in the backdrop There are several tables along the outside perimeter where smoking is allowed Other Luca Polare branches can be found along Batumi s Boulevard by the coastline For vegans we recommend tangy sweet and sour blackcurrant ice cream with lemon juice and sugar

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88 AT THE SEASIDE WHERE TO EAT DRINK DANCE SCHUCHMANN WINE BOUTIQUE AND STORE 1 Memed Abashidze Str On Memed Abashidze Street Batumi among various historical buildings lively everyday Adjarian scenes and trendy cafes and restaurants you will find one Wine Store with distinctive style and high quality That s the newly rebranded Schuchmann Wine Boutique and Store that just opened its doors to Batumi customers already competing with other well established brands for the title of the best wine place in Batumi Spend the hot summer with Schuchmann Wine and create unforgettable moments goes the official Facebook post announcing the grand opening The evening sea waves beautiful coast and our WineBoutiqueBatumi aromatic wine the best synthesis to spend time The Schuchmann Wine Boutique and Store features all the varieties of wines produced by the wellknown wine brand Schuchmann including its sparkling wine and chacha silver and gold One shelf is solely dedicated to non Georgian imported strong spirits like tequila vodka and others The Store also has degustation space where group degustations and tastings can also be held after booking in advance

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89 GELATO TRENTO Konstantine Gamsakhurdia Str Gelato Trento is also housed in the city s central neighborhood at 9 Memed Abashidze Street near Conte This small establishment is a family run business and its exclusive Italian ice cream recipe was imported from the city of Trento Personally I recommend white sweet cherry ice cream You may also find it hard to resist the charm of stracciatella loaded with crispy chocolate However if you are looking for low calorie desserts you can try the establishment s fruit ice creams the same as sorbets which include only locally produced fruits water sugar and glucose GATE AND BOTANICO CLUBS Miracle Park near the Alphabet Tower Botanico on the Black Sea coast is unlike any other club space as it operates as both a club and a caf Botanico occupies a vast light area and offers nice meals If you are feeling hungry you can try the shrimp spaghetti a Texas burger or even fried mozzarella rolls You can enjoy your meal at one of the tables on the greensward botanicobatumi along the outside perimeter or in Botanico s indoor dining hall the choice is yours Crowds flock to Botanico s indoor hall for various events with a disco mirror ball reflecting and projecting violet and red lights onto the walls and ceiling The club features both local DJs and international techno or house

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90 AT THE SEASIDE WHERE TO EAT DRINK DANCE performers Tired of dancing You can snuggle on the white staircase with colorful pillows on one of the floor s sides or in the swing armchair hanging from the ceiling Gate Club operates in the opposite section of the same building as Botanico It has everything to make sure you are fully immersed in an electronic beat experience Gate s sound system is the best in the city and in terms of performer selection it even rivals Tbilisi clubs In the three years since its inception the club has made quite a name for itself among underground techno fans The club has a cloakroom National legislation recently banned smoking indoors so you will have to take it outside Alcohol prices here are affordable In the summer of 2018 Gate hosted such international DJs as DVS1 Etapp Kyle Anthony Jimenez Adriana Lopez Soela Lindsey Herbert Anri Svarog Antigone Sabine Hoffman Aerodromme Andy Fair Exos and others Along with the trendiest guest performers the club also features Bassiani and Khidi residents along with other Georgian musicians Additional Recommendations Because of Batumi s proximity to the Black Sea it tends to rain a lot but don t let that scare you besides cafes and bars there are many other places to visit in town These include Nobel Brothers Batumi Technological Museum displaying the 19th 20th centuries technological achievements introduced in Batumi Nearby is the Cosmic Space Area providing information about the Reflector Antenna the first Georgian space technology and its creator Academician and General Major Elguja Medzmariashvili Another must see is the Batumi Archeological Museum where besides contemplating unique expositions of golden and other artifacts discovered in the territory of Adjara you can also buy copies of jewelry originally created much earlier than our common era

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91 MY PERSONAL FAVORITE Tini Nogaideli Michel an English teacher in Lyon France and singer for TINIKO a Franco Georgian music group born and raised in Gonio Adjara WHAT TO EAT IN THE FIRST PLACE My absolute favorite in Adjara is Tsvniani Phkhali that you cannot find in restaurants My grandma makes the best Phkhali obvisouly with her homegrown vegetables It tastes summer and my boo boos on the knees during holidays My grandma adds corn and cubes of squash and lot of love for me Adjarian Baklava is the next Please think ahead and don t eat 24 hours prior to eating baklava Its subtle layers look light but are in fact made crunchy thanks to tones of pure butter mixed with sugar And of course as in every descent Georgian dish you have loads of nuts That you can find pretty much everywhere in Batumi because my grandma only cooks for me After savouring baklava for the first time it will instantly become your guilty pleasure It must have just the right amount of syrup and crack between your teeth at the same time I ve seen my family cook it throughout Tiniko my childhood Every layer had to be made separately so it was a full family activity First the dough was pressed and shaped with fingers then stretched for numerous times Men in the family would make round balls women would stretch If it broke in the process everybody would freak out immediately trying to patch the dough back again If it was impossible broken ones would be for the family members good looking ones for guests PLACES THAT SHOULD NOT BE MISSED To me to explore Adjara you have to go in the villages like Keda or Khulo The mountains are high and green people are simple and true They will share their food and drink with you Unlike other parts of Georgia they respect less the rigid boundaries of Georgian supra they don t force you to drink Tbilisi or even Batumi is such a distant idea from there Mountains rivers and forests Mud too

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FACTS You don t need to wait for death to see Paradise you can always come to Tusheti Tusheti resident Soso Babunaidze recently posted on his Facebook page In Georgia after having visited Kartli and Kakheti Imereti and Guria Meskheti and Adjara Racha Lechkhumi and Samegrelo Khevi Pshavi and Khevsureti until we can also make it to currently occupied Abkhazia consider going to Tusheti and Svaneti Save these two regions for last and plan two tours to Georgia one for each Similar to the rest of Georgia the spirit of Tusheti and Svaneti is best reflected in their folk songs Just Google and listen to two of them the Lileo hymn to the sun performed by male Svans and Lela Tataraidze s How Beautiful Is Tusheti Enjoyed them To me these two songs best represent these regions Svaneti is tough inapproachable just like the sun and the region s mountains while Tusheti embodies motherly warmth Which one is better I leave that up to you

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HOW BEAUTIFUL IS Tusheti Text by Tinatin Mosiashvili Journalist and tour guide

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94 HOW BEAUTIFUL IS TUSHETI B Information about road conditions is available on the hotline of the Road Department at 995 32 2 31 30 76 etween Mount Caucasus and the Ceraunian Mountains there dwell the Tusci Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy wrote as early as the 2nd century BC Nowadays most Tushetians live in Zemo Upper and Kvemo Lower Alvani though some are found in Tbilisi and quite a number of them even abroad Unlike their neighbors Kakhetians who pursue horticulture and are therefore tied to their land and vineyards Tushetians have been herders namely shepherds since time immemorial And that is probably why Tushetians as pastoral nomads easily adapt to foreign lands unlike the residents of Kartli and Kakheti Still no matter where Tushetians live they do their best to visit their villages and shrines in summer at least for the folk holiday of Atengenoba Tusheti is a unique Georgian region in that it is found entirely on the other side of the Caucasus that is in the North Caucasus The main Caucasus mountain divide separates Tusheti from Kakheti Pshavi and Khevsureti also from Chechnya and Dagestan According to the modern day administrative divisions Tusheti is incorporated into the Akhmeta Municipality of the Kakheti Region The only road to Tusheti starts in Kakheti stretching along the Stori Gorge and via the Abano Pass leading to the North Caucasus The Abano Pass just like Datvisjvari is closed throughout winter starting in October or November So until the road reopens Tushetians rely solely on helicopters Fortunately in the recent years the authorities have been able to provide one flight per week throughout the winter Having said that because of Tusheti s hard living only about 50 people mostly elderly live in the entire gorge Once holiday season is over in the mountains children are nowhere in sight

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95 The last school in the region in Omalo was abolished years ago The region s practically untouched virgin forests full of pine and birch along with alpine groves rhododendron thickets cliffs abounding with ibices unique flora and fauna glaciers spread out below the magnificent peaks of Dakuekhi Tebuli Diklo Borbalo and Komito all towering at 3200 4700 meters above sea level Of the 1 000 floral species found in Tusheti eleven are endemic to Georgia and 230 to the Caucasus As for fauna the region boasts 60 species of mammals almost 120 bird species three reptiles and one species per each amphibian and fish including the endemic Caucasian grouse Caucasian snowcock and East Caucasian tur also wild goats deer roe deer chamois bears wolves lynxes and more To preserve Tusheti s unique nature and culture the entire region enjoys the status of a protected area which includes a nature reserve a national park and conserved landscapes all of which start as you cross the Abano Pass The headquarters of the protected area bringing together an administrative building and a museum is found at the entrance of Omalo

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96 HOW BEAUTIFUL IS TUSHETI Road and travel Allocate at least 3 4 days to travel to Tusheti maybe even more but not fewer have mercy on yourself and Tusheti too On your way from Kakheti s administrative center Telavi to Tusheti you ll come across the Alaverdi Cathedral An exceptional example of the Georgian Christian architecture of the early 11th century Alaverdi is located in the Aloni Valley in the Alazani Plain I for one frequently drop by the cathedral together with my tour groups Several clerics serve in Alaverdi Besides the cathedral and an amazing winery the complex offers a nice rest area with a small restaurant and restrooms Next we cross the Alazani River and enter the village of Kvemo Alvani where we turn right and keep going until we reach the villages of Laliskuri and Pshaveli On your way from Kvemo Alvani to Laliskuri you will encounter a place known locally as Takhtibogiri Back when traveling on horseback was customary Tushetian horse riders would usually dismount once they reached Takhtibogiri walking up to the Mijnis Kva Boundary Stone where they would commemorate Zezva Gaprindauli a hero of the Battle of Bakhtrioni by filled up their kantsi drinking horns with wine raising a toast to their valiant ancestor and his legendary horse Arguably Zezva s gray horse is the only horse who is commemorated among the departed in a toast and with good reason

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97 The story of Zezva s gray horse Mountains have always been the traditional habitat of the Tushetians It was only later that they expanded to settle in the plains Legend has it that after the Battle of Bakhtrioni in 1659 the Georgians rebelled against the Persian conquerors and attacked their stronghold known as Bakhtrioni Castle King Teimuraz of Georgia decided to reward the Tushetians Tushetian Zezva Gaprindauli who had fought courageously alongside Pshav Khevsurs and his fellow Tushetians asked the king to grant his people valley winter pastures Zezva said Grant us the Tushetians lands as far as my horse can gallop down the Aloni Valley The horse ran from the Bakhtrioni Castle and dropped dead by Takhtibogiri The horse was given an honorable burial This is where a generation of Tushetians shall abide from this day on the king ordered Thus the Tushetians received the territories where the villages of Zemo Alvani and Kvemo Alvani are found today The Aloni Valley is a gift from Zezva s gray horse Tushetians say Grant us the Tushetians lands as far as my horse can gallop down the Aloni Valley

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98 HOW BEAUTIFUL IS TUSHETI Transport Sviana Waterfall While your guide is telling this story the car approaches the village of Pshaveli followed by a 72 kilometer road But don t let this short distance fool you it will take at least 4 hours to cover it Besides a helicopter there are two modes of transport to travel to Tusheti by jeep or by truck There is no public transport to Tusheti Unless you hire a jeep in Tbilisi you can catch a ride with one of the locals Actually it is advisable to team up with an experienced driver familiar with Tusheti Before entering the Stori Gorge the road stretches alongside the Stori River you can take some rest near a place called Sviana where tables are installed so you can enjoy some snacks Further down the road you will see many streams and tables on the banks It is hard to cover this uphill road in one fell swoop In addition it will break your heart to miss a chance of taking pictures Yet there is another heart related test awaiting you where the road becomes especially difficult and requires a lot of caution You will see many stones and crosses erected in memory of those killed in car accidents on this road You re hung up on the road like a Tushetian a Kakhetian saying goes As my old and now regular host Uncle Gogi Gogi Ichuadze who owns Omalo 2005 a family run hotel in Omalo explains no Tushetian embarks on a journey without supplicating the guardian angel of travelers and beseeching Elia Nakerali and Chikhale Khisostaveli the Tushetian weather deities Both at festive tables and on the road

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99 Tushetians always commemorate travelers Both in the past and today shepherds spend 3 4 days ascending the mountains from the plain and vice versa Shepherds encounter numerous problems like natural disasters wild animals and others Historically shepherding has been the main occupation in Tusheti The best of us are tending sheep Tushetian men love to say Once you enter the Stori Gorge you lose your phone signal almost all the way to the pass Some sections of the road are cut through cliffs others run parallel to forested slopes and then there are alpine meadows The construction of the first automobile road in Tusheti started in the 1930s under the supervision of Mose Azikuri and was completed in the late 1970s From what I have heard the road even in the 1970s led only to the pass Even today you can t reach many villages by car which is why a good horse has not lost its value in Tusheti Before the alpine meadows there is a left turn to the thermal mineral waters a place called Torghvas Abano Torghva s Bath Traditionally it is here that Tushetians would stop to bathe hence the name

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100 HOW BEAUTIFUL IS TUSHETI Torghvas Abano marks the beginning of vertiginous turns making it harder and harder for a car to proceed Finally we reach the Abano Pass at 2926 meters above sea level It is always cold here so make sure you have jackets with you In summer in general you will need a raincoat and a jacket in Tusheti Once you reach the pass you are almost halfway to Omalo It is customary to stop for some rest in those parts and as Tushetians say raise three toasts Those visiting Tusheti for the first time are offered a shot of vodka a baptism by fire so to speak Tone bread Tushetian cheese sausages and so on are all packed in advance But do not make a mistake don t take pork sausage to Tusheti If Tushetians do not mind enjoying pork shish kebob in the plain they abstain from carrying pork in general and pork sausages in particular beyond the pass and they require their guests to respect this tradition Pigs are taboo in Tusheti Traditionally even importing pork based products is prohibited in Tusheti let alone growing pigs In the past they even stashed pig leather moccasins somewhere in a tree hollow put on cowhide footwear and continued their path beyond the pass Though hardly anyone wears moccasins nowadays Tushetians are still very serious about this and other similar customs According to ethnologist Nugzar Idoidze tabooing pigs is about much more than the influence of the neighboring Muslim tribes The roots of this custom are found in the religious and philosophical views of the ancient pagan world From October to May June the road to Abano Pass is closed which leaves Tushetians with a helicopter as their only hope No electric power is Traditionally even importing pork based products is prohibited in Tusheti

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101 supplied to Tusheti either There was power in some villages under communist rule but the grid was damaged at some point and neglected ever since A small HPP operating in Shenako is the only exception nowadays After Abano Pass the road stretches along the Khiso Alazani River Our next rest area is in Samkhevi where the Chanchakhovani tributary flows into the Khiso Alazani Today you will find a rangers cottage here and an information center during tourist season There is also a table so you can rest and have some snacks here And there is a restroom as well I remember my first time here at the turn of this century when the newly established Tusheti National Park s infrastructure was only being put into place this hut and many hotels were under construction with not nearly as many visitors around Back then I noticed food products full bottles of beer and whole packs of cigarettes just lying around in this place and further above not even hidden to protect from the rain I was told that the goods were perfectly safe because nobody would take any of it for their own personal use and nobody ever entered even the homes that were unlocked year round The number of tourists in Tusheti has increased and I have not seen beer bottles left on the sides of the road since though I have not heard of any crime reported here either Guests are appreciated here and everyone is safe unless the honor of Tushetians is hurt like insulting a woman or disrespecting a shrine Church of Shenako

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102 HOW BEAUTIFUL IS TUSHETI Where the Alazani is born or more about geography Tusheti s total area is 796 km2 at 900 4800 meters above sea level The region s structural basin is located on the north slope of the main Caucasian ridgeline The Alazani is every river flowing in the mountains of Tusheti poet Alio Adamia writes Tusheti is sandwiched between the Pirikita and Gometzris Alazani Gorges The Kakheti Alazani River is born at nearby Mount Borbalo The confluence of the Pirikita and Gometzris Alazani Rivers is known as the Tusheti Alazani while after crossing over to Dagestan it is called the Andiskou at first and then after merging with the Avariskou the Sulak River Tusheti consists of four communities the Pirikita Community is incorporated in the Alazani Gorge the Gometzri and Tzova Communities in the Gometzris Alazani Gorge and the Chaghma Community in the confluence basin of both Alazani Rivers Kartvelian Georgian tribes have been living in these parts since time immemorial Bronze artifacts discovered here testify that human beings

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103 had settlements in these territories as early as the 8th 9th century BC According to the 18th century historian Vakhushti of Kartli Tusheti served as a refuge for those fleeing serfdom or blood enemies as well as for those refusing to accept Christianity Officially Christianity was accepted in the 9th century though pagan beliefs and rituals have survived to this day Atnigenobebi In late July and early August Tusheti is swarming with people Before commencing scything activities for two weeks after the 100th day after Easter special village shrine celebrations are held in Tusheti and pretty much every village has its own jvar khati guardian and shrine This period of celebrations is known collectively as Atnigenobebi and consists of various local feasts Lasharoba Kopaloba Iakhsaroba Maghaloeloba Mariam Ghvtismshobloba Khakhmatoba Karatoba Sakheo Leles Tzminda Giorgoba Tursiekhoba and others Every local celebration has its own host or shulta who is in charge of brewing Tushetian aludi beer and entertaining guests

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104 HOW BEAUTIFUL IS TUSHETI A celebration starts with a procession of the cross followed by the cleric known as the servant of the shrine who blesses the aludi beer the festive table and the guests The feast is all about joy fun and entertainment Khatoba celebrations feature horseraces and the Korbeghela tiered performance with dancers standing on the shoulders of other dancers Every guest is welcome to join in on the celebration and many are treated to a lot of alcohol Sometimes feasting may escalate into a brawl but fear not The communists tried hard to break the old traditions and replace these celebrations with new made up holidays like Omaloba Shepherd s Day and the like but to no avail traditions have proved too strong Omalo After the turn to Khiso Tsokalto and Kumelaurta we find ourselves on the Omalo Plateau Omalo is the administrative center of Tusheti It is found at 1800 2000 meters above sea level some 200 kilometers from Tbilisi and 90 kilometers from Akhmeta Right at the entrance of the village of Omalo the Agency of Protected Areas is nested

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105 in the grove to your left Nearby you will also find a hotel This place is the beginning of Kvemo Omalo It used to be called Omalos Boslebi Omalo Cowsheds because Tusheti s population usually lived in the village proper in the summertime while wintering over closer to their cowsheds on the edge of the village Almost every household in both Kvemo Omalo Lower Omalo and Zemo Omalo Upper Omalo hosts guests and runs a family owned hotel regardless of whether they spend all year or only summer here The Keselo Fortress looms over Omalo It consists of several towers Tradition has it that there used to be a 120 meter tunnel to deliver water to the fortress Today Keselo s towers are branches of the Museum of Ethnography It is here that ethnologist Nugzar Idoidze has displayed artifacts that he had been collecting in his home for years I strongly recommend visiting this museum which sustains itself on donations And you must meet with Nugzar Idoidze if anyone knows anything about Tusheti it s him I also recommend checking in to the Tushuri Koshki hotel In the early 1980s Nugzar and Tsiala moved from the lowlands and settled in the mountains Nugzar started teaching history at the Omalo boarding school and Tsiala became an elementary schoolteacher They lived that way for 15 years until their children grew up and the school shut down which forced them to return to the lowlands Today Nugzar s family still lives in the plains but they are back in the mountains to host guests as soon as the tourist season starts Tower In the past the towers served the Tushetians as both residences and fortifications The first floor known as bashte was reserved for cattle and women s household activities The cherkho top An information center also operates here to provide you with information about Tusheti s tourist routes which you can also check on the website of the Agency of Protected Areas

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106 HOW BEAUTIFUL IS TUSHETI floor served as the men s bedrooms and quarters in general In between there were two floors shua middle and zeshua upper middle where families resided Traditionally houses in Tusheti were roofed with cobblestones Under communist rule however they were replaced with tiles slates and tin sheets Next to old towers and cobblestone houses Finnish cottages sprang up to change the area s appearance completely The region s protected territories mostly protected landscapes include Tusheti s villages and an all out effort is made to harmonize modern development and traditional architecture but it does not always happen the way it should The so called Great Migration from the mountains was another invention of the communist authorities In the 1950s nearly the entire population of Tusheti was herded into the lowlands and their centuries old mountainous lifestyle and farming traditions were intentionally uprooted As a result horticulture became nearly extinct and what used to be flourishing terrace farms have now been all but erased by landslides and erosion The Great Migration also caused Tusheti s nearly complete depopulation Yet according to scholar Sergi Makalatia there must have been 7 268 people living here around 1930 Back then seven elementary schools operated in Tusheti s 27 settlements and their alumni continued their education at the Omalo boarding school For comparison according to the 2014 census there were fewer than 2 500 in Kvemo Alvani and about 3 300 in Zemo Alvani making 5 700 residents in all Today only 47 people live in Tusheti Today only 47 people live in Tusheti

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107 What to see We have already mentioned the Agency of Protected Areas and Keselo Beautiful churches have survived from the 13th century in Shenako Bochorna and Iliurta For the most part visitors stay in one of the hotels in Omalo or other major villages or tent camp together and from these bases take trips to different destinations in the course of 2 3 days One such trip may include Shenako and Diklo the villages of the Chaghma Community For 4 day tours I for example save this route for the final day The Dagestani border passes near Diklo A couple of kilometers northeast of the modern day village there are the ruins of an old village and an ancient fortification And it is here where the Georgian Russian border lies Shenako is a special village in that it best reflects the village cowshed tradition described earlier Across from the village you will find cowsheds vegetable patches and hayfields The village boasts the finest cultivated lands in all Tusheti In the same vein you will see the most beautiful balconies with ornamented balustrades On your way down to the shrine make sure you know which path is reserved for women In Shenako I recommend renting a room from Kako and Elene Bolkvadze Their family run hotel Shenakoshi is exceptional in all Tusheti Your hosts will treat you to locally produced food and homemade dairy products In the late 1970s this family returned to the mountains to stay and pursue farming

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108 HOW BEAUTIFUL IS TUSHETI You can take a car to Kumelaurta and then walk and ride a horse for 6 kilometers To rent a horse you can call Khebe at 598 28 93 89 If you feel that a 4 day marathon is not enough to see enough of Tusheti I recommend adding a few extra days in Shenako and Diklo In the Chaghma Community you can also visit the villages of Tsokolta and Kumelaurta Another nice route can be taken from Kumelaurta to Lake Oreti Udziro After having passed through birch woods you reach alpine groves and then Lake Oreti at 2 600 meters above sea level The route itself is not difficult and the path is graveled All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes and a supply of water also a raincoat and warm clothes Gometzri Gorge My advice is to dedicate at least one day to the Gometzri Gorge in Tusheti where the Gometzri Tusheti Alazani River flows The Gometzri Gorge incorporates the villages of Bochorna Dochu Gogrulta Vestomta Bukhurta Iliurta Beghela Jvarboseli Vakisdziri Alisgori Verkhovani and Koklata In summer especially during Atengenobebi celebrations the area receives many visitors In winter however only a couple of locals remain Bochorna 2 345 meters above sea level the

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109 highest village in Europe reads the sign erected a few years ago near the first village Bochorna Irakli Khvedaguridze aged 78 is an experienced and skilled doctor He is the hope of many Tushetians and it is by Doctor Irakli s merit that the village of Bochorna is reviving Jvarboseli and Verkhovani are the last villages in the gorge From here the most daring drivers venture into the neighboring gorge of Tzovati This year though we were given yet another promise to build a road to Tzovati The gorge includes now depopulated villages such as Indurta Tzaro and others Nowadays people do not live in Tzovati and only herdsmen herd their sheep or cows there As a rule the only way to get to Tzovati is on horseback or on foot which will take you one day If you ascend from the side of Koklata and keep going the footpath will take you to Alaznistavi from where via Borbalo you can reach Ukana Pshavi This scenic route passes through feral landscapes and the trip takes a few days In the Pirikita Alazani Gorge Beso Elanidze is from Dartlo where years ago he established a hotel complex called Samtsikhe He never lacks visitors If you decide against renting

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110 HOW BEAUTIFUL IS TUSHETI You can also check out the website of the Agency of Protected Areas a room you can always order khinkali dumplings or just a cup of coffee or tea in the outdoor caf The Pirikita Alazani Gorge consists of the villages of Chigho Dartlo Dano Chesho Parsma and Girevi Girevi is the starting point of another exciting tourist route a footpath to Khevsureti known as the Atzunta trail It is quite comfortable graveled and you can take it on your own though I do recommend teaming up with an experienced guide Where to stay overnight There are many family owned hotels in Tusheti I have already provided information about some of them Overnight accommodation costs 20 30 GEL for exact charges please contact hotel owners and daily accommodation with 2 or 3 meals a day is 60 80 GEL Food You can count on delicious meals served in Tusheti Most of the ingredients are commissioned by restaurateurs from the lowland which is why the prices here are slightly off for Georgia in general You can order khinkali dumplings as well as lunch or dinner at family run establishments Hotels serve traditional Tushetian breakfast dishes such as khavitzi or kva barley kumeli also Tushetian tea using savory various herbs or rhododendron

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111 Make sure you try traditional Tushetian sheep or cow cheese Tushetian style khinkali dumplings and kotori cheese bread If your visit coincides with khatoba folk celebrations do not miss the opportunity to enjoy local aludi beer Because Tushetians live mostly in Alvani that is in Kakheti most of them pursue viticulture and viniculture and they will be more than happy to treat you to homemade wine Your hosts are most likely to have some homemade chacha grappa as well Upon your request they can also serve hot vodka Communication and payment You may come across markets here and there in Tusheti where you can buy a variety of goods mostly beverages and food products though finding everything you may need will be very difficult so I recommend shopping in Tbilisi or Telavi Public restrooms are few and far between mostly near rangers cottages I recommend having cash on you during your trip to Tusheti Paying with a card will be very difficult Work on supplying Tusheti with the internet is in full swing though there are still some villages with no phone or internet signal Four days is too much Two days will do I have heard from both Georgian and foreign tourists Later however they change their minds and say Maybe we should stay a day or two more Tusheti is certainly worth spending your vacation days let alone weekends or holidays After all Tusheti is Paradise on Earth Make sure you try traditional Tushetian sheep or cow cheese Tushetian style khinkali and kotori cheese bread

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FACT Ever since the time when according to tradition Saint Nino converted Georgia to Christianity this most beautiful historical region together with Pshavi has been known as Pkhovi The name Khevsureti means a place with ravines and gained ground later in the Middle Ages Pkhovi was located at the border between the Kingdoms of Kartli and Kakheti According to Georgia s modern day territorial division Pshav Khevsureti is incorporated into the Dusheti Munic ipality of the Mtskheta Mtianeti Region Pshavi is found on this side of the Caucasus while Khevsureti is divided by the Greater Caucasus Ridge into two parts Piraketa Khevsureti Nearer Khevsureti and Pirikita Khevsureti Further Khevsureti Barisakho is the center of Piraketa Khevsureti and Shatili is the main settlement in Pirikita Khevsureti We also find Arkhoti in Pirikita a mesmerizing place that because of its inaccessibility the road was paved only two years ago has relatively few visitors

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Khevsureti A TREKKING PARADISE OF MEDIEVAL TOWERS AND NATURAL BEAUTY Text by Tinatin Mosiashvili Journalist and tour guide Khevsureti is a must see destination Allocate at least 2 3 days for a trip to this exotic region

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114 KHEVSURETI Directions First you head west from Tbilisi and turn north after passing Mtskheta Follow the road to Stepantsminda Kazbegi which after Zhinvali turns right toward the village of Chinti This way the Zhinvali Reservoir will be on your left Next the road stretches along the Pshavi Mtkvari River You will pass through Pshavi s villages including the region s center Magharoskari P shavi consists of 12 communities and each has its own shrine Lashari is the main all Pshavi shrine At Ortskali meaning Two Waters as it s at the confluence of the Khevsureti Aragvi and Pshavi Aragvi Rivers the road branches into two one leading to Shuapkho and Ukana Pshavi the Pshavi Aragvi Gorge above Ortskali and the other which is also on the main road to Khevsureti The road to Pirikita Khevsureti lies through the Datvisjvari Pass at 2676 meters above sea level one of the many passes over the Caucasus Although the distance from Zhinvali to Shatili is only 100 kilometers it takes about 4 5 hours by car What starts as an asphalt pavement later turns into a regular dirt mountain road Road and Travel It is also possible to travel to Khevsureti by air and some hotels and travel agencies offer helicopter services something relatively expensive of course fluctuating between 500 and 1500 USD Despite its difficulty however this road has a unique charm about it and traveling to Khevsureti turns into an adventure in its own right You can also take a smaller vehicle preferably something all terrain or a minibus You can just rent a car in Tbilisi of course but it is preferable to hire an experienced driver familiar with this road In the same vein it is also advisable to travel through Khevsureti in the company of a local Khevsur or a guide knowledgeable about this region After all Khevsureti is the land of legends and myths devi monsters and children A PIECE OF ADVICE Before heading toward Khevsureti visit the house museum of prominent Georgian writer and humanist Vazha Pshavela in the village of Chargali in Pshavi Google the author s name and enjoy his unique texts prose and poetry alike which are available in several European languages

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115 of God Even today one comes across two types of footpaths reserved exclusively for men and women respectively As the Georgian proverb goes Wherever you go make sure you wear their traditional hat something along the lines of When in Rome a rule that tourists probably should take note of In some places relevant signage is posted and sometimes your guide will direct you Summer is the time to travel to this amazing region In winter or more precisely until the road opens a helicopter is the only way to make it to Pirikita Khevsureti both Arkhoti and the Shatili Community The local population too rely solely on civil and customs helicopters In winter public transport buses or minibuses can take you only as far as Barisakho or to the center of Piraketa Khevsureti or sometimes even further up to Gudani In summer Shatili bound shuttle buses operate from the Didube Bus Station Last year a one way fare cost 20 GEL and a ride to Barisakho was 5 GEL The trip takes 3 and 5 6 hours from Tbilisi to Barisakho and Shatili respectively At the same time because of the rapidly increasing altitude Tbilisi is about 400500 meters above sea level while the Datvisjvari Pass is almost 2700 meters periodical stops are recommended for acclimatization Add to that the urge to contemplate the spellbinding views You can get to Shatili by car only when the Datvisjvari Pass is open for traffic that is from May through October though sometimes it s still impassable until later or earlier The newly paved road to Arkhoti and Pirikita Khevsureti is operable only in summer Information about bad weather and road related problems is usually available at travel agencies or you can call the Road Department hotline at 995 32 2 31 30 76

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116 KHEVSURETI You can also enjoy a horseback tour in Khevsureti a service offered by several hotels To book your horsebackriding adventure you can contact Dato Chincharauli Jalabauri at 599 533 379 and to take pictures which also takes time Consequently if you leave Tbilisi at 8 9 AM you will likely make it to Shatili at 3 4 PM or even later Even today many of the villages that have not been left depopulated remain without access to any major roads suitable for driving which leaves walking or horse riding as the only options in many parts of the region Despite the hardship and tough living conditions in these villages you may still come across indigenous residents especially in summer Besides these villages trails offer passage from Khevsureti to the regions of Khevi Gudamakari Pshavi and Tusheti There are also trails to Chechnya and Ingushetia but since there are no official checkpoints in this section of the Georgia Russia border you cannot actually cross over The local trails are especially exciting for trekking tourists Some of the trails such as the one from Tusheti to Khevsureti via the Atzunta road have clear markers to enable you to walk on your own Still we recommend taking this route in the company of an experienced guide Some routes are not as frequented so the trails have no signage or the other way around because there are no markers these routes are not as popular

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117 Khevsurs on the other side of the Caucasus There are almost 30 villages on this side of the Caucasus in the Barisakho Community Compact settlements are found on the side of the road and at the community s center also in Korsha and Gudani with public institutions operating such as schools kindergartens outpatient hospitals and border police stations Elsewhere in places away from the main road only a handful of families or even a couple of people winter over Some even practice transhumance meaning that they stay in a Khevsur village in summer but winter over in lower valleys Despite the hardship and lack of roads some of the population opts to winter in Shatili Mutso Ardoti Andaki Khone and the Arkhoti villages of Amgha Akhieli and Chimgha However population may a bit strong of a word here because in reality

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118 KHEVSURETI there may be just a couple of households or even one person Still what matters here is that this handful of people keeps the village alive Dato Chincharauli who is also known by his other last name Jalabauri is one of those rare youths who stay in the mountains throughout winter His household was one of the first to set up a family run hotel in their own ancestral tower Dato who used to work in a school now aspires to develop equestrian tourism Eldar Chincharauli is also a young man working as a ranger for Pshav Khevsureti National Park established a few years back He also supervises the Shatili HPP The park employs several other rangers Eldar s house nestled amid floral richness on the Shatiliskhevi Riverbank never lacks visitors eager to rent a room Shatili is a village populated by clan Chincharauli Everyone here is Chincharauli except for daughters in law keeping their maiden names Mzia Tziklauri Chincharauli manages a boarding house and one of the busiest fami

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119 ly owned hotels establishments that are almost always booked A school is an organization that best reflects the future of mountainous regions The existence of one is a sign of hope that a given village is alive and will survive There are two schools in Khevsureti The Barisakho School serves 70 children from the villages on this side of the Caucasus The Shatili School has only six students two from Shatili proper and four from Mutso the only girl among which second grader Keto Daiauri is Queen of Mutso Almost ten teachers locals and those from different regions of Georgia engaged with the Teach for Georgia program are in charge of the students education and upbringing It is impossible to walk 12 kilometers from Mutso to Shatili every day so the pupils from Mutso stay in the school s boarding house from Monday through Friday Boarding houses operate in Barisakho and Pshavi s Magharoskari Mikheil Mikha Chincharauli is Shatili s family physician and everyone calls him Dokhturi He practically never leaves Khevsureti Sometimes he finds himself equipped with nothing but his bare hands still managing to save the lives of his fellow villagers or others from the gorge In winter we rely only on God and Doctor Mikha the residents of Pirikita Khevsureti often say In the case of an emergency Doctor Mikha can request a helicopter The school and boarding house the outpatient hospital Pshav Khevsureti National Park with its infrastructure taking A school is an organization that best reflects the future of mountainous regions The existence of one is a sign of hope that a given village is alive and will survive

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120 KHEVSURETI its first steps also the Administration of the Border Police are the public institutions that keep the remaining Khevsurs from leaving the region In summer they are joined by those self employed in the tourism business People come up here from the lowlands and almost every previously locked house opens to turn into a family run hotel What to see You may hear in the villages that Khevsureti stretches even beyond Shatili Every village is special in Khevsureti Unfortunately there are many depopulated settlements in this region Because of the difficult living conditions here or the policy of the Soviet authorities this place has been practically depopulated with only a couple of people mostly elderly living in some villages though there are still young people here and there Every village and depopulated settlement is certainly worth visiting though There are only a few Christian churches in Khevsureti mostly from the 19th century in Roshka and Ardoti or the 21st century in Barisakho and Shatili On the other hand the

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region abounds with jvari khati shrines and traditional houses of prayers of highlanders small schist covered religious buildings where traditional rituals are held during khatoba festivities Gudanis Jvari the main shrine of Khevsureti is located in Gudani in Piraketa Khevsureti a few kilometers from Barisakho In July this religious monument and other shrines be they Pshavi Lashari Iakhsari Gogolaurta Khoshara or individual shrines in every village of Khevsureti holds khatoba festivities The khatoba is a movable feast depending on when in a given year the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul is celebrated In Pshavi for example the Lasharoba Festival starts on Saturday following the Feast of Peter and Paul and lasts three days In Khevsureti the feast s date and duration vary Travel agencies knowledgeable about Pshav Khevsureti and apt guides usually have information on such festivities For khatoba festivities Khevsurs living in the plain also come to the mountains Beer is usually brewed livestock slaughtered and by all means khinkali dumplings cooked Kada sweetbreads ketseuli meat stuffed double crust pies and pkhali vegetable dishes are carried into the shrine Women do not enter the shrine neither do men who have not fasted and duly prepared Toward the end of tourist season in Shatili in August or September the Shatiloba holiday including live performances is celebrated Photo by Shalva Nebieridze 121 Photo The Gogolaurta Community Shrine in Pshavi The khevisberi elder performs the rite of the blessing of kada sweetbread Khevisberi Elder Filipe Baghiauri passed away this year Women are not allowed close to the ritual or near the shrines

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122 KHEVSURETI Generally Shota Arabuli is a very exciting person to meet His house which also operates as a family run hotel is located near the museum You can contact his family at 599 71 11 56 Berdia Arabuli or 577 34 84 35 Marina Gigauri Surviving from the communist period this holiday continues to be observed In Khevsureti it is strongly recommended to visit the Museums of Ethnography and Local History in Korsha and Shatili Both preserve ethnographic and archeological materials reflecting life in the region Artist Shota Arabuli spent years collecting ethnographic materials in the villages of Piraketa Khevsureti Through his and his friends efforts a museum opened in 2005 to display artifacts from the 18th 19th centuries such as talavari chainmail weapons and various tools and implements kitchenware furniture photos and others To visit the museum your guide must inform Shota or one of his family members in advance Arabulis Arthouse Art Based Social Enterprise This enterprise was also established by the Arabulis It seeks to promote Khevsur traditions and handcrafts Here you can buy Georgian namely Khevsur products based on traditional motifs such as bags embroidered belts handcuffs calico socks clothing wooden chests jewelry and souvenirs You can also request woodcarving and em Arabuli family Facebook page facebook com ArabuliArtHouse

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123 broidery masterclasses Before crossing the Datvisjvari Pass we recommend dropping by the Colored Abudelauri Lakes The village of Roshka at 1800 meters above sea level is located about 7 kilometers from the main road and it is here that the trail to the lakes starts But first about the village road you turn left off the main road and head uphill for quite a while To get to Roshka you can catch a ride in a jeep or a minibus but not any bus because not all drivers are up to that ride and from Roshka another road now suitable for vehicles leads to Arkhoti a less developed tourist destination in Khevsureti The Asa Gorge incorporates three villages Chimgha Akhieli and Amgha with only five households remaining in all three The Abudelauri Lakes are a part of the Pshav Khevsureti National Park On your way to the park you will come across the enormous Roshka Stones a natural monument of national importance The Blue and Green Lakes are seven kilometers from Roshka with a hillock separating the two and nine kilometers total separate the White Lake from the village Alternately a shortcut passes through the side of the Arkhoti road Proceeding further beyond the lakes and over the pass you will find yourself in the village The Abudelauri Lakes are glacier bodies of water found at the bottom of the Chaukhebi Massif of the Caucasus Range Beautiful legends surround these lakes in Khevsureti Khevsur folklore in general is rich in tales and proverbs something I am sure you will learn from your guide

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124 KHEVSURETI of Juta in the Kazbegi District This trail with comprehensive signage is frequently used by both Georgian and foreign tourists traveling in either direction though it s much easier coming from Juta than going there The lakes are located at 2600 2800 meters above sea level at the foot of the surrounding peaks Besides fans of trekking tourism these peaks including both of their faces are extremely popular among mountaineers Chaukhebi boasts summits like Mukhadze Tikanadze Takaishvili Rcheulishvili Javakhishvili TSU Aghmashenebeli Vazha Pshavela and others The Chaukhi peaks are perfect for both rookie and seasoned alpinists In summer numerous mountaineering camps are set up on both faces of the peaks especially on the Kazbegi side You can schedule a one day tour to the Abudelauri Lakes even starting from Tbilisi A good walker can visit all three lakes in one day and an average hiker should be able to see at least two Still we recommend allocating two days for this adventure either camping or renting a hotel room in Roshka or Barisakho Korsha On your trip to the lakes it is advisable to wear boots or at least durable sneakers Make

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125 sure you grab warm clothes and a good raincoat because sunshine may suddenly give way to rain or even snow Ideally you should carry a bottle of water even though you will come across numerous springs and rivers with potable water on your way to the lakes Tourist season here lasts from May through September Extreme sports fans though can have fun even in winter You can enjoy the sight of these lakes on your way to Shatili among other places If you are not into lakes or unprepared to walk a 14 kilometer route you can head on from Korsha to Pirikita Khevsureti Again the road stretches along the Khevsureti Aragvi Gorge toward the Datvisjvari Pass Forested landscapes gradually turn into subalpine and alpine grasslands and further up in the mountains there are rhododendron meadows which blossom around the Datvisjvari Pass and Abudelauri Lakes from May to June After Korsha you will pass through the villages of Gudani Biso and Khakhmati The further up you are the slower the car will go and soon you will reach the pass It is customary among the highlanders to raise at least three toasts at Datvisjvari one to the Lord and the jvar khati deity the second to the departed and the third to the guardian angel of travelers Beyond Datvisjvari as we enter the Arghuni Gorge lies the North Caucasus Further down the road you will find the now depopulated villages of Lebaiskari and Kistani with surviving defensive towers available for viewing It is customary among the highlanders to raise at least three toasts at Datvisjvari one to the Lord and the jvar khati deity the second to the departed and the third to the guardian angel of travelers

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126 KHEVSURETI From this point onward the road stretches along the Arghuni Gorge with occasional narrow canyons Another descent and you will find yourself in a place known as Guros Natsveturebi Guros Tsremlebi or Shatilis Natsveturebi Another gorge starts to your left to lead what used to be the village of Guro populated by clan Gogochuri Today it is desolate without even a road You probably cannot wait to see Shatili and you are almost there At first you encounter Kachu Castle and then the tower village of Shatili appears out of the blue at which point it is customary to stop for a photo session These views caught on camera and emotions alone make it worth traveling here Before crossing the bridge over the Arghuni Argun River keep in mind that women are not allowed near the local shrines so you must walk slightly below on the riverbank Shatili is built on the spot where the Arghuni and Shatiliskhevi Rivers merge Steep cliffs tower over one bank of the Shatiliskhevi River The village s towers here served as both fortifications and dwelling places You can enter this tower village from the side of the river below or via the New Shatili Village built at the end of the 20th century above the original settlement The Soviet authorities spared no effort to depopulate the mountainous areas In the 1950s many residents of Shatili similar to many other villages were resettled in the country s plains Decades later however a revival started in the mountains with many towers fortified and re Your guide will also tell other unbelievable stories about friendship and enmity death and life in Khevsureti

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127 habilitated and the modern New Shatili Village was built It was in the 1980s that some of the previously resettled Chincharaulis returned from the lowlands Today the towers are cherished historical monuments and almost none are used as residences Some are house museums and others are used as seasonal family run hotels Even in the 20th century people only spent summer in Shatili and wintered over in a settlement some eight kilometers away in the gorge below This territory was lost in the 1990s so it is inaccessible nowadays The present Georgia Russia state border lies about three kilometers to the north of Shatili The confluence of the Arghuni and Mutsostskali Rivers now marks the border with Russian and Georgian five cross flags flown on either side and a Georgian border guard stationed nearby It is here that the village of Anatori used to be Your guide is likely to tell you an amazing story involving what we call today social responsibility Once a disease broke out in the village it is hard to tell what disease and when and I have heard numerous versions dating the story to different periods between the 13th and 17th centuries forcing many infected villagers to flee and await death in nearby burial vaults One way or another it is a fact that the ruins of the village and the burial vaults full of bones are all we see in this place today Your guide will also tell other unbelievable stories about friend

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128 KHEVSURETI There are several hotels in historic tower villages that is to say arranged inside towers and the hotel run by Dato Chincharauli Jalabaurebi is one of them 599 53 33 79 In the village of Shatili contact Mzia Tziklauri 599 80 73 80 In Shatili Mikheil Chincharauli or Eliso 595 00 83 81 In Shatili Zhuzhuna Chincharauli 599 20 32 08 In Korsha Berdia Arabuli 599 71 11 56 or Marina Gigauri 577 34 84 35 In Barisakho Lela Gaburi 599 49 18 22 In Gudani Dzila Chincharauli 593 30 11 70 In Roshka Shota Tziklauri 599 39 97 89 ship and enmity death and life in Khevsureti Stories aside if you really want to embrace Khevsureti you must meet Khevsurs in person people who despite hardship and roads closed throughout harsh winter refuse to leave their ancestral land keeping guard as the sentinels of their medieval towers on the border with Russia At least 20 25 people winter over in Shatili and only a handful of families or people in the villages higher up in the mountains The gorge and the river to the right of the Anatori burial vaults are known as Mighmakhevi and Mutsostskali respectively Above Anatori there is no phone or internet signal This gorge boasts yet another amazing tower village Mutso once populated by clans Diauri and Shetekauri Today only one family lives here After the completion of Mutso s ongoing rehabilitation however several households plan to return and hotels are likely to be set up here too The unpaved highway leads from here to Khonischala and Ardoti Ardaki Archola and Khakhabo further up are accessible only by foot Log bridges are periodically washed away leaving travelers no choice but to walk through the river If you are into extreme adventures these villages are your primary destinations though Where to stay overnight Family run hotels are found in both Piraketa Khevsureti Barisakho Korsha Chirdili Roshka Gudani and Khakhmati and Pirikita Khevsureti Shatili and Ardoti In Shatili pretty much every family is eager to host guests There are several family run hotels housed in cottages and homes in New Shatili on a hill above the old settlement Spending a night in a tower will make your experience doubly exotic There are several camping sites in Khevsureti in Chirdili near Mutso where you go team camping in tents On the other hand

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129 you can set up your tent anywhere you please and nobody will object unless you are on holy ground or near a shrine So be on the lookout for crosses or other religious symbols An overnight stay costs 20 30 GEL A longer stay with two or three meals a day will cost you 40 70 GEL for details you can contact hoteliers Food Keep in mind that no markets or public restrooms operate on the road to Khevsureti above the village of Korsha Last year a caf like outdoor booth was set up to treat guests with tea coffee and beer Generally there are no restaurants or other similar functioning outlets On the other hand you can order khinkali dumplings or a full meal in the khinkali diners Vazha Tsitskolauri s establishment near Magharoskari or the Ubedurski diner at the Chargali turn or family run hotels along the road to Pshavi Khinkali dumplings are the most popular dish Local hosts will also treat you to equally delicious khachapuri cheese bread and ketseuli meatstuffed double crust pies also to locally produced honey and dairy products Information about hotels online is only available in Georgian at khevsureti ge hotels

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130 KHEVSURETI Outpatient clinics staffed with qualified doctors operate in both Barisakho and Shatili In Shatili Mikheil Chincharauli 595 00 83 81 In Barisakho Lela Gaburi 599 49 18 22 Communication and methods of payment Bank cards are useless in Khevsureti Almost no family run hotel or diner accepts them so you must have cash with you Generally you should not worry about losing your personal effects in Khevsureti Still to be on the safe side keep an eye on them because of the multitude of tourists swarming the region in summer Throughout tourism season and on holidays police officers usually keep watch though no crime has been reported lately Anyone may require medical assistance Naturally you can call 112 and request emergency medical services but no regular medical team is on duty at this point this issue was widely discussed last year and presently medical crews work regular shifts on holidays Otherwise the available team travels from afar and often arrives late In emergencies rescue helicopters are available Khevsureti does not have a well functioning infrastructure Phone and internet connections are available in major settlements Korsha Gudani Barisakho Roshka and Shatili but many villages Arkhoti villages Mutso and Ardoti villages Andaki and Khakhabo lack modern communication channels including television Nonetheless everyone who has ever visited Khevsureti will agree no phone and internet connection benefits Khevsureti in that it lends the region a special archaic charm which is exactly what draws us to Khevsureti in the first place

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131 MY PERSONAL FAVORITE Sergi Gvarjaladze Tbilisi Mayor s Adviser and Manager of the Nighttime Economy Project PLACES THAT SHOULD NOT BE MISSED Must sees in the city include Tbilisi courtyards and the small bars scattered throughout Sololaki something appealing to people of any age Also make sure you don t miss the new spaces emerging in so called Soviet industrial buildings such as Stamba Fabrika Elektrowerk and others In Georgia in general you should visit Kakheti in autumn especially during the vintage At least once you should see Tusheti and then try to walk from Tusheti to Khevsureti I also recommend the village of Ieli in Svaneti where ancestral methods of gold extraction are still in use WHAT TO EAT IN THE FIRST PLACE In Georgia you absolutely must savor the Tianeti style dambalkhacho dairy dish also mkhlovana veggie double crust pie from Mtiuleti and Kakhetian dedas puri bread preferably in the regions of their origin to take in authentic flavors

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132 Arts cuture HOUSE MUSEUMS IN TBILISI by Tamar Esakia Elene Akhvlediani was a woman Georgian artist Loved by all in Georgia and referred to affectionately as Elichka In 1922 Elene Akhvlediani an oil painting student at the Tbilisi Academy of Fine Arts traveled to Europe to continue her education She spent two years in Italy followed by Paris In 1926 her solo exhibition at Quatre Chemins Gallery was praised by French critics She had the opportunity to exhibit her works in Holland but due to her mother s health condition she had to return to Georgia in 1927 Shortly thereafter the founder of modern Georgian theater director Kote Marjanishvili offered her a stage designer s job Eventually she would later play a tremendous role in the develop ment of Georgian set design Among other things Elene Akhvlediani worked on book design Above Elene Akhvlediani house museum Georgian National Museum Collection Below Elene Akhvlediani National Library Collection

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133 Especially noteworthy are her urban scenery images Instead of looking for iconic examples of architecture be it in Italy France or Georgia her paintings focus on everyday urban life such as narrow streets in old neighborhoods or small houses leaning against centuries old basilicas The urban landscape series created in Paris is one of the best in Akhvlediani s oeuvre Of the colorful images of Tbilisi at that time many have survived only in Akhvlediani s paintings Her works were actively used as samples during the reconstruction of Old Tbilisi in the 1950s 1960s Elene Akhvlediani s House Museum used to be a salon of sorts where poetry readings concerts and solo and group exhibitions were held The place has also seen performances by Heinrich Neuhaus and Sviatoslav Richter The exhibition space with its rich architectural elements like the traditional Georgian ornamented dedabodzi central pillar and baluster mezzanines incorporates numerous interesting items such as Elene Akhvlediani s oil paintings and graphic works scenic sketches and book illustrations Here you will also hear many exciting stories including about Akhvlediani meeting with Picasso in Paris Make sure to include this house museum on your Tbilisi route here you will find Old Tbilisi in ways already missing outside the building Elene Akhvlediani House Museum 12 Leo Kiacheli Str 995 32 2 99 74 12 Open from 10 AM to 6 PM Tuesday through Friday Closed on Monday and official holidays The museum does not facilitate English speaking tour guide services Instead it offers informative booklets in the English language Still it is advisable to hire an interpreter before visiting the museum Old Tbilisi Winter 1970 GNM Elene Akhvlediani House Museum

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134 ART CULTURE HOUSE MUSEUMS Mose Toidze 1871 1953 a professor at the Tbilisi Academy of Fine Arts laid the foundation for new Georgian oil painting In 1922 he initiated the establishment of an artistic studio to prepare human resources for the Tbilisi Academy of Fine Arts When Toidze was 25 he enrolled in the Saint Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts Later he would go on to work at the studio of Ilya Repin a celebrated Russian artist His graduate thesis Mtskhetoba depicted large scale church and folk celebrations in the city of Mtskheta winning him a scholarship However Toidze was soon expelled from the academy for participating in a political demonstration of students which barred him from continuing his education abroad Mose Toidze s House Museum displays his oil and graphic works memorial furniture various personal items library and collection of ethnographic artifacts There are also works by other artists including his son prominent painter Irakli Toidze The museum also conducts scientific research activities with frequent presentations and Sunday school classes It is recommended to book your visit in advance Above MoseToidze house museum GNM Collection Below Mose Toidze Corner of old Tbilisi 1916 Irakli Toidze The Knight in the Panther s Skin 1939

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135 Mose Toidze House Museum 995 599 131 931 12 M Laghidze Street Open from 10 AM to 6 PM Tuesday through Sunday Closed on Mondays and official holidays The museum does not facilitate English speaking tour guide services Instead it offers informative booklets in the English language Still it is advisable to hire an interpreter before visiting the museum Iakob Nikoladze 1876 1951 was the first professional Georgian sculptor and founder of modern Georgian sculpting After having studied sculpture at Stroganov Art School in Moscow and the Odessa Academy of Fine Arts a young Iakob traveled to Europe in 1899 From France he moved to Italy to study Renaissance sculpture In 1905 he returned to Paris It was during his second visit to Paris that he was lucky enough to work with the great Auguste Rodin something that every modern sculptor could have only dreamed about Later Toidze would go on to describe his time at the brilliant sculptor s studio and his 15 month cooperation with Rodin in a memoir book titled A Year with Rodin Iakob Nikoladze was one of the founders of the Tbilisi Academy of Fine Arts and its first professor You will encounter his works while walking through Tbilisi in the Opera House Garden or by the Art Gallery on Rustaveli Avenue for example In 1907 he returned to Georgia to create his most famous work Georgia in Sorrow the sculpture over the grave of Ilia Chavchavadze a great Georgian public figure and writer in the Mtatsminda Pantheon where Nikoladze himself would later be Iakob Nikoladze National Library Collection

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136 ART CULTURE HOUSE MUSEUMS laid to rest Some of the sculptor s works are preserved at the Art Museum of Georgia More than 100 works along with the sculptor s personal items are displayed at his studio Iakob Nikoladze House Museum 995 599 131 931 6 A Rodin Street Open from 10 AM to 6 PM Tuesday through Sunday Closed on Mondays and official holidays The museum does not facilitate English speaking tour guide services Sculptor Guram Nikoladze Iakob s grandson works in the studio It is advisable to book your visit in advance Ilia Chavchavadze house museum The sign by the house s front entrance reads The Memorial Museum of Ilia Chavchavadze though this historical building with its quaint courtyard undoubtedly reflects an entire era This building in 1889 1902 was the home of prominent Georgian writer and political and public figure Ilia Chavchavadze One of the leaders of the national liberation movement he was also among the founders of the Society for the Spreading of Literacy among Georgians At his initiative the newspaper Iveria was published from 1877 After the only Georgian language daily periodical Droeba was shut down in 1886 Iveria switched to a daily format Given the Russification policy raging at that time when even the word Georgia was banned from the press Iveria

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137 played a vital role in promoting national identity Thematically it was quite diverse with a special emphasis on popular education schools and state educational policy Equally far reaching was the newspaper s impact on the development of Georgian literature as it collaborated with pretty much every reputable Georgian author and litterateur The editorial office was housed in the same building a place bringing together writers and critics to discuss above all else the country s development and future The house has to some extent kept its 19th century interior including wallpapers floors and furniture Here you will find historical documents photos manuscripts and personal correspondence One of the rooms displays his funeral ribbon with an inscription that adorned the wreaths at Ilia s burial Interest ingly one wing in this building was once occupied by prominent physician Mikheil Gedevanishvili one of the pioneers of X ray technology in Georgia He used an imported X ray machine to serve his patients in this building Ilia Chavchavadze Literary Memorial Museum 7 I Javakhishvili Street 995 32 2 95 72 68 Open 11 AM to 5 PM Tuesday through Saturday Closed on Sundays Mondays and official holidays In 2018 Niko Pirosmani s paintings were on display at the Albertina Museum in Vienna and one of his works A Woman with a Headscarf was auctioned for 2 230 000 pounds at Sotheby s The artist whose works are exhibited throughout the world to mesmerize and inspire the multitudes lived in extreme poverty Georgia in Sorrow the sculpture over the grave of Ilia Chavchavadze

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138 ART CULTURE HOUSE MUSEUMS painting shop signs to make a living He died a lonely man and his final resting place remains a mystery Niko Pirosmani Pirosmanishvili was a self taught artist who drew solely on his creative intuition and natural talent for his work Though not a professionally trained painter today he is the most celebrated Georgian artist who surely deserves to be called a genius For a while he worked at the railroad Later he opened a tavern and even tried his luck in trade With his business endeavors collapsing he ended up seeking shelter in Tbilisi tavern basements and painting for their owners It was in one such tavern that Pirosmani was discovered by brothers Ilia and Kiril Zdanevich who became the first collectors of his works They even held a one day exhibition for Pirosmani at their home 146 of Pirosmani s works including portraits landscapes and animalistic paintings are currently preserved at the Georgian National Museum A museum operates in the house in the village of Mirzaani Kakheti where the artist was born None of the taverns painted by Nikala the affectionate name used by his contemporaries have survived in Tbilisi The only place tied to his name is the house at 29 Pirosmani Street near the Railroad Station where in the final years of his life he rented a dark room with a low ceiling under the

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139 The museum offers English language tour guide services It is advisable to book your visit in advance entrance hall staircase His entire possessions consisted of a table a couch modest kitchenware and a piece of tapestry embroidered by his mother Niko Pirosmani Museum 29 Niko Pirosmani Street 995 32 2 95 53 90 995 577 25 33 16 Open from 10 AM to 6 PM Closed on Mondays and official holidays Author Mikheil Javakhishvili 1880 1937 holds a special place in Georgian literature of the 20th century His vast literary legacy encompasses fictions feature writing and critical reviews essays memoirs and translations In 1933 1934 a four volume collection of his works was published though his direct opposition with Soviet ideology cost him dearly In 1937 Javakhishvili was executed and his works were banned for more than 20 years The museum does not have an English language tour guide However if you are interested in the era of Soviet repressions in the late 1930s when Javakhishvili lived and worked we advise you to hire a translator before your visit The museum describes the relations between Mikheil Javakhishvili and the Soviet leader Lavrentiy Beria who lived across the street from him the details of the writer s personal life and Above Niko Pirosmani Pirosmanishvili Girl with Balloon Start XX centuries Below Mikheil Javakhishvili house museum

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140 ART CULTURE HOUSE MUSEUMS career his arrest and labeling as a public enemy along with his cynical rehabilitation years later and also the stories of other members of society who shared the same fate as Javakhishvili All these exhibitions will help you draw a broader picture of the totalitarian state of that period The museum displays the author s archive personal effects library photo materials and other documents The museum frequently hosts educational programs which is why we recommend booking your visit in advance Mikheil Javakhishvili Museum 21 M Javakhishvili Street 995 32 2 92 03 67 Open from 10 AM to 6 PM Tuesday to Sunday Closed on Mondays and official holidays

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Wehost XP E X P LO R E G E O R G I A I f you are planning to visit Georgia and get an experience of travelling like a local WehostXP will be your guide and help you to find the perfect experience you are looking for Wehostxp ge is a platform suited for both travellers who want to get a unique experience from locals and hosts who want to share their experiences or hobbies and help people to explore Georgia from a less mainstream angle WehostXP is a place where you can find the most unexpected and original experiences together with traditional wine tasting and Georgian cuisine tours This platform will satisfy the interests of all kind of travellers Currently you can explore Soviet architecture in a post Soviet country try horseback riding in the countryside join a group of local musicians try pub crawling with local young people explore the high mountains of Georgia and much more Web page wehostxp ge

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142 A Glass of Thoughts T his time we re reviewing four wines with exceptionally exciting characters those manufactured under the umbrella Glekhuri brand Some of them may sound familiar by name others may be previously unknown to you Just remember that the more unconventional the name of a Georgian wine sounds the more daring experiments and new discoveries are in store for you Thus give it up for our next quartet Kisi Qvevri Rkatsiteli Qvevri Kisiskhevi Saperavi Chkhaveri Ros I can clearly picture you absorbed in thought debating which wine to grab from the ceiling high shelves in a wine shop You just can t make up your mind because none of the names sound familiar and every international brand or well known grape variety is powerless in the face of your bewilderment Georgian brand names sound not only unusual but sometimes even aggressive because of several gutturals back to back There s good news More info at www telianivalley com though as you learn more about Georgian grape varieties all your doubts will vanish You can rest assured that there are few things in this world that can compete with Georgian wine with its unbelievable diversity of grapes consistent 8 000 year old vinicultural techniques festive table rituals myriad flavors and intensity in inducing the most pleasant euphoria and slightly whirling sensations So as soon as you re over your initial confusion go ahead ask your wine consultant something along the lines of Which wine would you recommend pairing with a calorie laden meaty meal And wait for the answer which will inevitably be something like If you prefer white wine maybe you should try Glekhuri brand Kisi Qvevri How about that It s a dry white wine containing 13 alcohol Kisi Qvevri is made from Kisi grapes harvested in the villages of the Akhmeta Municipality Kakheti Naturally it is aged in a qvevri vessel a traditional method of winemaking It is light amber Teliani Valley

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143 in color and its flavor betrays sweetish aromas like caramelized nuts and sweet spices This wine is perfect with roast chicken beef tongue and meat salads You may prefer a more distinctly Georgian classic though Then why don t you go with Glekhuri brand Rkatsiteli Qvevri a dry white wine with 13 alcohol This amber Kakhetian wine aged using traditional methods in a qvevri vessel is a classic example What you taste at first are familiar flavors Georgian spices like coriander and saffron also dried flowers Most importantly this wine seems to be made for your favorite meal meaty and even rich in calories Rkatsiteli Qvevri is perfect to pair with boiled khashlama beef chunks fried fish and roast chicken Still if you feel that only red wine can counter and balance out your filling meal then I recommend Glekhuri brand Kisiskhevi Saperavi a dry red wine containing 13 5 alcohol also aged in a qvevri vessel Kisiskhevi is yet another new remarkable terroir for Kakhetian wines carnelian in color fermented and aged in qvevri vessels and offering dark berry red fruit and nut flavors And last but not least the most important piece of information this wine goes hand in hand with grilled burgers crispy ribs and mtsvadi shish kebabs Undoubtedly at least one of these wines will complement your meal to perfection If you re looking for a wine to accompany part two of your festive reception with deserts and sweets taking over you may want to try Chkhaveri Ros a semi dry wine containing 11 5 alcohol This semi dry Ros is made from Chkhaveri grapes from the village of Keda in Adjara s mountainous region It is bright salmon in color Even before tasting still in a glass it is poised to make a lasting impression with its rich color And after having tasted it you will surely sense the wine s distinctive rose tropical fruit and berry flavors It is known for pleasantly balancing sweetness and acidity The wine is ideal with summer fruits desserts and light cakes Enjoy it while it s young That s all for now Our diverse Georgian wines class is over Exercise prudence when choosing and make a decision only after coming upon the right answer so that your festive meal meaty and filling vegetarian and abounding in desserts alike will steal the show

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144 ENTERTAINMENT Summer 2019 A R T A N D S H OW S I N T B I L I S I SPACEHALL SOLOMUN COSMIC LOVE ROTATION TADE June 21 SOLOMUN who is not afraid of taking the audience on a journey will bring the vibe where vigor deepness and emotion go hand in hand in a very musical way He plays a major role in redefining European house music with productions remixes and DJing by taking the very building blocks of House and deftly reconstructing them with a modern twist The DIYNAMIC boss is joined by TADE who has been actively DJ ing since 2012 and played alongside some of the scene s finest DJs Being able to share DJ booths with so many artists from different backgrounds and perspectives constant creative search and unusual influences became a cause of the formation him as a multifaced DJ And last but not least COSMIC LOVE ROTATION will present his selection in comic disco and house music TBILISI OPEN AIR June 21 23 The largest open air music festival in the Caucasus Tbilisi Open Air is inviting you to celebrate music on four stages across Lisi Fields for three days and nights Building on its 10 year tradition this year the festival is hosting more than 60 performers and a variety of genres to enjoy When Open Air is on everyone knows that the music coming from the sky above Lake Lisi spreads throughout the city Highlighted performers Franz Ferdinand Mogwai Unkle Rhye David August The Subways Michelle Gurevich 1200 Mics by Riktam Green Room and many more Location Lisi Wonderland adjacent to New Hippodrome Tbilisi Tickets www tkt ge Location 2 Akaki Tsereteli Ave Tbilisi spacehall Web tbilisiopenair ge

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145 DAY PARTY WITH AVALON EMERSON June 22 A new entertainment destination has emerged on Kus Tba Turtle Lake in English the city s green section loved by all It s an open air recreation area with a restaurant caf and picnic spots all set aside for parties on Saturday and for the city s litterateurs performers and artists on all other weekdays Ciskari Turtle Lake Tbilisi MOUNTAIN SET KAZBEGI June 28 30 Mountain Set in Kazbegi is a synthesis of high mountain scenery and electronic music an example of new music originating in the mountains and reaching up to touch the sky The celebrated music platform Mixmag plans to broadcast live from the festival s main stage In the course of three days music from Georgian and foreign DJs will shake the mountains Newa Hamatsuki Kvanchi Autumn Tree Cosmic Love Rotation Toke Yanamaste Boston 168 Live Keit Carnal Dwig Live Abdulla Rashim Function Fabrizio Lapiana and many others Tickets www tkt ge ciskarikustba ART GENE 2019 June July Note Concerts in the regions are free Tickets are required only for the finale of the festival at the Tbilisi Museum of Ethnography Art Gene is an established festival celebrating and bringing together folklore from various Georgian regions What unknown songs have survived and in which region Elderly and younger folk singers from different villages come together for Art Gene an event you absolutely must visit if you are into authentic Georgian polyphony Regions June16 Tskaroebi Kakheti Akhmeta June22 Makhuntseti Keda Achara June 28 Gordi Forest Park Khoni Imereti Tbilisi Ethnographic Museum Kus Tba Str Tbilisi July 7 14 14 00 18 00 Handicraft and contemporary arts exhibitions 15 00 00 00 Wine and beer areas 16 00 00 00 Eateries 20 00 21 30 Folk concert 22 00 Grand Finale Concert Tickets www tkt ge Art Gene Festival_

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146 ENTERTAINMENT BLACK SEA JAZZ FESTIVAL July 18 20 TBILISI COURTYARD JANSUGH KAKHIDZE S THEMES June 23 20 00 Vakhtang Kakhidze and Orchestra For authentic Tbilisi music and the way it once naturally blended into the city s everyday life make sure to attend this concert Today a series of concerts is staged in courtyards In the past however an improvised concert could be heard at pretty much every festive table in any ordinary courtyard or ezo in Georgian and the Tbilisi Courtyard Project is an attempt to revive and preserve this very tradition Tbilisi is trying to capture the ritual defining the city s colorfulness Location 10 Jansugh Kakhidze Str THIRD INTERNATIONAL LAGODEKHI BLUES FESTIVAL July 20 and 27 Chris Cain Dr Ika Gia Dzagnidze JJ Thames Location Blues Village 163 Vashlovani Str Lagodekhi This year marks the 13th time Batumi is hosting this festival Its musical repertoire at first only included jazz but is now further expanding its diversity This year s festival offers concerts and after parties featuring Cory Henry The Funk Apostles MokuMoku AMP Fiddler ft Drummer From Detroit Incognito DJ Francis MC Blue and DJ Machaidze Tickets www tkt ge Location Batumi Tennis Club POLO PAN July 20 For the first time in Georgia Origami and the State Theater of Pantomime of Georgia present a revolutionary mix of sound movement and visual effects Polo Pan will hold a live performance accompanied by sun like light pop music This French duet will perform for the audience a dizzyingly rapid costume mime show an unprecedented fairytale like spectacle a genuine slapstick performance a combination of characters orbiting around celestial bodies and happy summer electronic music Tickets eventer ge Location Railroad Car Repair Plant BlackSeaJazzFestival

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147 JESSIE J August 6 I really didn t want to work on new music I m done I remember saying it out loud I couldn t differentiate between the business and the art What I wanted to give up was the business and forgot that the art could save me in all of it That is the confession of Jessie J the multiplatinum selling artist behind hits like Price Tag Domino and Bang Bang who was at a major crossroads after 2014 s Sweet Talker And then a song came to the rescue A producer named DJ Camper played her the beat for what would become Think About That a moody meditation type groove and a clear departure from her past two albums Tickets www tkt ge eventer ge biletebi ge Location Black Sea Arena Natanebi Shekvetili THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS August 13 Thirty Seconds to Mars comprised of Jared and Shannon Leto hail from Los Angeles CA The band s eponymous debut album 30 Seconds to Mars was released in 2002 and remains a cult favorite They went on to achieve worldwide success with the release of their second album A Beautiful Lie 2005 which sold over 5 million copies Their next release was This Is War in 2009 Thirty Seconds to Mars has received numerous awards and accolades throughout their career including a dozen MTV Awards a Billboard Music Award and a Guinness World Record for the Longest Running Tour in history Tickets www tkt ge eventer ge biletebi ge Location Black Sea Arena Natanebi Shekvetili BlackSeaArena

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148 ENTERTAINMENT ECHOWAVES FESTIVAL ANAKLIA August 22 25 EchoWaves is an electronic music festival that invites you to experience the beautiful seaside resort of Anaklia The festival will create unforgettable summer memories in the shadow of some stunning mountains This festival brings quality underground music and offers beautiful sunsets long beaches and the warm Black Sea to swim in The surrounding area is famously flat and agricultural though the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range can be perfectly viewed over the sea and boats with a rich history reflected in the local customs and architecture It s a very special location for a music festival that will boast next level production impressive stages day and night parties and stunning natural backdrops sunsets and sunrises During the day you can enjoy playing sports attending workshops and having fun with many different activities that will take place over 4 days The festival features names like Ben Klock Adriatique KiNK Musumeci Petre Inspirescu Red Axes R DH D Vril Yokoo Gio Shengelia and many more Tickets tkt ge eventer ge Location Anaklia Beach OODABNO FESTIVAL 2019 August 30 September 1 It is the second time that the OOdabno Festival is held in Georgia in a semi desert to feature Polish Georgian and French alternative music photo and art exhibitions and art installations The festival includes a tent camping area in its territory Tickets www tkt ge Location Oasis Club Udabno Akhmetis Raioni Georgia