Page 1



Message From the Publisher A Warm Georgian Welcome Arriving in Georgia Tbilisi Exploring Georgia Winter Resorts Wine Tourism in Georgia Javakheti Protected Areas Walking in The Caucasus, Georgia Upper Racha Tourism Development Projects Trade Developments and Opportunities Dynamic Film Industry Where to Stay in Georgia Georgia Homegrown Dining Out Shopping Artistic Georgia The Unique Georgian Language Famous Georgian Personalities Events and Festivals Database

Exploring Georgia Page 16

2 4 6 10 16 20 22 30 35 36 40 42 45 49 58 59 64 65 69 70 74 80

The Georgian is published by TTG Georgia Ltd. Tel: +995 599 992161 Info@thegeorgianonline.com www.thegeorgianonline.com CopyrightŠTTG Georgia Lela Khartishvili, Publisher Edna Fortescue, FT International, Chief editor Molly Corso, Copy editor Gere Victor, Editorial consultant Gega Paksashvili, Design Cover photo by Kakhaber Shartava On the cover Georgian singer Nino Basharuli


Message from the Publisher

LELA KHARTISHVILI It is my pleasure to introduce the fourth edition of THE GEORGIAN Tourism and Trade Guide. This is the definitive publication to promote Georgia, and attract and satisfy tourists and travellers with many interests, as well as potential investors - in this beautiful little country. Georgia is strategically placed between Europe to the west, and Asia to the east. It is sometimes known as “Eurasia”. Many influences have been brought to bear in this small country over the centuries, yet it has retained its unique qualities. This is what THE GEORGIAN magazine introduces to you. Georgia is considered a great cultural centre in the region, and you will find information about the many events that will take place in 20l6. These include unique traditional and cultural concerts; theatre; the Black Sea Jazz Festival, and international events. Do not miss the great performances celebrating the reopening of the fabulous Tbilisi Opera House after transforming renovations! See the beautiful theatres and concert halls of Tbilisi. Georgia’s spectacular scenery provides venues for many outdoor activities, such as hiking, climbing and skiing. You will discover how easy it is to participate in local sports - and to stay at traditional or modern facilities. We focus on the famous wine industry, which visitors wish to experience, the magnificent vinegrowing regions, the unique ways in which wine is produced and how you can taste the end products. At the same time, we show you how to experience the special exotic culinary dishes and the pure ingredients used to produce them. A Georgian “supra” or feast is something you will never forget. In a magazine this concise - with accompanying website - there is not enough space to provide great detail or credit to all the organisations which have assisted in these developments, such as The World Bank, The Agency for Protected Areas, the UNDP and GIZ. But THE GEORGIAN will open doors for tourism, as well as the potential for investment, and for the country’s vital importance on the Silk Road linking east and west. While Georgian is an amazing and unique language, English is now very widely spoken and encouraged. The annual publication of THE GEORGIAN Tourism and Trade Guide is a major contributor to putting Georgia on the international map. We look forward to welcoming you in our usual warm and hospitable style.


2016 CALENDAR OF EVENTS January New Year Event in Batumi Grand Opening of Opera February Skiing Camp in Gudauri March Tbilisi Jazz Festival Tbilisi International Dance Festival April Tbilisi Fashion Week Tbilisi Jazz Festival CTF - Caucasus Tourism Fair May Expo Batumi New Wine festival Kolga Tbilisi Photo June Tbilisi International Student Film Festival AMIRANI Wine-Expo Georgia July The ART-GENE Folk Festival Black Sea Jazz Festival in Batumi August GEM-Fest in Anaklia Tbilisi-Batumi International classical music festival NIGHT SERENADES Kobuleti Summer Fest September Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre Batumi Classical Music Festival 5th Batumi International Birdwatching Festival Music Festival AUTUMN TBILISI BIAFF - Batumi International Art House Film Festival City festival - BATUMOBA October 8th International Festival of Animated Films in Batumi Gift Festival Telavi International Music Festival 4th Tbilisi Documentary Film Festival International Short Film Festival SESILY TBILISOBA - The Festival of capital city Tbilisi Marathon November ARTISTERIUM -Tbilisi International Contemporary Art Exhibition December TIFF - 17TH Tbilisi TBILISI International Film Festival

UDC(uak) 338.48+339](051.2) T-44 ISSN 2233-3061



The Georgian National Tourism Administration implements several projects each year to raise awareness of the country’s tourist potential internationally, and to keep the influx of tourists – and the jobs this will create – ever on the rise. Last year Georgia also received exceptional interest from the international media. National Geographic selected the country as one of the best destinations for anyone intent on visiting Europe. Bloomberg, Forbes, BBC Travel and the Financial Times also sang the praises of Georgian wine. Finally, CNN devoted a programme to the country and listed nine major reasons why tourists should visit Georgia.

On behalf of The Georgian and the Georgian National Tourism Administration, Welcome to our wonderful country. I would like to extend a warm welcome to each and every visitor arriving in Georgia. During your stay, you will be our honoured guests and for Georgians hosting a guest is not only a privilege - it is also an integral part of our culture. Georgia is one of the safest countries in the world for travellers, and there is no doubt in my mind that when you return to your home it will be with unforgettable memories of our hospitable country. Depending on the time of year, your visit might range from an exhilarating stay at mountain resorts during the winter to a seaside holiday on the magnificent Black Sea coast during the summer. But no matter what the season, you will encounter a country with a fascinating history, healthy climate, sparkling mineral waters, extensive national parks and historical sites on the UNESCO world heritage list. And then there is the variety and cultural depth of the food and wine in Georgia – both firm favourites with tourists. The increasing expansion of various air travel routes to Georgia has now made the country a destination of choice. Whether you travel for adventure, medical treatment, as a wine connoisseur, an eco tourist, as part of a MICE incentive or merely to enjoy the marine, ski, cultural and pilgrimage sites – Georgia never fails to inspire. Ski tourism is often sited as the new hot spot, and there are already five winter resorts of international standing to welcome both local and foreign guests. 
2015 was a very successful year for Georgian tourism. According to the latest data, a record number of the tourists – 5 897 685 – visited the country in 2015, which represents an annual increase of 7%. Clearly tourism is a growth industry in Georgia, and its importance for the country’s economy is surging. Georgia is now in line with the international trend of linking increased tourism with accelerated job creation.


So come for a visit! Experience Georgia for yourself and reap the rewards of our exceptional hospitality. Welcome once again and may you have a pleasant stay. With warm Georgian regards

George Chogovadze Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration, LEPL of Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development Tel: +995 32 243 69 99 Info@gnta.ge www.gnta.ge

Visit Us at the Following Travel Exhibitions 8-10 January – New York Times Travel Show 20-24 January – FITUR, Madrid, Spain 28-31 January – EMITT, Istanbul, Turkey 5-7 February – Balttur, Riga, Latvia 9-10 February – IMTM, Tel-Aviv, Israel 9-13 March – ITB, Berlin, Germany 30 March – 1 April - UITT, Kiev, Ukraine 7-9 April – AITF, Baku, Azerbaijan 12-14 April – COTTM, Beijing, China 19-21 April – IMEX, Frankfurt, Germany 20-22 April – KITF, Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan 25-28 May – ATM, Dubai, UAE 9-12 June – KOTFA, Seoul, Korea 21-24 – September – OTDYKH International Russian Travel, Market. Moscow 22-25 – September – JATA, Tokyo, Japan 7-9 – November – WTM, London, UK 29 November 1 December – EITBM, Barcelona, Spain November – TT Warsaw, Poland


Most visitors to Georgia arrive at the Tbilisi International Airport. The modern terminal was constructed in 2007 and is 18 km from the city centre. Non-stop flights are operated by: Georgian Airways (Airzena), Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Air Baltic, Aegean Airways, Qatar Airways, Polish Airlines, Ukraine International, Belavia, Siberian Airlines, Air Astana, Azerbaijan Airlines, Aeroflot, Fly Dubai, China Southern Airlines and Pegasus Airlines. Alitalia and Wiss Air also offer inexpensive direct flights from Europe. Recent arrivals to the Georgian aviation market iclude Elinair, Atlasje and Fly Arabia. The flight time from Istanbul is 2 hours; from North America it is approximately 12 hours. Upon landing at Tbilisi International Airport you will notice that all arrival and departure information is available in both Georgian and English. Should you require specific flight information, please consult the Tbilisi International Airport’s website at: www.tbilisiairport.com. Telephonic enquiries can be made at: International Arrivals: (+995) 32 231 03 41 or International Departures: (+995) 32 231 04 21. The journey from the international airport to central Tbilisi takes about 20 minutes. Travel by taxi costs about 30 GEL. There is a bus service to Freedom Square and Rustavelli Avenue (Bus No. 37) departing every 20-30 minutes from 7.00 am to 10.00 pm There are new air terminals at Batumi on the Black Sea coast and at Kutaisi (Imereti region) – 230 km from Tbilisi. The airport at Kutaisi is very basic, just a simple immigration and customs post. Flying directly to Kutaisi from international destinations is now possible on Wizz Air. It operates low-cost flights from Budapest, Warsaw, Vilnius and there are flights from Istanbul, Moscow and Kiev. For more information please visit www.kutaisiairport.ge; and for telephone enquiries please contact the Kutaisi Air Terminal on (+995) 431 23 70 00. There is an official Georgian bus transfer available from Kutaisi Air Terminal to Tbilisi and Batumi – tickets can be purchased next to the information


point. The bus ride to Tbilisi costs 20 GEL (about 9 EUR) and the journey takes about 4 hours. The bus station is located to the right when exiting the terminal building. Buses arrive at Pushkin Park – next to Freedom Square ­– in Tbilisi. All buses run according to the flight schedule. GETTING TO TBILISI BY ROAD AND RAIL Travellers who drive into Georgia from Turkey cross the border at Kemalpasra (Turkey) into Sarpi (West Georgia/Black Sea coast – a distance of 400 km to Tbilisi and 15 km to Batumi) or at Posof (Turkey) into Vale (Southwest Georgia – a distance of 300 km to Tbilisi). Entrance by road is also available via Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia. Travellers from Azerbaijan cross the border at Lagodekhi (eastern Georgia – a distance of 170 km to Tbilisi). An alternative route is through the Red Bridge (southeast Georgia – a distance of 70 km to Tbilisi). From Armenia, visitors cross through Sadakhlo/ Bagratashen (southeast Georgia ­– a distance of 170 km to Tbilisi) and Bavra (southern Georgia – a distance of 330 km to Tbilisi). The Russian/ Georgian border is open for travellers at Upper Larsi (northeast Georgia – a distance of 153 km to Tbilisi). Travelling on the country’s highly improved roads is a great way to see the Georgian countryside before arriving in Tbilisi. Minibuses go to/from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey several times a day. There are three major bus stations in Tbilisi with buses coming and going to and from all parts of Georgia. Travelling by bus is an inexpensive way to see the country but, due to the language barrier, it is often difficult for foreigners to negotiate. Consult your guest house or Georgian friends for information and directions in Georgian and English. Rail links operate between Georgia and Armenia and Azerbaijan respectively, carrying holidaymakers to the Black Sea coast in the summer. Travelling by train is not fast, but services connect Tbilisi with numerous domestic cities. Tbilisi Central Train Station is located on Vagzlis Moedani (Vagzali Square). Ticket offices are

located on the top floor. A timetable is available online (see www.railway.ge). Getting to the city centre from the Central Station is better by metro. The entrance to the metro is only a minute’s walk from Central Station’s main exit. GETTING TO GEORGIA VIA THE BLACK SEA Batumi and Poti are major passenger ship ports on the Black Sea coast (see www.batumiport. com ).Travelling by Ro-Ro ferries from Varna (Bulgaria) and Ilychevsk (Ukraine) to Batumi/Poti is a particularly worthwhile option. Car transport is available on board. Usually there are weekly departures from Varna and Illichivsk and sea passage takes an average of 60 hours. However, dates of arrival/departure are subject to change. For more information visit: www.ukrferry.com/eng GETTING AROUND TBILISI Taxis are one of the best ways of getting around the city, as they can be found almost anywhere. Fares are affordable and should never cost more than a few US$. Generally taxis will be waiting outside major public areas such as airports, train stations, bus stations and large hotels. When outside of these areas the best way to get a taxi is to ask a hotel or restaurant to arrange a ride; bearing in mind the drivers often only speak Georgian. Some of the larger taxi companies are: GIG Taxi (+995) 32 278 78 78; Nostalgia Ltd. (+995) 2 200 200; Pelican (+995) 32 293 99 39; and Taxi.ge (+995) 32 274 74 74. PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN TBILISI Tbilisi is a small city so it is generally easy to get around. The underground rail system connects most areas of the city. The Tbilisi Metro is open from 6am to 12am. A single journey costs 50 tetri (100 tetri = 1 GEL) and you can only pay with travel cards. Metromani travel cards can be bought and recharged at each station for 2 GEL. The card can also be used on buses and minibuses. The city is also serviced by a network of yellow buses and minibuses that drive set routes around Tbilisi. Information boards are installed at most bus stops with schedule times in Georgian and English. Tickets can be bought on the bus via a ticket machine, or by plastic pre-loaded Metromani travel cards. A single bus fare costs 0.50 GEL.

and sometimes reckless – driving in Tbilisi. Rental car agencies can be found immediately upon exiting the airport customs area or in the downtown offices of Avis, Hertz, Europcar, and Auto Rent Service. An international driving license is required. Try to learn a few words of Georgian and remember that the Georgian word for “hello” is “gamarjoba”, “goodbye” is “nakhvamdis”, “thank you” is “gmadlobt”, “Yes” is “diakh”, “No” is “ara”, excuse me is “ukacravad” and Cheers is “gaumarjos”.

VISA REQUIREMENTS Citizens from 94 countries can enter Georgia without a visa and stay for a year. However, under the new regulations, EU citizens may enter Georgia with a travel document as well as with an ID card. Entering Georgia and staying for 360 days is also possible for citizens who hold a UN LaissezPasser travel document. Please refer to the following web page for visafree list: www.geoconsul.gov.ge E-VISA PORTAL FOR SHORT-TERM VISITORS! Potential travelers can obtain a short-term visa without visiting a Georgian Embassy or Consular office by following three simple steps: applying, making an online payment and printing out e-Visa. Please refer to the following webpage to verify e-Visa requirements: www.evisa.gov.ge

The minibuses in Tbilisi stop on request except when travelling through Freedom Square or along the Rustaveli and Chavchavadze Avenues, where they stop only at bus stops. A single minibus fare is 0.80 GEL. DRIVING A personal vehicle may seem like the most convenient form of transport available, but firsttime visitors to the country should learn Georgian driving rules before deciding to get behind the wheel of a car and should be aware of the fast –




Your Travel and Venue Company in Georgia - for Business and Leisure Projecting the image of a dynamically growing country, Georgia has become a favorable destination for MICE (Meeting, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism. With its state-of-the-art facilities, exhibition and event halls, plus business-oriented hotels. and spacious meeting places that meet international standards, Georgia is strategically located at the crossroad of Europe and Asia. This unique country blends the historic and the modern, the traditional with the avant-garde. As a tourism destination, Georgia showcases its natural beauty, long-standing history, traditional culture and ancient architecture. Foreign visitors can combine business and leisure by sampling unique Georgian cuisine and wines, exploring mountains and valleys, forests and vineyards, as well as the historic cities and impressive ancient buildings. Business visitors need not be daunted by the complex language as the use of English is now widespread, with well sign-posted directions and the traditional hospitality aiming to make every visitor feel at home. Hotels have been upgraded with all the modern amenities, competent staff and very comfortable accommodation. It is very easy to get around Tbilisi and there are now many international stores and products available. Tbilisi is a very safe city nowadays with inexpensive taxis everywhere and first-class quiet restaurants where business can be conducted at one’s leisure. Among destination management organizations Grata DMC is one of the most creative companies in Georgia. GRATA is an active and inventive company, successfully operating through international offices in Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Russia and Poland.

The GRATA Team The word “grata” means “welcome”, and this friendly and welcoming attitude lies at the core of the company’s approach. The efficient, enthusiastic and experienced team of GRATA aims to provide memorable travel experiences for clients. It always aims to make each project exciting and interesting and offers individual suggestions for memorable events and tours. A high standard of service, a tailored approach to each project, and the professional approach of the GRATA staff enables the company to successfully organize and manage events. Customers are guaranteed 24-hour support for the duration of the project! Contact Grata DMC Georgia at: 5/A Victor Dolidze str. 5th Floor, Business centre. Phone: +995 32 2103002; Mob: +995 574 040000 info@grata.ge Grata DMC Azerbaijan: info@grata.ge Russia and CIS: Tel: +7 926 210 32 20; info@expertavis.ru Representative Office in Poland: Tel: +48 600 969 406; info@polhotrep.pl

GRATA has developed a complete range of services for large scale events such as festivals, conferences, formal parties, concerts and incentive tours. The company offers assistance, and many extra activities, such as cultural tours, site visits to historic monasteries and wine tasting. GRATA’s key to the best solutions is ist individual attention to all details pertaining to: designing event concepts, planing logistics, and coordinating technical demands before launching an event.




According to legend, Tbilisi was founded in the fifth century when King Vakhtang Gorgasali stumbled on the health-giving hot mineral springs that still operate in the centre of the city. The spectacular location of Tbilisi among the green rolling hills along the River Mtkvari, and its strategic position between East and West, meant that other countries have always coveted this city and fought over its possession. In fact, history indicates that everyone wanted to take possession of beautiful, fertile Georgia, and its cosmopolitan capital, Tbilisi. Tbilisi is the focal point of Georgian life and culture. This ancient and fascinating historic city also contains all the amenities of modern life. While some rather astonishing modern structures have been erected in recent years, there is now a concerted effort to conserve and renovate beautiful old buildings and the numerous unique churches that have long given Tbilisi the character that visitors find so attractive. Some churches are ancient, although there is a huge new modern cathedral – Sameba (Trinity in Georgian) – that overshadows the new Presidential Palace. The city stretches on both sides and its newest bridge looks rather as if it was recently transplanted from Disneyworld. Tbilisians either love it or hate it – but there it is! The basic domestic architecture is a fascinating mixture of Europe and l9th century St. Petersburg with attractive Oriental balconies built onto the exterior and spacious internal courtyards, known as “Italian” courtyards. Art Deco façades grace many old buildings, along with exquisite wrought ironwork. Old Tbilisi is ideal for exploring by foot and it is completely safe to wander about by day or night. Rustaveli Avenue, named after Georgia’s most famous medieval poet, Shota Rustaveli, is Tbilisi’s


main avenue and has been very well restored with large museums close to each other. Here you can find the state, ethnography and art museums, all containing unique artifacts and treasures – including brilliant medieval enamelwork and gold collections. The recommended way to cross this busy main road is through underpasses, and there are attractive shops along the main underpass alongside Freedom Square. The square is easy to identify by the glittering statue of St. George, that sits on top of the column. The famous Tbilisi Opera House, known by its distinctive striped stonework, has recently been completely renovated and is scheduled to reopen in 2016. On 30 January, the audience wil attend the long awayted opening of thr Opera House at the premier of a production of “Abesalom and Eteri” by Zakaria Paliashvili. The leading parts are performed by world famous Lado Ataneli and Tamar Iveri, who have been invited specially for this occasion. On 12 February another much anticipated season premier, the Georgian ballet “Gorda” by David Toradze will open. Tbilisi has a world-class ballet company – now led by the world famous prima ballerina of the Bolshoi, Nina Ananiashvili – and is also known for its unique national dance troup. The elegant Rustaveli Theatre has been spectacularly restored by a private donor to the level of any major European opera house, and the two theatres often provide English subtitles at stage performances. Look out for concerts at the centrally located Conservatoire and the Philharmonic Hall. Tickets are priced very reasonably and are generally easy to obtain. The unique and exotic sulphur baths are in a garden area, very close to the centre of town, and consist of a series of strange, low domes that look like mushrooms, dominated by a

Old Tbilisi with historic baths beautiful building with a Central Asian style facade of mosaics. The baths are the reason Tbilisi was established and they have been visited for centuries by tired travellers traversing the long distances to the Caucasus. Such notable personalities as Dumas, Pushkin and Lermontov have relaxed in these famous healing sulphur waters, and nowadays they attract modern tourists who can also enjoy a vigorous and inexpensive massage.

ancient Mtatsminda Church, which is the last resting place of distinguished Georgians who are commemorated with imposing sculptured monuments. In spring and summer you can enjoy two new recreational zones - Tbilisi Turtle Lake and Lisi Lake. They are out of town. Enjoy this beautiful and unusual city and its friendly people!

A visitor to Georgia cannot have a more strikingly unusual and colourful experience than to stroll through the farmers’ and flea markets found in Tbilisi. Most notable is the fresh, seasonal produce - rich in color, delicate in texture and distinctively full flavored. Nightlife is vibrant in Tbilisi and is most active on Peroyskaya, Sharden and Erekle II streets – close to the river – where a number of local and international restaurants, clubs and bars are located. There is a lovely bar on top of the Radisson that has a spectacular view of the city. A new attraction – the “Tower” on Rike (the left side of the river) – was recently opened, where modern cable cars transport guests over the city to the Narikala Fortress and the world-famous, uniquely located Botanical Gardens, wich was first established centuries ago. The original façade of the lower station of the city’s Funicular – located close to Rustaveli in Chonkadze Street – has been completely restored. Its completely modern carriages transport passengers quietly and safely, to the top of the steep hillside. The imposing station above has an excellent restaurant and café with a great view of the city. The top station also opens into Mtatsminda Park, a popular venue with Tbilisians and visitors. Don’t miss the nearby


TBILISI MARATHON Already in its fourth year, theTbilisi Marathon has not only become a major event on the international sports calendar, but is also a very successful social project. The event is a joint project organised under the full patronage of the Tbilisi City Hall, the Embassy of Germany in Georgia, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia and the organizational input of HeidelbergCement Caucasus. The popularity of Tbilisi Marathon, which was held on 25 October 2015, has continued to grow with runners from 37 countries and 98 teams participating. In total, 2033 people were registered for the event, and 1142 crossed the finishing line. HeidelberCement Caucasus pledged to match funds received from the athletes’ registration fees and subsequently donated GEL 48,060 (€19,000). All proceeds were utilized for the expansion and renovation of a rehabilitation centre for people with disabilities in the city of Rustavi. For the first time the half marathon course was moved from Tbilisi Sea to the city centre, which meant that the roads leading to the central streets of Tbilisi where blocked for the race. The event included three races: the Half Marathon (21.097 km), a 10K Race and a Kids Run (500 m for children aged 6-11, and 1 km for children aged 12-15). The winner of the Half Marathon was David Kharazishvili from Georgia, who crossed the finishing line after 1 hour and 10 minutes; followed 27 minutes later by the fastest woman, Valya Avagyan from Armenia. The fastest man (from Armenia) and woman (from Georgia) in the 10K race finished in 34 minutes and 49 minutes, respectively. Tbilisi Marathon was held in full compliance with international standards, and was listed for the first time as an official member of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS). The race is the first in the Caucasus region to hold an international status, which means that the winners’ results are accredited worldwide.


The German company Mika Timing – “Official Timekeeping and Data Processing” – ensured that the Tbilisi Marathon’s timing and results services were calculated according to international standards. This added a layer of professionalism, which allowed of Tbilisi Marathon participants to receive online certificates stating the exact time they crossed the finishing line. They run Tbilisi Marathon par with marathons run in Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin. Besides promoting a healthy lifestyle and contributing to charity, a valuable spin off of the annual Tbilisi Marathon is the influx of tourists, especially to Tbilisi. In order to attract even more local and foreign runners, the organisers continuously strive to make the event more inclusive. This year youngsters were encouraged to participate by the introduction of the 10K Race and the Kids Run. Next year’s Tbilisi Marathon will undoubtedly attract even more participants and enable everyone to enjoy sightseeing in Tbilisi before, during and after the event. Registration for Tbilisi Marathon 2016 can be done individually or as a group/company, online at www. tbilisimarathon.ge. Tbilisi Marathon also provides an exceptional platform for companies to promote themselves within the framework of a healthy lifestyle, add their image to Tbilisi Marathon as a recognizable brand, and make a valuable contribution to a charitable cause. This connection with the corporate world has already exemplified by the involvement of HeidelbergCement. The promotion of a healthy lifestyle – an integral part of their health & safety programs – represent a major aspect of HeidelbergCement’s corporate policy. When this is added to the company’s wish to contribute to charity, HeidelbergCement’s involvment with the Tbilisi Marathon becomes obvious. HeidelbergCement is a global market leader in aggregates and a prominent player in the fields of cement, concrete and other downstream activities, making it one of the world’s largest manufacturers of building materials. The company employs some 52,500 people at 2,500 locations in 40 countries.


There is an exciting new project; “Visiting the Animal World” which allows close contact with specially selected animals such as lemurs, dwarf horses, lowland tapirs and llamas. Visitors can feed and pet the friendly animals with great photographic opportunities. You can register by phone or email to participate and the entrance fee is only 20 GEL per person. The Equestrian Club of Tbilisi Zoo (code-named “Spirit” ) has been established in the Dendrology Park. There are special horse trails, training on the racecourse and special euestrian excursions. Experienced instructors are available at both

Tbilisi Zoo made worldwide headlines in June 20l5 when an unusually devastating flood caused great damage to the zoo, its inhabitants and to the people living nearby. Much to everyone’s surprise, the image of the hippo standing in Tbilisi centre caught international attention and sympathy, and there was a rush of support. Charity events spontaneously took place all over the world. In London, a famous Georgian singer, Katie Melua, and the British Georgian Society participated in very successful event to rise funds for all those affected by the flood. All this brought a surge of determination to restore this important facility, and to move it to a better location. Tbilisi Zoo had already gained a good reputation for development in a world increasingly aware of the importance of conserving diminishing wildlife. Visitors will now be interested to see what has been happening, and hopefully, will also lend support. The zoo offers many interesting experiences. There are animals from all over the world such as magnificent white lions, beautiful mountain deer from Asia Minor, elephants and the famous hippo. There is an interesting collection of birds including pheasants, predators and peacocks plus penguins.

amateur and professional levels, with a variety of horses and ponies. There is a special pony club for children over eleven years of age. For further information about The Equestrian Club, call Ms. Mr. Gia Ghoghiberidze, Head of Equestrian Department of the Tbilisi Zoo (+995) 599 711205; +995 32 2131088; email: education@zoo.ge; www.zoo.ge A new location for Tbilisi Zoo is already being planned in the area of Dendrology Park, near the Tbilisi Sea. This is a major project for such a small country as Georgia. Given last year’s unexpected events, donation will be gratefuly received to enable the animal and bird inhabitants to live in the best possible way and to be easily accessible for Tbilisi residents and international visitors. Meanwhile please visit the Zoo at its historic address: 64, M. Kostava street, Tbilisi.


TikaTours is a Georgian luxury tour operator for discerning travelers seeking life-changing travel experiences. Our bespoke journeys range from the lavish to the adventurous _ and no TikaTours passage is complete without that pleasant unpredictability, which inevitably makes your travel experience life-changing. Our unmatched experience, expertise, and close relationships allow us to combine experiential service _ such as a private journey through the Caucasus _ with insider-access opportunities unlike any you have experienced before.

OUR PROPERTIES IN GEORGIA MEDIEVAL LUXURIOUS CHÂTEAU SVANIDZE For a truly indulgent wine experience, unwind at Signagi in the privacy of the Château Svanidze with incredible views over the snow-capped Caucasus Mountain range. From this exclusive retreat among astonishing natural beauty, feast on fine cuisine prepared by renowned chefs, enjoy Château Svanidze`s premium organic wines, and experience the Kakheti region at its opulent best on a private guided tour. QUEEN`S SULPHUR BATH-HOUSE Take a break from the ordinary, slow down, relax, and escape with a journey back through time to the 5th century by enjoying spa treatments in an exclusive setting at the company-owned (oldest fully preserved) Queen`s sulphur bath-house. For reservations please contact spa management: Tel +995 32 2 14 15 00 Mob +995 571 40 77 88 Address Grishashvili street 11

BOHEMA RESTAURANT The extraordinary award winning Bohema restaurant offers the most spectacular views of Old Tbilisi, where you can enjoy a wide range of diverse dishes including Georgian traditional and fusion meals prepared using only eco-friendly fresh ingredients. The restaurant also features an outdoor mega terrace where you can unwind and relax while our barman prepares your favorite drink. Contact us by email us at info@tikatours.com or call us on +995 570 70 72 14 For more information visit us at www.tikatours.com


Discover Georgia, this enchanting little country at the cross-roads of Europe and Asia. Visit regions which are so close to each other but are very different in so many aspects. Enjoy pristine nature, cultural sites, and wine-producing areas. Visit farms maintaining centuries-old traditions, meet the local people in remote areas, taste organic home-made dishes and experience the meaning of Georgian hospitable traditions. In THE GEORGIAN Tourist Guide there is not space enough to describe every worthwhile aspect of the regions, but here are some unique attractions to begin your exploration.

UNIQUE DESTINATIONS IN THE MOUNTAIN REGIONS OF GEORGIA Khevsureti The region’s diverse ecosystem—subalpine forests, velvety meadows, rocky mountains, river gorges, relict and endemic species—is but a part of the Pshav-Khevsureti region’s appeal. In order to conserve and preserve the biodiversity and ancient beauty of the area, the Pshav-Khevsureti Protected Area (PA) was established in 2014. It encompasses Pshav-Khevsureti National Park, Roshka Monument and Asa Managed Reserve. It is possible to access Tusheti and Kazbegi PAs via “Footprints”. These treks are highly popular routes among eco tourists. The ethno-cultural heritage of Pshav-Khevsureti is unique. The region’s fortress-villages (Lebaiskari, Shatili, Mutso, etc.) are impressive due to their historical cross-icons and excellent specimens of mythology.

Mutso This remote village fortress is perched on high rocks in Pirikita Khevsureti, 12 kms from Shatili. It is a popular site among tourists and mountain


climbers. The village was abandoned more than a century ago, but the some 40 medieval houses and structures, are still visible on the vertical terraces on top of Mutso-Ardoti Gorge.

Shatili Village-fortress This is a monument of Georgian architectural art. The late Middle Ages construction served as both a dwelling and fortification. Only a narrow road running through the Arghuni Gorge connects the village to the outer world. Shatili is terrace-built; the principal type of buildings are flat-roofed houses and tower dwellings. Shatili’s unique feature is a system of interior, connecting passage ways, which make it possible to move arround the entire area without leaving its defensive walls. Since 2007, Shatili has been included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites. For those who plans to travel to Khevsureti, we suggest contact WWF Caucasus Programme office (Tel: +99532 2237500; office@wwfcaucasus. org) to get an excellent guidebook to the region entitled “Pshav-Khevsureti Travel guide”. The guide provides wealth of suggestions and general information for tourists, including information about travel routes, guesthouses and transport.


ALONG THE BLACK SEA COAST, AJARA REGION This very beautiful part of the country is known for its beaches, mountains, national parks, resorts and the beautiful town of Batumi - one of the largest seaports on the south-east side of the Black Sea.


The highest inhabited area in the Caucasus with the highest populated village in Europe – Ushguli This region is unique for its majestic high mountains, impressive nature and architecture. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site it is dotted with medieval villages featuring dozens of traditional stone-towers, mostly dating from the 9th to 12th centuries. Ushguli village is the highest yearround inhabited village in Europe (2000-2200 metres above sea level).


This remote, pristine and magnificent area is located on the northern slopes of the high Caucasus mountains. Travel season usually starts at the end of May and continues to the end of October. Each village in Tusheti is a historical monument with its 19th century architecture, religious buildings, crosses, icons etc. Tusheti is known for its unusual cheese made from sheep’s milk, fine local embroidery, felt work and colourful rugs. The village Dartio, famous with its preserved landscape and heritage is located here.


From ancient times it has been part of historic Colchis and Caucasian Iberia. The ancient monuments are very impressive - the ruins of the Colchis and Greek civilizations in Kobuleti and Gonio - Apsarus, Petra (Tsikhisdziri) fortress - the site of the battle between the greatest empires of Byzantium and Persia, and the archeological discoveries which have attracted the interest of world famous specialists. Batumi, one of the oldest towns of Georgia, is charming and beautiful with architecture that resembling that of modern European cities built in the 20th century. Batumi Boulevard and Botanical Garden are the favorite leisure venues for locals and visitors from throughout the Caucasus region.

Gelati Academy and Monastery Complex The huge and very impressive monastery is 11 km. from the city of Kutaisi and was constructed in the 12th century. It was one of the powerful cultural-educational centres of western Georgia. Gelati is an UNESCO Heritage Site, and contains a number of very well preserved murals and manuscripts. This is the important burial place of the Georgian kings and the royal family members. It retains the atmosphere of its great past and demonstrates the beauty and unique monumental quality of the architecture of those times.

Katskhi Pillar

IMERETI REGION - LAND OF THE LEGENDARY COLCHIS Legend says that the King of Aeetes was visited by the Argonauts to obtain the Golden Fleece. There were fine particles of gold existed in the rivers. They were in the fleece of sheep, which were floated in the water by the inhabitants of the area in ancient times. Georgia still has gold, but its a well-kept secret!

This towering limestone monolith is in the village of Katskhi in the Chiatura municipait. There are ruins of of two Byzantine churches at the summit. Knowing as “The Pillar of Life” by locals, it is a symbol of the cross where Jesus was crucified.

Imereti Caves - Protected Areas Sataplia Nature Reserve and Prometheus Cave can be described as speleological underground mysteries. The site’s unique attractions dinosaur footprints in Sataplia, include Okatse canyon and natural waterfalls.


Goderdzi, Bakuriani and Gudauri Are you an outdoor enthusiast? Do you love snow and skiing, fancy getting a suntan, or just being in a fascinating landscape begging to be photographed? If you are still undecided where to go, then this article is for you! Georgia has some of the most impressive and highest mountains in Europe. The Caucasus Mountain Range is a paradise for adventure tourists who want to plan their days around heli-skiing, free riding, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, or other fitness activities. The various Georgian ski resorts are perfect settings for discovering new passions and for sharing these fabulous moments with friends or family members.

Bakuriani First made famous as a mountain resort in the 19th century, modern Bakuriani is internationally renowned for balneotherapy and as a ski centre. Located in the Borjomi gorge at 1700 meters above sea level, this little Caucasus village is only 180 km from Tbilisi and 30 km from Borjomi. Bakuriani is now a four season resort town with modern infrastructure including several new hotels, ski lifts, a funicular, a cinema, a children’s park, and numerous other attractions. In the heart of Bakuriani you will find Didveli: a modern development and general sports/ recreational destination reaching up to 2700m. There are 14 km of ski tracks divided into six different trails catering for all levels – from beginners to veterans – and some runs are fully equipped with snowmakers, enabling the resort to ensure a consistent snow quality. Beautiful Kokhta (at 2155m) is the oldest ski area in Bakuriani. From here you can see the Greater Caucasus Range in its full splendour. Kokhta has a 4 km ski run with a difficult upper part – the slope gradient is 52% – and an intermediate piste, where the trail runs through the snow-covered fir trees. Bakuriani has emerged as one of the most significant, year-round resorts in Georgia. Due to its long winters (4-5 months) the resort is a paradise for skiers and snowboarders alike. It is also a superb venue for children to learn how to ski or to engage in other winter sport and activities. Two amazing kids parks – “Didveli” and “Joyland” – offer various attractions for youngsters to enjoy themselves. Visitors arrive throughout the year to savour the


amazing views of the Caucasus Gorge; to wander through serene coniferous forests; to bask in the summer breeze; to ski, snowboard and hike; to go horseback riding and biking; attend world film premiers at the newly renovated cinema “Didveli”; or just to have an unforgettable time with family and friends. There is nothing better than making it to the top of the funicular, breathing in the fresh, cool air, and seeing the long, enjoyable ride that awaits you.

Goderdzi Goderdzi Ski resort opened its doors for the first time on 5 December 2015. Situated on a north-facing plateau, this brand new facility with superb infrastructure is only a 2-hour drive from the popular seaside resort town of Batumi. At an elevation of 2000 meters, the mountains are snow-covered (6-7 m of snow) from November to April, while the gently rolling topography of the valley floor offers several different climate zones. At around 1700 meters (with a top elevation of 2390m) the resort base is below the tree line, giving it an attractive and welcoming character throughout the year. Nature lovers will enjoy the wilderness, freshair and excellent scenery. The pristine forested mountains make for a fantastic setting in the winter, spring, summer and, most dramatically, when autumn colours create an intense display. During the winter there are 8 km of ski pistes that cater for beginners to advanced skiers, or other activities such as hiking or ski tours. As the snow melt in the spring, the Goderdzi Resort come to life. The dazzling displays of alpine wildflowers can be enjoyed on peaceful hikes through the forests, including to the nearby Green Lake. Locals already make frequent use of the existing mineral springs, and these will be further developed and enhanced to create wellness destinations. And for the more adventurous, there are mountain biking trails, paragliding, an alpine luge, hiking and free riding. The lively village life is also an attractive, destination year-long.

Gudauri This mountain ski resort is situated on a south-facing plateau of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range, surrounded by some of Europe’s most dramatic peaks. At 2200 m above sea level, Gudauri has a skiable area that enjoys maximum exposure to the sun. The resort lies 120 km to the north of Tbilisi. Gudauri, which is jokingly called “Good Aura” in English (say it slowly: “Good-Auri”), has it all – a tubing zone, night skiing opportunities, heli-skiing, paragliding, ski tours and several mountain bike trails to explore during the summer months.



Georgian history has been inseparable from the history of winemaking for more than 8000 years. Archaeological excavations in present day Georgia have confirmed that the inhabitants of two ancient kingdoms – coastal Colchis (where the fabled Jason and his Argonauts came ashore for the Golden Fleece and, it can now be confirmed, for wine) and inland Iberia – cultivated vines as early as the 6th millennium BC. Ancient wine vessels made of clay, bronze or silver, golden wine cups, wine barrels dated to the 2nd and 3rd millennium BC, as well as grape seeds have been discovered during excavations in Bronze Age tombs. These archaeological finds bear proof that Georgia is the indisputable “Cradle of Wine”. Thousands of years of winemaking have added unique layers to Georgian viticulture; the most obvious are the more than 500 grape varieties, an abundance of climatic micro zones where these grapes are cultivated, and ancient qvevri winemaking technologies. Qvevri winemaking involves filling egg-shaped clay vessels of all sizes with unfiltered grape juice together with the seeds and skin, and then burying these qvevri in the ground. Topped with a wooden lid and sealed with clay, these vessels remain entombed, at the very least, for the whole of winter. Some vessels can remain buried for several decades: if a qvevri is really well made, the wine will mature perfectly. Qvevri technology now holds UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage status and has come to symbolize the unique character of Georgian vines for modern wine connoisseurs. But Georgians have also found other uses for the fruits of the vine. Grape pomace is used as a base for chacha: a strong Georgian brandy, guaranteed to keep you warm in even the coldest winter. And for those with a sweet tooth and no appetite for alcohol there is pelamushi and churchkhela –


natural Georgian sweets – made from grape juice and flour. Learning about Georgian wine is intricately linked with learning about the different grape varieties and the regions where they are cultivated. The most prominent wine region of Georgia is Kakheti, where the largest volumes of grape varieties grow. Whether you wander through the fertile Alazani Valley, gaze at the soaring white peaks of the Caucasus Mountains, or investigate the many scenic castles or ancient churches, in Kakheti you are never at a loss for natural beauty or rich cultural history. Although there are a multitude of Kakhetian grape varieties to explore, a good starting point is the two most prominent grapes used in winemaking. Saperavi is the most widely encountered red grape; it is also ancient and supposedly the “first grape variety ever used to make red wine”. Many varietals exist and, as a rule, their flavourful taste improves with age – Mukuzani for instance, matures for three years and is considered the best Georgian dry red wine made from Saperavi grapes. When it comes to white grapes, Rkatsiteli is the most important grape variety used for making traditional Kakhetian white wines. Rkatsiteli is also the most popular grape in Georgia and is found in other wine-making regions besides Kakheti. In addition to a traditional qvevri wine, Rkatsiteli is also used to make classical (European) dry, semi-dry and dessert wines; the grape is often blended with other varieties to make famous wines such as Tsinandali – a blend of Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane grapes. Must-see destinations in Kakheti include Kvareli (Eniseli, Shilda), Akhmeta (Zemo Alvani, Khodasheni) Napareuli, Tsinandali, Gurjaani (Velistsikhe), Tibaani and Telavi. These towns and villages have several wine cellars and shops where the best regional wines can be sampled.

An often-overlooked region in western Georgia is Imereti. Apart from the beautiful canyons, waterfalls, caves and churches from the UNESCO Heritage List that dot the landscape, there are also wonderful wines to taste. The most common grape variety in Imereti is Tsolikouri: late maturing, it produces a straw-coloured wine with a rich bouquet flavoured with tones of plum, yellow fruits and flowers. To the north west of Imereti is Racha-Lechkhumi, a region unexplored by tourists despite being one of the most picturesque parts of Georgia. Stalin’s favourite wine, the now well-known, semi-sweet red wine Khvanchkara comes from Racha. Two grape varieties – Aleksandrouli and Mujuretuli – both of which grow in the micro-zone near the village Khvanchkara are combined to make the eponymous wine. Even by themselves these two grape varieties have an intense berry taste and when combined, they produce the rich flavour and aroma that has made Khvanchkara famous. If you are looking for rosé – or the wittiest people in Georgia – then head for Guria, slightly to the north of Ajara and bordering the Black Sea. Here rosé is made of Chkhaveri, a very late ripening grape variety, which has a subtle sour peach flavour and also grows in the Ajara region. Travelling from one winery to another, you will be spoilt for choice, while the pink sunsets over the mountain scenery will be a succinct reminder of that last glass of rosé. Consider visiting Georgia in September and October to participate in rtveli – the traditional harvest festivities typically held by families ¬– and a fine example of an ancient, distinctively Georgian tradition that is still practiced today. Despite being mostly urbanised, young people rarely fail to return to their rural ancestral homes during autumn for a family reunion involving rtveli. Typically the whole family will participate in this ritual, which is almost as old as Georgia itself.

In all agrarian societies harvest time is imbued with special significance. When one considers how deep the roots of viticulture are in Georgia, one can begin to appreciate the fundamental role that the making and drinking of wine holds for all Georgians. Taking care of vines requires a lot of effort; no wonder there is a saying that one needs to shed one’s own sweat over the vineyard to get a good harvest. The crowning glory of all this toil and tradition is rtveli, the harvest time in Georgia, which also heralds the end of the natural cycle and the start of a new one. Guests can participate in any or all aspects of this ancient tradition – vineyard owners welcome any offers to help with, or interest in, the process of making wine. In a time-honoured tradition following a day of hard work in the vineyard, family, friends and guests gather around the table to partake in delicious meals. Successions of mouth-watering dishes are enjoyed with copious amounts of wine and traditional songs. These gathering are an opportunity to experience an authentic, uniquely Georgian tradition, even if you are a guest and hail from a country halfway around the world. This is just a taste of scope and variety of wine tourism in Georgia. The potential for developing wine tourism has also been recognized by UNWTO. On the 7-9th of September 2016, the First Global Conference on Wine Tourism will be held in the Kakheti region of Georgia. International and domestic wine specialists, as well as industry representatives, from all over the world will meet here to discuss the future of wine tourism and to explore the treasures of local vineyards and cellars. It is a time-honoured tradition that guests are always welcome at a Georgian table. Plan your travels and come to Georgia in 2016. The experience – not to mention the wines – will be unforgettable!



GEORGIAN WINES THE ALAVERDI MONASTERY WINE CELLAR “Monastery Wine SINCE 1011” is a millennium brand of Alaverdi Monastery Cellar made by the Alaverdi Monastery congregates in the 11th century cellar. The wine is produced by an endemic variety of Kakhetian vine in a unique clay vessel known to Georgians as a qvevri. The Alaverdi Monastery Wine Cellar wine tours includes visits to historic area of the cellar dating back to the 8th - 10th cc. to ethnographical area, 11th century area with qvevri foundations, old wine cellar and outdoor wine-tasting. Tour reservations must be made day in advance. T: +995 599 15 50 22 keti.khizanishvili@gmail.com THE TWINS WINE CELLAR in Napareuli is a special delightful agritourism winery and vineyard. It welcomes large groups and provides activities for visitors. The winery is named after the identical twin brothers, Gela & Gia, who own the winery. Visitors can visit the wine museum which displays all the qvevri processes. This is a perfect place for family vacations and kids. T: +995 99 17 09 29 www.cellar.ge


THE PHEASANT’S TEARS is a private winemaking cellar, located in the picturesque town of Sighnaghi. At Pheasant’s Tears artisan national wines according to ancient Georgian traditions are produced. John Wurdeman, the owner, has a friendly and cosy restaurant which is well worth visiting for either lunch or dinner. The introductory tour looks at the history and methods of winemaking, featuring four qvevri wines, Georgian feasts, guided excursion and horse-riding tours around historic town of Sighnaghi. T: +995 598 72 28 48 www.pheasanttears.com WINERY KHAREBA offers excursions to Kvareli Gvirabi (tunnels) - the unique aging cellar for storage of selected wine. The tunnels are carved into the rock of Caucasus and is a most exotic location for wine lovers. The tourist area around the tunnels consists of a spacious, attractive park with river, a waterfall and dining facilities. T: +995 32 249 77 70 www.gvirabi.ge SHUMI, the wine company in historic Tsinandali, opened the first Wine Museum “Vazioni” for tourists, and exhibits ancient wine-making accessories found in Georgia, such as grape presses, clay qvevri and various drinking vessels used in ancient Georgia. The wine-tasting area of the museum is very popular among foreign visitors who can taste and purchase SHUMI products in a unique environment. T: +995 32 238 11 37 www.shumi.ge


CHĂ‚TEAU MERE is an amazing castle with four rather extraordinary pointed towers. The Chateau arranges wine-tasting of the Winiveria fine dry red and white wines from Georgian endemic grape varieties. In addition, Chateau Mere visitors are able to stay in the Mere Hotel, have lunch and dinner at the restaurant, and enjoy horse riding. Tel: +995 595 99 03 99 www.mere.ge CHĂ‚TEAU MUCHRANI invites you to discover a wonderful world on the estate of Prince Ivane Mukhranbatoni, a descendant of the oldest royal dynasty in the world, the Bagrationi. Wine has been cultivated here for centuries. Archeological excavations in this region have found traces of wine-making as far as the Stone Age. Tel: +995 95 99 13 14/15/16 www.chateaumukhrani.com



two wineries use the wine to educate visitors about the grape and the country Georgia. The wineries told us that the Rkatsiteli wines are popular among theirwineryvisitors.

Terry Sullivan

MAKING A QVEVRI WINE 10,000 KM FROM GEORGIA During the autumn of 2013, Kathy and I travelled the 10,000 km to Georgia to visit wine producers, harvest grapes and make a qvevri wine. We returned to Georgia again in March 2014 to open our qvevri. The experience was so interesting and exciting, we brought a small 24 liter qvevri home to Maryland to make a yearly wine in it. After researching and talking with winemakers, we prepared our qvevri for burial. First, we heated the qvevri and melted beeswax. Kathy and I applied the melted beeswax to the interior of the qvevri. Since the qvevri was heated, the wax was absorbed into the walls of the qvevri, sealing the pores. The outside of the qvevri was coated with a lime-based mortar mix. After we dug a hole in the ground, we buried the qvevri. Bricks were used to add a decorative touch to the top level of the qvevri. Our qvevri is much smaller than the ones buried at other wineries; we can only make a few bottles of wine. We use the wine along with our book Georgia, Sakartvelo: the Birthplace of Wine to teach others about Georgia and its 8,000 years of wine growing and winemaking. We hope to enlighten wine enthusiasts about this wonderful art of winemaking. Our Discovery of Rkatsiteli in the United States We discovered Rkatsiteli grapes growing in New York’s Finger Lakes wine region at Dr. Konstantin Frank’s winery and vineyards along Keuka Lake. Later we learned that Dr. Frank managed aRkatsiteli vineyard in the Kakheti region of Georgia before coming to the United States. We also tasted Rkatsiteli wine at Horton Vineyards in Central Virginia. Dennis Horton obtained Rkatsiteli grapevines from Dr. Frank. We visited Virginia wineries that sourced Rkatsiteli grapes from Horton Vineyards. Both Morais Vineyards and Winery in Bealeton, and North Gate Vineyard in Purcellville make European-style wine with Rkatsiteli grapes. These


How Do Winemakers Clean the Qvevris? We first learned about qvevri winemaking at the 2012 International Wine Tourism Conference in Perugia. IaTabagari presented a session about qvevri winemaking in Georgia. I was fascinated. Kathy and I had started making wine in 2008, and by 2009 we were participating in winemaking programs at two wineries - one in Virginia and one in Maryland. While listening to the presentation by Ia, my interest as a winemaker prompted the question, “How do winemakers clean the qvevris?” Her answer, “With a cherry bark brush,” intrigued me.

From then on I developed an intense interest in qvevri winemaking and Georgian wines. At Twins Wine Cellar in Napareuli, I used a cherry bark brush and water to clean a qvevri. A bucket of water was poured into the underground winemaking vessel and I scrubbed the interior walls of the qvevri. The cloudy water was removed and the process was repeated. By the fifth bucket of water, the water was clear after scrubbing the interior. I lit a sulphur strip and lowered it into the qvevri. The sulphur gas and wet interior of the qvevri helped sanitize the qvevri. This cleaning process was repeated with our qvevri in Maryland. Rather than burning a sulphur strip, Kathy sprayed the interior of the qvevri with potassium metabisulfite to sanitize the winemaking vessel. Our Qvevri Wines in Maryland In the autumn of 2014 we made our first qvevri wine in our backyard. Our travels prevented us from getting optimum grapes, so we settled for Muscat grapes at the end of the season. In 2014 we destemmed the Muscat grapes, and placed only the grapes into our qvevri. Fermentation took place quickly, only a week. By mid-November, we sealed the qvevri for its long winter’s nap. In April 2015 we opened the qvevri and discovered the wine had been in a constant vortex for the entire winter. We racked the wine to a carboy where it cleared in a matter of days. The resulting Muscat qvevri wine was lightly colored. It was dry and was a good example represented of the essence of the Muscat grape. For the 2015 harvest, we obtained Rkatsiteli grapes from Bluemont Vineyards in Bluemont, Virginia. The grapes were sourced from Horton Vineyards.First we destemmed and crushed the grapes prior to placing them in the qvevri. We added some red grape stems. Fermentation took one week. I had to punch down the cake that formed at the top of the qvevri every three hours for four days. After fermentation, I placed a temporary lid on the qvevri. The lid has an airlock in the center allowing gas to escape. A solid lid will be placed on the qvevri in late autumn and sand will cover the qvevri until it is opened in 2016. During our travels, Kathy and I talk about qvevri winemaking. We have encountered several winemakers who are intrigued and showed interest in making a wine in a qvevri. We also offer presentations about Georgia qvevri winemaking and Georgian wines. Visit the Wine Trail Traveler website for more articles about Georgian wines and wineries. For winemaking, visit the winemaking site. The book Georgia, Sakartvelo: the Birthplace of Wine is available at amazon.com and Terry & Kathy’s bookstore.

Taste Country Life with FIDA Georgia

FIDA Georgia promotes Georgian agrarian culture and assists agro-business partnerships. FIDA Georgia also offers opportunities to visit farmers in Georgia and experience traditional way of product making, to taste local dishes, and wine produced by host families. There is even the chance to try your hands at cooking the local cuisine.

FIDA GEORGIA OFFERS: • Accommodation in farm guesthouses and rural homes with friendly hosts • Cheese Tours • Fishing and sightseeing • Wine tours and more... For more information contact FIDA Georgia at: +995 322 432664 E-mail: info@fidageorgia.com www.fidageorgia.com; Facebook:FidaGeorgia


Georgia has had a tradition of more than 100 years for protecting nature and its richness. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria there are 87 protected areas with different categories: strict nature reserves, national parks, natural monuments, managed nature reserves and protected landscapes. Protected nature represents 8.62% of the whole country territory. All protected areas, except Tusheti (mountain region in the north-eastern part of the country), are open throughout the entire year. However, the best period to visit Georgia and its protected nature is May - October. This year the Administration of Protected Areas (APA) is introducing visitors to the diverse ecosystem of Javakheti Protected Area - its volcanic plateau, canyon-like gorges, lakes and rivers, mountain wetlands and its historical monuments and unique sites, which are exceptionally attractive and memorable places to visit. For the purpose of in situ conservation of biodiversity, the Javakheti protected areas were established in 2011.


GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION Javakheti Protected Areas, located in southern Georgia, in the SamtskheJavakheti region, encompass Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda Municipalities and borders with Turkey to the southwest and west, and Armenia to the east. They includes Javakheti National Park, Bughdasheni, Khanchali, Madatapa, Sulda and Kartsakhi Managed Reserves. The total area of the territory is 16 614 ha. The relief consists of soft volcanic forms with many cone-shaped mountains and hills. A cool continental climate with long winters and cool, short summers characterise the region. The best period to visit Javakheti is summer (July and August); when the temperature in Tbilisi rises to 40째, in Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda it usually does not exceed 20째C.


BIODIVERSITY AND JAVAKHETI PROTECTED AREAS Javakheti Protected Areas and surrounding territories are the land of lakes of volcanic origin. They can be observed from the highway. In winter the lakes are frozen. The small lake-islands and swamps are noted for their diverse aquatic vegetation. They are a natural habitat for 140 species of migratory and resident birds. Javakheti’s lakes, especially the Kartsakhi and the Bugdasheni lakes are a true waterbird wonderland. The Great White and Dalmatian Pelican, Heron, Crane and White Stork, which are included in the Red List of Georgia, are one of Javakheti National Park’s distinctive characteristics. Javakheti is known for its vast colonies of the Armenian Gull. Currently, 12 new fish species can be found in Javakheti’s lakes. The park’s resident birds of prey include: the Black Kite, the Egyptian Vulture, the Eurasian Sparrowhawk, the Short-toed Snake Eagle, the Long-legged Buzzard, the Steppe Eagleand the Greater Spotted Eagle among others. Almost 40 species of mammals have been registered in the Javakheti Highland, including 10 predators and two-hooved animals. The mountain hare, the red fox and the grey wolf are frequently seen throughout the Javakheti Highland. Javakheti is a treeless region, but there are a few artificially planted pine groves and natural forest fragments


WHERE TO STAY Guesthouses/family hotels in the Javakheti Protected Areas provide accommodation (2-5 rooms) with meals. The service charge at rural accommodations is GEL 30-40 (with breakfast). Visitors can book accommodation directly with the host family, hotels or through the Protected Areas Administration Office in Javakheti. Director: Tamaz Karapetyan Tel: +995 5 77640 482 E-mail: takwwf@gmail.com Facebook: Javakheti Protected Areas Address: 93 Nalbandian St., Akhalkalaki, Georgia GUESTHOUSE “FLORA” Address: Sulda village, Akhalkalaki Municipality Contact person: Flora Apoiyan Tel: +995 595 21 11 36, +995 790 94 58 19, The guesthouse is located 600 m from the main village road. There are a three bedrooms, with a shared bathroom and a living room with a dining area available for guests. The house is surrounded by a large, green yard with five ponds with a variety of fish.

GUESTHOUSE “SULDA” Address: Sulda village, Akhalkalaki Municipality Contact person: Zoya Janoyan Tel: +995 555 54 77 64, +995 599 49 29 67 The guesthouse is located at a distance of 700 meters from the main village road. There are two bedrooms (double and triple) with a shared bathroom and a living room with a dining area available for guests in the guesthouse. A house has a large yard with a vegetable garden and fruit trees, as well as an old traditional style house with a tone (a traditional bread oven). GUESTHOUSE “MADATAPA” Address: Sameba village, Ninotsminda Municipality Contact person: PetrosTamasyan Tel: +995 568 02 00 92, +995 599 17 21 13, The guesthouse is located near Madatapa Lake, along the village main road. On the second floor, the house has two bedrooms (double and triple) with a shared bathroom and a dining room for guests. From the balcony, along the front façade of the house, there is a panoramic view of Madatapa Lake and the surrounding mountains and picturesque scenery. The house has a large yard with a vegetable garden.



TRAVEL ROUTES The Agency of Protected Areas offers seven travel routes within the Javakheti Protected Areas, all of which include hiking, horse-riding and biking trails. On top of that, visitors will find all the necessary tourist infrastructure along their way - a Visitors’ Centre with a museum, signposted information, a travel information centre, bird hides and watchtowers, fishing areas, camping sites and even equipment rental (camping materials, horses, bikes, kayaks, snowshoes).


TOURIST TRAILS 1 - Kartsakhi Lake – one day, easy route, walking and biking starts at the administrative building of Javakheti Protected Areas and proceeds to the direction of Kartsakhi Lake.


2 - Sulda Wetland – one day, easy, walking route starts at the administrative building of Javakheti Protected Areas and proceeds to Sulda wetland. 3 - Tiger Canyon – one day, difficult, walking and horse riding route starts from the nearby territory of Little Khanchali and finishes at panoramic view (2800 m above the sea level). 4 - Khanchali Lake – one day, easy, walking and biking route starts from the village Little Khanchali and proceeds in the direction of the Khanchali Lake. 5 - Bughdasheni Lake – one day long, easy, walking route starts from the village of Gorelovka centre and proceeds to the Bughdasheni Lake. 6 - Madatapa Lake – one day, circle, average difficulty, walking, horse riding and biking route starts from the village Sameba.

Agency of Protected Areas of Georgia. Contact information: Tel: +995 32 272 03 88,*8888 Cell: +995 577 90 72 72 info@apa.gov.ge www.apa.gov.ge Facebook: Agency of Protected Areas

7 - Mountain Madatapa – one day, difficult, route starts from the Madatapa Lake in the direction of the edge of the Madatapa Mountain.

“Walking in the Caucasus, Georgia” - 2nd edition Walking in Georgia is rapidly becoming one of country’s most powerful attractions. In the last year particularly, international visitors have discovered what some of us always knew, that this country is probably the best and certainly the most dramatic walking environment in Europe. The reason is simple: Georgia possesses the most diverse geographic landscape for any country of its size in the world. At a mere 67,900 square km, an area the size of Ireland, the country can boast a Black Sea coast, subtropical wetlands, semi-desert, volcanic plateaus (dormant), large areas of virgin forest, sub alpine and high alpine zones, topped by three 5000 metre peaks. It also sports a greater variety of flora and fauna, not to mention endemic birds, than any European nation. The centre piece of Georgia is the Greater Caucasus which have six peaks exceeding 5000 metres. Snowy mountain tops can be seen from every part of the country. But more significantly, the high valleys are also spotted with antique stone towers, hill-top churches and numerous long-inhabited villages. Those who live in these fabulously remote places are the progeny of two thousand years of conquest and survival – and famed for their hospitality. All this is perfectly suited to the trekker because the landscape is full of long established trails. Over the last couple of years many have been marked and developed into proper hikers routes, with a new culture of friendly guest houses sprouting up all around them. This amazing country is still waiting to be discovered and the best way to do it, by far, is on foot. Peter Nasmyth


Upper Racha in North-Western Georgia offers a broad range of outdoor activities for adventure travellers, but caution is needed in developing the region say senior members of the Georgian Mountain Guide Association (GMGA), Datuna Rakviashvili and Irakli Ugulava

. What distinguishes Upper Racha from other destinations in Georgia?

The uniqueness of Upper Racha is in the diversity of its offer. It is an amazing combination of natural beauty, recreational activities and local gourmand specialties. It is covered with untouched forests, snow-capped mountains and crystal clear rivers. There are many mineral water springs with curative properties. You find yourself on 800-1500 m or higher, enjoying the fresh air.

. What is Upper Racha like?

Some parts of the landscape can be compared to Schwarzwald in Germany or Zakopane in Poland, some to the Alps in Switzerland. Perfect for combining trekking and easy mountain climbing. As opposed to Kazbegi or Svaneti, you typically start hiking in a century old evergreen woods and reach the alpine zones quickly within two or three hours. Nature in the region has not been yet affected by the tourism infrastructure, and local farms are not industrialized. Local people are hospitable.

. Who should travel to Upper Racha and when is the best time to go there?

The region of Upper Racha is the most suitable destination for those who enjoy hiking and staying at guest houses or camping in the open air. The best time to travel to Upper Racha is from June until September.

. What kind of hiking trails exist in Upper Racha?

There are routes of different degrees of difficulty that have been developed by GMGA, supported by GIZ. The easiest ones are suitable for children and having a picnic. Only the route number 1 (see map) is marked, however the other routes have been tested by GMGA. For moderate routes, hikers need some skills and suitable hiking boots. They lead higher, but still follow trails not far from villages. There is one “difficult� trail. It requires good orientation skills since there are no villages in


the vicinity and the trail leads through a remote alpine area. Hikers will need basic equipment. Moreover, there is an A2 alpine mountain route for experienced mountaineers that requires crossing the glacier.

. Would you recommend visitors are

accompanied by local guides when hiking?

Trained and certified trekking guides, particularly locals, are a good option. These are all long distance trails, some with low visibility. Besides knowing the path very well, the guides know how to talk to the local population, can teach about nature and make recommendations about the local cuisine.

. What was the aim of GMGA’s training for assistant hiking guides?

In addition to providing visitors with qualified trekking guides, the training of assistant hiking guides supported by GIZ aimed at creating income opportunities and jobs for the local population. There is a substantial need for qualified guides in the Georgian tourism industry.

. What is GMGA currently doing in Upper Racha?

GMGA started its involvement in Upper Racha as training service provider. However, we are continuing just to develop training packages that are not tailored for professional guides, but also for amateur hikers. GMGA is also planning its involvement in other areas of mountain tourism, such as the development of a trail mountain huts system.

. In which direction do you see Upper Racha developing?

Upper Racha holds potential to become a destination with diverse segments, including luxurious ones. It can and should be developed differently from other top destinations, like Svaneti or Kazbegi. In order for the competitive advantages of Upper Racha to be preserved, a lot of caution is needed. Upper Racha could be a blueprint for sustainable tourism development in Georgia. At the moment, there is ongoing work leading to the creation of a roadmap for the future sustainable development of Upper Racha.

. How does the Adventure Tourism Forum organized by GMGA relate to this?

Based on previous work by GIZ, the first Adventure Tourism Forum was organized by GMGA in October 2015. It brought together adventure tourism industry key stakeholders, tour operators, infrastructure developers, professional education providers and professional associations to discuss the industry challenges and achievements, and to agree on what has to be changed, enhanced and initiated. It is planned to hold the forum annually as a B2B event for the adventure tourism industry stakeholders. Based on the outcomes of the forum, it will be possible to draw conclusions for the development of Upper Racha.

. What other leisure activities would be suitable for Upper Racha?

It could be possible in the future to get to a certain point in the mountains and then enjoy different activities, like the best quality snowshoeing or ski touring. When it comes to winter sports, there is also a lot of potential in developing cross-country skiing or Nordic skiing. In summer, there are locations perfect for mountain biking and also for developing via ferrata, rock climbing and free climbing. Rafting and kayaking could also be a popular choice.

. What is the best way to reach Upper Racha? Upper Racha is easily reachable from Kutaisi airport, a low-budget airlines hub. Just a two-hour drive from Kutaisi will lead to the villages even at the highest altitudes. Compared to Tusheti or Svaneti, both the time and the budget are clear comparative advantages for Upper Racha. From Tbilisi, Upper Racha is a five-hour drive on good quality roads.

. What could an international group of

tourists do in Upper Racha over a long weekend?

Day One: Arrival at Kutaisi international airport. Spend the night in Kutaisi or continue to the town of Oni. Possible stop at Nikortsminda cathedral, in Ambrolauri or at the Shaori lake. Day Two: Visit the local attractions in Oni. Followed by a four, five-hour hiking tour in Utsera. Stopping at Gomi village and at the river Rioni. Day Three: Going to Ghebi for sightseeing. Relaxing at the river side and trying a local delicacy, steamed pork. Continuing to Shovi for a walk in the forest. A short or long hike is possible, followed by camping or spending the night at a guest house. Day Four: Return to Kutaisi and visit Telavi, Baghrati monastery and Tsqaltubo along the way. Datuna Rakviashvili is a mountain guide and the President of the Georgian Mountain Guides Association. Irakli Ugulava is alpine guide and co-founder of Geoland, a company specialized in maps and trails development. They are co-owners of Bethlemi hut in Kazbegi, Georgia. Interviewed by: Carmen Grlica, Intern at the GIZ Private Sector Development Programme South Caucasus.


Borjomi Gorge is Georgia’s environmental heritage. Stunningly beautiful and environmentally diverse, it is a source of livelihood, employment and income for local villages, and an opportunity to develop organic farming and rural tourism. The unique ecosystem of the gorge was heavily damaged during the war in 2008 when wildfire destroyed more than 950 hectares of forest. To repair the environmental damage and speedup economic and social recovery of the region, Georgia received support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the government of Finland. It took several years to promote local agriculture, introduce a concept of eco-villages, establish environmental education in schools and help the region explore its vast potential in rural tourism. Restored countryside, rehabilitated parks, new guesthouses and hiking trails are transforming this poor region into an up and running that is open to new perspectives for sustainable economic growth. Up to 80 hectares of forest land have been recovered by the end of 2015 and over 130 thousand of oak, pine and fir trees seedlings have been planted. Although full recovery of the Borjomi forest may take several decades, these are the first steps to restore this unique environmental heritage to its formal glory.


Borjomi Gorge is famous for its therapeutic mineral waters, Bakuriani skiing resorts and the National Park which has some incredible villages for recreation. Among them are Tsagveri resort located 14 km from Borjomi, in the forrest covered mountains. It is nestled at the tributary of two rivers, at an altitude of 1025 metre above sea level. The healthy mineral waters and the scent of coniferous and pine forests create a completely relaxing environment. Close by Tsagveri, on a central highway, is the village of Daba where the church of St. George was constructed on a rock in the 14th century. Timotesubani village is located in a narrow gorge, 3 km from Tsaghveri. Here, within the Orthodox monastery complex, the beautiful Church of the Dormition was built in the l2th/l3th centuries with unique murals dating back to that time. “Sun of Suns” is the meaning of the name of Mzetamze village, located at altitude of l250 metres. This is an ideal region for family holidays in pristine air, with an abundance of fresh spring water and friendly villages producing organic fruit and vegetables. Many well-known artists, composers and writers have come to this area for relaxation, including Zakharia Paliashvilil, after whom the Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Company is named. His opera, Daisi” was finished here. It is believed that the historic railway station and bridge, with narrow railway lines, was built here by order of Mikheil Romanov in l897. He commissioned Alexander Eiffel - builder of the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris - to construct this unique monument in the Caucasus. Nowadays the train “Kukushka” traverses the narrow gauge railway line from Borjomi to Bukuriani, carrying tourists and skiers through the picturesque scenery. The bridge is still called “The Eiffel Bridge”.





Ahmed Eiweida, Lead Urban Specialist and Co-Lead of Sustainable Tourism Global Solutions Group Inga Paichadze, Senior External Affairs Officer, Georgia Country Office Tourism is a powerful tool for reducing poverty, boosting economic growth, building social progress and ensuring peace. How can the World Bank Group, country clients and business leaders work together to ensure that tourism contributes to the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity? The Georgia National Tourism Strategy defines the Vision 2025 as: “Georgia will become wellknown as a premier, year-round, high-quality tourism destination – centered on its unique cultural and natural heritage, world-class customer service, and timeless tradition of hospitality. Georgia will be at the forefront of tourism competitiveness, through strategic investments in infrastructure, education, marketing, and the development of unique Georgian visitor experiences that appeal to highvalue markets around the globe”. Launched in October 2015 with the support from the World Bank Group, the Third Regional Development Project (RDP III) covering the two regions – Samtskhe-Javakheti and MtskhetaMtianeti – is expected to support better integration of the two regions with the countrywide tourism circuits and to better utilize yet untapped tourism and hospitality industry potential. The two regions will be reinvigorated

to join Georgia’s key regions of growth and attraction (Kakheti and Imereti) in the broader tourism and economic growth context. The RDP III Project aims to promote the local economy in Samtskhe-Javakheti and MtskhetaMtianeti regions by carrying out an integrated approach to developing tourism, focusing on infrastructure, urban renewal, cultural heritage restoration, developing skills and making the environment attractive to private sector investments in boutique hotels, beverage and food processing. Who will benefit most from this particular project? In the first place the residents, tourists and enterprises in these two regions. They are expected to receive improved access to, and quality of, public infrastructure; increased volume of private sector investment in the region; and increased small and micro enterprises in renovated cultural heritage sites and cities. The government will benefit from increased overall tourism spending and satisfaction, job creation, improved institutional capacity of selected agencies, and improved capacity to operate and maintain assets. Overall, the aim is to improve infrastructure services and institutional capacity to support increased contribution of tourism to the local economy of Samtskhe Javakheti and Mtskheta Mtianeti regions. The three components of the Project are Urban Regeneration and Circuit Development; Provision of Public Infrastructure to Attract Private Investments and Institutional Development. The Urban Regeneration and Circuit Development component will finance: urban regeneration of old towns and villages, including restoration of building facades and roofs, public spaces, museums, roads and water, and enhancement of


cultural and natural heritage sites, including access and presentation. Based on product development and marketing potential, infrastructure needs and employment levels, the Project will focus on sites along the circuit, connecting the selected heritage, nature and ski sites.

• Urban regeneration in three hub cities:

Dusheti, Stepantsminda and Abastumani. The Project will also build on previous urban regeneration investments made by the Government, and may finance small-scale incremental investments needs, in Mtskheta, Gudauri, Bakuriani, Borjomi and Akhaltsikhe.

• Improved site management and construction

of tourism facility and access road in the following cultural heritage sites: Saphara Monastery, Saro Darbazi houses, Zarzma Monastery, Vardzia caves, Vanis Qvabebi Caves, Khertvisi Fortress, Akhalkalaki Fortress, Tmogvi Fortress, Jvari monastery, Mtskheta archaeological sites, Ananuri Fortress, Gergeti Trinity Church, and Dariali monastery.

Museum, and Municipal Development Fund of Georgia as the implementing agency. It will also support marketing & promotion efforts and workforce development/training to hotels’ and large restaurants’ staff and tour guides. In early December 2015, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, and the GNTA, with the technical and financial support from the World Bank Group, presented the Georgia National Tourism Strategy 2025. This was the result of extensive consultations with a wide range of stakeholders over the past year. Observing a world map, you will see that Georgia is a small country with a strategic geographic location, resting at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. But how best to really describe it?

The Provision of Public Infrastructure to Attract Private Investments component will encourage private sector investments in the two regions. it

The country is often showcased on international television programs, such as CNN’s 9 reasons to visit Georgia now, New York Times’ 52 places to go in 2015, and National Geographic’s Best tours in Europe 2015. There are numerous literary books and guidebooks about Georgia’s cultural heritage, nature, cuisine (wine, in particular) – all beckoning people to visit the land of the ancient Kolkhis. Travel agencies entice potential tourists with offers, proposing airlines and routes that are

will support a selected number of private sector entities in Project areas that demonstrate the interest and capacity to invest in tourism or agribusiness through investing in complementary public infrastructure that is necessary to ensure the viability of their investments.

convenient and friendly, and advising on a range of hotels in which to stay, routes to pursue, and places to visit – whether in the country’s famous mountains or valleys. In this particular case those belonging to the two magnificent regions of Mtsketa-Mtianeti and Samtskhe-Javakheti.

The Institutional Development component will support institutional capacity and performance of the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA), National Agency for Culture Heritage Preservation of Georgia (NACHP), National


Georgia offers global investors a new investment destination and a variety of opportunities across a wide range of fast growing sectors, including hydro power, tourism and real estate, manufacturing, agriculture and agribusiness, regional services and logistics. Investors in Georgia can enjoy the following benefits: • Market access through free trade agreements; • Politically stable and corruption-free investment environment; • Competitive cost of labour and energy; • Developed transport infrastructure for trade, logistics and manufacturing ; • Multi-modal maritime, land and air access; • Solid sovereign balance sheet; • Stable and conservatively managed banking sector; • Very low crime-rate; • Easy access to finance and co-investment opportunities. Located in the Caucusus region, on the historical Silk Road route and on the coast of the Black Sea, the country is perfectly situated for easy access from most major European, Central Asian and Middle Eastern cities. Being a major regional transport-transit hub, Georgia offers significant distribution access and opportunities through newly renovated and expanded transportation infrastructure, which includes recently upgraded highways, rail and seaport network. The country’s three international airports – Tbilisi, Batumi and Kutaisi – provide direct access to prominent international connections. Georgia, with its liberal tax system and businessfriendly environment, has demonstrated a commitment to opening its doors to the international investor community. Furthermore, pro-business legislation and labour flexibility have contributed to overall trade liberalization and significant growth in local production and exports. Georgia’s liberal trade regimes provide investors with a favourable opportunities not only access


the country’s 4.4m residents, but also reach the wider markets of estimated 900 million as a direct result of the absence of customs and import tariffs. To date, Georgia has signed FTAs with CIS countries that include Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, as well as its neighbors, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia. In 2014, Georgia signed the Association Agreement (AA) including Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the European Union. The AA, together with the DCFTA, will provide for close political association and economic integration between Georgia with the EU. This will boost access for Georgian goods and services to the EU market whilst also increasing the inflow of European direct investment to Georgia, thanks to an open, stable and predictable policy-making environment. As for the tourism, it is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Georgian economy and has the potential for further growing. Different special packages are offered to investors in tourism. For example, Free Tourist Zones have been established on the Black Sea Coast, where investors are offered free land with suitable infrastructure and considerable investment incentives. Recent, major Investment opportunities include the Gonio Sea Resort project development on the Black Sea coast and Tskaltubo Spa & Wellness resort redevelopment in western Georgia. Now is the right time to invest in Georgia ! For further information, please visit www.investingeorgia.org



this legendary phrase evokes exotic images of vast camel trains laden with silks and spices, porcelain and precious stones from China and the Far East meandering across the deserts, steppes, forests and mountains all the way to Europe and The British Isles. The caravans are gone, but the Silk Road remains. The camel trains have been replaced by modern highways, railways and pipelines through which modern “silk and spices”: energy, natural resources, manufactured goods, peoples and ideas travel. This new Silk Road can become an inexhaustible resource for economic development and political stability for many countries spreading its benefits economically and socially. The “Tbilisi Silk Road Forum” was launched by the Georgian government and supported by the Government of People’s Republic of China, together with the Asian Development Bank. This event has established a platform for an annual high level meeting of all interested states and international organizations to explore opportunities, align visions and enhance partnership in four main areas of cooperation: transport, energy, trade and business-to-business contacts. The 2016 forum features addresses by distinguished keynote speakers and provided a platform for business executives and policymakers to share their views, experiences and expertise. Georgia is a strategic regional hub for trade and commerce. The country enjoys free trade with all its neighbours and ranks 15th worldwide for ease of doing business. The opportunities for local and international investors and businesses are great, and so far largely untapped.

and the steady flow of energy resources. The concept of a rail link between the two continents originated back in the 1860s and the construction of the railway bridging the Black and Caspian Seas began in 1865. In 1883, the transportation of Azeri oil to the global market commenced. The Georgian Railway (GR) and Azerbaijan Railway make up a key section of the Transportation Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia (TRACECA), which connects oil-rich Central Asia with Europe, making GR mainly a transit railway. China has emerged as one of GR’s promising directions, and 2015 saw the first freight from China arrive to Georgia. Transportation by rail is five times faster that by sea, which should encourage cargo flows between China and Europe/Turkey. Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway line is a regional railway link directly connecting Kars in Turkey, Tbilisi in Georgia and Baku in Azerbajan (the total length of the line - 826 km.). The Turkish section of BTK railroad is under construction, and the first freight is expected in 2016. BTK will be able to deliver goods from China to Europe faster, by bypassing the port of Batumi and Poti. It has a great potential to attract freight from the Turkey CIS Trade, mainly dry cargo currently transported by trucks. Additionally, BTK has the potential to service passenger traffic between Azerbaijan and Turkey. It is believed that the BTK railroad will transport a million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo in its initial stage.

For more information on the forum, please visit the official website of the event: www.tbilisisilkroad.ge

GEORGIAN RAILWAY - LINKING EAST WITH WEST Much like the legendary and historic Silk Road, the new project by Georgian Railway (GR) is committed to linking the rest of the world to rapidly growing Asian markets, the diversification of communication, the spread of technology


THE POTI PORT The Poti seaport, in 320 kilometers from Tbilisi, is a cross point of the TRACECA, a multinational project. It is the main transit point for the delivery of goods from/to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Central Asia from/to the world, by shipping cargo by different container lines to Poti and further transportation of cargo directly by containers to destinations or cross-stuffing to rail-wagons and delivery to far distances in Central Asia. The major international shipping companies, such as MSC, Maersk, and Evergreen, have operational bases in Poti. They are operating via ports of Istanbul, Turkey and Piraeus, Greece. At present, the port owns a cargo transportation complex consisting of 14 wharfs – 11 are equipped with portal cranes with a capacity of

6-40 tons, processing mostly every type of cargo and liquid products. Poti port is now being developed to increase its capacity and to compete with ports under construction by other countries in the region. This is a big business for Georgia.

• You List in international MLS covering 95 countries • Your Property is visible for more than 1,000,000 unique visitors per month and accessible for more than 90,000 RE/MAX brokers • You search a property for Rent or for Sale in the daily based updated database using the state of art technological tool (www.remax-georgia.ge) • You get best in class service from RE/MAX multi language speaking agents based on international guidelines and standards • You are secured from waste of time, energy and investment having professional advice from a RE/MAX agent


DYNAMIC FILM INDUSTRY DEVELOPS IN GEORGIA Georgia is developing a vibrant film industry and is becoming internationally known in the cinema world. Recently, the award-winning film “The President” illustrated all of the great benefits of movie production in the country: a talented pool of actors and directors, and diverse nature and urban scenery. Film makers can move from mountains to deserts, from lush countryside to the seaside. It is easy to arrange everything a film production crew needs from the capital city, Tbilisi. Movie crews can quickly move through the diverse regions as roads and infrastructure in the country is excellent. Plus, the local population is enthusiastic about movie production. This small country is easily accessible from most international cities. The Georgian government has introduced new incentives to attract more movie productions to Georgia. Under the “Produce in Georgia” programme, the government has initiated a cash rebate scheme that, coupled with the country’s great locations in terms of nature and amazing filming locations, will make Georgia a favourite destination for film crews. The new initiatives were recently presented by David Vashadze of the National Film Centre of Georgia. To encourage shooting international films in Georgia, the programme offers local and international producers a 20-25% rebate off qualified expenses incurred in Georgia on the following types of productions: feature film; internet/TV film; drama/series; miniseries (including pilots); animated films; documentaries; commercials; reality TV shows; and music videos. Georgian films - and films produced in Georgia are enjoying a marked success in the international film community. The “President”, which stared two amazing Georgian actors as the deposed president and his grandchild, brought much of the country’s exotic scenery to international audiences. The famous Iranian director Mosef Makhalmalbak, who is based in London, filmed the movie using Tbilisi and unique regions of the country, to tell the story of an overthrown dictator seeking refuge among his former subjects. The entire cast was Georgian. The country’s talented pool of professionals in the technical aspects of filmmaking has also attracted producers and directors to Georgia. They have

Nana Jorjadze, a Famous Georgian filmmaker

also encouraged the local industry to develop. Film lovers should also keep an eye out for Georgia’s own films which rely on the country’s strong school of film making, modelled on strong emotions and storylines. Zaza Urushadze’s acclaimed “Mandarins” won the Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Foreign Film. Levan Tuberidze’s “Moira” was also nominated for a 2016 Oscar and won the award for the best film at the Asian World Film Festival in Los Angeles. There is increased interest in filming in Georgia from countries around the world, including America’s Hollywood studios - The American television show, “The Amazing Race” was also filmed in Georgia - India’s Bollywood, and Europe’s award-winning film companies. The new focus on Georgia is due to the government’s new initiative to give film projects an extra financial incentive to come to the country - as well as Georgia’s reputation for great locations, experienced technicians and actors, and the country’s tradition of being friendly and hospitable to guests. For more details about filming in Georgia, please contact the Georgian National Film Centre at +995 32 299 92 00




The Fabulous Hilton Batumi The Hilton Batumi opened its doors for guests in May 2015. This luxurious hotel, adjacent to Batumi Seaside Boulevard and 6 May Park with dolphinarium, has a wide range of facilities and direct access to the beautiful Boulevard. It offers the most beneficial and comfortable stay for guests, and is also the best place for those driving into the city, being the only hotel with 181 underground parking spaces. The 247 generously sized hotel rooms are contemporary in design and include the latest technology and equipment. Most rooms offer a balcony, and all feature a Hilton Serenity™ bed with an upholstered leather headboard. A special circular desk creates an ideal environment for relaxing, working or dining. The well-appointed bathrooms include bath tubs, a separate walk-in shower and marble and porcelain tiles. Experience the best in town at Hilton Batumi! The gastronomic team understands the Georgian love of food and drink. There are three distinctive dining options: Pelion Restaurant, Nephele Sky Bar, and Tandila Lobby Café. Georgian cuisine at Pelion Restaurant Open from breakfast through to dinner, the Pelion restaurant is the cornerstone of Hilton Batumi. Its chefs prepare Georgian delicacies before you in the open-plan kitchen. The elegant, spacious restaurant can also accommodate large corporate and private events.


The informal, spacious Tandila Lobby Cafe with the great views towards the park and nearby lake is the perfect place for relaxation or informal business meetings. Try stargazing at Nephele Sky Bar Located on the top 20th floor, the Nephele Sky Bar has incredible views over the Black Sea and the city, especially from its spacious outdoor terrace, presenting some of Batumi’s best cocktails and a wide range of drinks, as well as an extensive menu and gourmet snacks, including Asian delicacies.

Luxurious eforea spa is the best place to work out, relax by the pool and pamper oneself. Eforea has pooled the best elements and health and treatment practices from Europe, Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas and is unique in the whole region. Eforea’s treatments are all focused on organic, natural products and scientific, results-driven practices, helping you emerge with your body renewed, spirit lifted and outlook brightened. Our spa offers its guests a 20m long indoor pool, with beautiful views and an open sun terrace, sauna, steam room and comfortable treatment rooms.


Georgia has a wide range of hotels and guest houses. Here is a list of big hotels located in Tbilisi and Batumi, as well as mountain resorts and administrative centers in different regions of Georgia. If you are looking for rural accommodation or farm stays, it is better to make reservation through travel agencies or associations: www.tourism-association.ge; www.ruraltourism.ge; www.ecotourism.ge Whatever type of accommodation you choose around Tbilisi, you can expect excellent hospitality!

TBILISI HOTELS HOLIDAY INN TBILISI This magnificent 21-storey glass building accommodates guests in 252 standard, business and executive hotel rooms. You will enjoy a wealth of modern amenities, as well as a wonderful timeless atmosphere combined with highly personalized attentive service. 1, 26 May sq. Tel: +995 32 230 00 99 info@hi-tbilisi.com www.hi-tbilisi.com

RADISSON BLU IVERIA HOTEL Radisson Blue is the most stylish and elegant address in Tbilisi where freshness and modern come together in every room. Comfort and luxury greet guests with the most impressive event facilities in Tbilisi. The Grand Ballroom, with 6 m high ceiling, can accommodate up to 450 people. 1 Rose Revolution sq. Tel: +995 32 240 22 00 info.tbilisi@radissonblu.com www.radissonblu.com/hotel-tbilisi


TBILISI MARRIOTT HOTEL Located in the city’s cultural and business centre, Tbilisi Marriott Hotel offers luxurious accommodation. It is a perfect place for business meetings, conferences and banquets. 13 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: +995 32 277 92 00 www.TbilisiMarriott.com COURTYARD TBILISI The Courtyard by Marriott Tbilisi offers visitors a grand view into Georgian culture with its fabulous location at Freedom Square. 4 Freedom sq. Tel: +995 32 277 91 00 www.courtyardtbilisi.com ROOMS HOTEL It is so much more than a 141 room hotel! Architects have successfully transformed this former industrial building of an old publishing house into a contemporary five-storeyed hotel. One of the defining features of Rooms Hotel Tbilisi beyond all the artisanal touches, is its classy restaurant. Tel: +995 322 73 0099 www.roomshotels.com BETSY’S HOTEL This beautifully decorated boutique hotel overlooks the cente of Tbilisi. The exceptional combination of the hotel’s Georgian and foreign identity has produced a lively and graceful atmosphere in a unique environment. 32-34 Makashvili St., Tel.: +995 32 293 14 04 info@betsyshotel.com www.betsyshotel.com VERE PALACE Vere Palace, a luxury hotel full of elegance and charm, is located in the prestigious Vere district within walking distance from Rustaveli Avenue. 22-24 Kuchishvili St. Vera Tel: +995 32 225 33 40/41 hotelvp@verepalace.com.ge www. verepalace.com.ge BOUTIQUE HOTEL VINOTEL This charming historic boutique hotel is located in the old town. 13 rooms and suites are housed in 19th century building with ornamental balconies. A historical arched brick wine celler offers an exceptional selection of bet Georgian wines, including small artisan wineries and industry leaders. Elene Akhvlediani Str., 0103 Tel: +995 32 555 888 100 reservation@vinotel.ge www.vinotel.ge KOPALA 8/10 Chekhov St. Avlabari Tel: +995 32 277 55 20 hotel@kopala.ge www.kopala.ge RIVERSIDE HOTEL On the corner of the Brose St. Tel: +995 32 224 22 44 info@riverside.ge www.riverside.ge


TBILISI LAERTON A new boutique hotel with stunning views of the hills surrounding Tbilisi located 1km from city centre. Most of the rooms have veranda style terraces and exceptional views of the old city. 14 Iliko Kurkhulis str., Avlabari. Tel: 995 32 255-66-55 info@laerton-hotel.com www.laerton-hotel.com VILLA MTIEBI Villa Mtiebi is located in old Tbilisi within walking distance of the city centre. The hotel design is a unique blend of old Georgian and modern European styles. 10 Chakhrukhadze St. Tel: +995 32 292 03 40 Tbilisi@hotelmtiebi.ge www.hotelmtiebi.ge CITADEL NARIKALA 20 Orpiri, Avlabari Tel: +995 32 290 41 41 office@hotel-citadel.ge www.hotel-citadel.ge OLD METEKHI 3 Metekhi St. Tel: +995 32 274 74 04 oldmetekhi@yahoo.com www.oldmetekhi.ge

KAKHETI HOTELS CHATEAU MERE 15, Vardisubani, Telavi Region Tel.: +995 595 990399 mailbox@mere.ge www.mere.ge ROYAL BATONI Ilia Lake, Kvareli Tel.: +995 595 996611 info@batoni.ge www.batoni.ge KABADONI 1, Tamar Mepe Str. Sighnaghi Tel: +995 32 22 40 400 info@kabadoni.ge KVARELI EDEN HOTEL & WINE SPA 87a, Aghmashenebeli St. Kvareli Tel.: +995 32 2970165/64 info@kvarelieden.ge www.kvarelieden.ge KVARELI LAKE RESORT Kvareli,i Tel: +995 595 990399 welcome@kvarelilakeresort.ge www.kvarelilakeresort.ge SAVANETI The hotel is located in the historic village of Ikalto, only an hour and a half drive east of Tbilisi. Surrounded by gardens of flowers and fruit trees, this 25 room villa has a cosy, gracious ambience and a swimming pool. The hotel is ideal for corporate events. Ikalto Village, Telavi Tel: +995 790 102040/50 info@villaikalto.ge www.villaikalto.ge


Lopota Lake, Napareuli village, Telavi, Kakheti Tel: +995 591 700 777 +995 591 14 94 94 lopotaresort@yahoo.com www.lopota.ge facebook: LOPOTA resort


BATUMI HOTELS RADISSON BLU HOTEL The Radisson Blu hotel is ideal for those wanting to relax or energize using both the outdoor and indoor pool, health club and spa. The hotel blends minimalistic design with rich details and floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views of the Black Sea. 1 Ninoshvili St. Tel:+995 422 25 55 55 info.batumi@radissonblu.com www.radissonblu.com SHERATON BATUMI HOTEL The Sheraton Batumi hotel with its stunning 110 m tower is the tallest building on the Black Sea coast. Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, the fresh and airy rooms offer everything you need. 28 Rustaveli St. Tel: +995 422 22 90 00 info.batumi@sheraton.com www.sheratonbatumi.com INTOURIST PALACE The hotel is located in the centre of Batumi, opposite the beautiful evergreen sea side boulevard on the Black Sea coast, 100 m from the beach. 11 Ninoshvili St. Tel: +995 577 947720 info@intouristpalace.com www.intouristpalace.com PRESIDENT PLAZA HOTEL Enjoy an ideal location just 5 minute walk from Batumi Boulevard at President Plaza Hotel! It offers its guests a choice of 35 stylish, comfortable, spacious and quality rooms along public transport links. 17 Baratashvili St. Tel: +995 422 27 69 50 info@presidentplaza.ge www.presidentplaza.ge PIAZZA BATUMI Piazza Hotel is a combination of different styles and unique ideas. It offers 16 rooms decorated in eight interior styles. 25, Parnavaz Mepe St. Tel: +995 597 88 23 21 info@piazza.ge www.piazza.ge


BATUMI WORLD PALACE The hotel is situated in the central part of Old Batumi, close to the newly opened Miracle Park. It offers a terrace restaurant with specific taste, Turkish and Georgian cuisine. 2, Melashvili St. Tel: +995 422 22 57 90 natya@batumiworldpalace.com www.batumiworldpalace.com DIVAN SUITES BATUMI Divan Suites Batumi is in the centre of historic Batumi just a five-minute walk from the beach. 5/13 Kostava/Gamsakhurdia Str. Tel:+995 422 25 55 22 info.divansuitebatumi@divan.com.tr www.divan.com.tr GEORGIA PALACE A twenty minutes drive from Batumi, you will find nice hotel with 156 comfortable rooms, available all year round. Hotel rooms and suites with private balconies open up to wonderful views of the sea, the surrounding mountains and/or the beautiful park. 275 Aghmashenebeli St. Kobuleti Tel: +995 32 224 24 00 info@gph.ge www.gph.ge OASIS 16 The hotel is located in a quiet place. Eucalypt trees and the Black Sea surround the territory of the hotel wich gives visitors an opportunity to hold business meetings in a calm atmosphere. Batumi St. Chakvi Tel: +995 32 247 22 33 info@hoteloasis.ge www.hoteloasis.ge

SAMTSKHE-JAVAKHETI HOTELS RIXOS BORJOMI 16 Mekheti Str., Borjomi. Tel: +995 322292292 borjomi@rixos.com Newly opened Rixos Borjomi is a 90 minutes drive from the Tbilisi airport, in a beautiful pre-alpine

area, which is named in honour of Georgia wellknown mineral waters of. Rixos Borjomi offers the great experience, unique purification and SPA & WELLNESS programmes, combined with traditional Turkish Hammam. BORJOMI PALACE The Medical Centre is a unique feature of this hotel. Here specialist consultants are available in every field of modern medical practice. The spa capsule “Dermalife” offers hydrotherapy, different steam aromas, chromotherapy and electric mud procedures. Tel.: +995 32 243 00 31/32 +995 577 24 24 42 reservation@borjomipalace.ge www.bph.ge GINO WELLNESS RABATH Hotel Gino Wellness Rabath is the only hotel in the Caucasus region located in the historic fortress Rabath, in old town of Akhaltsikhe. The hotel offers Classic, Lux, Classic family and Apartment Lux rooms. It also has a conference room, bar and restaurant, terrace and a wellnessspa centre. 1, Kharichashvili Str. Akhaltsikhe Tel: +995 322 19 29 39 info@gino.ge www.gino.ge



ROOMS HOTEL Stylish new “Rooms” Hotel, with its panoramic mountain views, presents a new and exciting dimension for this region. The hotel offers recreational activities, including quad bike tours and bicycles to rent. Horse-riding, jeep tours and paragliding can also be arranged. 1, V. Gorgasali Str. Stepantsminda Tel: +995 32 271 00 99 www.roomshotel.ge

HOTEL ALPINA Located in Upper Gudautri, 500 meters from the main ski runs, the hotel offers 64 comfortable rooms with beautiful views of the great Caucasus Mountains, a restaurant and terrace. Skiing, horseback riding, billiards and darts can be enjoyed on site or in the surroundings. Tel: +995 591 504990 reservation@hotelalpina.ge www.hotelalpina.ge

FIFTH SEASON HUT village Juta, Kazbegi Phone: +995 555 01 15 15 Visit Fifth Season Hut at 2360 metres above see level in the picturesque village of Juta 20 km from Kazbegi. The Great Caucasus Mountain, friendly environment, local food and good music. Enjoy the view of sunset above Chaukhi, with a glass of wine. Here guests can rent a hut for 20 persons. There are 4 rooms, shared dining facilities and cafe/bar. The tourist season is JuneOctober.

www.facebook.com/fifth.season.juta 55

HOTEL ALPINE Tel: +995 591 504990 reservation@hotelalpina.ge www.hotelalpina.ge CARPE DIEM Tel: +995 32 251 07 70 info@carpediem.ge www.carpediem.ge GUDAURI HUT Tel: +995 595 93 99 11 gudaurihut@gmail.com www.gudaurihut.com TRUSO Tel: +995 32 214 69 00 info@hoteltruso.com www.hoteltruso.com MARCO POLO Tel: +995 32 2 202 900 reservation@hotelgudauri. com www.hotelgudauri.com


“Shina” is a stone guesthouse built in a traditional style. There are 12 well equipped rooms with the individual bathrooms for a capacity of 28 guests in the guesthouse. Your stay in Tusheti will be unforgettable. At the guesthouse “Shina” you will have a chance to try the wonderful dishes which are made only here in Tusheti from the organic products.

TSKALTUBO PLAZA Newly constructed hotel “Tskaltubo Plaza”, 11 km from Kutaisi and 244 km from Tbilisi, offers a modern, comfortable environment and services to its guests. The hotel is situated close to famous balneology centres. 15a Rustaveli Street, Tskaltubo, Tel.: +995 436 222 393 ; +995 436 2208 08 info@tph.ge; reservation@tph.ge SAIRME SPA Located south of the city of Kutaisi. Sairme Spa offers comfortable recreational areas, spa centre, restaurant and a conference hall. This is an ideal environment for relaxed and healthgiving vacation in beautiful surroundings, away from all the stresses of life. Tel.: +995 32 240 45 45 info@sairme.com.ge www.sairme.com.ge

SVANETI HOTELS CHUBU 17, Erekle Parjiani Str. Mestia Tel: (+995 599) 80 00 27 info@svanetihotels.com www.svanetihotels.com GUESTHOUSE “GRAND HOTEL USHBA” Tvebishi Village Mestia Tel: +995 598 59 99 30 www.grandhotelushba.com TETNULDI 9, Margiani St. Mestia Tel: +995 790 12 33 44 info@tetnuldi.ge www.tetnuldi.ge MESTIA 27, Seti Sq. Mestia Tel: +995 577 72 12 11 www.hotelmestia.ge




speciality for dessert: Blinis made from flour of the endemic Georgian wheat Tsideli-Doli, stuffed with honey and walnuts. All these dishes, freshly made from seasonal local products, can be ordered a-la-minute or as part of a classical Georgian Supra. Thus you will experience an extraordinary meal at Rainier’s. Meals can also be delivered to homes and offices, making a most unusual culinary experience for special occasions. A EuropeanGeorgian supra combines the best of both cultures in an extraordinary and exciting way.

Rainer Kaufmann is a German entrepreneur and journalist who has been active in Georgia for 25 years. More than 20 years ego he was the first travel agent from former West-Germany to take tourists to the post Soviet Georgia, and 20 years ago he opened one of the first foreign guesthouses in Tbilisi, “Hotel Kartli” together with “Rainer`s Café - European Restaurant”. It was one of the first restaurants with an international menu in town. Two years later he opened the first beer garden and pizzeria in Tbilisi - probably the first in Georgia. Rainier’s remains a popular meeting place for Georgians and foreigners. Now Rainier has completely refurbished and renovated the pizzeria which has reopened under the name of “Rainier’s European Restaurant”. In addition to popular European dishes, the restaurant presents “The new Georgian cuisine”, a modern interpretation of traditional Georgian food, thus creating an exciting new range of flavours. “We don’t want to undervalue traditional Georgian cuisine, but we want to present it in a new, modern form, combining it with tastes from around the world” says innovative Rainier. For example, the Georgian Khachapuri get a French taste with spinach and Roquefort cheese. Or a Greek taste with Feta cheese and olives, an Italian taste with Mozzarella, Parmesan and tomatoes. Or even an American taste as Khachapuri-Burger. Khinkali are stuffed with shrimps and spiced with lemongrass and soy sauce. Fillet of beef is stuffed with spinach-Mkhali. Figs are baked with the rustic Guda cheese on top and wrapped with bacon. Smoked Sulguni gets an Asian touch with rice noodles, rocket and baked shrimps. Beef and chicken legs are boiled in Saperavi, following the French tradition. Cilantro and beetroot are the basis for elegant creamy soups. And the innovative chef recommends a new Georgian


The passionate owner of the restaurant is especially proud that all these delicious dishes are prepared by a team of Georgian women who he trained. Some of them have been working in his restaurants for 20 years. The staff of “Rainer`s European Restaurant” feel like members of a big family, operating in a similar way to family businesses in southern Europe. Rainer manages this business together with his wife, Gabi. Together with his gastronomic interests, Rainier is still active in tourism. His German company “ERKA-Reisen” offers individual tours to many destinations in Georgia which rarely can be found in standard tourist programmes, such as stone circles, wild mountain passes and informative tours focused on Georgian policy and economy. As a journalist, he has witnessed many political changes over the years - from Gamsakhurdia via Shewardnadze and Saakashwili and right up to the present time. He has lived through crises and dramas and has survived it all to move onward in his adopted country. He has published several books in Germany and co-operated with German TV companies in about 15 TV documentaries. Since 2012 he is publisher of the “Kaukasische Post”, a monthly German newspaper from the South Caucasus edited by his publishing house “KAROmedia/Tbilisi Ltd.”. This traditional newspaper was founded by the German community in Georgia in 1906 and is one of the oldest papers in Tbilisi. After 25 years, 20l6 sees Rainier embarking on another new development in his long association with Georgia. Cooperate with Rainer to celebrate in style by visiting “Rainier’s European Restaurant” in Tbilisi for a memorable feast of unique European-Georgian dishes, with the opportunity to meet the legendary entrepreneur in his own surroundings.

Visitors to Georgia be astonished to see the great Farmers’ Market and the Dry Bridge Flea Market, both of which are centrally located in Tbilisi.

By Edna Fortescue

It is said that the Tbilisi Farmers’ Market is the best in Europe! Even if, as a visitor, you cannot buy much local produce, you will see from the availability of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish , etc., that Georgia is indeed “a land flowing with milk and honey”. It is not only the myriad stalls and quantity available, but the exceptional quality of the local produce, fresh from the growers. You will never find a tomato or cucumber that can match flavour of the Georgian variety, nor see such a range of honey and salmon, sides of beef, pork, lamb, pickles, nuts, herbs and spices, dried fruit and cheeses. All round Tbilisi there are little markets and booths with seasonal produce fresh from gardens and amazing breads and pastries. A visit to the Dry Bridge market, with its amazing array of antique items laid out on the sidewalks and within a special covered area, is an astonishing experience. Visitors often find unique little treasures to take home as souvenirs and presents. Nearby is an open-air picture gallery displaying paintings large and small, Caucasian rugs, and beautiful wool-felt scarves in glowing colours. Don’t miss the very impressive Gold Market, packed with stalls of glittering jewels from the easily affordable to major luxury items. There are also many shops displaying the exquisite and unique enamel-work in ancient and modern designs. Visit the old Caravanserai which houses the Museum of Tbilisi and has a very special Georgian market in the basement. However, wherever you are, you will quickly enter the Georgian spirit of being preoccupied with good food and feasting, as well as a constant array of delicious snacks when you are out and about.


Buy a Georgian cookbook - there are some excellent books available in English with mouthwatering pictures and descriptions of special dishes and the ingredients needed to prepare them. The Georgian government is now embarking on a BUY GEORGIAN Campaign to encourage the many talented and hard-working Georgian farmers and artisans and small producers to develop their industries and to raise awarness of the importance of supporting local enterprise. We already know a lot about Georgian wine, but let us think of all the other products which are so unique and now much more available.


Dining out in Georgia is always an exotic feast because Georgians believe in a super-abundance of dishes prepared with fresh, flavourful local ingredients, accompanied by copious quantities of good Georgian wine. There is always famous Borjomi water and soft drinks to keep you sober. Usually many dishes arrive and are shared by everyone around the table. The cuisine is based on the co-existence of multiple cultures on the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Ubiquitous khachapuri accompanies everything - the Georgian version of pizza usually overflowing with soft hot cheese. There are delicious barbecued meats, chickens that have scrambled around that day, trout just fished from fast flowing rivers, the freshest salads, specialties such as khinkali - spicy meat wrapped into dumplings. Vegetable dishes are garnished with pomegranate seeds and local walnuts. Menus are in Englsh to make mouth-watering culinary decisions. Eating well is not expensive because feasting is the national pastime of Georgia. Tbilisi also has many delightful cafes with delicious oriental or Parisian style pastries to accompany the best espresso coffee. Dining out in Georgia is dazzling at every level.

TBILISI RESTAURANTS AND CAFES PURIS SAKHLI (BREAD HOUSE) 7 Gorgasali St. +995 32 230 30 30 This traditional restaurant became very popular due to its large bread oven where pastry dishes are freshly made. The restaurant offers wide range of Georgian dishes and wines. DZVELI SAKHLI (OLD HOUSE) 3 Sanapiro St. Tel: +995 32 292 34 97 This restaurant offers delicious Georgian cuisine and unique customs and traditions accompanied by national dances and songs.

FUNICULAR COMPLEX Mtatsminda plateau. Tel: +995 32 298 00 00 www.funicular.ge Enjoy the best traditional Georgian food and amazing panoramic views of the city from the terrace. Here you will find a cosy bakery “Puri Guliani”, the Georgian brasserie “Chela”, a classic restaurant “Funicular”, sophisticated “Lounge-Bar” and elegant penthouse style “Function Suite”.


SHEMOIKHEDE GENATSVALE KHINKALI RESTAURANT CHAIN 5 Marjanishvili St; 25 Leselizde St. 7 Lekh-Katchinski St. Tbilisi and Betania. Tel: +995 32 2 36 53 65 This restaurant is popular among locals and tourists. The restaurant has three locations in Tbilisi and one in Betania (a 20 minute drive from Tbilisi).

ENTRÉE 13 Taktakishvili, 19 Petriashvili , 7 Pekini, 78 Chavchavadze Av., 68 Agmashenebeli Av (+995) 591 19 83 98 www.entree.ge The range and quality of croissants, tartelettes and confectionaries is respectable enough to grace a Parisian patisserie. Fresh soup, salads, baguettes, wraps and hot pastries, all for eating in or take away.

TSISKVILI The right bank of the River Mtkvari Tel: +995 32 253 07 97 The restaurant is distinguished by its unique architecture. There is a Georgian bakery for bread; a brazier for meat roasted on a spit, pig, chicken and trout; a mill for maize-bread of milled maize flour. Different kinds of music is available: folk songs, pipes, urban melodies, violin, and piano.

AMO RAME 4 Pavle Ingorokva St. Tel: +995 593 39 40 15 Amo Rame cafe-gallery is very cozy and quiet place close to freedom squire. During the day time the café is perfect place for business meetings. Weekends are especially crowded due to the genuine Mtiuluri Khinkali (meat dumplings from highlands) made by the invited cook.

GABRIADZE CAFÉ-RESTAURANT 13 Shavteli St. +995 32 298 65 94 Named after the famous Georgian puppeteer Rezo Gabriadze, the restaurant is next-door puppet theatre. The menu is modern Georgian cuisine. ART-CAFÉ 144 STAIRS upstairs from 27 Betlemi Tel: +995 599 72 09 06 Located on the hill under the walls of Narikala Fortress, the café has an amazing view and is a favorite for both locals and guests. The terrace in summer is overcrowded. The menu is a mix of Mediterranean dishes.


SOPHIA MELNIKOVA’S FANTASTIC DUHAN 22 Stamba Dead End. Tel: +995 592 68 11 66 In recent times it has become a great “getaway”, with its big room, tables in outdoor and beautiful garden. Relax with friends, and do not miss Sofia Melnikova’s Khinkali! BOOK CORNER 13B, Tarkhnishvili str. Tel: +995 32 2 232430 +995 577 46 83 88 www.bookcorner.ge This small, one of a kind art-café is a perfect venue, with friendly people and unique pastoral charm, for spending your time in a warm and comfortable atmosphere. Café has is located in Vera district, close to Philarmonic Concert Hall



13 Bagratini St. Tel: +995 577 72 27 71 cafemarleta@gmail.com The owners of a cheese farm, Sophia and Levan, give Kakheti wine region a new dimension, producing different sorts of cheese and creating stylish café-restaurant Marleta in the historic Telavi town.

MEGRUL - LAZURI 16 Tbilisi highway, Makhinjauri Tel: +995 422 25 30 66 Megrul-Lazuri offers opportunities to try different Georgian dishes. A traditional Ajarian house, a terrace and a wooden cottage are placed together in an inner yard.

Named after the family cow MARLETA the caférestaurant is unique by its original design and nice atmosphere. In the summer, the outside terrace is open for guests. The menu features fresh, quality ingredients combined with exotic flair.

PIAZZA SQUARE 25 ParnavazMepe St. Tel: +995 592 31 00 66 One of the most beautiful squares in Georgia, Piazza, houses La Brioche, Quiet woman, Marco Polo – three café-restaurants, each with a different concept. PRIVET IZ BATUMA 25 M.Abashidze St. Tel: +995 422 27 77 66 A favorite place for busy visitors and locals. A good location, busy and suitable for lunch and dinner with friends. CAFÉ FAN-FAN 27 Ninoshvilist. Tel: +995 591 15 00 51 The café is distinguished by its original design and specific atmosphere. In the summer, the outside terrace is a favorite place to meet friends and enjoy delicious food. Often live music (usually jazz) is played here.




Visitors to Tbilisi will be pleasantly surprised to find the Tbilisi Mall, which is the largest development in the South Caucasus. It is a very modern centre that combines leisure, retail and entertainment in the region. Its architectural concept is contemporary, but fits well into the surroundings. Tbilisi Mall provides an exciting new experience for Georgia’s residents and tourists and offers a broad range of high street and internationally famous brands. The outlets of well-known retail brands, department stores and banking facilities line the concourse. On the ground floor is the huge international Carrefour Supermarket, equal to any in Europe or America and filled with products from Georgia and around the world. It is many efficiently organised and there is a cafe at the entrance. Other features include a multi-screen cinema and a family entertainment centre on the upper levels. Tbilisi Mall also benefits from a multi-storey free-of-charge car park, spread over four underground levels. The shopping hours usually finish later. Another mall Georgia Trade Centre GTC is located very close to the city centre, and near Tbilisi’s large and beautiful  open-air flower market, which is noted for its exceptional bouquets and wide variety of plants and flowers. When invited to a Georgian house, it is usual to take flowers, which are much loved in this society. Another attractive shopping malls are Tbilisi Central (www.tbilisicentral.ge) and the recently opened East Point (www.eastpoint.ge). There are several shopping streets with international brand shops and boutiques in Tbilisi. Visit the attractive areas of Pekini, Agmashenebeli and Rustavel avenues. Perhaps the best shopping venue for Georgian souvenirs, such as artwork, jewelry, and enamel work is the renovated old caravansarai building now known as “Carvasla”. It is located


in a picturesque area by Sioni Cathedral and Chardin Street. The unusual building also houses a fascinating exhibition of old Tbilisi where visitors can learn about the cosmopolitan city life of previous eras, while the attractive little stores below provide a great variety of Georgian products based on traditional designs.   Souvenir hunters and art lovers will enjoy a walk along Rustaveli Ave and the adjacent parks where vendors and artists can be found in abundance. A good deal of souvenirs are reproductions from Georgia’s history _ traditional clothing, swords, knives, cow-horn wine goblets, decorative flasks, jugs and decanters, and more. Georgian jewellery, ceramics and embroidery are also distinctive. They may be bought in art salons and galleries. Artists can be found busy at work on their latest paintings surrounded by displays of their work _ vivid cityscapes and landscapes in brilliant colors are the most common. PROSPERO’S BOOKS & CALIBAN’S COFFEE If you’re traveling around the Caucasus and miss having something to read in English, Prospero’s is a must. There is a good range of travel guides, not only for Georgia and its neighbours. Prospero’s cafe and outdoor patio area are a popular venue for Tbilisi’s foreign residents, the local celebrities and weary travellers visiting the region.



Georgia has one of the most significant collections of cloisonné enamel handicraft in the world. Most of it is protected in Georgian museums, but other important examples are in world-class museums, such as the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Berlin National Museum and the Metropolitan Museum in New York. This unique art form is distinguished by the richness and variety of enameled colour and design which you illustrate Georgian elegance of medieval days.

7 Erekle II St. Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 298 90 13 www.enamelart.ge Working hours: Weekdays: 11:00-19:00; Weekends: 12:00 – 19:00

In the 15th century cloisonné enamel technology was lost, but now there is a revival of this unique creative work. There are also studios in Tbilisi producing jewellery and artifacts in exciting modern designs, and they are receiving overseas commissions for cloisonné and Georgian-made cameos. CHARDIN ART GALLERY Tbilisi Marriott Hotel. 13 Rustaveli Ave, Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 299 09 25 chardin.gallery@gmail.com www. artgallerychardin.com Here you may find the best cloisonné enamel jewellery, paintings for your interior, collections and exclusive gifts.

The ornamental Enamel Gallery presents exclusive cloisonné pieces. Some artists design new interpretations of ancient themes and create modern forms. Others make successful copies of Georgian and Byzantian icons. Here you can find icons, jewelry, and enamel on small sculptures. ART-GROUP “ISTORIALI” 7, Nikoladze Str., 0108, Tbilisi, Georgia Tel: +995 322931335 istoriali@gaccgeorgia.org This show room of Georgian traditional and cultural gifts offers a rich collection of ancient folk art - jewelry, miniature sculpture and ceramics, high quality Georgian traditional crafts - textile, embroidery, woodcarvings, knitting, metalwork, etc. ART STUDIO LA MAISON BLUE 94 Barnovi St. Tel: +995 32 2 35 99 41 You will find a wide variety of colours and designs in the beautiful Studio-Gallery “La Maison Bleue”, as well as practically everything that can be created with silk using techniques like batik, dying and quilting. The studio also offers wall hangings, hand painted scarves, lampshades, screens, patchwork and has souvenirs for sale. The studio offers classes, as well. The studio-gallery’s permanent exhibition is a unique place where you can view the process of working with silk, choose a nice piece, or order what you would like to be made and meet the artists themselves. 





Khudadovi Str., Tbilisi Tel: +995 181634

14 Salami Str.,Tel: 995 32 5990906 www.facebook.com/oat gallery&art cafe 144 stairs

This is a quaint and decorative plant nursery, owned by a family located in a suburb near to the Tbilisi sea. Tbilisians go there to buy plants and  to enjoy the cafe in beautiful surroundings while observing unusal items for sale. More visitors are discovering this lovely and unusual venue, which is also an inspiration for photographers.

Art-cafe 144 Stairs is one of those places where the locals go to admire one of the most beautiful parts of Tbilisi. Pleasant music makes the impression even better. Visit OAT Gallery, taste Georgian and European food, and check out art objects which are exhibited by Rusudan OAT and her friends.



16 Amagleba Str. Tbilisi. Tel:+995 558248042

Botanical str. Tbilisi. Tel: +995 551 00 75 26 The gallery is located in a 250-year old cultural heritage-building in the heart of old Tbilisi surrounded, by the Botanical Garden, the historical Narikala fortress and the Leghvta-canyon. Gallery Nor-Ge initiates art-exhibitions and events related to Georgian culture. It supports NorwegianGeorgian bilateral relations and cultural exchange in general.

Marina & Maka’s new established Pottery and Art Studio offers wide variety of high-quality product. Here you can find spectacular, original pieces made from the local clay with a wide variety of coloured glazed finishes. This year, for the first time, the Studio is open for master classes, and you will enjoy lovely cafe with local pastries and delicious coffee.


12 Zandukeli str,. Tbilisi Tel. +995 322 935554 www.ninochakvetadze.ge; facebook.com/Nino Chakvetadze’s art Paintings by Nino Chakvetadze are not only impressive but extremly happy and sad at the same time. Nino’s creative work takes its viewers on a trip down memory lane to the days of their childhood. The main characters in every piece of artwork are children. Nino has also done numerous illustrations for Children’s Books’ such as “Uncle Seva’s Stories”, “The Greek and Roman Myths”, “Montebusu or Elly’s Exceptional Trip”, “A journey to the Dreamland” “Father, Mother, Eight Kids and a Lorry”, etc. Nino’s gallery “Nocha”, recently opened on Zandukeli Street in Tbilisi became favorite place not only for children but adult visitors as well.


Bazaleti lake, Dusheti Municipality. Tel: +995 599616230 www.facebook.com/davidluka.kapiashvili Ethno tourism complex “Okros Akvani” is located 45 km from Tbilisi near Bazaleti Lake. The recreational area was created by Georgian artist David-Luka Kapiashvili, who has been working abroad for many years. His work is mainly inspired by the Georgian folk.

ARABULI ART HOUSE Chirdili village, Khevsureti. Berdia Arabuli: +995 59562 63 77 Nino Arabuli: +995 568 98 01 04 narabuli@gmail.com, www.facebook.com/ ArabuliArtHouse The main function of Arabuli Art House as a cultural center and hotel is research, study, preservation and the development of Khevsureti’s ethnological and intangible cultural heritage as well as help visitors and the general public familiarize themselves with that heritage.

The ethno-tourism complex, arranged in KhevsurScottish style with skyscraper towers and original architecture, promise a pleasant pastime. If you are lucky, you might even be able to take part in local folk festivals that are frequently celebrated in Pshav-Khevsureti. David-Luka is also planning to open a museum, qvevri wine cellar and modern art exhibition centre. The official opening of new exhibition area will be in May 2016.



The gallery will amaze you with its unique and individual styles. It exhibits the works of legendary Georgian artists such as Niko Pirosami, Lado Gudiashvili, Elene Akhvlediani, David Kakabadze and others. The gallery is also home to paintings and sculptures of many contemporary artists. SHALVA AMIRANASHVILI MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS 1 Gudiashvili St. Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 299 99 09 The museum’s permanent exhibition’s called the “Treasury of Christian Art”. The stunning Georgian goldsmith pieces featured date back to the 8th19th centuries. In addition to famous Georgian painters, the museum houses a collection of Russian, western Europe and oriental artworks. THE OPEN AIR MUSEUM OF ETHNOGRAPHY 1 Turtle Lake Road, Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 272 90 45 The museum is located to the west of “Turtle Lake”. It features example of traditional architecture from different parts of Georgia. This is wonderful recreational area.

There are many excellent museums, galleries and workshops where you can see artists at work throughout Georgia, particularly in Tbilisi. Galleries and museums are open Tuesday through Sunday, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. They are closed on Mondays and official holidays. The price for tickets in most museums is 3-5 GEL for adults, 1 GEL for students, 0.5 GEL for schoolchildren, and 15-25 GEL for guided tours.

SIMON JANASHIA STATE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF GEORGIA 3 Rustaveli Ave., Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 299 80 22 www.museum.ge The museum preserves and exhibits a unique collection of human history. One of the amazing artifacts at the museum is the prehistoric human remains found in Dmanisi, Georgia. The remains date back 1.8 million years and are the oldest sign of human existence outside of Africa. One of the most important collections of the museum is the collection of treasures that contains masterpieces of Georgian goldsmith from the late 3rd millennium BC through 4th c. AD., magnificent medieval Christian art and contemporary paintings of Georgian artists. THE NATIONAL GALLERY 11 Rustaveli Ave, Tbilisi. The main entrance to the gallery is from the backyard of the museum, the 9 April Park.


TBILISI MUSEUM OF HISTORY “KARVASLA” 8 Sioni St. Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 298 22 81 The museum houses archeological, ethnological and archival materials, as well as examples of national and applied arts, and a rich photographic collection. STATE SILK MUSEUM 6 Tsabadze St. Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 234 09 67 This is one of the world’s oldest silk museums, promoting the understanding and appreciation of silk and its production. GEORGIAN STATE MUSEUM OF THEATRE, MUSIC, CINEMA AND CHOREOGRAPHY 6 Kargareteli St. Tel: +995 32 295 19 00 The museum is distinguished by its iris shaped ornaments on the ceiling. It houses an exhibition of theatre and cinema costumes, as well as unique exhibits of the 19th century, and pictorial canvases. LADO GUDIASHVILI EXHIBITION HALL 11 L. Gudiashvili St. Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 293 23 05 The exhibition hall provides a permanent platform for visitors to view Lado Gudiashvili’s works by providing temporary exhibitions of his legency. In addition, the exhibition hall also hosts temporary exhibitions and seminars covering all aspects of contemporary art. ELENE AKHVLEDIANI HOUSE-MUSEUM 12 L.Kiacheli St., Tbilisi. Tel: +995 32 299 74 12 This evocative house-museum of this famous Georgian artist of the XX century is located in the centre of Tbilisi. Visitors can enjoy pictorial and graphic artworks, as well as cphotographic exhibits.

THE UNIQUE GEORGIAN LANGUAGE The Georgian alphabet is one of the 14 alphabets of the world. It has beautiful and extraordinary letters. The words sound soft and strange, but some foreigners think that they also sound strong and harsh. Georgian is written in its own unique script that was once described as one of the most beautifully written languages in the world. The ancient Georgian alphabet has been granted the national status of cultural heritage. The Georgian alphabet is a phonemic orthography. Georgian has been written in a variety of scripts over its history. ANBANI - is derived from the names of the first two letters of the three Georgian lphabets: ASOMTAVRULI, NUSKHURI, MKHEDRULI. The Asomtavruli alphabet is known also as Mrgvlovani (“rounded”). Examples of it are still preserved in monumental inscriptions, such as those of the

Georgian church in Bethlehem (near Jerusalem, 430) and the church of Bolnisi Sioni near Tbilisi (4th-5th centuries). The Nuskhuri (“minuscule”) or Kutkhovani (“squared”) script first appeared in the ninth century. Asomtavruli and Nuskhuri, collectively known as Khutsuri (“church script”), were used together to write religious manuscripts, with the Asomtavruli serving as capital letters. The modern alphabet, called Mkhedruli (“secular” or “military writing”), first appeared in the eleventh century. It was used for non-religious purposes up until the eighteenth century, when it was completely replaced by Khutsuri. Some aspects of the Georgian language are easy to learn: language has no grammatical gender, no capital letters, no diphthongs and each letter represents one sound.

aa bb gg dd ee vv zz Tt i i kk ll

mm n n oo p p J zh r r s s t t’ uu f ph q q

R gh y gkh S sh C ch c ts Z dz w ts’ W tch x kh j j h



Famous Georgian Personalities Interior of newly renovated Tbilisi Opera House The small, strategically located and fascinating country of Georgia has produced an unprecedented number of very talented personalities. Their achievements range widely - musicians, singers, dancers, painters, cinematographers, actors, mathematicians, physicists. Many have achieved great success abroad and are well-known and respected on the international scene. All maintain an affinity with Georgia and return whenever they can. In the last edition of THE GEORGIAN we featured a range of artists: Eliso Virsaladze (pianist), Nana Jorjadze (film maker), Paata Burchuldaze and Anita Rachvelishvili (opera singers), Katie Melua (singer) and Beka Gochiashvili (jazz musician, pianist). Read more about them on www.thegeorgianonline.com The dance programme is the story of the adventurous Georgian spirit. It creates strong emotions, bringing Georgian humour, artistry and temperament to the audience.


and The Georgian National Dance Company The world-famous Georgian National Ballet company “Sukhishvilebi” was founded in 1945 by Nino Ramishvili and Iliko Sukhishvili. Inseparable partners, both on stage and in life, they created and encouraged new generations of the company. Now the company is successfully run by granddaughter Nino Sukhishvili, while Nino’s brother, Iliko Sukhishvili Jr., is artistic director and chief choreographer at the Company.


Nino and Ilko have developed the repertoire by modernizing some of the dances which originated in folklore. The female dancers have unique grace with exquisite traditional costumes and movements somewhat like classical ballet. They take tiny steps, giving the impression that they are floating. The male dancers have a highly original technique: they dance on their toes and without the aid of block shoes. They present a performance of virile energy with spectacular leaps, turns and spins, with dazzling speed and precision. In their dashing, elegant, slim-fitting costumes, they demonstrate that they are the only men in the world who can dance on their toes in this way. The Georgian National Ballet Company has been represented by some of the world’s most

famous impresarios. It has performed at the Royal Albert Hall and Coliseum in London, the Metropolitan and Madison Square Garden in New York and many other famous venues around the globe. When they performed at La Scala in Milan they had a record number of 14 curtain calls. It was the only time a folklore group has performed at this prestigious venue. 20l5 was the 70th anniversary of Sukhishvilebi. The company has visited five continents and 88 countries, with more than 9200 performances and over 50 million spectators!



Internationally renowned Georgian violinist Liana Isakadze was first invited to become the State Chamber Orchestra of Georgia’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor in 1981.

Gia Kancheli, like so many very talented Georgian artists who have found fame and fortune abroad, is still closely connected to his homeland.

Distinguished Violinist and Conductor

In the 1990s the Orchestra was based in Ingolstadt, Germany and expanded its horizons, only returning to Georgia in 1998. Liana Isakadze stayed on as principal conductor until 2005. In 2009 Isakadze formed The Chamber Orchestra of Young Musicians of Southern and Eastern Europe supported by the German Foreign Ministry. She has also established several prestigious festivals in Georgia and Europe (like Night Serenades, Musicians Joking). Associated with famous violinist, David Oistrach since she was first accepted in his class at the Moscow State Conservatoire and played a priceless Stradivarius violin, Isakadze has also performed as a violin soloist with such famous conductors as Yehudi Menuhin, Rudolf Kempe and Valery Gergiev. Isakadze now lives in France, primarily in Paris and Grasse, but visits Georgia, the land of her birth.

Famous Georgian Composer

Since 1995 Kancheli has lived in Antwerp, Belgium, where he became composer-inresidence for the Royal Flemish Philharmonic. In Georgia, Kancheli’s work is well known in the theatre, from which he draws much of his musical inspiration. For two decades, he served as the music director of the Rustaveli Theatre in Tbilisi and, in 1999, he composed the opera “Music for the Living”, in collaboration with Robert Sturua, the theatre’s artistic director. It was restaged for the Deutsches National Theatre in Weimar. Kancheli has written seven symphonies, and what he refers to as liturgy for viola and orchestra, “Mourned by the Wind”. His Fourth Symphony, created not long before the cultural freeze in the United States against Soviet culture, premiered in America with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1978; in 1987 he was awarded the Nika Award for Best Music Score and in 2008 he received the Wolf Prize in Arts.


Georgian ballerina and Artistic Director of the State Ballet of Georgia Georgian ballerina and Artistic Director of the State Ballet of Georgia The Daily Telegraph described her as one of the twelve greatest ballerinas of all time, and in 2002 she was named Best Ballerina of the Year by the US Dance Magazine. Writing in 1987 in the New York Magazine, the critic Tobi Tobias described her as “the best thing about the Bolshoi’s Giselle whether she appeared in the title role or as the Queen of the Wilis.” Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, Ananiashvili graduated from the Moscow Choreographic Institute and entered the Bolshoi Theatre, eventually rising to the position of prima ballerina. Together with Andris Liepa, she was the first Soviet dancer to appear as a guest performer with the New York City Ballet in 1988 (she danced in “Raymonda Variations”, “Apollo” and “Symphony in C”). Ananiashvili also had the honour of being the first Soviet ballerina to perform

He is also very respected internationally: his work has been performed in Seattle and with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. New CDs of his new compositions are regularly released.


with the Danish Ballet, and it was considered a particular triumph that she danced in such performances as “La Sylphide” and “Napoli”, by the Danish master August Bournonville, who many consider to be a national treasure. During her career she had performed in many ballet theaters in various countries (in most she performed as a guest artist). In 1986 Ananiashvili’s London performance of Raymonda was greeted with delight by both the public and the critics. That year was a turning point in her career since she was permitted to accept guest performances outside the Soviet Union. She became a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre in 1993, and in 1999 she joined the Houston Ballet with the same rank. She made her debut with the Boston Ballet in the company’s Russian-American production of “Swan Lake”. Her accomplished style and rare dramatic talent have made Nino Ananiashvili one of the mostly well-known dancers of the modern age.

as an overlooked way to tell his dramatic stories and, in 1981, he founded the Marionette Theatre in Tbilisi. From the beginning his productions brought the theatre recognition from international audiences and critics alike. The theatre company tours around the world. The motto of Marionette Theatre is “Let us have tears only after cutting the onions!”. There are four plays in the current programme “Ramona”, “The Autumn of our Springtime”, “The Battle of Stalingrad” and “The Diamond of Marshal D’Fantie”. Audience respond to them all with great emotion. Rezo’s exceptional sense of design has influenced this unique architectural “monument” which, in its own way, complements the scenery of old Tbilisi. The theatre’s unusual tower reflects many of the world’s cultures, and is a unique structure. Every hour a small door under the roof opens, sweet music begins and a golden-winged angel hits the bell with his small hammer. Every day at noon, a short performance

begins with the appearance of a newly married couple who then progress to old age, representing the harmony and inevitability the “life cycle”. The amazing restaurant located to the right of the theatre, “Sans Souci” or “Don’t Grieve”, continues Revaz Gabriadze’s unique vision with its decor and athmosphere. As a painter, Rezo has contributed to numerous exhibitions and his works are preserved in museums and private collections.

Rezo Gabriadze’s amazing architectural monument in central TBILISI

REVAZ (REZO) GABRIADZE and His Clock Tower

Georgian theatre and film director, playwright, writer, screenwriter, puppeteer, painter and sculptor. Revaz Gabriadze has written over 35 screenplays which include such influential films as Don’t Grieve, Mimino (Director Giorgi Danelia), The Eccentrics and Kin-Dza-Dza. At some point Rezo Gabriadze, frustrated with lack of intellectual freedom in the Soviet Union, turned to puppet theatre


WATCHING SPORT IN GEORGIA By Peter Dodge – A TALE OF HISTORY … AND POTENTIAL In this age of budget airlines, it is increasingly common for sports fans to travel across Europe to watch their favourite teams. Supporters of the Georgian national rugby team (the “Lelos”) were much in evidence at the World Cup held in England in Autumn 2015. Indeed, such was the success of the Lelos (who beat Tonga and Namibia, thereby winning two matches at a World Cup for the first time) that those fans will now face a rather longer trip – Georgia having qualified automatically for the 2019 tournament in Japan. The action in 2015 was not all abroad. In August, Tbilisi’s Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena hosted the UEFA (football) Super Cup, in which Barcelona beat Sevilla 5-4 (after extra time) before a record-breaking crowd of 51,940. In September, the same stadium saw a surprise 1-0 win for Georgia in a EURO 2016 qualifier against Scotland. Just as in 2007, the Scottish “Tartan Army” supporters brought colour and exuberance to the streets of Tbilisi - and received an enthusiastic and memorable welcome from their hosts.

Sadly, Dinamo are not the power they once were, and international (rather than club) football now offers the travelling supporter the best chance to attend a top level game in Tbilisi. Autumn 2016 will see Georgia host Austria and Moldova in World Cup qualifiers. Built in 1976 by the Georgian architects Archil and Gia Kurdiani, the Dinamo Arena originally held almost 75,000 spectators. Indeed, it is estimated that, on a famous night in 1979, over 110,000 fans crowded in to see Dinamo beat Liverpool 3-0. Two years later, the club won the European Cup Winners’ Cup. Visitors to the stadium can see the statue of Boris Paichadze and the plaque commemorating the Soviet Top League winning team of 1964 – and hope for a return of Dinamo’s glory days. After the excitement of the World Cup, 2016 may be a quieter year for Georgian rugby. But everyone who hopes to see the Lelos progress onwards and upwards will agree on the need for more regular fixtures against Tier 1 international opposition (and will hope that some of the top nations might even send teams to Tbilisi). As well as the Dinamo Arena, the Lelos use the smaller Mikheil Meskhi (or Lokomotivi) Stadium (renovated in 2001 and with a capacity of 27,223). The British Georgian Society has set up an English language Facebook page (BGS Friends of Georgian Rugby) to enable well-wishers in other nations to follow developments and to show their support for Georgian rugby in its efforts to progress even further in the build-up to 2019. Peter Dodge is a barrister practising in London. He is a frequent visitor to Georgia and runs the “BGS Friends of Georgian Rugby” Facebook page.




Georgia, and especially Tbilisi, hosts cultural activities year-round. There are festivals, concerts, classical and Georgian dance events, and even an excellent circus throughout the year. Upon arrival in Tbilisi, check the English language newspapers (“Georgia Today”, “Weekly Georgian Journal” and “The Georgian Times”) to see what is going on. The newspapers are generally available at most major hotels, cafes and Prospero’s English Bookshop at 34, Rustaveli Avenue. A much anticipated event in 2016 is the grand opening of the famouse Opera House on Rustaveli Avenue! The newly-restored Rustaveli Theatre, located nearby, has excellent plays, almost in Georgian. There are great concerts at the Tbilisi Conservatoire, also close by, and at the Philharmonic Concert Hall, which often features Georgian dancers and international jazz celebrities. Try to attend concerts of Georgian dancers and polyphonic singers and see the world-famous Georgian Ballet Company “Sukhishvilebi”- considered to be a national treasure. Don’t miss out on the cultural life of Georgia! NEW WINE FESTIVAL - May This wine festival traditionally takes place every spring at the Open Air Museum of Ethnography and almost all large wine companies and several small wine producers participate in it. Family wines from different regions of Georgia are lavishly demonstrated. The event is organized by the Georgian Wine Club. For more information please visit www.wineclub.ge

PHOTO FESTIVAL KOLGA - May-June Over the past several years, the Tbilisi International Photo Contest Kolga has become an integral part of city life. Photographers get prizes for their special contribution to the development of Georgian photography. This year, the photo contest will be held for the 15th time, open to both Georgian and foreign photographers. For further information KOLGA TBILISI PHOTO 2016 and KOLGA AWARD please visit www.kolga.ge


TBILISI INTERNATIONAL STUDENT FILM FESTIVAL “AMIRANI” - June Hundred of films from different corners of the world participate in the festival’s annual selection process. Just under a hundred filmmakers join the festival and take part in different activities such as master-classes, one shot movie workshops, round tables, film screenings, as well as the opening and award ceremonies. There are 4 main nominations in the festival: best feature film, best documentary film, best animated/experimental film and the Jury Grand Prix. Students also receive special diplomas for best director, camera and sound. For more information please visit: www.tbilisistudentfilmfestival.ge

THE “ART-GENE” FOLK FESTIVAL - July This festival is held at the Tbilisi Ethnography Museum. It includes concerts with dancing, singing and poetry as well as displays of art and craft and fine arts by Georgians from different provinces. It traditionally begins with expeditions and various events in different regions of Georgia and culminates at the Tbilisi Museum of Ethnography.

TBILISI INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THEATRE September - October The festival is a major event in Georgia, attracting the attention of well-known, creative and innovative theatre productions from around the world. The festival has taken place in Tbilisi for the past 7 years. It also announces call for applications for participation in the festival programme “NEW”! which focuses on the work of innovative young, mid-career and emerging artists, providing a platform to share work and artistic ideas. For participation and festival details visit www.tbilisiinternational.com

For more information please visit www.artgeni.ge

TBILISI-BATUMI INTERNATIONAL CLASSICAL MUSIC FESTIVAL “NIGHT SERENADES” - August The International Classical Music Festival “Night Serenades”, founded by Liana Isakadze, a famous Georgian violinist, was held for the first time in Bitchvinta, Abkhazia in 1981. In 1991 the festival was cancelled and then revived 18 years later in 2009, in Batumi. Since 2011, the core members of the festivals is internationally recognized World Chamber Orchestra “Virtuosos”, established by Liana Isakadze with famous musicians from around the world. One of the last charity concerts by “Virtuosos” was performed at Carnegie Hall in 2015 and the fees raised from this concert were transferred to the St. Nino Church in New York.

5TH BATUMI INTERNATIONAL BIRDWATCHING FESTIVAL - September This is a unique chance to experience a massive migration of raptors and other birds on the east Black Sea Coast. More than 100,000 raptors on a single day! The festival is organized by Batumi Raptor count and SaBuKo - Society for Nature Conservation with great support of the Department of Tourism and Resort of Ajara. Main observation places are Sakhalvasho village, Mtirala National Park, Chorokhi delta and the village of Shuamta. This event is accompanying by daily excursions and evening lectures by leading conservationists. For 2016 programme details please visit www.sabuko.org



GIFT FESTIVAL - October - November Theatre fans look forward to autumn in Tbilisi when the GIFT Festival - Georgian International Festival in honour of Mikheil Tumanishvili - takes place and offers unforgettable performances for the audience. GIFT was founded upon the decision and participation of the legendary directors of leading international art festivals (Edinburgh, Adelaide, Perth, and Melbourne). The board members of the festival are worldwide known and appreciated artists and producers: Vanessa Redgrave, Peter Brook, Hilary Wood, Thelma Holt, Oleg Tabakov, Anatoliy Vasilyev, William Burdett Coutts, Terry Sandell, Sasha Waltz, Jochen Sandig, Michele Panella and others. For 2016 programme details please visit www.giftfestival.ge

The Telavi State Drama Theatre traditionally hosts musicians from all over the world every autumn. The festival inspired by Eliso Virsaladze, famous Georgian pianist, is dedicated to protect, develop and promote classical music. In 2013 -2015 the most of festival’s programme was accompanied by the International Orchestra of musicians from Georgia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Poland, and Israel. Ariel Zucherman, a conductor from Israel, was a special guest at the festival, while soloists from Georgia and other countries performed the best of their repertoire. For 2016 programme details please visit: www. cmcgeorgia.org

4TH TBILISI DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL October Founded in Tbilisi in 2013 CinĂŠDOC-Tbilisi Documentary Film Festival is the first international documentary festival in the south Caucasus that focuses on creative documentaries. The audience has a chance to view a variety of documentary films with a unique directing vision, an original visual style, sympathetic protagonists and powerful stories. The festival presents award winning films from outside Georgia as well as local and regional productions. The film screenings are followed by Q&A sessions and debates with the invited filmmakers, master classes with renowned film professionals and open sessions with international guests. For more details please visit www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com


ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY ART KYRIL AND ILIA ZDANEVUCH FEST i NOVA 2016, GARIKULA September Art Villa Garikula is the space for creative and innovative ideas. It annually hosts the Festival of Contemporary Art which highlights individual and joint projects, workshops for students, young artists and other interested individuals, and gathers local and foreign artists and curators of the art residential programme. It offers exhibitions, performances, tours, etc., and showcases visual, performing, conceptual, multimedia art. FEST i NOVA aims to bring local and foreign artists closer and deepening intercultural dialogue The festival’s activities, projects, programmes and participants can observe the regularly updated news on the Festival blog.


BATUMI INTERNATIONAL ART HOUSE FILM FESTIVAL (BIAFF) - September Established in 2006, BIAFF was created to enhance cultural exchange, understanding, and collaboration through the screening of new art house-house and non-commercial films from Georgia and abroad. The event provides an opportunity for well-known film makers, producers and film critics to meet and share their expertise and works with other people in their respective fields, and gives local cinema lovers and other individuals a better understanding of the industry and its people through retrospectives. For more information please visit www.biaff.org MUSIC FESTIVAL “AUTUMN TBILISI” September – October

Artisterium is the annual International Contemporary Art Exhibition and Art Event organized by the Georgia-based Artisterium Association. The event is composed of international exhibitions, individual art projects, educational and cultural programs. This is one of the most significant international art events in the South Caucasus supported by Georgian government and international artists working in Georgia. It hosts artists, artistic groups, curators and art critics from the South Caucasus, Turkey, Europe, USA and Asia. For more information on 2015 themes and events please visit www.artisterium.org

The International Music Festival “Autumn Tbilisi”, which features classical music, folk music and jazz concerts, is well known outside Georgia. The founder of the annual festival is Jansugh Kakhidze, the world famous Georgian conductor. The festival, with its diverse programme, bealives its extremely important to present the works by Georgian modern composers and Georgian traditional music. For more information please visit www. kakhidzemusiccenter.com


17th TBILISI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (TIFF) - December The non-commercial, versatile cultural event TIFF brings new, highly artistic cinema production to the general public. The idea of the festival was developed by The Cinema Art Centre, Prometheus l (founder). The festival’s competition programme includes 10-12 feature films created by European filmmakers. For more information please visit www.tbilisifilmfestival.ge “TBILISOBA” - THE FESTIVAL OF CAPITAL CITY October Every year Georgia’s capital celebrates the festival “TBILISOBA” on the last Sunday of October. This is the time of harvest, winemaking and weddings and all of these accompanied by songs, dances and jokes! Georgians from different provinces bring their harvest to the capital and sell organic products at low prices at the open air bazaars. This colourful pageant vividly conveys the character not only of the city but the entire land of Georgia. Many interesting events take place on that day, which is full of surprises especially for children.

INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL “SESILY” September - October The first Film Festival in Georgia titled “Sesily”, in memory of Georgian actress Sesilia Takaishvili, was held in 2001 where short feature films, documentary films, animated, experimental, music videos, commercials and infomercial genre works, a full package of art of filmmaking were presented. “Sesily” has since focused on discovering and supporting new talented generations, educating and bringing them closer to the international filmmaking arena. For more details please visit http://festivalsesily.ge

TBILISI AND BATUMI JAZZ FESTIVALS - July The company Eastern Promotions, one of the most respected agencies for jazz, blues and other musical genres in the world, has been promoting notable and highly acclaimed musicians in the Caucasus region since 1998 including Ray Charles, James Brown, George Benson, Natalie Cole, Marcus Miller and others. The festival arranges unforgettable evenings for guests. For festival 2016 programme please visit: www.tbilisijazz.com and www.batumijazz.ge


is the major international fashion event in Georgia. TFW is held twice a year and presents Spring/ Summer and Fall/Winter collections. Within the framework of the project, fashion industry professionals, designers, critics, journalists and editors of popular fashion publications visit Georgia: VOGUE (Italia, Russia, Australia), NOWFASHION, Style Arabia, W Magazine, fw-daily.com, Nargis Azerbaijan, Buro24/7, etc. For future information please visit www. tbilisifashionweek.com

Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards The Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards make everyone much more aware of tourism and its potential for the economy and popularity of Georgia as a destination. The annual event highlights major recent achievements and gives awards to achievers in every segment of the business, including culture, hotels, travel agencies and restaurants. The ceremony celebrates the diversity of the country and its many attractive locations.

It brings together key players in the Georgian hospitality and tourism industry, and aims to further develop the country’s attractions. The next Awards ceremony will take place in Georgia in late 20l6. The venue, which changes every year, will be announced later. The project is founded and organized by the Ukrainian company, The LCC Elements Group. For further information please visit: www.awards-tourism.com


GEOGRAPHY Georgia is a small country of 69 700 km², situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, between the Black and the Caspian Seas, and to the south of the Great Caucasus Mountain Range. It shares borders with the Russian Federation to the north, Turkey and Armenia to the south and Azerbaijan to the east. Georgia has a population of 4.6 million people. CLIMATE Climate zones range from the humid subtropical on the coast to the eternal snow peaks of the mountains, from a moderately humid Mediterranean-type climate to a dry continental climate. The most comfortable seasons for visiting Georgia are spring and autumn. TIME ZONE GMT + 4:00 LANGUAGE The official language is Georgian (qarTuli) with its own alphabet, which is one of the 14 alphabets of the world. Most traffic signs and markers POWER SUPPLY 220 volts AC, 50 Hz. Europeantype, two-pin plugs are used.

CURRENCY The national “Lari” (GEL) is the only legal form of tender in Georgia. Currency exchange centres operate in large towns and ATMs can be found near banks or supermarkets. 1 EUR = 2.60 GEL; 1 USD = 2.43 GEL (as of January 2016). PHONING HOME Georgian SIM card are available upon your arrival in airports or at the offices of Geocell www. geocell.ge; MAGTI ; www. magtigsm.com; and Beeline www.beeline.ge. EMERGENCIES The following medical centres can be contacted in Tbilisi: Gudushauri National Medical Center at 18/20 Lubliana Street, Tel: (+995) 32 251 87 15; David Tatishvili Medical Center, 8 Abuladze Street, Tel: (+995) 32 291 32 42. HEALTH CARE There are numerous established and reliable pharmacies in Tbilisi and in the other cities of Georgia. It is advisable to buy medication at large pharmacies such as Aversi, PSP and GPC. There are no mandatory vaccinations.

THE GEORGIAN This important annual publication for tourism and trade market players has the distinction of being the first comprehensive magazine of this nature in Georgia with international distribution. Now available on-line, from Georgian tourism administration offices, is the foremost internationally distributed tourism and trade guide for our country. It encourages new visitors and investors to Georgia, and keeps them well informed when they are here. To advertise in the 2016 edition contact: Lela Khartishvili TTG Georgia Ltd Tel +995 599 99 21 61 info@thegeorgianonline.com www.thegeorgianonline.com


WATER Tap water is safe in most places, although many famous mineral waters (still or carbonated) are very popular including Borjomi, Nabeglavi, Likani, Sno, Bakhmaro and Sairme. CALCULATING COST There is a standardized 10% service charge included in your bill and VAT is set at 18%. However, foreign tourist services are exempt from VAT. GROCERY SHOPPING Supermarkets stock both local and imported goods and operate 24 hours a day. The hypermarkets Goodwill, Smart and Carrefour are located at various locations in Tbilisi; Every town in the countryside has small grocery shops with delicious seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. POSTAL SERVICES “Georgian Post”, the Stateappointed postal operator, provides good quality service through the largest network across the country. International express courier services are efficiently arranged at the Post Office through: DHL Tel: (+995) 32 269 60 60 info@dhl.ge www.dhl.com; FedEx Tel: (+995) 32 274 82 40 fedexge@post.ge www.fedEx.com; TNT Tel: (+995) 32 225 03 28 www.TNT.ge



Profile for Lela Khartishvili


Annual Publication - Travel and Trade Guide to Georgia


Annual Publication - Travel and Trade Guide to Georgia