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2017


CONTENTS 4 6 8 12 16 18 28 32 35 36 38 42 46 50 53 56 58 60 64 69 72 76 78

A Warm Georgian Welcome Top Evergreen Things to do in Georgia Arriving in Georgia Tbilisi - the Ancient Capital City Map of Tbilisi A Food and Wine Symphony National Parks – Your Key to the Wilds of Georgia Trekking in a Land Time Forgot The Transcaucasian Trail Ajara – Georgia's Gateway to the Sea Ajara's Protected Areas Winter Resorts in Georgia Invest in Georgia's Tourism Sector Shopping in Tbilisi Arts in Georgia Georgian Film Industry Georgia's Intangible Cultural Heritage Famous Georgians Events and Festivals Where to Eat in Georgia Where to Stay in Georgia Map of Georgia Database

Billy Bilikhodze Photography xannca@gmail.com Call: +995 558 29 69 84

Copyright © TTG Georgia Publisher and managing director: Lela Khartishvili Project consultants: Ana Petriashvili, Ana-Mariam Turashvili Copy editors: Molly Corso, Julie Wong Design and typesetting: Ketevan Zhorzholiani Photos: Georgian National Tourism Administration, Department of Tourism and Resorts of Ajara A. R. Agency of Protected Areas of Georgia, Georgian Mountain Resort Development Fund Cover photos: Model: Georgian rugby player Soso Matiashvili Photographer: Billy Bilikhodze Model: Dancer of Georgian National Ballet Sukhishvili Tamar Khurtsilava Photographer: Levan Leko Tchkonia THE GEORGIAN is written, produced and published by TTG Georgia Ltd. Address: 14 Chiaureli St. 0179 Tbilisi, Georgia Tel: 032 2 22 62 95 / +995 599 99 21 61 info@thegeorgianonline.com / www.thegeorgianonline.com UDC(უაკ) 338.48+339](051.2) T-44 ISSN 2233-3061


MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER, LELA KHARTISHVILI I am delighted to introduce the 2017 edition of THE GEORGIAN. This is the fifth anniversary of THE GEORGIAN, an annual tourism and trade guide that has played a major role to putting Georgia on the international map since 2013. As per our tradition, the guide announces the events that are scheduled to take place in 20l7, which include concerts; cinema; theatre; the Black Sea Jazz Festival, and international events. In THE GEORGIAN 2017 we encourage explorers to visit various national parks around Georgia, to enjoy the pristine wilderness and scenic beauty and experience the country’s many hiking trails. Georgia’s winter sport and ski resorts are still our favorite story to tell. In this issue, we report about the fifth ski resort, Mitarbi, which recently opened in Georgia! National and international wine experts explain the history of Georgia’s famous wine industry and the unique, traditional method of producing wine. The magazine is widely distributed through international travel fairs and the Georgian government’s offices at home and overseas. There are many new opportunities in Georgia and we aim to increase interest in the country, which, until now, was relatively unknown. I wish to thank all participants and contributors to THE GEORGIAN 2017 who have shown great enthusiasm for the publication. We believe THE GEORGIAN 2017 will open new doors and possibilities for the rest of the world to learn about the unique land of Georgia.

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SHERATON MEET YOU THERE

Welcome to the first and most well-established international five-star hotel, on the Black Sea in Adjara Region, the Sheraton Batumi Hotel. The hotel is ideally located in the heart of the city. More than just the basics, the hotel offers all the services you expect from a five-star hotel. 202 guestrooms, club rooms, Sheraton Terrace Suites with private terrace Jacuzzi, marvelous penthouse, each with the Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience Bed and stunning views over the city, sea and the surrounding mountains. 2800 square meters of Spa Center, with Turkish marble bath “Hamam”, sauna, jacuzzi, steam room, whirlpool, fitness center, with indoor/outdoor and kid’s swimming pool, gym, internet connection hub in the lobby, club lounge, laundry service. The hotel has all kind of facilities for the disables. Newest multi-purpose conference and banquet facilities, the biggest “Grand Ballroom” in the city with portable walls, 6 private meeting rooms with capacity from 10 to 1500 persons for any kind of event. The conference rooms are well equipped with the modern audio-visual and teleconference facilities, most of the meeting rooms have natural daylight.

28 Rustaveli Street, Batumi, 6000, Georgia SHERATON.COM/BATUMI

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995 422 22 9000


A WARM GEORGIAN WELCOME

GEORGE CHOGOVADZE Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia

The tourism sector in Georgia developed rapidly in 2016. The international and local projects implemented by the Georgian National Tourism Administration, which is a LEPL of Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, contributed to the growth of revenue and the number of visitors. We are proud that the end of 2016 year was marked by two historic feats – for the first time the number of international visitors exceeded 6 million (6 350 825), which includes a 19% increase in the number of tourists (432,802), and the income generated from international tourism reached 2 billion dollars. In fact, 42.7% of the overall visitors to Georgia were tourists. The opening of the Convention and Exhibition Bureau of Georgia at the GNTA was another highlight in 2016. In addition, the GNTA hosted more than 600 journalists and 300 tour operators from all over the world in 2016. Georgia was promoted as a travel destination through international marketing campaigns and 19 international fairs. New tourist infrastructure was created with a focus on inclusive tourism, and a training for 1270 people working in the tourism industry was organized by GNTA. Whenever you decide to visit Georgia, you will be amazed by its raw beauty and ancient culture, the underground dance scene in Tbilisi and cozy cafes of Batumi, the vineyards of Kakheti and the mountains of Svaneti. Remember: you are always welcome!

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VISIT US AT THE FOLLOWING TRAVEL EXHIBITIONS FITUR, Madrid, Spain

18-22 January

EMITT, Istanbul, Turkey

26-29 January

Holiday Fair-Brussels, Brussel, Belgium 2-5 February Balttour, Riga, Latvia

3-5 February

IMTM, Tel-Aviv, Israel

7-8 February

ITB, Berlin, Germany

8-12 March

COTTM, Beijing, China

29- 31 March

UITT, Kiev, Ukraine

29-31 March

AITF, Baku, Azerbaijan

6-8 April

KITF, Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan

19-21 April

ATM, Dubai, UAE

24-27 April

IMEX, Frankfurt, Germany

16-18 May

KOTFA, Seoul, Korea

1-4 June

OTDYKH International Russian Travel, Market Moscow

19-21 September

JATA, Tokyo, Japan

21-24 September

TTG, Rimini, Italy

12-14 October

WTM, London, UK

6-8 November

TT Warsaw, Poland

23-25 November

IBTM Barcelona, Spain

28-30 November

For farther information please contact: Tel: +995 32 243 69 99 Info@gnta.ge / www.gnta.ge


THE IDEA TO CREATE VINOTEL came a few years ago and the new boutique hotel VINOTEL hosted its first guests in 2015. Even though the hotel is relatively new, it is located in a 19th century building in a historical neighborhood of old Tbilisi and is connected to a historical 18th century church with an open terrace. Space at VINOTEL includes hotel, restaurant, wine cellar and a conference hall, which creates an opportunity to host guests for formal and informal occasions. THE CONCEPT OF VINOTEL is developed based on Georgia’s history and wine culture. VINOTEL’s idea is patented in Georgia and is absolutely unique. This is a place where East meets West. VINOTEL offers one of the best selections of wines from Georgia’s many boutique wineries, with exclusive varieties from historical viticulture appellations. AT VINOTEL GUESTS can enjoy delicious Georgian Euro-fusion cuisine and lovely live performances of Georgian folk music in a non-smoking environment. Food offered at the restaurant is prepared with biologically clean produce, provided by local farmers. The restaurant and the interior of the hotel were developed with an ecologically clean concept, where most of the elements are hand-made, crafted and painted.

VINOTEL has hosted international and Georgian business leaders and high level officials and as our guests are always outlining in their comments, they feel like a home at VINOTEL. We take into consideration our guests expressions and remarks for our future projects.


TOP EVERGREEN THINGS TO DO IN GEORGIA

The image of “Soviet Riviera” is fading and Georgia is transforming into an all-year tourism destination. The country’s rich culture, fantastic cuisine, diverse landscapes, developing infrastructure, and 8000-year-old winemaking tradition are attracting more and more travelers to the country throughout the year. We decided to pick four activities you can do in Georgia anytime of the year. If you combine them all in one trip, an unforgettable holiday is guaranteed!

WINE TASTING UNESCO has recognized Georgia as the cradle of wine, where viticulture originated about 8,000 years ago. You may read about the artifacts that have been found, wonder how clay vessels qvevri differ from more common barrels, and study how the slopes and microclimate zones affect the taste of wine, but it is better to come to Georgia and to try the wine yourself. The most popular region for wine tasting is Kakheti. Beautiful, fertile Alazani Valley, framed by the white peaks of Caucasus mountains and dotted with castles and churches – the beauty and ancient spirit is intoxicating! For wine in Kakheti, we recommend visiting Kvareli (Eniseli, Shilda), Napareuli, Tsinandali, Gurjaani (Velistsikhe), Tibaani and Telavi. These towns and villages have several wine cellars and shops where you can taste the best wines of Kakheti region. The next stop in eastern Georgian is Kartli. You can taste the local wines in Gori, Ateni, Kaspi, Mukhrani. While moving west, visit Imereti. After exploring beautiful canyons, waterfalls, caves and churches - many of which are listed as UNESCO Heritage sites, you can also taste wonderful wines, the most common of which is Tsolikouri.

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The region of Racha-Lechkhumi is one of the most picturesque regions in Georgia. While you will find fewer tourists there, it is the birthplace of rare wines! For example, the wellknown red semi-sweet wine "Khvanchkara" comes from Racha. It is the result of the combination of two sorts of grapes: Aleksandrouli and Mujuretuli, which grow in the micro-zone near the village Khvanchkara. Alone, each of these two varieties have a rich berry taste, and when combined, they have even richer flavor and aroma. Pair any of these vintages with hearty, homemade Georgian dishes, and you will find yourself somewhere close to heaven!


A TRIP TO THE MOUNTAINS As you travel around Georgia, you will notice that each region has its own colour, or at least its own shade. From the yellowish green of Gareji through the moss green of Tusheti and forest hue of Imereti, to emerald green of Megrelian subtropics – you will never see an identical colour and landscape during your trip. Georgia offers dozens of different paths for beginning and advanced hikers; it is also possible to reach remote places on horseback or by car.Kazbegi, Svaneti, Khevsureti, Borjomi National Park and Tusheti are the most popular destinations in summer (please take into account that Tusheti is accessible only from the end of June to the mid-October). In the winter, Gudauri, Svaneti, Bakuriani and Goderdzi in mountainous Ajara host ski and snowboard lovers from all around the world.

(MULTI) CULTURAL DISCOVERIES The roots of the Georgian culture go deep: the first settlements date back 1.2 million years ago. The oldest settlement, Dmanisi, an interesting place to visit, as well as the cave cities of Uplistsikhe, which were already flourishing in the Bronze Age, and Vardzia - which was prospering in the Middle Ages (XII – XIII centuries). The most significant Christian sites in Georgia are Jvari monastery (VI century), Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (XI century), Bagrati Cathedral (XI century) and Gelati Monastery (XII century). All of them are protected by UNESCO. If you want to learn about Georgia’s fight to preserve its Christian identity and be stunned by fantastic frescoes don’t miss these churches and monasteries! There are also several well-known monuments to the Jewish and Muslim faiths in Georgia. This land has been a home to many nations and cultures throughout the centuries.

MAGICAL MINERAL WATERS The most famous spa resort in Georgia is Borjomi, a small town in the southern part of the country that is home to a rich variety of mineral and thermal springs. Borjomi water is one of Georgia’s main exports; its quality and curative properties are really incredible. If you seek to improve your health, visit Borjomi – it is just 2.5 hours from the capital, Tbilisi. Bakuriani, Bakhmaro, Abastumani are smaller resorts that combine clean mountain air with the healing power of mineral water. There are many springs with waters that help treat a multitude of ailments, from digestive problems to bone diseases. Tskhaltubo and Sairme are famous for their radon waters that are used for baths. The local doctors will prescribe a daily regiment of procedures based on your health and needs. There is so much to discover in Georgia - its cuisine, wine, spas, culture and much, much more. We hope you have a great visit to our country, and come back to explore more and more!

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ARRIVING IN GEORGIA

Most arrivals in Georgia arrive at Tbilisi International Airport, 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, Pegasus Airlines, Elinair and Atlasjet. Wizz Air also offers inexpensive direct flights from Europe. Recent arrivals on the Georgian aviation scene are Fly Arabia and EL Al Israel Airlines. 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 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 local air terminals in Batumi on the Black Sea coast (390 km from Tbilisi) and in Kutaisi, Imereti region ( 230 km from Tbilisi). The airport at Kutaisi is very basic, just a simple immigration and customs post. Low cost flights directly to Kutaisi from international destinations (Budapest, Warsaw, Munich, Berlin, Vilnius, Milan, Thessaloniki and more) are now possible by Wizz Air (www.wizzair. com). 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 schedule of incoming flights.

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GETTING TO TBILISI BY ROAD AND RAIL

GETTING AROUND TBILISI

Travellers who drive to Georgia from Turkey cross the border at Kemalpasra (Turkey) to enter Sarpi (west Georgia/Black Sea coast – a distance of 400 km to Tbilisi and 15 km to Batumi) or at Posof (Turkey) to enter Vale (southwest Georgia – a distance of 300 km to Tbilisi). You can also cross into Georgia from 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 170 km to 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. Bearing in mind the drivers often only speak Georgian. Some of the larger taxi companies are: Transom (+995) 32 274 74 74 www.taxi.ge; Tiko Ltd. (+995) 2 200 200;

Travelling on the country's upgraded 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 3 major bus stations in Tbilisi with buses coming and going 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 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, and you can purchase tickets on the site as well. www.railway.ge; or www.matarebeli.ge

PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN TBILISI Tbilisi is a small city so it is generally easy to navigate. The underground rail system operates in most parts of the city. The Tbilisi Metro is open from 6am to 12pm. A single journey costs 50 tetri (100 tetri = 1 GEL) and you can only pay with Metromani travel cards. 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. The minibuses in Tbilisi stop on request except when travelling along Rustaveli and Chavchavadze Avenues. A single minibus fare is 0.80 GEL.

DRIVING 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. The minimum age requirement is 25 for car rentals. Cars can be rented with or without a driver.

GETTING TO GEORGIA VIA THE BLACK SEA Batumi and Poti are major passenger ship ports on the Black Sea coast. www.batumiport.com

Try to learn few local 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”.

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Tika Tours 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, that 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.

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. info@tikatours.com / +995 570 70 72 14 / www.tikatours.com

Château Svanidze / Winery & Vineyards Georgian Award-Winning Organic Wine / A Taste of Authenticity

QUEEN`S SULPHUR BATH-HOUSE

Take a break from the ordinary, slow down, relax, and escape with a journey back 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


TBILISI

TBILISI -THE ANCIENT CAPITAL CITY OF GEORGIA ESTABLISHED: V CENTURY EARLY NAME: TIFLIS AREA: 720 SQUARE KILOMETERS POPULATION: 1.1 MILLION PEOPLE The design of the coat of arms symbolizes a round sword, shaped like the Georgian letter “T” (თ). The inclusion of a pheasant and sparrow-hawk illustrate the legend.

HOW WAS TBILISI FOUNDED

There are various legends about the founding of Tbilisi. According to one, the royal falcon attacked a pheasant during a hunt. Both fell into the broiling hot spring. The famous healing sulphuric baths of Abanotubani were discovered and King Gorgasali decided to found his new capital here and name it Tbilisi, meaning ‘warm place’.

LOCATION OF TBILISI

Tbilisi sits on a 720sq km site 380-600m above sea level in the eastern part of Georgia. The river Mtkvari cuts through the city, dividing it into right and left banks and providing it with its main source of water. The river cuts from the north-west to the south-east of tbilisi.

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EXPLORE TBILISI´S ECLECTIC ARCHITECTURE Tbilisi’s favourable and strategic location in the heart of the Caucasus between Europe and Asia made various powers in the region desired it over the years. Through the ages, it was ruled by various empires – Roman, Byzantine, Persian, Arab, Iranian, Turkish, Mongol, and Russian – and each left a mark on its architecture.

Tbilisi’s architecture is a delightful synthesis of the various styles and the city was embraced the eclectic heritage and fusion of old and new architectural styles as its new strategy for the city’s development. In Tbilisi can you find majestic 9th century European architecture with Persian motives clashing with so-called “Italian” courtyards with beautiful wooden balconies and railings. You will also meet imposing Soviet era monuments, masterpieces of modernism, and 21st century contemporary buildings.


TASTE TBILISI

Around the city you can find a great variety of restaurants offering Georgian and European cuisines. A large number of restaurants are in the touristic Old City neighborhood – Meidan and Abanotubani. Leselidze Street (Kote Apkhazi) is dotted with cozy cafes, souvenir and wine shops, and Kiacheli Street is home to pubs and cafes. For something quick, there is always the little corner shop selling kachapuri, bread filled with cheese, the ubiquitous traditional Georgian dish; for a truly local experience, enjoy it with a glass of wine. Visitors to Georgia have a unique opportunity to stroll through the farmers’ and flea markets found in Tbilisi. Most notable is the fresh, seasonal produce, which is distinctively full flavored. While some rather amazing 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 which 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 exotic sulphur baths, very close to the centre of town, consist of a series of strange, low domes, dominated by a beautiful building with a Central Asian style facade of mosaics. The baths that inspired the establishment of Tbilisi. They have been visited for centuries by tired travellers traversing long distances to reach 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.

PROJECT

NEW TIFLIS

CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS

The capital is the cultural hotbed of the country. The famous Tbilisi Opera House with its distinctive striped stonework after complete renovations and was reopened last year. 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 Dancing Group. Rustavelli Avenue, named after Georgia’s most famous medieval poet, Shota Rustavelli, is the main avenue of Tbilisi. Here you can find Rustaveli Theatre, the State and Art Museums, all containing unique artifacts and treasures – including brilliant medieval enamelwork and gold collections. There are attractive shops along Freedom Square where a glittering statue of St. George sits on top of the column.

Tbilisi City Hall initiated an urban renewal project named The New Tiflis last year. The purpose of the project was to create wide scale public recreational spaces, new tourist routes, public squares and galleries, and restore and develop the architectural features of historical districts. Part of the plan was to turn Tbilisi into a ‘walkable’, pedestrianfriendly city and establish a ‘green building standard’. Restoration of beautiful century-old houses and monuments on David Aghmashenebeli Avenue was one of the most major aspects of the project; a 500m section of the road is now closed to cars, turning it into an active public space, interesting and attractive for tourists and investors.

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DATO TURASHVILI

RECOMMENDS

FAMOUS GEORGIAN WRITER DATO TURASHVILI RECOMMENDS 10 PLACES TO VISIT IN TBILISI. I like to show Tbilisi to guests and I do it with pleasure, not only when I am the host. I enjoy helping foreigners, sometimes even unknown tourists in the street. I do not have some specific route that I take them on, but there are a few places in Tbilisi that are very interesting and invaluable to me and I like to show them to tourists. In particular, there are three districts of our capital I love to take visitors. It is best to start our tour near Metekhi Castle and Narikala, which provides a beautiful view of the Mtkvari River. I always start retelling the history of Tbilisi from there:

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Metekhi Castle and King Vakhtang Gorgasali are closely associated with the city of Tbilisi, especially the historical district of Isani and it’s role in the history of Georgia and Tbilisi.

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Meidani and Abanotubani, two neighborhoods across the Metekhi bridge, where many historical events have occurred over the centuries that have strongly influenced the city’s development and culture.

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Nearby you can find the Legtakhevi waterfall, where guests can walk through a small and very cool canyon, where they can rest from the sun during the summer time.

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In vicinity of Sioni Church there is the historical Artsruni caravanserai, which is still standing and is a very good place to tell about main characteristics of Tbilisi, especially since the Tbilisi Museum is nearby.

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Walk through the streets of the Sololaki neighborhood, especially the yard at the historic House of Writers with its mosaic terrace – the one thing that will amaze any foreign tourist.

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After a walk in Sololaki, I always recommend taking a break and eating real Khinkali at the AmoRame cafe on Pavle Ingorokva street. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find really tasty Khinkali these days, so guests will be pleased for the chance to try some.

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The Georgian State Museum on Rustaveli Avenue, where visitors can explore the history of our country as told through the priceless artifacts and exhibits.

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The front row at Rustaveli Theater and a stop at the Opera House to see famous the chandelier and, of course, a small tour of the main avenue named after our most famous poet.

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Aleksandre Garden and the Blue Gallery, where the work of our famous artists is permanently on display. And finally, Georgian wine, somewhere – like at Museum hotel,

10 located on the embankment of the Mtkvari River, in the building

that used to house Maiko Orbeliani’s 19th century salon.

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STATE OPERA HOUSE OF GEORGIA


NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDEN OF GEORGIA

This beautiful garden is centuries old, and existed as a royal garden long before it was formally established as a botanical garden in 1845. It covers a hilly area of 96 hectares, with 58 hectares covered with natural vegetation. The garden collection includes over 4500 species of flora – ornamental, medicinal and flora of the Caucasus and beyond. A number of historical monuments, such as the Narikala Fortress and Queen Tamar’s bridge, are within its surroundings so the garden represents a significant cultural and heritage site located in old Tbilisi, on the southern foothills of the Sololaki Range. New addition: JAPANESE GARDEN In October 2016, a small Japanese garden was added in the botanical garden. Fashioned after a traditional Japanese garden complete with Torii gate, it covers 240sq m. Be transported to the East by symbols of Japanese garden beauty such as sculpture of happiness and fate, Tasoto style stone tower, Asuga style stone lamp and traditional Japanese purple bridge. And in spring, cherry blossoms! A lava rock was brought from Mount Fuji and there are also pavilions to enjoy a blissful cup of matcha.

GREEN EXPO17 - The first green

exhibition in Georgia The first exhibition of botanical gardens and garden art, GreenExpo17 is coming up. The project brings together organisations working on botanical gardens, parks, garden art and organising of annual botanic exhibitions to support the development of a gardening culture in Georgia.

Location: New decorating space Duration: 05-06 May, 2017 Working HRs: 11:00 – 18:00

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REAL NAVIGATION Official dealer in Georgia

GeoLand.ge

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A FOOD AND WINE SYMPHONY How far has Georgian wine come? Perhaps an evening of elegant dining where Georgian wines were successfully paired with modern cuisine holds some answers. STORY AND WINE PAIRING BY ANA KHITARISHVILI

Experiencing culture is not just about visiting new places, but embracing every unique aspect of it. How can one taste the full flavour of a country such as Georgia, whose history stretches back thousands of years? Fortunately, Georgia has arguably the oldest winemaking tradition in the world, and one can start to understand the country simply by drinking of its wines! Traditional Georgian wines, fermented and stored in clay jars called qvevri, develop unique and complex characteristics such as deep amber colour, earthy scent and delightful astringency. The world is currently just waking up to qvevri wines, a hot topic among winemakers and connoisseurs alike, across continents. To capture the complex and diverse flavours of Georgian wines, and to show that they are well suited not only for traditional Georgian cuisine, we matched a selection of fine Georgian wines to modern European cuisine prepared by visiting chef Jean Michel Fraisse. The avid French chef is a hospitality and culinary consultant and trainer based in Kuala Lumpur, and director of the French Culinary School in Asia. The food and wine pairing dinner was very kindly hosted by Gia Piradashvili and his wife Nino Gagua at the fabulous Château Mere in Kakheti, the region in Georgia most famous for wine. Piradashvili himself, the owner of the château, is a great foodie, a creative and extraordinary bon vivant who is curious about all novel ideas and trends. It is thanks to him that this most appealing food and wine matching was possible. As eating in season is important to the French and any good chef – a philosophy that Piradashvili subscribes to as well – the plan was to visit the local bazar and grab the finest and freshest ingredients available to improvise a casual but structured meal suitable for wine pairing. Fresh and in season, and if it’s local, that’s even better, said the chef. Into the baskets went figs, peaches, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, garlic and lots of fresh herbs. Piradashvili said he had a ready supply of good local meat and fish, so the Château Mere kitchen would provide these. We popped into a supermarket for condiments and seasoning ingredients, butter, cream and some caviar. After the bazar, we visited a nearby Telavi cheese farm, Marleta, in the village of Shalauri. Sopo Gorgadze and Levan Tsaguria are modern, self-taught, artisanal cheese makers who have been making some of the most interesting cheeses in Georgia. They make small batches in the style of international varieties of cheeses such as camembert, Chaource, St Maure goat cheese, and goat cheese ricotta. Apart from cheese, Sopo also kindly provided us with courgette flowers and fresh herbs from her garden. Being a Georgian Sommelier School educator and program manager, I was asked to pair each of the six courses with a local wine – something I looked forward to with great pleasure, being well-acquainted with Georgian wines and their specific styles, and the winemakers. The purpose was to pair Georgian wines to a modern, international style of cuisine, and to introduce and showcase the wines to a discerning audience – the cognoscenti guests of Château Mere were invited to this special event. THE WINES SERVED: Tvishi 2014 (semi-sweet AOC) and Mtsvane 2014 (dry white) from Vismino; Winiveria Mtsvane 2015 (dry white); Gavazi 2005 (dry red); Khareba Saperavi Premium 2010 (dry red); Chotiashvili Kisi Qvevri 2014 (dry white qvevri); Chateau Mukhrani Muscat (sweet wine).

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A PLACE YOU

SHOULD VISIT CHÂTEAU MUKHRANI is the authentic, historical leader in the Georgian wine industry. Since the very beginning, starting with its founder Prince Ivane Mukhranbatoni, it has always been the leading brand, combining local traditions and contemporary technologies to revolutionize the quality of Georgian wines. Having its remarkable history, high-class image, outstanding quality, unique domain and cellars, Château Mukhrani is today a leading Georgian wine producer. UNIQUE EXPERIENCE Château Mukhrani is a must-visit venue to get a fascinating insight into the traditions and secrets of Georgian wine-making, blended with remarkable stories about the Georgian royal family. It`s a place where royal ambience, traditions, legends, mesmerizing nature and Georgian winemaking secrets meet modern standards and high quality service. A 25 minute drive from Tbilisi leads to the peaceful gardens of Château Mukhrani. The place embodies everything Georgians are proud of: Georgian hospitality, finest wines and food, unique history and nature.

CHÂTEAU MUKHRANI WINE TOURS

Lots of visitors are fascinated by Château Mukhrani wine tours and events, essential experience for any wine enthusiast: • Visit the royal castle, unique cellars and winery • Learn about the history of the Georgian Royal family Estate • Discover the Château’s art of winemaking • Stroll through the vineyards • Take the mystery out of premium wine tasting • Taste a range of special dishes in the restaurant “Samepo Marani 1878”. Château Mukhrani award-winning culinary team invites you to try an original selection of Georgian and European dishes, which are made from natural products produced in Mukhrani.

CHÂTEAU MUKHRANI EVENTS

Château Mukhrani is providing the full management of the events: Weddings, private parties, corporate and MICE events. With a team of our professional event managers and sommeliers you can create an event that is unique, fun and memorable.

Reservations: Tel.: +995 595 99 13 14/15/16; E-mail: 1878@mukhrani.com www.chateaumukhrani.com


FIG WITH GOAT CHEESE, HERBS, WALNUT, AND OLIVE OIL AND HONEY DRESSING, 1 FRESH PAIRED WITH THE WINE VISMINO TVISHI 2014 (SEMI-SWEET WHITE, AOC) pale straw colour white cherry, pear, citrus and some floral hints acidity well-balanced with sweetness, good body, white cherry hints on the palate Vismino is a new label which targets young wine drinkers. The brand identity connects music with wine styles. The estate’s vinification process is led by winemaker and CEO of GWS Phillipe Lespy and young winemaker Nikoloz Natroshvili. Lespy has a Ph.D from Bordeaux University specialising in grape varietals biology and physiology, and more than 18 years’ experience working at the wineries in Bordeaux, France (Baron Phillipe de Rotschild SA, Chateau Lagrange, Chateau Serilhan). Natroshvili having (Masters of Viticulture and Oenology, France) working experience in Burgundy and a biodynamic winery in Switzerland. The winemakers are into terroir-specific wines – special plots are selected for special wine styles. The wines are harmonious with fruity, floral and oaky notes. Tvishi semi-sweet AOC wine is made from Tsolikouri grapes grown in west Georgia, in Lechkhumi, on the right bank of river Rioni, at an altitude above 500m and in mostly brown forest acid or yellow brown soil. Tsolikouri is an indigenous Georgian varietal originating from Kolkheti (west Georgia). The grape is late ripening and wines are characterised by pale straw colour, fresh acidity (due to cold climate) and white fruit aromas. The sweetness of the wine integrates well with the taste of honey, walnuts and spices. Wine aromas of white cherry, citrus, floral hints, pear and other yellow fruits combine delicately with the spicy aromas of the dish. The sweetness and acidity of the wine balances out the earthiness of olive oil and mild tartness characteristic of soft and crumbly goat’s cheese. OTHER RECOMMENDED WINES: Mtsvane dry white wines from Kakheti region eg Mtsvane Telavi Wine Cellar 2015, Manavi 2015 Kakhetian Wine Cellar, since they are known for their fresh acidity.

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FLOWER STUFFED WITH GOAT CHEESE 2 COURGETTE RICOTTA AND HERBS, AND POMEGRANATE SYRUP, PAIRED WITH THE WINE VISMINO MTSVANE 2014 (DRY WHITE) pale straw colour lime, green pepper, green apple and small white flowers harmonious acidity balanced with expressed alcohol, long aftertaste Mtsvane is a widely planted white grape in east Georgia, in vineyards in Akhmeta region, Maghrani, about 700m above sea level. The soil content is clay, with high content of iron. The Mtsvane variety can express its full potential in the given area, the grapes maturing homogenously and developing good acidity and aromas of green pepper, green apple and citrus. The dish of ricotta-stuffed courgette flower has delicate floral aromas and tanginess, and gentle hints of fresh herbs; the drizzle of zingy sweet and sour pomegranate syrup complements the subtle sweetness of ricotta cheese beautifully. Vismino Mstvane with its harmonious acidity cuts through the softness of ricotta and balances the tanginess of the courgette flower. Alcohol also enhances the flavours of the pomegranate syrup to leave a lingering, acidic sweetness characteristic of pomegranate, while not losing the herbal hints of the meal and greenish herbaceous aroma of the wine. OTHER RECOMMENDED (DRY WHITE) WINES:Khareba Tsinanadali 2015, Khareba Tsitska 2014 and Tsolikouri 2014

CARPACCIO IN MTSVANE OLIVE OIL MARI3 TROUT NADE, CRÈME FRAÎCHE & TROUT ROE, PAIRED WITH THE WINE WINIVERIA MTSVANE 2015 (DRY WHITE WINE) pale straw colour green pepper, lime and lemon fresh acidity balanced with moderate alcohol Mtsvane is a popular white grape variety in East Georgia. Winiveria is a brand of Château Mere, which produces wines from varieties that are planted in the Kakheti region. Fresh trout, with its earthy flavours, harmonises with the fresh acidity of the wine and richness of crème fraîche for a lingering finish on the palate. It stokes aromas of green peppers alongside white cherries and limes. Alcohol in the wine strengthens the structure of the meal. The citrusy notes of the wine complements the fish beautifully for a perfect marriage of ingredients where flavours are woken up by simply putting them together. OTHER RECOMMENDED WINES: Goruli Mtsvane from Kartli region such as Château Mukhrani Goruli Mtsvane 2015.

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KHAREBA SAPERAVI PREMIUM 2010 (DRY RED)

TROUT FILLET WITH SAPERAVI BUTTER SAUCE, 4 PANFRIED PAIRED WITH THE WINES KHAREBA SAPERAVI PREMIUM 2010 AND GAVAZI SAPERAVI 2005 ruby-garnet red with brown hints blackberry, spice, prune, vanilla, coffee, mushroom, olives moderate acidity and alcohol, smooth tannins, medium aftertaste The Khareba winery combines modern technology with traditional Georgian vinification methods. Its 1000ha of vineyard area is regarded the largest in the country. The vineyards are in Kakheti, Imereti, as well as Racha-Lechkhumi and Samegrelo. The grapes are hand-harvested in Kakheti, with selection of best berries for the vinification. Chief winemaker Vladimir Kublashvili elaborates the wines in a vibrant, youthful spirit. The panfried trout in a red wine butter sauce has moderate structure and distinguished fish taste, the butter and wine sauce giving it extremely unique hints of fresh tartness. The Khareba Saperavi Premium’s characteristic aromas of ripened prunes, berries, slight mushroom and olive, gained from the ageing process is a great match for the dish. Good, ripe tannins create harmony with butter and wine sauce, enhancing the flavours of the fish.

GAVAZI SAPERAVI 2005 (DRY RED)

PANFRIED TROUT FILLET WITH SAPERAVI BUTTER SAUCE,

PAIRED WITH THE WINES KHAREBA SAPERAVI PREMIUM 2010 AND GAVAZI SAPERAVI 2005 dark ruby red with brown hints and slight violet hints characteristic of Tavkveri variety blackcurrant, blackberry, prune, oaky aromas, chocolate, black tea moderate acidity and alcohol with smooth tannins The Gavazi brand is new in the market though the wines were vinified in 2005. Young yet experienced winemaker Vano Shiukashvili and his partner Rostom Sesiashvili created Gavazi in the village of the same name in the Kvareli region of Kakheti, eastern Georgia. Vineyards are planted on the left bank of the Alazani river about 25 years ago. Soil is alluvial, clay, at about 400m above sea level. Late harvest grapes are processed traditionally in qvevri, then in oak barrels. Vine varieties are Saperavi (60%), Saperavi Budeshuri (20%) and Tavkveri (20%). The passionate and curious winemaker puts all his efforts into expressing the whole potential of grapes from the terroir – one can confidently add that Vano managed to portray smoothness and emotional robustness in this wine. Gavazi’s characteristic aromas of ripened blackberry, oak, and delicate hints of chocolate together with black tea aromas, have created a match made in heaven with the panfried trout in a red wine butter sauce with hints of chocolate. The playful combination of black tea and hints of chocolate with moderate tannins and acidity lifts the dish to another level, creating aromas that are harmonious and memorable. OTHER RECOMMENDED WINES: Saperavi Qvevri Koncho and Company 2011

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SAUTÉED VEAL WITH QVEVRI WHITE WINE AND 5 CHOTIASHVILI CREAMY MUSHROOM SAUCE, PAIRED WITH THE WINE MARANI KISI 2015 (DRY WHITE QVEVRI) amber colour floral, white cherry, dried apricot(fruity/aromatic) high acidity harmoniously balanced with moderate alcohol and smooth tannins Kakha Chotiashvili is one of those great young qvevri winemakers who elaborates on the unique styles of old Georgian wines. You can tell his wines by their aromatic, very smooth and balanced taste. His passion for creating consistently interesting wine with body, tannin and uniqueness, not to mention flavour, ensures that quality exceeds all expectations. The vineyards are located at 500m above sea level in the village of Saniore, on the right bank of the Alazani river where the soil is rich with carbonate. The great success factor of this wine comes from the vineyards – green harvest and maturation control before harvest are some of those factors influencing the quality of grapes. Lightly pan-fried, the veal is tender and slightly gamey, smothered in sautéed mushrooms and a creamy sauce, striking a beautiful match with the Kisi. The qvevri white wine, with OTHER RECOMMENDED its robust body packed with flavours and complex aromas, penetrates WINES: Vita Vinea the veal and mushroom sauce, the Kisi 2015 (dry white) marriage giving the dish extra depth and layers.

POACHED PEACH WITH MUSCAT, FONTAINEBLEAU,

& CHACHA COULIS, PAIRED WITH THE 6 STRAWBERRY WINE CHÂTEAU MUKHRANI FINEST MUSCAT (DESSERT WINE) amber colour dried fruits, figs, prunes good acidity, highalcohol, smooth and long finish The winemaking of Château Mukhrani started in 1878 when the first bottle was released, following the return from France of Ivane Mukhranbatoni, descendant of the Bagrationi Royal Family and his decision to introduce the concept of Château in Georgia. The winery has invested heavily in modern equipment for vinification recently and the Chief Winemaker & CEO Patrick Honnef leads the winemaking process with the young Georgian winemaker Giorgi Svanidze. The dessert wine is made of Muscat Bianco (Italian variety) planted in Kartli and the wine matches well with peach desserts as well as strawberry and crème fraiche. Its fruitiness and aromatic hints lifts individual ingredients of the dessert.

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NATIONAL WINE AGENCY PROMOTES STRONGER GEORGIAN EXPORTS

National Wine Agency recommends to guests visiting Georgia taste Georgian wine, because Georgian wine is the main ambassador of Georgia due to the unique and ancient history.

Georgia is an ancient country with a 8000-year history of viticulture and winemaking. Georgia has more than 500 types of wine and unique methods of winemaking. The National Wine Agency has two main goals: quality control, including the certification of wines and spirits produced in Georgia, and the promotion and popularization of Georgian wine in strategic significant markets. The agency updates its marketing strategy and action plan annually and, as a result, Georgian wines are becoming more popular in markets around the world. The most strategic export markets for Georgian are Great Britain, Poland, China, Baltic Countries and USA.

methodology, the “Pitcher wine International Symposium” will be organized by National Wine Agency in autumn. “GEORGIAN WINE DAY” WILL BE HELD IN OCTOBER.

In 2017, the list of strategic markets for Georgian wine will include Japan. In 2017 Georgian wine will be exhibited in 15 international exhibitions including the Boston Wine Expo in USA (18-19 February); FoodEx Japan (07-10 March); Prowein in Dusseldorf (19 - 21 March); Chengdu Food&Drink Fair ( 23-25 March) and CCPIT – Beijing (9.03.2017-01.04.2017), in China; Real Wine Fair in London (5-8, May); Winexpo Bordeaux, in France, Bordeaux (18-21 June). Some important events planned in Georgia in 2017 include the “New Wine Festival” organized by “Wine club”. The event will take place at Tbilisi Mtatsminda Park in May. The second event – the 10th International exhibition of wines and spirits WinExpo - is scheduled to take place on 9-11 June at “ExpoGeorgia”, the Tbilisi exhibition centre. The 5th symposium about wine making traditions and

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For more information about Georgian wine companies, events and exhibitions, please see the event calendar at www.georgianwine.gov.ge


TALK A LITTLE, DRINK MORE

In love with Georgian wines, avid hobby wine maker in Maryland Terry Sullivan makes the case for education to open doors for Georgian wine.

Perhaps the largest challenge when it comes to Georgian wines is the ancient white winemaking in buried qvevri. Red wine made in qvevri does not pose a problem; white wine does. Frequently, the first thought is that a qvevri white wine is faulted; it is oxidized. I have been very careful with making qvevri wines for three vintages to avoid the wines from succumbing to oxidation. The cap formed during fermentation and afterwards helps. Sealing or partially sealing the qvevri during fermentation and after fermentation also helps as a layer of carbon dioxide lays over the surface.

I invited my neighbour over for a quick taste of the wine in my qvevri prior to sealing it for the winter. The cap had settled and already the wine near the surface had cleared as the heavier particles settled. Dipping a wine glass in the qvevri, a traditional olive-shaped clay vessel buried in the ground, some wine was scooped out and tasted. A smile and wonder came to my neighbour’s face. Qvevri winemking is an ancient winemaking protocol. To demonstrate this, I placed clay on the rim of the qvevri. I then placed a solid piece of glass over the qvevri and pressed down. The next steps were to fill the area around the qvevri with several centimetres of sand, lay a heavy, marble top over the sand and place a tarp on the ground to cover the area. Months will pass before digging out the sand and carefully, opening the qvevri for its wine. There are challenges for those who are not familiar with Georgian wines to overcome. Education seems to be the constant solution. One challenge is the names of the grapes commonly used to make Georgian wines. For many, these grape varieties are difficult to spell and pronounce. Another challenge is Georgian appellation wines,as there are differences between Georgian appellations and American Viticultural Areas AVAs. In the United States, an AVA designates a place; whereas, in Georgia an appellation not only identifies a place, it also names a wine.

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During the winter, it seems that the wine in the small qvevri is in a vortex. This gentle movement is enough to stir up some of the lees and allow more carbon dioxide to move to the surface to protect against oxygen. There are other challenges of qvevri white wine though. Dark yellow to amber coloured, full-bodied white wines with bold tannins are not the usual tasting profile of white wines that the rest of the world is accustomed to. When I give presentations about Georgian wines, I often explain the process of qvevri winemaking. I especially note the colour extraction from the skins, the full body of the wines and the presence of tannins. When people hear of these, they are generally open to experiencing Georgian qvevri white wines. With winemakers from the rest of the world, this is not that impressive. What impresses the world American winemakers I have met is that qvevri winemaking is the only winemaking process on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. This elevates the process from a mere fad to a special plateau of winemaking. I especially noted the need of education when it comes to Georgian wines at the 2015 Boston Wine Expo. I was pouring wines for Badagoni winery in Kakheti. I explained the qvevri winemaking process prior to pouring the liquid sunshine. The main reaction was to the wine’s tannins. Those who liked tannins in red wines especially liked them in


the Georgian qvevri white wine. Those who did not like tannins in red wines did not care for the qvevri white wine. I make several presentations a year about Georgian wines. In 2016, I gave a presentation to an exclusive group of women from Welcome to Washington International Club. The group was very interested in Georgian wines, especially because of the international make-up of the group. I also presented to

some of the local chapters of the American Wine Society. These were wine drinkers who had a good knowledge of wine. They too were open to Georgian wines regardless of the wines’ names or style. They tasted my 2015 qvevri Rkatsiteli and I heard many favourable comments. I then moved on to tasting the Georgian qvevri wines that tended to be darker with more tannins than I can extract in my small qvevri. Again I reaffirmed that education opens the door to a positive experience of enjoying Georgian wines.

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NATIONAL PARKS YOUR KEY TO THE WILDS OF GEORGIA “Lagodekhi was the first place I saw a Caucasian Tur in the wild” says Vano, “and from that moment I was hypnotized. He just stood there, motionless, on the edge of the cliff while his family grazed quietly behind him. In that moment, you feel almost out of place there, while he belongs totally to nature. After that, it’s difficult to appreciate other kinds of beauty.”

FOR CAUCASUS NATURE FUND By Joseph Alexander Smith Communications and Visibility Assistant

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Vano is part of a monitoring team from a Georgian biodiversity monitoring NGO, which is undertaking a survey of the population of East Caucasian Tur – a large mountain goat that lives only in the Eastern Caucasus and is considered ‘near threatened’ by the IUCN. The monitoring mission is financed by the Caucasus Nature Fund (CNF), a German-funded organisation that is working to create a sustainable protected areas system in Georgia through supporting operating and monitoring costs at the parks. Thanks to such efforts, the population of East Caucasian Tur is believed to be quite healthy in Lagodekhi, and Vano’s team has arrived in time for the rutting season – when male tur come down from their high mountain dwellings to breed, resulting in frequent face-offs and locked horns, as males compete with each other for mating rights. “I’ve been to Lagodekhi many times,” says Vano, “but never this late in November. The high snowy peaks of Lagodekhi are especially hard for those who have only a superficial love for nature.”


Indeed, while many of Georgia’s protected areas cover some of the most remote and hard-to-reach territories in the country, visitors who make the effort are rewarded with an experience of unrivaled natural beatuty. Few countries can boast snowy mountain peaks, alpine meadows, sub-tropical forests, and semi-desert landscapes – all within a few hundred kilometers of one another. In order to preserve this unique natural heritage for future generations, over 8 percent of the country’s territory is included within Georgia’s Protected Areas system. These parks and reserves play an essential role in protecting valuable yet vulnerable ecosystems from pressures such as poaching and logging, but they also mean the protected areas are open for visitors, complete with trails and other tourism infrastructure. Tucked away in the far north-eastern corner of the country, between Dagestan and Azerbai-

jan, the Lagodekhi Protected Areas covers a swathe of territory that includes humid forests of beech and maple, as well as alpine zones at the top of the Caucasus Mountain Range. The area was designated as a reserve in 1912 – the first in the entire Caucasus region – through the efforts of Polish amateur-naturalist Ludwik Mlokosiewicz, who discovered the region’s breathtaking biodiversity while stationed at the local garrison of the Russian Imperial Army. One of the highlights of any visit to the Lagodekhi Protected Areas is a visit to the stunning Black Rocks Lake, which lies 2,790 metres above sea-level on the border between Georgia and Dagestan. Over a three-day trip, visitors can hike through thick forest, with a reasonable chance of encountering deer on the way, overnighting in the ‘Meteo’ tourist shelter before making the ascent to Black Rocks Lake.

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But for anyone seriously in love with lakeside vistas – birdwatchers included – you can do no better than the Javakheti Protected Areas. Located in the south-west of the country near the borders of Turkey and Armenia, Javakheti is a classic borderland long contested between various empires and peoples. This is the place where St. Nino entered Georgia, resting on the shores of lake Paravani before heading east, where she would eventually convert King Mirian III to Christianity at the beginning of the 3rd Century. Today the area is largely populated by ethnic Armenians, and has long been a cradle of Armenian culture – exemplified by the 19th century poet-singer Jivani, who is celebrated with an annual music festival in the village of Kartsakhi. There are also numerous ruined castles and churches – including the spectacular Kumurdo Cathedral – and a visit can easily be combined with a trip to the nearby 12th century Vardzia cave complex. The Protected Areas’ prime draw consists of numerous expansive lakes and the varied birdlife they attract. Dalmatian Pelicans – the heaviest species of flying bird – have a breeding colony at Lake Kartsakhi, and storks nest atop electricity pylons throughout the region. Even flamingos stop here to rest and feed during their long southerly migration,

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but the birds sighted in Georgia tend to be more white and grey than bright pink due to a difference in diet. On Kartsakhi Lake, a watchtower used by border guards during the Cold War has been re-purposed for bird-


watching, and other hides and picnic spots can be found dotted around the various lakes and wetlands that make up the Javakheti Protected Areas. The Agency of Protected Areas' website provides a wealth of information in English that will help you plan your visit, including downloadable trail maps and advice on what to bring. After that, your next step should be to stop-off at the visitor’s centre of the Protected Area you wish to visit, where qualified staff are on hand to advise you, and where you can usually rent additional equipment (tents, sleeping bags, etc.) and arrange a guide. As dusk falls over the mountains of Lagodekhi, Vano and his team head back to the shelter to collate their data. He continues to muse about the relationship between people and

nature. “When we spend time in nature, we’re simply returning to that place from which we originally came,” he says. “It’s so easy to forget everything you’ve left behind and just be still, like that tur on the edge of the cliff. Time moves on, but I’m so thankful that tomorrow another day will dawn, and that nature is still here for anyone who has the desire to experience it.”

Age ncy of Protected A reas Contact Infor mation: V i si tor Specialist: +995 577 907 272 i nfo@apa.ge / www.apa.ge F acebook: A gency of Protected Areas

GEORGIA ECOTOURISM ASSOCIATION IS YOUR RELIABLE PARTNER IN GEORGIA AND CAUCASUS With its unique nature and ancient traditions, Georgia is truly a hidden paradise on earth. The country offers a range of ecotourism services for travellers interested in experiencing pristine nature and ancient, well preserved traditions in mountain villages, especially in Tusheti, Svaneti, Upper Ajara and Khevsureti regions. To preserve, protect and share these unique experience for tourists is one of the main roles of Georgian Ecotourism Association (GEA). GEA has been a member of the International Ecotourism Society and Geographic Society of Georgia since 2012. GEA unites members in different regions of Georgia who are interested in sustainable tourism development and have opened their doors to visitors to share Georgian hospitality and traditions. They offer farm-stays and rural accommodations, mostly located near national parks and remote areas in Georgia. For information contacts GEA at info@ecotourism.ge Address: 11 Lado Gudiashvilist. Tbilisi 0114 Georgia www.ecotourism.ge / ecotourismgeo@gmail.com


TREKKING IN A LAND TIME FORGOT

Legends, myths, ancient history and magic collide in the splendid Tusheti region of the Greater Caucasus. Story and photos by JULIE WONG & J.M FRAISSE Svaneti vs Tusheti. We were divided over our first trek in the Greater Caucasus. There are at least 10 other trails that you can take in Georgia, but these two are the stars. For the adventure trekker, Tusheti offers a less travelled option to the upper Svaneti, a UNESCO listed heritage site of “alpine scenery with medieval-type villages and tower houses”. The more untouched destination beckoned and we mapped out a 5-6 day route in the shadow of the Greater Caucasus Trail. It’s good to know that this trail is now part of the Transcaucasian Trail that is being developed, and billed as one of the greatest hiking trails in the world. When completed, the TCT will link two dozens existing and proposed national parks from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, and linking the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, each 1500km long. Our Tusheti trek starts in Omalo and ends in Shatili, straddling the regions of Kakheti and Mtskheta-Mtianeti in north-eastern Georgia. That’s a distance of about 70km, or about 14km a day, or 5 to 6 hours’ walk a day. In reality of course, you walk longer on some days and shorter on another. But first, one needs to get to Omalo

THE ROAD TO OMALO

OMALO

From Tbilisi, we taxied to Telavi, 90km away. There, a 4WD was waiting to take us to Pshaveli village, 32km away. And from there, it’s another 72km to Omalo. The road to Omalo is by no account an ordinary road – its mere mention strikes fear in people’s hearts as it has the reputation of being one of the world’s “10 most dangerous roads”. But before the road was opened in 1978, there was no way to get to Omalo by wheels. The last 70km took four hours as our driver mostly shifted between first and second gears. The Pajero climbed 1500m to the Abano Pass at 2960m before going down to 700m on a narrow dirt track with hairpin bends and heart-stopping drops to the unknown. Photos of those who perished posted along the way added to the tension. But the views get more breathtaking as you climb – but my breath was “taken away” more times by the drive than the sights!

In Omalo, we stopped at the national park office to buy a trekking map before heading to Kaselo in upper Omalo.

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In Kaselo, you have a choice of half a dozen guest houses, climb a little hill to explore a cluster of medieval towers constructed during the Mongol invasion of Georgia in the 13th century. One of the original 13 towers of Kaselo fortress now holds a tiny museum. It’s worth the climb if only to enjoy vantage views of the area or have a picnic lunch. Of course there were hawks circling overhead, and you would see a dragon or two, if you waited long enough! We stayed at the dungeon-like medieval Tower Guest House in a small, stone-walled bedroom that surprisingly had an attached bath with hot showers.


DAY 1: OMALO TO DARTLO

DAY 3: GIREVI TO KVAKHIDI (‘STONE BRIDGE’)

The next morning, we followed the road until we saw the path – marked with the double stripes signage, sometimes painted on tree trunks. We came to the first serious slope, then hit the dirt road again, which took us all the way to Dartlo.

After registering at the police post, the path started to climb, following the curve of the slope – we have left the Alazani river to follow the Kvakhidisi river to Chontio and the base of Assunta Pass.

It was easy to find drinking water along the way and after a lunch stop, we reached Dartlo in the early afternoon. Crossing a bridge over the Alazani river, we came to the first guest house. Samtsikhe has 11 rooms with balconies and shared baths with hot water, and even a kitchen garden, and a beautiful restaurant by the river with long communal tables and benches hewn from logs. That evening, we were treated to an experience of Georgia’s famous hospitality. Dinner was a grand parade of traditional dishes, starting with glasses of local qvevri wines, salads, cheese, fried squash, lamb stew, lobbio (beans), dolma (huge meat-stuffed peppers), soup, bread and (huff!), giant boiled kinkhali dumplings. And watermelon. Samtsikhe is a most memorable guest house, set as it is in Dartlo at 2000m with a postcard perfect scene: a cluster of ancient stone and log houses by the river, dotted with historical towers dating back to the 16th century, and surrounded by rolling green hills. No wonder Dartlo has been described as unique, mysterious, fabulous and extraordinary.

DAY 2: DARTLO TO GIREVI It rained all night and morning too. But we were motivated and the dirt road was easy to follow. Today would be a 5 to 6 hours’ walk so there’s no pressure. Shortly after the first village, Dano, the sun was out. We met a Czech family of campers and a group of four Russians coming the other way – they had pitched tent by the road. The path continued to wind along the river to the next village, Chesho, and then Pharsma. It started to rain again; two bulldozers rolling down the road turned the road into mush. The road narrowed and the path accessible to vehicles ended just before we reached Girevi. The last stretch was just a footpath along the cliff, giving way to the river below; we got into a tricky situation when we tried to overtake two villagers balancing a new mattress between them on the narrow ledge. Veering off the river, the village of Girevi came into view: a clutch of houses, towers and remains of an ancient fortress nestled in a green valley.

Our feast for two, of tasty traditional Georgian dishes at the Samtsikhe guest house in Dartlo; seen here are just the starters.

When it started to rain, we took refuge in a shepherd’s lodge. We watched the rain filling up the shepherd’s buckets as he smoked a cigarette with his faithful Georgian shepherd dog by his side – sharing a moment of his lonely pastoral life. Behind us, the shed was filled with huge plastic bags filled with fermenting local cheese. We camped this night by the river as there were no guest houses on this leg of the journey. The Czech family we met along the way set up camp too, near where there were two large tents and horses.

DAY 4: ATSUNDA PASS … AND PARADISE! The weather was better the next morning. It was the big day of the Atsunda Pass crossing. But before that, there was the matter of crossing the river, now swollen after the rain. The men in the large tents told us we would need the horses. The Czechs declined and pressed on. We hired a horse to cross the river and carry our backpacks until the Pass for a hundred lari. At the river, the Czechs were struggling to cross it, and eventually we all crossed on horseback. It was an arduous, never ending climb up to the pass after the river. The last 200m were covered in snow, some parts so deep the horse was defeated, and took another path. At the top, we squeezed through a narrow trench of icy snow before emerging on the other side to bitingly cold winds and thick fog. We were tired, but didn’t linger in this inhospitable environment. The path down was steep and rocky, with loose gravel making finding a foothold near impossible. Once at the bottom and out of the fog, we found paradise: a garden of Eden with springs and gurgling streams where we could finally quench our thirst. The view was fabulous, the landscape a carpet of white and yellow rhododendron blooms. Dust was setting in and the Czechs set up camp at a vantage spot with fresh water. We pressed on a bit more up a winding path, intoxicated by the views. We set up camp on a bed of flowers on the slope and fell asleep under the stars dreaming of butterflies and honeybees.

On the way up to the Assunta Pass.

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The Shatili fortress, a cluster of ancient towers, houses two hotels. Here, you can be king for a day in a land time forgot.

a “fabulous treasury” of the Archangel still kept in high mountains around Mutso, waiting for the chosen one … who would be the Indiana Jones to unlock this?

DAY 6: SHATILI Shatili is a magical place by the Arghuni gorge dominated by a sprawling ancient castle at 1400m above sea level. Here’s where you can pretend to be prince and princesses or knights in shining armour. There are plenty of camping grounds here but of course you must stay at the castle!

DAY 5: MARCH TO MUTSO With blue skies, being outdoors was pure pleasure. This day was mostly a downhill trail, sometimes through thorny thickets that wore you down, until we came to the river again.

Waving at us from the balcony were – darn! – the Czech foursome; they too had hitched a ride before us. We had a great time catching up and exploring the labyrinthine castle – it’s not easy being a princess if you have to climb all those steep, dark and narrow stairways! The shower rooms are underground but have plenty of hot water for glorious showers at the end of the trek.

There were some bridges to cross but these were easy as they were in good wear. The trail was clear to see, we had to wade through some parts of the river but sun-kissed, we were in good spirit. It was even warm enough for a dip in the river. As the wilder part of the trail came to an end, we met happy Estonians on the river who offered us a swig of the local white wine. The path along the now raging river widened into a dirt road accessible to vehicles; there were still many kilometres to go and we entertained ourselves picking kondari – for the making of Tushetian tea – along the way. At the end of the trail is a ranger’s station where you need to register. At Mutso, there was a restaurant and bakery but nothing for sale. The village looked abandoned so we moved on, hoping to find a nice camping spot along the river. No luck there. We walked on despite nightfall, with the crazy idea of walking to Shatili. A few vehicles passed by and one eventually stopped and we jumped on for a free ride to Shatili. So the night was saved – and a day of walking. Before we leave Mutso, we should tell you of the legend that speaks of the villagers as guardians of

Aromatic Kondari (Savory), which bears a close resemblance to thyme, is picked and dried for brewing Tushetian tea, enjoyed all over the region.

WHEN TO GO

The tourism season is short – just four months in a year. Best time to visit is July-August but the region is open from June to October – you can’t cross the Assunta Pass outside these times. Another new pass to access the region is the Borbalo Pass, mostly used for horse trekking. The roads to Omalo and Shatili are also closed in winter.

STAY

There are adequate guest houses in the region but the upper, more remote stretches near the Assunta Pass are uninhabited so camping is necessary. Most guest houses charge an average of 60 lari (US$22) for half board which includes room, dinner and breakfast. The food is based on local products and is not diverse, but often fresh and tasty. Prebooking recommended.

HOW

You can trek independently or use a guided service, especially if you don’t want to carry your own backpack and food. The trail markings are not reliable, vanishing mid trail or not there at all, but the path is quite visible – you will be walking on a dirt road for 4WD vehicles most of the way. A trekking map is helpful.

DIFFICULTY

The paradise after Assunta Pass – there was just enough time to set up camp before nightfall after the long trek crossing the Pass.

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It’s an easy to medium difficult trek (but mostly easy) and you will enjoy it more if you stay in the guest houses, but camping all the way is possible. For more information: www.caucasus-trekking.com


THE TRANSCAUCASIAN TRAIL Volunteers from around the world have come together to create a world-class, long-distance hiking trail that crosses the Greater and Lesser Caucasus and connects diverse communities and ecosystems Project overview by Marta Mills. Marta leads stakeholder and community engagement efforts for the Transcaucasian Trail (TCT) project in the Caucasus region The Transcaucasian Trail (TCT) is a new project in Georgia and Armenia that will connect roughly two dozen existing and proposed national parks in the region. The TCT is made up of two trail corridors: the east - west corridor connecting the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and the north-south corridor connecting the Greater Caucasus and the Lesser Caucasus and continues to Meghri in southern Armenia. The project is groundbreaking: it just won “Innovation of the Year” at the Adventure Travel Awards 2017, for “opening up previously unreachable places, and helping change the lives of the communities involved for the better.” The idea behind the Transcaucasian Trail is to make hiking in the Caucasus safer and more accessible

- and provide sustainable ways for local communities to benefit from the growth of tourism. The TCT will take about three months to hike when completed. A 10-day hike across Svaneti, already open for hiking, passes beneath four of the 10 highest peaks of the Caucasus, crossing high passes, alpine meadows and glaciers before arriving at the ancient village of Ushguli, a Unesco World-Heritage site. The TCT international team which has deep connections to the Caucasus region believe that the Trail will put this hidden gem on the radar of local and international hikers; bring much-needed tourist income for the local people in often remote places; and improve access and preservation of its diverse cultural and natural heritage.

For more information about the TCT and about volunteering opportunities please visit: transcaucasiantrail.org or @transcaucasiantrail on Facebook

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AJARA – GEORGIA’S GATEWAY TO THE SEA

Known for its beaches, mountains and resorts, Ajara is one of the most beautiful regions in Georgia. The region is located in the southwestern corner of Georgia, bordered by Turkey to the south and the Black Sea. Ajara’s history dates back to antiquity and is full of Colchis and Greek ruins in Kobuleti and Gonio – Apsarus, Petra (Tsikhisdziri) fortress – where the great empires of Byzantium and Persia once fought, as well as many other archeological discoveries. Batumi, one of the oldest towns in Georgia, is the administrative centre of the Ajara Autonomous Republic. It is one of the largest seaports on the southeastern Black Sea, and is the final destination of the Baku-Batumi railway and oil pipeline.

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VERONICA RESTAURANT On the 20th floor of the hotel, taste takes of with a view of the Black Sea. Batumi as your feet and haute cuisine on your plate. With top Georgian and International labels on the wine list. Taste meets stunning views for a magnificent lunch or dinner out.

POOL BAR JASMINE

Pool Bar Jasmine offers you the chance to spend warm summer days with your family, friends or colleagues. Enjoy your lunch and dinner, delicious dishes, premium drinks, cocktails, fresh juices and relax at the poolside garden.

SHERATON SHINE SPA 2800 square meters of Spa Center, with Turkish marble bath “Hamam”, Sauna, Jacuzzi, steam room, whirlpool, Fitness Center, indoor/ outdoor swimming pool and gym. It is a distinguished place for full relaxation and taking care of your health and beauty.

The centre of Batumi is charming and beautiful, with architecture that echoes European cities built in the early 20th century. Batumi Boulevard, which was designed by French gardener, is a favorite spot for locals and foreign guests. The city also hosts international festivals, cultural and entertainment events. Maroon 5, Macy Grey, The Prodigy, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Christina Aguilera, Scorpions, Vanessa Mae, Sting, Chris Botti and many others have held concerts in Batumi as part of the Black Sea Jazz Fest. The city is also known for its extraordinary museums, including the Nobel brother’s museum of technology. Batumi has become an attractive place for investors, who have filled the city with modern, eyecatching architecture. The skyline includes the

classic lines of the Sheraton Hotel, as well as the Hilton, Auphoria and avant-garde Radisson Hotel. In addition, there is the city’s unforgettable Piazza, with its charming colors, and the graceful sculptures of Medea and Neptune at the Europe Palace. European architecture and miniature lampposts add an extra layer of atmosphere to the city’s cozy old town. Ajara boasts many beautiful places such as the Botanical Gardens, Green Cape (Mtsvane Kontskhi) and many protected areas. The swimming season in Batumi is from May until October. There are many attractive resorts around the city - Kvariati, Gonio, Makhinjauri, Tsikhisdziri and Kobuleti with numerous hotels and guesthouses. Ajara is a very special region of Georgia and is easily accessible by road, rail and air.

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This article has been prepared with support from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The views expressed in this article are those of author and do not necessarily represent those of GEF and UNDP.

PRISTINE WILDERNESS AND SCENIC BEAUTY IN AJARA’S PROTECTED AREAS Ajara is one of the most popular regions for visitors in Georgia. The Ajara coastline resorts located along the Black Sea coast are favourite tourist destinations. The region’s unique landscape, pristine wilderness and scenic beauty also attract holidaymakers to experience nature and adventure in Ajara's Protected Areas. Protected areas in Ajara, such as Kintrishi PA, Mtirala NP and Machakhela NP, are parts of an important priority conservation area in the Caucasus sand were established to conserve the unique Colchic forests. Protected Areas are rich with biodiversity. They host number of rare and endangered species are included in the National and International (IUCN) Red lists such as Colchic box-trees, yew-trees, rhododendron ungernii, brown bear, otter, lynx, chamois, Caucasian squirrel, Caucasian salamander, etc. The Colchic forest is a type of mixed temperate forest ecosystem characterized by the abundance of relict species of the Tertiary period, remaining from ancient times when there was no glaciation in the Western Caucasus and forest degradation was not influenced by climate. For its uniqueness, Colchic forest is currently being considered as a potential UNESCO World Natural Heritage site for designation. The area is an important for migratory birds (Eastern Black Sea flyway of migratory birds, important bird and biodiversity area (IBA)) in spring and autumn. More than 1,000,000 raptors migrate through the corridor annually, which makes it one of the largest raptor migrations in the world. Among the species that can be observed are: Imperial Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Steppe Buzzard, Black Kite, Booted Eagle, etc. In addition to its natural values, Ajara protected areas and their surroundings include an abundance of cultural and historical sites, with the medieval arch bridges, fortresses from 6th-7th century AD, churches, and other ethnographic attractions. The vast majority of local families in villages maintain farms and development of local products. Some of them open their doors to tourists and offer home stays in village houses, farmstays and give them an opportunity to experience the culture, history and traditions of local communities, including horticulture, winegrowing, bee-keeping, and livestock farming Access roads to the national parks and surrounding villages are not paved and 4x4 cars are recommended. Check transport availability with the Agency of Protected Areas of Georgia: Tel: +995322720388 / Cell: + 577 90 72 72 / E-mail: info@apa.gov.ge / www.apa.gov.ge

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MTIRALA NATIONAL PARK

KINTRISHI PROTECTED AREAS

The Park is located 28 kilometers away from Batumi, 12 km from the sea as the bird flies. Mtirala means “weeping”, and was chosen for the mountain in honor of frequent rains (precipitation: 4,520 mm a year). To get to Mtirala NP, transportation is available from Chakvi town. The best option is to travel to Chakvi by public minibus and then take a taxi from Chakvi (transfer fee is 50 Gel (round trip) and takes 1 hour driving one way).

Kintrishi Strict Nature Reserve and the Kintrishi Protected Landscape are located in the breath-taking gorge of the Kintrishi river and its surrounding valley. The lower border of the protected area is at 250 m above the sea level, whereas the upper border reaches on alpine pastures up to 2,500 masl. Tbikeli Lake - one of the main destinations in protected area – is located higher in the mountains. Local settlements in Kintrishi include three families living permanently in the park and 20 families who live there in the summer (from April to November). The livelihood of local families is mainly based on livestock, fishing, wild fruit and berry collection, timber production for fuel and construction, and visitor services.

MTIRALA NATIONAL PARK TRAILS TSABLNARI (CHESTNUT FOREST TRAIL)

Distance: 7 km (1 day)/Type: hiking/ Difficulty: Easy

The trail starts from the visitor center, runs along the Chakvistskali river gorge that has to be crossed by cable car. The trail’s highlights include a 15-meter waterfall and a small lake. This trail also runs along an area where a zip line is located.

KINTRISHI PA TRAILS TAMARIA ARCH BRIDGE AND BOX TREE STAND

Distance: 1.2 km (1.5 hour)/Type: pedestrian, riding/ Difficulty: easy

The trail begins at the arched stone bridge (called as Tamari Bridge) on the Kintrishi River in the village of Tskhemvani and continues to the visitor shelter. The area is covered with a mixed forest (chestnut, beech, hornbeam). The trail leads to Tskhemvani's St.Giorgi Church and then continues to old box-tree stands, with a height of 10-12 m.The trail ends at a waterfall. YEW AND LAKE TBIKELI

Distance: 37 km (2 day)/Type: pedestrian/riding/ Difficulty: average

The route starts from the Tskhemvani Visitor Shelter and heads to the village of Khino through the village of Didvake, across with the old giant yew stands. The trail continues to Lake Tbikeli through an untouched chestnut and beech forest (1900-2000 meters from sea level). The trail distance from village of Khino to the lake is 12 km.

TSIVTSKARO (COLD SPRING ROUTE)- CIRCULAR TRAIL

Distance: 15 km (2 day)/Type: hiking, horseriding/ Difficulty: high

This two-day hike starts at the visitor center, 260 meters above the sea level, and ends at 1.250 masl. Colchic broad-leaved mixed forest types are presented the beginning of the trail and by the end 70% of forests are beech trees. From the tourist hut, the trail runs along untouched beech groves. Hiking is the most common activity in Mtirala, however horse-riding is available along the Cold Spring Trail and the most suitable place for birdwatching is Korolistavi village. Mtirala NP offers basic services for relaxing and enjoyment: different types of accommodation (rooms in the Visitor Center, camping sites, picnic areas and shelters), equipment rental, a 200-meter long zip line. Visitors can also travel through canyons and slide down waterfalls using a special equipment. There are number of locally-operated guesthouses and restaurants.

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MACHAKHELA NATIONAL PARK Located 25 kilometersfrom the city of Batumi in the gorge of the Machakhela River, Machakhela National Park was established in 2012 and represents a new destination for nature explorers. The National park and its surrounded areas are ideal destinations for rural and ethno tours. Here the old traditions, history and culture are well preserved and locals are proud of maintaining them. The area of Machakhela National Park borders the Jamili Biosphere Reserve in Turkey.

MACHAKHELA PA TRAILS MTAVARANGELOZI MOUNTAIN

Distance: 16.6 km /Type: pedestrian integrated with driving road / Difficulty: easy

The route is located in the north-west corner of the Machakhela National Park. The trail head can be accessed by car through a road that connects the park administration with mountain Mtavarangelozi (8.3 km). A beautiful view opens over the Machakhlistskali River Valley, Chorokhi River Valley and the Black Sea at the top of Mount Mtavarangelozi (Archangel). In the middle of the route, the trail turns south-east to enter a well preserved forest that is representative of the rare Colchic forest ecosystem (3.3 km). Several native species of flora, some of them relicts from an earlier age, can be observed along the trail, which is crossed by streams and waterfalls. The route descends toward the village Sindieti, which overlooks the Machakhela valley and nearby settlements. Visitors can stay in the camping area near the Mtavarangelozi Mountain. KOKOLETI ROUTE

Distance: 19.5 km, Type: pedestrian integrated with driving road, difficulty: easy

Driving route starts from visitor center (17. 4 km) and finishes at the end of Kokoleti village, where a pedestrian route starts (2.1 km). It passes broadleaf and conifer mixed forest and goes

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toward the view point where the Jamili Biosphere Reserve and the upper part of Machakhela valley can be seen. The route goes back the same way. There is a camping area 300 m away from the starting point of pedestrian trail, where visitors can spend the night. TWIN WATERFALL TRAIL

Distance 14.7km, Type: pedestrian integrated with road/ difficulty: easy,

The route passes a 14 km motor road and goes to Kokoleti (Ialikari), where the pedestrian trail leads towards 47m high Twin Waterfall. On the way it passes beautiful views of Machakhela gorge and villages, which creates an unforgettable impression of its rich landscapes and diverse ethnographical and cultural heritages. Visitors can try local cuisine and taste typical meals from the Ajara region. On the way visitors can see a World War II bunker with cannon, Tamari arched bridges (XII century), Chkhutuneti fortress and Marani (XI-XIII century)


GEORGIA PALACE HOTEL AND SPA

- G E O R G I A N H O S P I TA L I T Y AT F I V E S TA R H O T E L I N K O B U L E T I Politicians, culture and fashion icons and popular actors and singers from both Georgia and abroad are amongst those who have chosen the Georgia Palace Hotel and Spa – people who stand out for their refinement of taste and social status. Each of the distinguishing features of the hotel is easily comprehensive at first glance – its design, standard of service and views of the open sea and mountain landscape from the balconies of its comfortable rooms, which are rare elsewhere. As the saying goes, once you choose the Georgia Palace Hotel and Spa it instantly becomes an integral part of your summer.

DAVID ANDRE BENHEIM (GM): “As a French/Canadian General Manager, I’m proud and honored to have been given the opportunity to run the Georgia Palace Hotel & Spa. By utilizing my experience of managing luxury hotels on all continents I have added an elegant universal flair to the already famous Hotel & Spa.” 157 ROOMS OF ALL TYPES “The dream of our owners –Mr.Temur Tchkonia and his wife Marina Gunia, became reality when they opened our World Class Palace, Hotel & Spa in Kobuleti. This seaside resort city has long been the central holiday spot in Georgia. Thanks to its unique microclimate and its ten kilometer pebble beach, Kobuleti is becoming the leading attraction for both leisure and business travelers and for dignitaries and celebrities. “We offer our guests all types of rooms, from large single rooms up specious and luxurious suites, which have a range of different views from their balconies and deluxe, five star amenities and décor.” BUSINESS MEETINGS MEAN RELAXATION HERE “Our hotel caters to both leisure and business guests. The business segment is mainly here during the winter, when we offer special and attractive conference and meeting packages. You step into an oasis of calm and spoil yourself at our Spa Clinic, which offers the most professional facilities and services that relax the mind, pamper the body and renew the spirit. Try the Ayurveda treatments; our doctor will be pleased to introduce you to the oldest

from of healthcare in the world. “Thanks to our large grounds and our unique beach location we offer almost unlimited facilities for our guests to relax in and enjoy their dream holiday. We offer basketball; miniature golf and tennis facilities and guests can also play badminton, table tennis and other outdoor games. We have a children’s playground and club and an indoor swimming pool and sauna. Those who are willing are encouraged to do yoga exercise in the health center.” OUR MENU COMBINES TRADITIONAL GEORGIAN DISHES AND FRENCH CUISINE. “Year after year our hotel has become a meeting place for all kinds of guests from all kinds of countries. This is thanks to Georgia becoming more in focus in the international market. “Our hotel has achieved excellence in culinary offerings and services. We are considered by the majority of our guests to serve the richest Georgian cuisine, without forgetting our panoramic French fine dining restaurant, where our French chef delights guests with his creations.” OUR HOTEL IS CONSTANTLY DEVELOPING “Over the last few years we have being systematically adding more and more facilities, both for the enjoyment of our guests and to demarcate ourselves from any other competitor. Thanks to the success of our hotel, and its excellent name in the marketplace, we are looking at the possibility of extending our operations by opening other properties.”


WINTER RESORTS –

BAKURIANI, GUDAURI, GODERDZI AND MESTIA For those who love snow and skiing, fancy a suntan, enjoy fascinating landscapes and taking incredible photos of magnificent views but cannot decide where to go, this article is for you! In Georgia we are lucky to have some of the most impressive and highest mountain ranges in Europe. The terrains of the Caucasus mountains range from vast open spaces to steep, challenging slopes and cater to every type of tourist – whether you are into soft or extreme sports, and in between. Choices are plenty, from walking, hiking, trekking, skiing and snowboarding to heli-skiing and freeriding.

MESTIA

(TETNULDI-HATSVALI) THIS HIGHLAND TOWNLET in northwest Georgia, at an elevation of 1,865m in the Caucasus Mountains, is a perfect mountain ski resort for freeriding and off-piste lovers, as mountains here are snowcovered from early December till early April. This is where you can find the longest ski run in the whole Caucasus Region, at 9.5 km. The two main ski destinations, Hatsvali and Tetnuldi, are real Klondikes of snow and new experiences.

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Hatsvali has 4 ski lifts and 7km of ski runs and Tetnuldi has 5 ski lifts and 8 ski runs (30km in total), both wich include intermediate, advanced, and expert level runs. A ski vacation in Mestia is not only about skiing, but it is a real cultural journey. The authenticity of the region with its historic Svanetian defense towers and a local community offer the visitor a warm and welcoming experience unique to Mestia.


BAKURIANI

This little village in the Borjomi gorge is located at 1700m above sea level – at the very steps of the breathtaking Caucasus mountains. It lies 180km from Tbilisi and just 30km from Borjomi. Bakuriani’s fame as a vacation spot goes back to the 19th century when it was the favourite getaway for the Romanov royal family – an imperial palace still as a testament to this. In the 70s and 80s, it became a ski and winter sports training base for the Olympic team and more recently, Borjomi-Bakuriani bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. Today, Bakuriani is a four-season resorts in Georgia with hotels, ski lifts, funicular, cinema, children’s park, and much more. It is an ideal venue for children to learn how to ski. “Didveli” and “Joyland” parks cater to children offer different attractions, so the young to enjoy their time in Bakuriani. People also come in warmer months to wander through serene coniferous forests, bask in the summer breeze, hike, go horseback riding and biking, attend world film premieres at newly renovated cinema Didveli.

KOKHTA (2155M) is the beauty spot, oldest ski area and pride of Bakuriani. Here, you can see the Greater Caucasus Range in its full splendour. It has a 4km ski run with difficult and mediumdifficult ski slopes. With a gradient of 52%, the upper part of the slope is only for the pros. DIDVELI (1861M) is a modern development

and recreational destination in the heart of Bakuriani with the highest elevation – 2700 masl. There are 14km of six different ski trails catering to all levels of skier, from beginners to veterans. MITARBI is another winter wonderland near Bakuriani. The totally renovated Mitarbi Resort (1500m) accepted its first visitors in 30 years on December 25, 2016. There are three new ski lifts and 9km ski pistes suitable for intermediate, expert and advanced skiers and snowboarders.

GODERDZI THIS LATEST SKI RESORT is in Ajara Region, in western Georgia, just 2 hours’ drive from the popular seaside town of Batumi. At an elevation of 2000m, the north-facing mountains are covered in 6-7m of snow from November to April. Its 8km of ski runs offers different levels of pistes – intermediate, advanced and expert. As the snow melts,the attractiveness of Goderdzi Resort extends into the springtime. Alpine wildflowers and peaceful hiking through the forests, or to the nearby Green Lake, will delight visitors. An extensive network of hiking and walking trails provide fun recreation for families, while mountain biking, paragliding and an alpine luge offer thrills for the more adventurous.

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GUDAURI THIS SKI RESORT situated on a southfacing plateau of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range is surrounded by some of Europe’s most dramatic peaks. Gudauri is 2200m above sea level with skiable area enjoying maximum exposure to the sun. The resort lies 120km to the north of the capital Tbilisi and is a 2-hour drive from the Tbilisi International Airport. GUDAURI’S star attraction is high altitude skiing at an exhilarating 4,200m. Valleys and untouched foothills around Gudauri offer exceptional cross-country skiing. Gudauri has ski pistes (70km total) of different levels. All of the tracks are FIS certified – with 15% of artificial snow, always marked and prepared. GUDAURI is the resort that has it all – tubing zone, night skiing, heli-ski and paragliding, ski tours and even bike parks in summer. THE WEATHER IS always warm and sunny even though the resort is located high up in the mountains.

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CAMORA HAIRDRESSER & BARBER

Camora is a Men Only OldSchool Barbershop Based in Tbilisi. Specialized in Classic Haircuts & Hot Towel Straight Razor Shaves. Blended with a Relaxed & Mannish Atmosphere.

camorabt@gmail.com Tel: +995 5 55 12 22 79 Open: 12:00 - 21:00 23 Rustaveli Ave. Tbilisi, Georgia Fabrika, 8 Ninoshvili St. Tbilisi, Georgia


INVEST IN GEORGIA

INVEST IN GEORGIA'S TOURISM SECTOR BY ZAZA ABASHIDZE Georgia is one of the youngest countries on the international investment map, but it has already gained valuable experience and boasts of a wide array of attractive resources. In addition to its favorable geographical location, Georgia has been ranked at the top of several international indexes and has marked improvement every year, which indicates only on one thing – attractive investment environment.

IMPORTANT FACTORS AND BENEFITS:  According to the 2017 of Doing Business, Georgia ranks 16th for ease of doing business. Last year, five important reforms were made in order to support business. According to this indicator, Georgia is in second place in Europe and Central Asia.  The same report shows that Georgia is in 5th place in terms of property registration, 7th place for defending investors rights and 8th place in terms of starting a business and receiving construction permits.  According to research by Fraser University, Georgia ranked 5th in terms of economic freedom in 2016 - a head of numerous developed countries (i.e. Canada, Ireland, United Arab Emirates and and others.)  In surveys carried out by Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal (the Index of Economic Freedom 2016), Georgia is ahead of Europe in terms of fiscal freedom and trade freedom, and ranks at the same level in terms of monetary freedom.  Numerous studies indicate that the crime rate is low in Georgia and Tbilisi is one of the safest capitals in Europe.  According to research by different international and local organizations, the corruption index in Georgia is so low that it practically does not exist. Business operates completely free of corruption and the authorities provide maximum support as needed.  According to the data provided by the World

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Bank in 2016, Georgia was promoted from a medium income country to the list of above average income countries.  Georgia has signed bilateral agreements to facilitate trade with different countries.  Georgia was granted an Association Agreement (AA) in 2014, which included Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the European Union. The AA, together with the DCFTA, will facilitate close political association and economic integration between Georgia and the EU. The liberal legal framework and business friendly atmosphere makes Georgia more attractive for international investors, for example, the country’s probusiness tax system and labor legislation. The flexible and business oriented bureaucracy also benefits business: a business can be registered and started in Georgia in just 12 minutes. Tourism is one of the most important sectors for the country’s economy, as are energy, logistics, agriculture, the banking sector and many other sectors that are distinguished by stability and rapid development, creating great opportunities for international investors. Several free economic zones exist around the country to provide even more beneficial conditions for investment. For further information, please visit www.investingeorgia.org


ANAKLIA DEEP SEA PORT A KEY TO 'SILK ROAD' MALIK AYUB SUMBAL

have tremendous importance in transforming trade between China and Europe through the Anaklia Deep Sea port, which is situated on the bank of the Black Sea.

The Chinese Belt and Road initiative project, Silk Road or Maritime Silk Road, has great potential in the South Caucasian region, especially Georgia’s

The Chinese Silk Road, which is actually a revival of the ancient Silk Road, includes several ports, which will connect landlocked countries to improve trade.

Anaklia Deep Sea Port, which is another hallmark after Gwadar Deep Sea port to this project. Anaklia Deep Sea port, which is marketed under the slogan “Breathing new life into an Ancient Trade Route,” will increase in the country’s GDP through the greater Silk Road.

There are three main ports in the New Silk Road which have extraordinary importance. Gwadar Port, in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province and is part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC); Baku Port on the bank of Caspian Sea; and Anaklia Deep Sea Port in western Georgia.

The Anaklia free trade zone will attract billions of dollars of the foreign investment to the country and jobs for hundreds of unemployed youths. The Anaklia Deep Sea port is attracting leading international investment companies to participate in the ‘One Belt One Road’ or The New Silk Road.

Georgia is a country with rich culture and one of the best quality wine producers in the world. Georgia has been expanding its export of wines to China in the recent years, which is a clear message of Georgian interests in China.

This is the best time, and the best chance, for Georgia to become the part of The Silk Road and the country leadership is committed to this initiative. Georgia, with its strategic location in the South Caucasian region, between Europe and Asia,

According to recent developments, in the near future Georgia will be a hub between Europe, Asia and South Caucasian countries. Malik Ayub Sumbal is the Editor in Chief of Eurasia Media Network and The Caspian Times.

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TBILISI CITY OF SHOPPING Visitors to Tbilisi will be pleasantly surprised to find the TBILISI MALL, which is the largest development in the Southern Caucasus. It is a modern centre that combines leisure, retail and entertainment in the region. Its architectural concept is both contemporary, but fits well into the surroundings. Tbilisi Mall provides an exciting new destination 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 large international CARREFOUR SUPERMARKET, equal to any in Europe or America and filled with products from Georgia and around the world. It is very efficiently organized 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.

HOW TO GET: TBILISI MALL TAXI SERVICE - 5 GEL FROM ANY PART OF TBILISI (CALL +995 790 907 070); MINIBUS NUMBERS: 44, 51, 60, 87, 116, 117. BUS NUMBER: 121. WORKING HOURS: EVERYDAY FROM 10:00 TO 22:00 50


ANOTHER ATTRACTIVE

SHOPPING MALLS:

GEORGIA TRADE CENTRE GTC is located very close to the city centre, and near to 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 custom to take flowers which are much loved in this society.

FIND THE GEORGIAN STYLE IN LOCAL DESIGNER BRAND STORES: AVTANDIL 29 K.Apkhazi Str., Tbilisi D. Agmashenebeli Alley 16th km., Tbilisi 14a Pekini Ave., Tbilisi 40 Rustaveli Str., Hotel Hilton Batumi TEL: 291 33 29, 291 33 29 www.avtandil.com

Address: Tbilisi, 3 Vekua Str. Working Hours: 11:00 - 20:00

ANOUKI

TBILISI CENTRAL Tbilisi, Station Square Working Hours: 10:00 - 20:00

2 Tarkhnishvili str., Tbilisi

EAST POINT

TEL: 292 22 32 www.anouki.com

Tbilisi, 2 Aleksandre Tvalchrelidze Str. Working Hours: 10:00 - 20:00 MERANI Tbilisi, Shota Rustaveli Ave. Working Hours: 10:00 - 20:00

DOTS 22 K.Apkhazi str., Tbilisi TEL: 299 95 30 www.dotstbilisi.com

KARVASLA- Perhaps the best shopping venue for Georgian artifacts such as artwork, jewelry and enamelwork. This is located in a picturesque area by the Sioni Cathedral and Chardin Street. The unusual building also houses a fascinating exhibition of old Tbilisi which gives visitors a good insight into the cosmopolitan city life of previous eras, while the attractive little stores below provide a great variety of Georgian products based on traditional designs.

SAMOSELI PIRVELI 34 Irakli Abashidze str., Tbilisi TEL: 223 43 63 www.samoselipirveli.ge

Address: Tbilisi, 8 Sioni Str. Working Hours: 11:00 - 20:00 There are several shopping streets with international brand shops and boutiques in Tbilisi. Visit the attractive Gamsakhurdia, Agmashenebeli, Chavchavadze and Rustaveli Avenues.

TAMUNA INGOROKVA 13A Tamarashvili str., Tbilisi TEL: 291 28 72 www.ingorokva.com

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 the souvenir items 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—vividly depicted cityscapes and landscapes in brilliant colors are the most popular themes.

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SHOP THE UNIQUE HANDMADE GIFTS

GEORGIAN CLOISONNÉ

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 illustrates the Georgian elegance of medieval days. A beautiful book is available on historic Georgian enamelwork. 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 Chardin Art Gallery presents: • The best cloisonné enamel jewellery • Paintings for your interior and collections • Exclusive gifts

UNIQUE SOUVENIRS

DRY BRIDGE FLEA MARKET

ORNAMENTAL ENAMEL GALLERY 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 The ornamental Enamal 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, compositions, jewelry, and enamel on small sculptures.

GALLERY CAMEO 11 Rkinis Rigi, Meidan, Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 2 72 48 72 / www.gallerycameo.com

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.

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Open daily from 10:00-17:00 Just a 15 minute walk from Freedom Square the historic Old Town of Tbilisi, you can find an extraordinary shopping area for unique souvenirs. Local traders and sellers on the Dry Bridge will offer you a lot of exquisite pieces. Here you can find handmade jewelry, typical old Eastern European souvenirs, Soviet badges and pins and vintage artifacts also. You can enjoy the colorful paintings and sculptures made by local artists.

GALLERY 27

Gallery 27 offers a bright range of handmade items like bracelets, souvenirs, dolls and purses. 8 Sioni Str. / Tel: +995 593 32 32 10

ESTIA

Place where you can find unique vintage home decorations. 3 Lermontov Str. / Tel: 0322 93 53 82

CAUCAUSIAN CARPETS GALLERY

Erekle II Street– 8/10 / Gallerycarpets@yahoo.com Mob: (+995) 577 405 311


ARTS IN GEORGIA Galleries and museums throughout Georgia 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.

MUSEUMS The Georgian National Museum is the largest museum complex in Georgia, unifying 11 museums, 1 gallery, 4 house museums and 2 research centres. The museum complex presents a wide range of Georgian culture artifacts from all around the country, including magnificent medieval Christian art, the oldest known proof of human existence in Eurasia, stunning gold and silver, jewelry from the ancient land of Colchis and the awe-inspiring modern and contemporary paintings of Georgian artists. For more information, please visit: www.museum.ge

MUSEUM OF GEORGIA 3 Rustaveli Ave., Tbilisi / Tel: +995 32 299 80 22 The museum has two permanent exhibitions: 1 The Archaeological Treasury, which holds 600 masterpieces of Georgian goldsmith work, representing the development of Georgian culture between the 3rd millennium BC and 4th century AD. The exhibit has magnificent gold and silver jewelry – diadems, headgear, temple rings, vessels and more. 2 The renewed exposition of the History of Nature collection, presented in two halls, contains geological, botanical, and zoological expositions accompanied by illustrations made by the wife of Caucasian flora researcher, Giorgi Voronov (1874-1931). The exhibition also offers photos, videos and articles made by National Geographic set in the 19th-20th centuries - depicting flora, fauna and the geology of the times.

THE MUSEUM OF ARTS 1 Gudiashvili St. Tbilisi / Tel: +995 32 299 99 09 The museum contains the permanent exhibition called the “Treasury of Christian Art”. The stunning Georgian goldsmith pieces featured date back to the 8th-19th centuries. Visitors will discover unique pieces of jewelry, icons, embroidery cloisonné and enamel. In addition to the permanent exhibition, two halls are dedicated to varying temporary exhibits.

STATE MUSEUM OF SILK 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, its production and use through exhibitions and educational programs. The museum has different types of mulberry herbariums, a collection of butterflies, materials showing the biology of worms, a collection of cocoons, samples of silk thread and Georgian and European textiles.

THE OPEN AIR MUSEUM OF ETHNOGRAPHY 1 Turtle Lake Road, Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 272 90 45 The museum is located on the west side of “Turtle Lake” overlooking Tbilisi. It explores 14 areas presenting houses from various regions of Georgia. Together with its architectural monuments, the museum contains ethnographic materials like tools, textiles and ceramics as well as the basilica of Sioni a building that dates back to the 5-6th centuries, and a rich collection of carved gravestones. The museum has a quaint Georgian restaurant where visitors can dine indoors or on a porch with a great view. TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM – “KARVASLA” 8 Sioni St. Tbilisi / Tel: +995 32 298 22 81 The museum presents artifacts from the end of the 4th millennium BC to the present day. The collection consists of archeological, ethnological and archival materials, as well as pieces of national and applied arts, and a rich photography collection. THE NATIONAL GALLERY 11 Rustaveli Ave, Tbilisi. The main entrance to the gallery is from the backyard of the museum, the 9 April Park. This gallery is one of the central exhibition spaces of the National Museum, where one can find temporary exhibitions such as "Georgian fine art masterpieces of the early 20th Century". The remarkable temporary exhibition features beautiful paintings by prominent Georgian artists including Niko Pirosmani, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili and others. The original baroque style building was designed by the famous German architect Albert Salzmann. It was modeled on Rome’s Pio Piacentini’s Exhibition Palace and built in 1888. From 2007 to 2011, the National Gallery was under renovation. 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. One of the museum halls named “Iris Hall” hosts an exhibition of theatre and cinema costumes, unique exhibits of the 19th century, and pictorial canvases. “Golden Hall” hosts a costume collection trimmed with gold and precious stones. Costumes from different Georgian films can be found.

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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 heritage. In addition, the Exhibition Hall also hosts temporary exhibitions, lectures and seminars covering all aspects of contemporary art. Exhibition "Promenade" will be presented until May 30, 2014 at the Lado Gudiashvili Exhibition Hall. ELENE AKHVLEDIANI HOUSE-MUSEUM 7 Kuchishvili St. Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 299 74 12 This evocative house museum located in the centre of Tbilisi, where the famous painter lived and worked in the early and mid 20th century. Visitors enjoy the unique atmosphere and enjoy viewing pictorial and graphic artworks, personal possessions, photographic exhibits and artwork by other contemporary artists. ZURAB TSERETELI MUSEUM OF MODERN ART 27 Rustaveli Ave. / Tel: +995 2 14 84 11; 298 60 04 www.momatbilisi.ge The museum complex was opened with a personal exhibition of the artist Zurab Tsereteli. The exhibition includes all genres and stages of the artist’s creative life. Among the collection are pieces Tsereteli made in Brazil, France, Georgia, Russia and other countries. NIKO PIROSMANISHVILI STATE MUSEUM 29 Pirosmani St. Mirzaani Village, Kakheti region, Georgia; Tel: +995 32 240 64 05 This legendary museum was the home of famous painter Niko Pirosmanishvili. His style is instantly recognizable and the museum contains some of his very valuable work together with the world famous lithograph of Pablo Picasso “Pirosmanishvili Portrait.” NATIONAL CENTRE OF MANUSCRIPTS 1/3 M. Aleksidze St. Tbilisi / Tel: +995 32 236 41 85 exb@manuscript.ac.ge / www.manuscript.ge The Centre of Manuscripts is one of the most important depositories of old manuscript books and historical documents in Georgia. The centre operates a museum and conducts research. SIGHNAGHI MUSEUM 8 Rustaveli Cul-de-sac, Sighnaghi, Georgia Tel: +995 32 223 24 48 The museum contains artifacts, including textiles, copper and wooden domestic items, agricultural instruments, goldsmith works, tools and musical instruments. It also contains a collection of coins, among them ancient Sasanid Persian coins, and coins minted by Georgian monarchs Tamar, Lasha-Giorgi, and Erekle.

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SAMTSKHE - JAVAKHETI MUSEUM 1 Kharischirashvili, Akhaltsikhe, Georgia; / Tel: +995 365 216 22 The museum has ancient manuscripts, epigraphic and ethnographic material and photo documents. More than 25 thousand artifacts are preserved in the museum’s collections. Works of Georgian lapidary (jewel-working) technique and woven carpets have an important place in this museum.

GALLERIES ART STUDIO LA MAISON BLUE 94 Barnovi St. Tel: +995 32 2 35 99 41 / 2 23 21 16 facebook.com/La Maison Bleue You will find a wide verity 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 of batik, dying and quilting. The studio also displays wall hangings, hand painted scarves, lampshades, screens, patchwork and has souvenirs for sale. The studio offers classes as well. This 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 made and meet the artists themselves. BAIA 10 Chardin St. Tel: +995 2 75 45 10 / www.baiagallery.ge EUROPE HOUSE 1 Freedom Square, Tbilisi / Tel: +995 32 247 03 11 www.europehousegeorgia.org LAGIDZE GALLERY 85 Abashidze St. Tbilisi / Tel: +995 32 214 72 51 lagidzegallery@gmail.com / www.levan-lagidze.ge VANDA 14 D. Chonqadze St. Tbilisi / Tel: +995 32 293 42 86 vandahobby@hotmail.com, / www.vandagallery.com Gallery Vanda spheres of interest are paintings, drawings, sculptures, applied arts and jewellery. The gallery’s range of activities include various types of exhibitions, performances, presentations, competitions, new talent showcasing, and charity events. VERNISSAGE 7 Br. Zubalashvilebi St. Tbilisi / Tel: +995 32 299 88 08 Working hours: 7 days a week from 12:00 to 18:00 Artileria Crew (Dr.Love & Miro) 8, E.Ninoshvili str. Fabrika, Tbilisi https://www. facebook.com/ StreetArtinGeorgia/ Artileria Crew (Dr.Love & Miro) presents Fabrikaffiti, the largest street art and graffiti festival and the first graffiti shop, studio and gallery in Georgia.


GALLERY NOR-GE Botanical str. Tbilisi. Tel: +995 551 00 75 26 The gallery is located in a 250-year old cultural heritagebuilding in the heart of old Tbilisi surrounded, by the Botanical Garden, the historical Narikala fortress and the Leghvtakhevi. Gallery Nor-Ge initiates art-exhibitions and events related to Georgian culture. It supports Norwegian-Georgian bilateral relations and cultural exchange in general. DAVID-LUKA 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. The ethno-tourism complex, arranged in Khevsur-Scottish 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.

NOCHA GALLERY 12 Zandukeli Street, Tbilisi / Tel: 0322 93 55 54 Opening Hours: Every day except Monday 12:00-19:00 OAT GALLERY & ART CAFE 144 STAIRS salami street # 14 (silamazisshesaxvevi 14), Tbilisi Tel: +995 599 72 09 06

INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITIONS IN 2017: 15 MARCH- 15 APRIL- CONTEMPORARY GERMAN DESIGN EXHIBITION IN “KARVASLA” 6-14 MAY- KOLGA TBILISI PHOTO 18-27 MAY- INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM DAY 3-14 NOVEMBER- ARTISTERIUM 17TH OF NOVEMBER- LIFE N STYLE (INTERNATIONAL PRINT FESTIVAL) 15 DECEMBER- 20 JANUARY 2018 - “KARVASLA” PRESENTS: GERMAN PAVILION AT “LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA” 2015

CONTEMPORARY ART IN GEORGIA THE CENTER OF CONTEMPORARY ART – Tbilisi is an independent, non-profit, community-based institution, which functions as a station where people, working in international, regional and local art scenes, curators, artists, students and people simply interested in art, connect and collaborate. While education remains at the core of its practice activities of the center covers following directions: exhibition practice, research, residence program, Triennial, consulting and other services. CCA-Tbilisi was opened in 2010 with the exhibition “The Health.” Since than a continues makes exhibitions, events, educational programs and exchange opportunities,which enabled CCA-Tbilisi to became an active platform for sharing and knowledge production not only local level, but also on international level. 51 Dimitri Uznadze St, Tbilisi 0102 / www.cca.ge CONTEMPORARY ART GALLERY is a project supported by Ministry of Culture and Monument protection of Georgia, which is promoting Georgian and foreign contemporary art. Project “Contemporary Art Gallery”, which is organized within the frame of Georgian National Museum at the Tbilisi History Museum started in 2016 and already presented several international exhibitions to museum guests from the entire world. Contemporary Art Gallery invites curators and artists from different countries and supports the exchange and collaboration between Georgia and foreign countries. During the frame of this project in 2016 curator Dr. Charles Merewether was invited. Exhibitions in 2017 start at 20th of February. For further information, please visit www.museum.ge ARTISTERIUM is an annual project organized by Artisterium Association and supported by Ministry of Culture and Monument protection of Georgia and Georgian National Museum. Since 2008, every November within the frame of Tbilisi History Museum “Karvasla”, the project Artisterium gives the museum guests the opportunity to enjoy one of the biggest contemporary art exhibitions in Georgia with international participants. Beside the exhibition, the art lovers can attend several educational and cultural programs. Artisterium 2017: 3-14 November FABRIKA- Once a Soviet sewing factory, the building has been repurposed and transformed into a multifunctional urban space. The air here is thick with excitement. Fabrika offers different types of art exhibitions, markets and musical events. 8 Egnate Ninoshvili Street,Tbilisi Tel: 0322 02 03 99

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GEORGIAN FILM INDUSTRY Historical overview by Ana-Mariam Turashvili, film scholar and journalist

4 GEORGIAN MUST-SEE FILMS OF THE 21ST CENTURY

Georgia has one of the longest film traditions in Europe. The history of Georgian cinema can be traced to the beginning of the 20th century, developing in tandem with European and world cinema. The 1912 documentary directed by Vasil Amashukeli, Journey of Akaki Tsereteli in Racha-Lechkhumi, was the firs Georgian film. After the Russian invasion, cinema was used as a propaganda tool by the Soviet government. Russian directors became involved in Georgian film making; Ivane Perestiani’s Surami Castle and Little Red Devils were both released in 1923, the latter was very successful and popular among critics and public. It was the first Soviet film, this was reviewed by the New York Times. From 1920 to 1930, the emergence of legendary directors such as Aleksandre Tsutsunava and Kote Marjanishvili brought much-loved films like Khanuma (1926), Eliso (1928), My Grandmother (1929), Jim Shvante (1930), and Khabarda (1931). Some films from this period were deemed too progressive and were banned by Soviet censorship.

INTERNATIONAL TITLE:

In the next decade (1930-1940), Georgian cinema was defined by Soviet ideology and socialist realism. Films were often focused on propaganda and agitation. During World War II, film production stopped.

Year: 2014 / Directed by: George Ovashvili Screenplay: Roelof Jan Minneboo, George Ovashvili, Nugzar Shataidze / Cast: Tamer Levent, Mariam Buturishvili, Ylias Salman / Main awards/selection: Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2014 / Fribourg International Film Festival 2015 / Transilvania International Film Festival 2015

The renaissance of Georgian cinema started in the 50s and a new wave of Georgian film directors appeared in the 60s. The films of this time were made by famous Georgian directors such as Eldar Shengelaia, Giorgi Shengelaia, Otar Ioseliani, Merab Kokochashvili and others.

CORN ISLAND

In the 60s, Mikheil Kobakhidze started the Georgian short film series. In the 70s, many short comedy films were directed. From 1970 to 1980, a new generation of Georgian film directors graduated from the Shota Rustaveli State University: Temur Babluani, Nana Jorjadze, Dito Tsintsadze, Aleko Tsabadze, Goderdzi Chokheli, Nana Janelidze, Levan Tutberidze and others. The period coincided with the imminent collapse of the Soviet Union; the 70s and 80s are acknowledged as the golden age of the Georgian film industry, a prolific time for film productions. The 90s – the post Soviet era – saw a stagnation in Georgian cinema; film projects were impossible without funding, hence only a small number of movies were released.

INTERNATIONAL TITLE:

TANGERINES

Year: 2013 / Directed by: Zaza Urushadze Screenplay: Zaza Urushadze / Cast: Lembit Ulfsak, Misha Meskhi, Giorgi Nakashidz / Main awards/selection: Warsaw International Film Festival 2013 / Mannheim-Heidelberg International Filmfestival 2013 Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film (nominated) Golden Globe Awards Best Foreign Language Film (nominated)

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At the turn of the 21st century, Georgian cinema was well on its way to recovery and in the last decade, many good films have been made in Georgia, some of them critically acclaimed and internationally successful. Nowadays, Georgian productions are competing in international film festivals and the industry receives state support from the Georgian National Film Centre and the Ministry of Culture.


GEORGIA - THE NEW DESTINATION FOR INTERNATIONAL FILM PRODUCTION When it comes to filmmaking, the incentives to shoot in Georgia are many: inspirational locations, unique and captivating fusion of medieval and modern architecture, a business-friendly environment, pool of local artistic talents and a cinema-loving society. Not to mention some superb government incentives.

PROJECT " FILM IN GEORGIA "

INTERNATIONAL TITLE:

IN BLOOM

Year: 2013 / Directed by: Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Groß Screenplay: Nana Ekvtimishvili Cast: Lika Babluani, Mariam Bokeria Main awards/selection: Berlinale 2013 Forum Sydney Film Festival 2013 Sarajevo Film Festival 2013 Best film Best actresses (Lika Babluani, Mariam Bokeria) Milano Film Festival 2013 Vancouver International Film Festival 2013 Hamptons International Film Festival 2013 La Roche-sur-Yon International Film Festival 2013 AFI Fest 2013

The Georgian government has added a new component to its ‘Produce in Georgia’ initiative to support the film industry. ‘Film in Georgia’ aims to turn Georgia into a ‘camera-ready’ state, an attractive place in Eastern Europe for shooting and film making. The programme is backed by the Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Culture with a cash rebate incentive of 20% on qualified expenses and another 5% if the production promotes Georgia as a destination. To fast track the programme and create a conducive environment to support international film producers, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Georgian National Film Centre have joined forces to offer a ‘one-stop shop’ for services such as location scouting, permit applications, contract labour, consultation and communication, and more. Since its launch three years ago, Indian producers have filmed three movies, two music videos and five promotional videos in Georgia. Signs that Bollyhood has come to Georgia are apparent: more Indian restaurants have sprouted up in the capital city, as have screenings of Bollyhood movies. Recent films made in Georgia include Michel Hazanavichus’ "The Search and Australia’s Partisan". For more information go to www.filmingeorgia.ge

INTERNATIONAL TITLE:

BLIND DATES

Year: 2013 Directed by: Levan Koguashvili Screenplay: Boris Frumin, Levan Koguashvili Cast: Andro Sakhvarelidze, Ia Sukhitashvili, Archil Kikodze, Vakho Chachanidze, Kakhi Kavsadze, Marina Kartsivadze Main awards/selection: Toronto International Film Festival 2013 Tokyo International Film Festival 2013 Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2013 Tbilisi International Film Festival 2013 Palm Springs International Film Festival 2014 Berlin International Film Festival 2014 International Film Festival Vilnius 2014 Hong Kong International Film Festival 2014 San Francisco International Film Festival 2014 Seattle International Film Festival 2014

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UNESCO HONORS GEORGIA’S CULTURAL HERITAGE GEORGIA ADDS THREE CULTURAL WONDERS TO THE UNESCO INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE LIST

THE ANCIENT GEORGIAN TRADITION OF QVEVRI WINEMAKING was given the status of historical monument of intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2013. The history of making wine in traditional qvevri vessels has existed at least 8 thousand years and is still practiced today. Qvevri is a traditional Georgian vessel used for making, ageing and storing wine. It is made of a unique type of clay. The oldest vessel discovered in Georgia dates back to 500-600 AD. The shape of the qvevri used today dates back to 200-300 AD.

LIVING CULTURE OF THREE WRITING SYSTEMS OF THE GEORGIAN ALPHABET - that is how UNESCO described Georgia’s historic three alphabets, Mrgvlovani, Nuskhuri and Mkhedruli, which were included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List in 2016. Mrgvlovani was the first alphabet from which Nuskhuri was derived, which later developed into Mkhedruli. Currently, the alphabets Mrgvlovani and Nuskhuri are practiced and taught informally, largely within the Georgian Orthodox Church community. The Mkhedruli alphabet is used in everyday life and is taught in schools.

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GEORGIAN POLYPHONIC SINGING was identified by UNESCO as the masterpiece of national folklore and intangible heritage in 2001; in 2008 Georgian polyphonic singing was added to the list of intangible cultural heritage. There are three types of polyphony in Georgia: complex polyphony, which is common in Svaneti; polyphonic dialogue over a bass background, prevalent in the Kakheti region in eastern Georgia; and polyphony with three partially improvised sung parts, characteristic of western Georgia.


BOOKS FROM GEORGIA 1. DATO TURASHVILI FLIGHT FROM THE U.S.S.R Published in 1988

Translated into German, Italian, Croatian, Turkish, Greek, Dutch

2. LASHA BUGADZE THE LITERATURE EXPRESS published in 2009

Translated into English, German

3. AKA MORCHILADZE SANTA ESPERANZA Published in 2004

Translated into English, German

JOURNEY TO KARABAKH Published in 1992

Translated into English

4. NINO HARATISHVILI MY FAVORITEDOUBLE

published in 2011 Germany

translated into English, Georgian

JUJA

published in 2010 Germany translated into Georgian

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FAMOUS GEORGIANS DEMNA GVASALIA is a successful Georgian designer. He is a rising star in the modern world of fashion and becomes more successful each year. After graduating from Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, he worked as the chief designer of women’s clothing in Maison Margiela for 4 years and collaborated with the Louis Vuitton brand for several years. In 2014, Gvasalia created his own avant-garde brand Vetements, which won the “International Urban Luxury Brand” at the 2016 The Fashion Awards in London where he also received the “International Ready-to-Wear Designer” award. Since November 2015, Gvasalia is Balenciaga’s chief creative officer, succeeding Alexander Wang at the helm of this Paris fashion house.

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KHATIA BUNIATISHVILI is a successful Georgian concert pianist. She staged her first concert at the age of six, and studied at the Tbilisi Central Music School and the Tbilisi State Conservatory before moving on to Vienna’s University of Music and Performing Arts. The child prodigy now lives in Paris and is much involved in the performing arts. Since 1999 Buniatishvili has participated in many festivals in different European countries, and also in Israel and the United States. Her concerts were conducted in such popular concert halls as: Carnegie Hall in New York, Theatres des Champs-Elysees in Paris, Louvre Auditorium, École normale de musique de Paris, Monaco Opera House, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Concert Hall, Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre and more.


RUSUDAN PETVIASHVILI is a successful Georgian painter. Petviashvili started painting when she was two and had her first exhibition age six. Her distinguished handwriting and special skills were identified early on. Since 1974, she has exhibited in many countries. Editions of Shota Rustaveli’s poem The Knight in the Panther’s Skin, considered one of the greatest poems of all time, and Georgian Folk Fairy Tales were released with her illustrations. She also illustrated miniatures for the bibles of St. Sameba Cathedral. Petviashvili is featured in the book “2000 Famous People of the 20th Century” edited by the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge.

LEVAN SONGULASHVILI is a world-famous Georgian visual artist who lives in New York. His work is held in public and private collections worldwide, including the Brooklyn Museum in NY. His collection has been exhibited in numerous venues across the United States and Europe, including the Saatchi Gallery, Brooklyn Museum, Sotheby’s, Booth Gallery, Olympia Exhibition Center, and Wilkinson Gallery, among others. Songulashvili’s work has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, Art Magazine and in many other world-famous magazines. In September 2016, he was awarded by the New York State Assembly and creative company STVR for his achievements and contributions to the arts. 61


TAMAR KVESITADZE is a famous Georgian architect, sculptor and painter. Her artworks are multifarious and represent a combination of different styles. The synthesis of organic and mechanic elements gives more contrast to Kvesitadze’s art. As she says, contrast in her artwork describes the intersection of two civilizations and unity of east-west cultures. Kvesitadze's talent is also recognised abroad, having participated at the CMF Gallery New York, La Biennale di Venezia and many other international exhibitions. In addition, she has had personal exhibitions in Britain and France.

MAMUKA GORGODZE is a successful Georgian rugby player and captain of the Georgian national team. He debuted in the Georgian team in 2003 when he was eighteen. Now he plays in the top French professional rugby competition, the Top 14. From 2005 to 2015, he played at Top 14 Montpellier and now, Top 14 Toulon Club. In 2015 Gorgodze was named Rugby World Cup’s Dream Team member and one of the 15 best players of the tournament. 62


TBILISI

KATIE MELUA AND “GORI WOMEN’S CHOIR” One of the most successful and popular projects in 2016 was the joint collaberation of Katie Melua and “Gori Women’s Choir”. Gori women’s choir has a 46-year history. Three years ago, Teona Tsiramua was named its creative director and conductor. Teona’s extraordinary vision, special perception and love of music have had a profound effect on the choir. Katie Melua’s incredible voice, Teona Tsiramua’s talented conducting, the polyphony of the choir all worked together to create a very good project. Katie Melua was also very enthusiastic about her three month tour in Europe with Gori Women’s Choir, to present her new album IN WINTER release on October, 2016.

TEONA TSIRAMUA SPOKE TO US ABOUT THE PROJECT “There is a village Bobnevi near Gori, where we rehearse in small cottages that have been allocated for our use. We were in that village two years ago when Katie Melua unexpectedly called me on the phone. I was surprised, for the music Katie and we make is quite different, a completely different style. Katie arrived in Georgia the next day and went straight to Bobnevi village from the airport. That night we played Katie’s ten compositions, then we started working on the project. We selected a repertory and blended our voices. We rehearsed in Gori for two years, sometimes with Katie, who would come to Georgia periodically. The rest of the time we rehearsed independently and would send materials to each other through social media. We really worked hard on this project. Musically and personally we compliment each other. In summer of 2016 we recorded all of the compositions and created the album IN WINTER. On October 8, we left for London and rehearsed for 20 days before the tour started. Our tour began in Germany on October 28 and we played 28 concerts in 28 cities in France, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, England and Scotland. Concerts and the album IN WINTER were a remarkable success. Our online videos were also very popular, with many people subscribing and liking us on the internet. Now we are back in Georgia and continue to rehearse. We have taken part in numerous concerts and festivals in Georgia. We love our job and our project with Katie Melua gave us more stimulus and experience, more success and popularity”.

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Georgia, and especially Tbilisi, presents year-round cultural activities. There are festivals, concerts, classical and Georgian dance events and even various international art festivals throughout the year.

2017 CULTURAL ACTIVITIES MARCH

MAY

FABRICATION OF MUSIC The new Project named „Fabrication of Music“ will be a regular event in Tbilisi. The series of the classical music concerts are hosted by multi-functional urban space Fabrika. The synthesis of classical music and alternative event hall in Fabrika aims to reach a wide audience, including younger listeners. “It feels like a night club with classical music”, says Levan Tskhadadze- musician and organizer of the project. Beside the classical sounds, Levan makes sure that the audience understand the sense of the played compositions, so the concert has its own scientific character. The three hours long concert has a longer break, so the guest can enjoy a glass of wine and have a small chat.

At Fabrika, 8 Ninoshvili Str., Tbilisi For more information, please visit: www.facebook.com/fabricationofmusic

PHOTO FESTIVAL KOLGA OPENING ON MAY 5TH

The annual festival “Kolga Tbilisi Photo” will be opened at 5th of May 2017. The one of the largest photo festival in Georgia includes photo contest, educational programs, exhibitions and several cultural programs. During the "KOLGA TBILISI PHOTO" week, along with Kolga Award exhibition, the capital city of Georgia, Tbilisi hostes various international and local exhibitions featuring both historically significant images and photographic works depicting contemporary photography.

For further information KOLGA TBILISI PHOTO 2017 and KOLGA AWARD please visit www.kolga.ge

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Photo by Beka Javakhishvili

EVENTS AND FESTIVALS


11th BLACK SEA JAZZ FESTIVAL

TBILISI DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL

For more details please visit www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com

20-23 JULY 2017 The company Eastern Promotions, one of the most respected agencies for jazz, blues and other musical genres in the world, has been promoting since 1998 notable and highly acclaimed musicians in the Caucasus region, including Ray Charles, James Brown, George Benson, Natalie Cole, Marcus Miller and others. The festival arranges unforgettable evenings for guests. For festival 2017 program please visit: www.batumijazz.ge Photo by Giorgi Induashvili

11-16 MAY Founded in Tbilisi in 2013, CinéDOC-Tbilisi Documentary Film Festival is the first international documentary festival in the South of Caucasus that focuses on creative documentary films. The audience has a chance to view a variety of documentary films made 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 invited filmmakers, master classes with renowned film professionals and open sessions with international guests.

AEROSMITH at Black Sea Arena on 20th of May 2017 In 2017, the company Eastern Promotions presents concert of world famous music band in Batumi.

GEM FEST 14JULY-14 AUGUST

Georgian Electronic Music Festival / Georgia- Anaklia Tel: +995322251476 / Email: info@gem-fest.com

AUGUST NEW WINE FESTIVAL

TBILISI-BATUMI INTERNATIONAL CLASSICAL MUSIC FESTIVAL "NIGHT SERENADES"-

For further details, please visit www.wineclub.ge

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. Since 2011, the basic team of the festivals is internationally recognized World Chamber Orchestra «Virtuosos», established by Liana Isakadze with famous musicians from around the world.

This wine festival traditionally takes place every spring in 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.

TBILISI INTERNATIONAL STUDENT FILM FESTIVAL “AMIRANI”

SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER

Hundreds of film from different parts of the world are submittedto the annual festival. 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.

For further details please visit: www.tbilisistudentfilmfestival.ge

JUNE- JULY

TBILISI INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THEATRE

This Festival is held at the Tbilisi Ethnography Museum. It offers 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.

15 SEPTEMBER - 6 OCTOBER 2017 The festival is one of the biggest international events in Georgia, attracting the attention of well-known, creative and innovative theatre productions from the world. It also announces call for applications to participate 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 further details please visit www.artgeni.ge

For participation and festival details visit www.tbilisiinternational.com

THE “ART-GENE” FOLK FESTIVAL

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BATUMI INTERNATIONAL ART HOUSE FILM FESTIVAL (BIAFF)

BIAFF has been designed to enhance cultural exchange and collaboration through the screening of new art househouse 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 details please visit: www.biaff.org

GIFT FESTIVAL TBILISI FASHION WEEK /SPRING/SUMMER 2018/OCTOBER/FALL WINTER - APRIL

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 days to the audience. GIFT was founded by legendary directors of the leading international art festivals (Edinburgh, Adelaide, Perth, and Melbourne).

For 2017 programme details please visit www.giftfestival.ge

TELAVI INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL The Telavi State Drama Theatre traditionally hosts musicians from all over the world every autumn. The festival, inspired by famous Georgian pianist Eliso Virsaladze, is dedicated to protect, develop and promote classical music.

For 2017 programme details please visit: www.cmcgeorgia.org

MUSIC FESTIVAL “AUTUMN TBILISI” The International Music Festival “Autumn Tbilisi” features classical music, folk music and jazz concerts and 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, is extremely important to present the works by Georgian modern composers and Georgian traditional music.

Tbilisi Fashion Week promotes Tbilisi as a cultural and business center in the region and supports the development of the fashion industry in Georgia. It promotes new designers and assist exporting Georgian fashion production to International Market. The concept and format of events unites cultural, educational and communication components.

For more details please visit www.tbilisifashionweek.com

NOVEMBER 9th TBILISI WIND FESTIVAL Tbilisi Wind Festival is an annual music festivall. This festival was the first instrumental wind festival to be hosted in Georgia. The aim is to encourage interest in wind instruments and chamber music in the region, and to improve the Georgian school of wind playing. It is a fundamental part of any orchestra. Each year, Tbilisi Wind Festival hosts fantastic international and Georgian instrumentalists for concerts and master classes. The festival has become an integral part of the rich Georgian cultural scene; concerts and master classes present well loved repertoire and vibrant new works to large audiences. For more details please visit www.tbilisiwindfestival.com

For further information please visit: www.kakhidzemusiccenter.com

ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY ART KYRIL AND ILIA ZDANEVUCH FEST i NOVA 2017, GARIKULA Art Villa Garikula is the space for creative and innovative ideas. It hosts annually 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 largely contributes to bringing local and foreign artists closer and deepening intercultural dialogue The festival's activities, projects, programmes and participants can film regular updates about the event on the festival blog.

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JUNIOR EUROVISION SONG CONTEST GEORGIA 2017 The Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2017 will be the fifteenth annual song contest, and is scheduled to take place in November 2017 in Georgia. This is the first time that the event will be held in the country. 11-year-old Mariam Mamadashvili triumphed in November last year in Valetta, with her pitch perfect performance of "Mzeo". www.junioreurovision.tv/page/timeline


Photo by Zurab Tsertsvadze

20th TBILISI JAZZ FESTIVAL 3-5 NOVEMBER 2017 / www.tbilisijazz.com

MERCEDES-BENZ FASHION WEEK TBILISI SPRING/SUMMER 2018/NOVEMBER Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi is Georgia’s premier fashion event offering an international platform for designers from the region to seamlessly connect with media and buyers. The event increases the domestic awareness of home grown fashion and the global presence of Georgian design, while highlighting the culture and sophisticated glamour that solidify Tbilisi as a style capital where East meets West.

www.mbfashionweektbilisi.com

TBILISI INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITION Artisterium is the annual International Contemporary Art Exhibition and Art Event organized by the Georgia-based Artisterium Association. For further information on 2017 themes

and events please visit: www.artisterium.org

“TBILISOBA” - THE FESTIVAL OF CAPITAL CITY Every year the capital city 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 for 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, full of surprises especially for children.

DECEMBER INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL"SESILY" The first Film Festival in Georgia “Sesily” named in honored of Georgian actress Sesilia Takaishvili, was held in 2001. Short feature films, documentary films, animated, experimental, music videos, commercials and infomercial genre works, a full package of filmmaking are presented at the festival. "Sesily" is focusing on discovering and supporting new talented and bringing them closer to the international filmmaking arena. / www.festivalsesily.ge

18th TBILISI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (TIFF) The Non-commercial, versatile cultural event TIFF demonstrates new, highly artistic cinema production to the general public. The idea of the festival belongs to The Cinema Art Centre, Prometheus l (founder). The festival’s competition programme includes 10-12 feature films created by European filmmakers. For more details please visit www.tbilisifilmfestival.ge

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NIGHTLIFE IN TBILISI MTKVARZE

LOLITA

Left riverbank of Mtkvari (Kura) river, Agladze str.2, Tbilisi

7 Chovelidze Str. Tbilisi

Mtkvarze is a spacious club, in an old beautiful building, located over the Kura river. It is a performance venue for non-commercial music, mostly techno and house. The club has two rooms with diverse vibes, hosting international and local artists, djs as well as vjs.

BASSIANI

The 3 storey building in front of the Tbilisi Rooms Hotel transformed into Lolita club gives you a perfect opportunity to experience night life. The best thing about this place is the variety of environments on each of its three floors for different stages of the night. You can get a bite to eat in the 1st floor restaurant, booze it up at the 2nd floor bar, or enjoy late-night music at the 3rd floor club. Perfect for long summer days and nights, the outside seating is amplified by the green garden and the open-kitchen, making it a must see for experiencing Tbilisi’s chic side.

N2 Akaki Tsereteli ave, Tbilisi

For more details please visit www.lolita.ge

The club is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 23:30. For more details please visit www.mtkvarze.com

One of the best-known clubs in the city is Bassiani, fitted with an incredible sound system and using it to deliver the finest techno and house all night long. The club is located in the basement of Dinamo Stadium. A number of details give Bassiani it’s solid reputation: its sound system, which is one of the best you can get (Funktion 1), it’s decent lightning, it’s residents, which include local heroes like HVL and Zitto and of course it’s weekly line up, which provide the best techno and house djs from all over the world. Bassiani doesn't have regular opening hours, it usually announces upcoming events (on its website) well in advance.

For more details please visit www.bassiani.com

CAFÉ GALLERY/DIDI GALLERY Café Gallery: N48 Rustaveli ave., (entrance from Griboedov Str.); Didi Gallery: N36 Kostava str., Tbilisi

Café Gallery is part venue, part art space and it is popular for its friendly atmosphere that helps people meet each other.The main room is big and airy with windows all around and regularly changing artwork on the walls. All the works are for sale. A café during the day, it becomes a bar in the evening. and on Thursdays to Sundays after midnight, it morphs again into a nightclub until 09:00 with sets from local and international DJs. Didi Gallery (owned by the same people) offers credible house and techno acts.

For more details please visit www.facebook.com/Cafe-Gallery

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KHIDI Vakhushti Bagrationi Bridge, Right Embankment, Tbilisi Khidi means “the bridge” in Georgian and is located in Vakhusti Bagrationi Bridge, which originates from the Soviet era. The venue is divided into three floors, main stage, small room and exhibition area. KHIDI’s program has a strong focus on a mix of local and international techno artists. The club is open every weekend.

For more details please visit www.khidiclub.com

ART CAFÉ-HOME 13 Betlemi Str. Tbilisi, Georgia «Art Cafe Home» has been designed as a real homeplace. There is a kitchen where the walls are decorated with tea cups, clamshell for soups, dried paprikas and other objects, which gives kitchen and cafe rural charm. The Cafe focuses on Georgian cuisine culinary traditions of rural charm and grants. «Art Cafe Home» is a place where art and design blends with a comfortable environment, delicious cuisine and cocktails.On Thursdays to Sundays after midnight, «Art Cafe Home» morphs into a nightclub until 05:00 For more details please visit / www.facebook.com/HOMEartcafe


WHERE TO EAT IN GEORGIA Georgian cuisine is probably the country's unforgottable attraction. This is a country where restaurants range from casual to fine dining and where you can find all kind of cuisines, due to the co-existence of many cultures on the crossroads of Europe and Asia.

TBILISI RESTAURANTS AND CAFES

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 Square. During the day time the café is perfect place for business meetings. It is full in the evenings as well, despite its nonsmoking policy. Weekends are especially crowded due to the genuine Mtiuluri Khinkali (meat dumplings from highlands) made by the invited cook.

BARBARESTAN

AZARPESHA

2 INGOROKVA STR., 0105 TEL:+995 32 298 23 46 This is a natural wine restaurant, serving creative Georgian food, with a focus on seasonal, and local ingredients. TheWine friendly menu draws inspiration from the countries Georgia traditionally had relationships with from Byzantium to Persia, while retaining a rich array of indigenous Georgian traditions.

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 bread made from maize flour. A different kind of music is available: folk songs, pipes, urban melodies, violin, and piano.

D. Aghmashenebeli ave. 132 Tel: +995 32 2 94 37 79 Barbarestan is a unque Georgian restaurant for Tbilisi. In fact, it’s a cozy Georgian apartment where a big, noisy and hospitable family lives. For this new project, the creative team of "Gastonaut" has created a plan: make high-quality Georgian cuisine in much more interesting style, but still available to all, without lowering the interior concept, creativity in menu and fantastic service. Barbarestan offers interesting Georgian food, borrowed from the unique recipe book of the 19th century duchess Barbare Jorjadze. The menu of "Barbarestan" was modified and adapted to modern standards by well-known Georgian Chef Levan Kobiashvili.

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 a special view and is a favorite place for both locals and guests. The terrace in summer is very popular. The menu is a mix of Mediterranean dishes.

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KAKHELEBI

Lilo Settl, Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 2 94 33 00 Restaurant Kakhelebi offers Georgian national cuisine made from organic and healthy product. It owns Vineyard, fruit orchard and farm. The Interior and concept, as well as the menu of the restaurant is fully compatible to the name: most of the dishes originate from Kakheti.

BATUMI RESTAURANTS AND CAFES 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. friends.

CAFÉ GARDENS

ENTÉE

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.

SOPHIA MELNIKOVA’S FANTASTIC DUHAN

22 Stamba Dead End. Tel: +995 592 68 11 66 In recent times it has become a great “getaaway”, with its big room, outdoor seating and beautiful garden. Relax with friends, and do not miss Sofia Melnikova’s Khinkali!

GABRIADZE CAFÉ-RESTAURANT

13 Shavteli St. +995 32 298 65 94 Named after the famous Georgian puppeteer Rezo Gabriadze, the restaurant is a part of the puppet theatre, which is located next door. The menu is modern Georgian cuisine.

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Rustaveli Str. corner Asatiani Str. Mob: +995 599 00 56 46 Café Gardens is located in the centre of Batumi, near New Boulvard. The glass construction, with its green environment offers you a great place to enjoy delicious food.

B&B AND CAFÉ MARLETA IN KAKHETI REGION

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 agrotourism farm close to the historic Telavi town. Named after the family cow MARLETA the agrotourism farm is unique by its fancy design and nice atmosphere. In summer, the farm is open for guests. The menu features fresh, quality ingredients combined with exotic flair. Marleta's Bed & Breakfast is equipped with a balcony/terrace and offers spectacular views of the Caucasus Mountains and Alazani Valley. The B&B has en suite bathrooms and free WIFI throughout.


In the heart of renovated Tskaltubo tskaltuboplaza.ge


WHERE TO STAY IN GEORGIA Georgia has a wide range of hotels and guest houses. Here is a list of big hotels located in Tbilisi, mountain resorts and administrative centers in different regions of Georgia (Price range: 120$-200$) If you are looking for rural accommodation or farm stays, it is better to make reservation through travel agencies or associations. Whatever type of accommodation you go for around Tbilisi, you can usually expect excellent hospitality!

TBILISI HOTELS HOLIDAY INN TBILISI

This magnificent 21-storey glass building used to be the symbol of the city during the Soviet era. Following its transformation, today Holiday Inn Tbilisi accommodates guests in 252 standard, business and executive guest rooms. You will enjoy a wealth of modern amenities, and the hotel's 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

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ROOMS HOTEL

Set in the heart of Tbilisi, Vera, Rooms Hotel is open to anyone willing to get an invaluable experience. It is so much more than a 141 guest room hotel! Architects have successfully transformed this former industrial building of a old publishing house, into a contemporary hotel. The essence and history of the building has been retained, capturing the raw post-industrial and offbeat bohemian vibe that has come to define this part of the capital. One of the defining features of Rooms Hotel Tbilisi beyond all the artisanal touches, is its classy restaurant. An open kitchen allows the guests to observe the food preparation process and see how the delectable end result is masterfully attained. A diverse society of corporate types, artists, musicians and other creative people congregate here to eat, drink and socialize. Tel: +995 322 73 0099 www.roomshotels.com


TBILISI MARRIOTT HOTEL

BATUMI WORLD PALACE

The hotel is situated in the central part of Old Batumi, close to the newly developed Miracle Park. It offers a terrace restaurant with specific taste of the Turkish and Georgian cuisine. 2, Melashvili St. Tel: +995 422 22 57 90 natya@batumiworldpalace.com www.batumiworldpalace.com Located in the city’s cultural and business centre, Tbilisi Marriott Hotel offers luxurious accommodation with 127 spacious guest rooms. The hotel is known for its large event venues and first-class catering, offering a ballroom for over 250 guests. It is a perfect place for business meetings, conferences and banquets. 13 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: +995 32 277 92 00 Tbilisi.marriott@marriotthotels.com www.TbilisiMarriott.com

BATUMI AND KOBULETI HOTELS RADISSON BLU HOTEL

GEORGIAN PALACE HOTEL

Just over twenty minutes from Batumi by car, you will find hotel with 156 comfortable rooms, available all year round. Guest rooms and suites with private balconies open up to wonderful views of the sea, the surrounding mountains and/or the beautiful park. The Italian chef in the restaurants “Adjara “ and “Roof Garden” offers visitors a refined and healthy cuisine. 275 Aghmashenebeli St. Kobuleti / Tel: +995 32 224 24 00 info@gph.ge / www.gph.ge

GUDAURI HOTELS CARPE DIEM

Tel: +995 32 251 07 70 info@carpediem.ge www.carpediem.ge

TRUSO

Tel: +995 32 214 69 00 info@hoteltruso.com www.hoteltruso.com

MARCO POLO

The Radisson Blu hotel is ideal for those who wan to relax or energize at an outdoor and indoor pool, health club and spa. It’s the perfect contemporary venue for business groups, families, honeymooners and individual travelers. The hotel decor 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. 202 guest rooms include 26 suites. 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

Tel: +995 32 2 202 900 reservation@hotelgudauri.com www.hotelgudauri.com

SVANETI HOTELS SVANETI

5, Tamar Mephe St. Mestia Tel: +995 551 463512 www.hotelsvaneti.ge

TETNULDI 9, Margiani St. Mestia Tel: +995 790 12 33 44 info@tetnuldi.ge www.tetnuldi.ge

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TUSHETI HOTELS KESELO

Keselo guesthouse is located in the centre of Omalo, slightly higher than the rest of the town and offers a good view of the entire village. The house has a well-equipped yard with places for a camp-fire and to relax. There are 5 bedrooms on the first and the second floors. Tel: +995 598 94 12 70, +995 577 47 21 11 narshaulidze@gmail.com, www.keselo.com

KAKHETI HOTELS KVARELI EDEN HOTEL & WINE SPA

The hotel & wine spa offers unique facilities at the Wine Therapy and Spa Centre. The hotel itself has spacious rooms with fabulous views of the mountains and vineyards. It is also a good place for business meetings and conferences. Wine Therapy Centre is an ideal venue to relax and rejuvenate. 87a, Aghmashenebeli St. Kvareli Tel.: +995 32 2970165/64 info@kvarelieden.ge www.kvarelieden.ge

SHINA

LOPOTA RESORT

Located in Zemo (Upper) Omalo, this traditional style guesthouse offers comfort and Tushetian ambience with traditional fireplace and wooden furniture. There are well equipped twelve bedrooms with private facilities. The family has its own farm and uses only local products.

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

SAMTSKHE-JAVAKHETI HOTELS BORJOMI PALACE Borjomi resort

This excellent four-star hotel caters for discerning visitors with 49 comfortable rooms, 27 of which have double occupancy. 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


IMERETI HOTELS

KAZBEGI HOTELS

TSKALTUBO PLAZA

Newly constructed hotel "Tskaltubo Plaza" in 11 km from Kutaisi and 244 km from Tbilisi, offers a modern, comfortable environment and services to its guests. The hotel is situated on the central square of Tskaltubo resort, close to the famous balneology centres. It offers 76 rooms in 5 different categories, from a standard room to an apartment. The restaurant has a nice terrace. This is perfect place to celebrate of weddings and events. 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, 950 m above sea level. Sairme Spa offers 150 rooms and comfortable recreational areas, spa centre, restaurant and a conference hall. This is an ideal environment for relaxing and rejuvenating vacation in beautiful surroundings, away from all the stress of life. Tel.: +995 32 240 45 45 info@sairme.com.ge www.sairme.com.ge

HOTEL CONTINENTAL

The Hotel “Continental” is located in Kutaisi near the parliament. The hotel has various types of rooms. The hotel's service and prices allow guests appropriate conditions to relax with a family, friends and business partners. The hotel restaurant offers specially selected Georgian and European dishes cooked by chef with special attantion to the taste of visitors. 63a, II Lane, Bukhaidze Street, Kutaisi Tel: +995 431 23 06 02 info@hotelcontinental.ge www.hotel-continental.ge

ROOMS HOTEL Stylish new "Rooms" Hotel with its

panoramic mountain views presents a new and exciting attraction to this region. The wide open spaces in the hotel are lined with books, creating a unique library. There are 156 spacious, gracious rooms with every amenity. There is a casino and a pool overlooking the mountain landscape. "Rooms" 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 roomskazbegi@roomshotel.com / www.roomshotel.ge

HOTEL STEPANTSMINDA

3 Star Hotel Stepantsminda is located downhill one of the highest mountains in the Europe – Kazbegi, 157 km from the capital Tbilisi. The hotel has 20 comfortable guest rooms: 4 singles, 5 twins, 8 triples and 3 suites. Each room comes with a TV set and private bathrooms. Tel: +995 245 5 21 71 www.kazbegihotels.com

5TH SEASON HUT IN JUTA

arabuli.gela@gmail.com / Call +995 555 01 15 1 75


REAL NAVIGATION Official dealer in Georgia

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DATABASE

NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

TIME ZONE GMT + 4:00

January 1 – New Year's Day January 7 – Orthodox Christmas January 19 – Orthodox Epiphany/Baptism March 3 – Mother's Day March 8 – Women's Day April 9 – National Unity Day April 16, 2017 – Orthodox Easter April 17, 2017 – Orthodox Easter Monday 9 May – Victory Day 26 May – Independence Day 28 August – Assumption of the Virgin Mary 14 October – Day of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (Mtskheta) 23 November – Saint George’s Day

LANGUAGE

EMERGENCIES

GEOGRAPHY

Georgia is a small country of 69 700 km² with an ancient history and rich cultural traditions. It is situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia where East meets West, between the Black and the Caspian Seas, and to the south of the Great Caucasus Mountain Range. Georgia has a population of 4.6 million people.

The official language is Georgian with its own alphabet. Most traffic signs and markers along the main roads are written in both Georgian and English.

RELIGION

Most ethnic Georgians belong to the Georgian Orthodox Church. Other minority faiths practiced include Roman Catholicism, Armenian Gregorian, Protestantism, Judaism and Islam.

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IMSS (International Medical Support Services) have full ambulance services at their disposal. A helicopter rescue service is available at any time of the day, Tel: (+995) 32 292 09 28. 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; and CITO Medical Center, 2 Arakishvili Street, Tel: (+995) 32 229 06 72.


GROCERY SHOPPING

Supermarkets are often located in city centres; they 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; they offer a great variety of food, wine, spirits and general items.

PHONING HOME

You can get a Georgian SIM card at the offices of Geocell Tel: (+995) 577 45 90 89 www. geocell.ge; MAGTI Tel: (+995) 32 217 00 00 / www.magtigsm. com; and Beeline Tel: (+995) 32 220 06 11 / www.beeline.ge.

POWER SUPPLY

220 volts AC, 50 Hz. European-type, two-pin plugs are used.

Every town in the countryside has small grocery shops with delicious seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables.

CURRENCY

POSTAL SERVICES

USEFUL WEBSITES

Georgian Post: + (995 32) 224 09 09 www.gpost.ge 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 Meridian Express (UPS) Tel: (+995) 32 218 01 44 info@mex.ge www.ups.com

1 EUR = 2.8 GEL; 1 USD = 2.6 GEL (as of January 2017). Current exchange rates are available at www.tbc.ge or www.bog.ge. www.georgia.travel www.investingeorgia.org www.apa.gov.ge www.mfa.gov.ge www.museum.ge www.tbilisi.gov.ge www.info-tbilisi.com www.ruraltourism.ge www.tourism-association.ge www.gwa.ge www.georgianwine.travel

THE GEORGIAN This important annual publication for tourism and trade market players has the distriction of being the first comprehensive magazine of this nature in Georgia with international distribution. To advertise in the 2018 edition, please contact: Lela Khartishvili TTG Georgia Ltd. / 14 Chiaureli St. 0179 Tbilisi, Georgia Tel. 032 2 22 62 95 / +995 599 99 21 61 info@thegeorgianonline.com / www.thegeorgianonline.com

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Profile for Lela Khartishvili

THE GEORGIAN 2017  

Annual Publication - Travel and Trade Guide to Georgia

THE GEORGIAN 2017  

Annual Publication - Travel and Trade Guide to Georgia

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