Nedim GŸrsel experienced the first tranquil days of the capital, Tbilisi, as Georgia emerged from its bitter and bloody interior struggles. For Atlas he wrote about the old and new face of the city with its cobbled streets and dilapidated buildings with corbels and courtyards.
|The old city, the Kura River and Baratashvili Bridge that crosses it. Tbilisi currently has a population of 1,200,000, as opposed to 600,000 before the civil war.
Education in the arts is highly developed in comparison with many countries, and is especially rich in schools of music and painting. Even Tbilisi's most important painters exhibit and sell their paintings on the pavement.
An old hotel, at the moment "under siege". In the war between the Abkhaz and the Georgians refugees escaping to Tbilisi were settled in this large hotel. Now there is peace, but the hotel's inhabitants have not left. The new owners even set fire to the building to get rid of them, with little thought or care for the possibility of hundreds of people dying. The lower stories suffered considerable fire damage, but the people still did not leave.
Monks nuns and people about to march from Mtskheta to another Georgian city, Kutaisi. They are marching the 150 km. road in reaction to the violent civil war of a few years ago. They are in mourning because of the founding of Abkhazia that divided Georgian soil.
In Tbilisi there prevails a lively spirit of night life although there are next to no venues, except for clubs in some of the old tourist hotels where there is western-style night life. Even these places are more likely to be the domain of foreigners from the USA and Europe than of Georgians. However, western style music is widespread among the youth.
On Saturdays and Sundays artists display and sell their paintings on the banks of the Kura. It is possible to find the paintings of these artists in a variety of styles at the pavement market. When evening falls, whether they have sold anything or not, all the artists head off in groups and drink wine from horns until they are drunk.
|The hills rising inside the city give a birds-eye view of Tbilisi. For this reason a cable car line was constructed over 100 years ago for the citizens of Tbilisi to ascend the slope and view their city.|
|The attractive buildings and silent streets of old Tbilisi.|
|The Kura River divides Tbilisi in two. After the revolution, especially with the arrival of the Russian population, the city expanded and modern buildings were constructed outside the old city.|
|The beneficial waters that gave Tbilisi its name (meaning hot water) are still used for relaxation and therapeutic purposes.|
|In Tbilisi there is a Moslem Azeri community of more than a few thousand. In old Tbilisi is one of their lovely mosques.|
Minaret of a mosque (left). The playgrounds of Tbilisi children, like those of Istanbul, are generally the streets (right).