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Top 8 Interesting Facts about Tbilisi and the Georgian People

Tbilisi
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Tbilisi

In a city that feels like a mixture of different historical eras, much seems charming and surprising, and much also looks unusual or seemingly incompatible. But in that lies Tbilisi's charm. Here we present you with a handful of interesting facts about the city.

1. The sulphur baths of Tbilisi are just simple public baths that many locals love. Their uniqueness lies in the composition of the water. Warm and saturated with sulphur and other minerals, it flows to the surface from deep under ground. Tbilisi has many streams of sulphurous water – that’s why the smell of rotten eggs can be sensed at almost any point in the city. The first sulphurous water streams were discovered in the territory of what’s now the National Botanical Garden.

Exterior of public bath in Tbilisi
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Exterior of public bath in Tbilisi

According to legend, during one of his many hunts, Vakhtang Gorgasali – the founder of Tbilisi – injured a heath cock, which fell right into a warm stream and got cooked to death. And so Tbilisi, which literally means “a warm city”, was built near these “warm streams”.

2. For 400 years, the capital of Georgia was an Arab city-state, called the Emirate of Tbilisi. The influence of this period can be seen in the city’s architecture, folk art and even in the genetic make-up of its inhabitants.

3. In 2005, one of Tbilisi’s streets – Melanskaja – was renamed and came to be called George W. Bush Street. That’s how the Georgians chose to honour the former president of the United States who was visiting the country at the time.

Bridge of Peace in Tbilisi
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Bridge of Peace in Tbilisi

4. Tbilisi, just like the rest of Georgia, has no central heating and no hot water system. When it comes to heating houses and water, everyone is out for him- or herself: some use heaters that run on gas or electricity, while wealthier residents rely on autonomous gas-based heating systems. For these reasons, spending a lot of time in the shower is simply not an option.

5. The lifts in Tbilisi’s apartment blocks aren’t for free. Upon entering the cabin, one immediately notices a special box for coins, located next to the button panel. If you don’t pay, the lift will remain stationary. In most cases, a trip to any of the floors costs around 3-5 euro cents.

6. Almost every family in Tbilisi permits smoking inside. And this isn’t considered a bad habit – quite the contrary, it’s held to be the indicator of every “true” resident of the city.

Young Wine Festival in the Ethnographic Museum in Tbilis
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Young Wine Festival in the Ethnographic Museum in Tbilis

7. For the most part, Tbilisi remains snow-free all winter. It snows only a few days a year and however much snow there is, it never stays around longer than a couple of hours.

8. The Georgian language has a few peculiarities. Since it has no capital letters, don’t be surprised when you see English and Russian titles and names spelled in lower case. This ancient language also has no male or female genders – that is determined by referring to context. The language is fairly complicated – words often have clusters of consonants which are difficult to pronounce for speakers of almost any other language. There’s even a word that consists of 8 consonants in a row: gvprtskvnic (which means “to peel one’s skin off” or “cheat one out of money”).

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