Georgia Road Trip, April 2014

These are pictures taken on the back roads from Tbilisi to Gori and back in April with the spring blossoms just coming out and green buds just beginning to tip the limbs of trees and bushes.  The last picture is a housing development for internally displaced people (IDPs, or refugees) from the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008.  The three before that are entering Tbilisi.  The one what looks like a lattice was an award winning Soviet building.  It is now the Bank of Georgia. Continue reading Georgia Road Trip, April 2014

Uplistskhe Cave City, Georgia

Uplistsikhe was a town on the Mtkvari River along the Silk Road.  It thrived in pre-Christian times.  It was carved into sandstone with an amphitheater, worship chambers (with pits for animal sacrifices) and apothecary (with stone niches for different herbs.)  Some of the chambers were carved to look like they were wood plank inside.  Portals were carved into the stone to make entering the caves seem like entering a building. The nobility lived up on the hill, the commoners lived on the river flats.  From the top you get a good view of the abandoned stone houses below.  There is … Continue reading Uplistskhe Cave City, Georgia

Ateni Sioni Monastery and Church

The road from Gori to Ateni Sioni Church goes past the oval shaped Gori fortress.  The church was not opened and I did not get to see the fabled frescoes.  In fact it is under renovation and is surrounded by piles of stones that look like they will be used in replacing walls around the compound.  There is scaffolding around one side of the main church.  With the state of deconstruction the church does not look actvie.  The Atenis Soni Monastery (actually a convent) is about a mile away.  It is small and lovely.  A nun showed us around.  It … Continue reading Ateni Sioni Monastery and Church

Gori, Georgia, Stalin’s Home Town

On Saturday I took a field trip a little to the east.  This is my last contracted trip to Georgia and the IREX project ends in September.  From the start of the summer it will be mostly clean up.  I visited three sites, Gori, the Birthplace of Stalin, Ateni Sioni with its Monastery and convent, and Uplistsikhe, an ancient town carved out of sandstone. Gori was invaded by the Russians in 2008 with a lot of damage to the town.  Unlike Serbia, which seems to like to keep its damage visible for decades to prove how wronged they were, aside … Continue reading Gori, Georgia, Stalin’s Home Town

Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi

I’m back in Sitka now but on my last Saturday in Tbilisi I went to my favorite gallery to look at some gorgeous textile art on UN Circle (Known locally as Round Square) and walked back to the hotel for a couple of miles, mostly along Rustaveli Avenue.  It was a clear, cold day and I took some pictures.  The Cafe Elvis is in the Philharmonic Hall, I like that.   At the end of Rustaveli is Freedom Square with the column with a gold St. George slaying the dragon on top.  The Art Nouveau bank building is around the … Continue reading Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi

Tbilisi Through My Window

IREX is kind enough to put me up at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel on Freedom Square.  The front rooms have a wonderful view.   I get to watch the traffic circling around and around the monument in an automotive ballet of near misses and skillful maneuvers.   The monument had the cable skeleton of a Christmas Tree.  The lights were gone but the ice frosted the cables so they formed a delicate spiderweb around St. George’s column.  I got to watch the workers climb on that latticework to take it down once the ice melted.  I was able to watch … Continue reading Tbilisi Through My Window

Tbilisi Balconies

Tbilisi has had a lot of influences being the crossroads that it is, between Black and Caspian Seas, between Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Some people say the balconies come from the Arabs, but they look almost Spanish (which, thinking about it, could come from the Arabs.)   Some of these are wooden balconies from the Old City.  When I originally posted wrought iron balcony pictures on Facebook my colleague Tina took me to task saying Tbilisi was famous for its wooden balconies.  She is right, but I also enjoy the hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of the wrought iron … Continue reading Tbilisi Balconies