Architecture, Travel

Tbilisi weekender

[Ian Macready]

Inspired by the recently published Taschen book Cosmic Communist Construction Photographed by Frederic Chaubin, and a heavy sale on BMI airlines (sadly now part of British Airways), a weekend trip to Tbilisi in Georgia suddenly seemed like a good idea. Not exactly over blessed with cool hotels and cutting edge restaurants, it’s not your typical design destination, but the former Georgian Ministry of Highways, a late Soviet building from 1974, is enough to make the trek worthwhile for any architecture tourist. Well that and a trip out to the monasteries a couple of hours drive from Tbilisi to down a few bottles of wine – Georgia is believed to be the birthplace of viticulture. It’s a good idea to hire a taxi for the day to see these buildings that appear to be left over from some Soviet science fiction movie set and be prepared to deal with the suspicions of the security guards as you try to take some snaps with your Lumix. But that is the point: you’ll be the only person there and that makes a change if your normal citybreak weekend experience is the crowds outside the Notre Dame in Paris.

University Library
Statue of Neno
Tbilisi Railway station
Palace of Ceremonies 1985, now privately owned.
The old Tbilisi Ministry of HIghways, and now the Bank of Georgia
Tbilisi Archaeology Museum, now unfortunately closed.