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Elaine and Peter’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Location: Tbilisi, Georgia

MapWe weren't sure what to expect of Georgia but the sky is clear and the temperature is 28 degrees so it all looked promising.
Our hotel is in the Old Quater so it is very convenient. It is a much bigger city than Yerevan and the traffic moves at a much greater speed. It is obviously a much wealthier country and seems more cosmopolitan.

Interestingly we thought that this was a Muslim country but Christianity has a strong hold. The city however is divided into religious quarters..there is only one mosque so Sunnis and Shias live side by side and share the same mosque!

Today has been largely a,walking tour, the broad avenues of Yerevan are here lined with chestnut and plane trees. Thentournstarted with the Domed Turkish Bath Houses which are only five minutes walk from the hotel. The natural temperature of the water is 47 degrees with the water from the ridge behind the domes known as Tabor Mountain feeding the baths.
We walked across the river, through Europe Square where the flag of the EU is flying as a symbol of their desire to join the Union!!!
Here you can also find a sample of the Berlin Wall. We took a cable car from here up,to the Narikala Foryress originally built by the Persians in the fourth century and then reconstructed several times following various invasions and earthquakes.
From the top,are lovely views over the river to the Presidential,House and beyond to the city landmarks. It is here that the Mother of Georgia stands to dominate the skyline.

We walked down to where the Silk Roads crossed and then to the heavily decorated Eastern Orthodox Church of St Mary with its separate bell tower. Gone are the simple structures of the Armenian monasteries.
The altar is hidden by a screen of icons to keep it hidden from the worshippers.

The Old Town is a lovely. Ibrantbplace to wander through, lots of old overhanging houses, markets of produce and art and crafts. We walked across the halls Peace bridge and eventually found our lunch stop at a fabulous restaurant called the Old City Wall for obvious reasons.

Lastly was a visit to the National Museum to,seetwo exhibitions. The first to the Treasury was fabulous as it housed the most exquisite and intricately carved jewellery from BC.
The second visit was more sober to learn of the reign of Terror in the Red Terror Room. Here are expositions of the Soviet Occupation and the systematic extermination of the noble families and the dynasties between 1920 and 1923. Horrific tales but also some of extreme bravery. The Russian excuse for the invasion was to protect its Russian nationals living in Georgia. Nothing to do of course with the gold mines which were pillaged and the loot sent to the motherland!

To end the day we went out to a restaurant serving authentic Georgian food..... mmmmm