It’s not much fun being in isolation (self, or quarantined), at least not after the first week. My family is enduring the former. We are well stocked with supplies, the (heaven-sent!) internet is paid and we are fighting through the challenges of online classes (a concept as new for the teachers here as it is for the kids). Thankfully, we also have a garden and a fair variety of animals to ensure we keep some nature in our lives. But it seems to be only when you don’t have access to something that you realize just how much you have been missing out on, of all that there is to see and do, especially with the abundance that there is in Georgia! Contact with the outside world is possible to a certain extent through digital means, yet we long to feel the wind in our hair, the mountain stones under our boots, the sand between our toes and the sound of roaring rivers (or sea) in our ears. The reality of that is something that the internet just cannot give. But for most of us, right now, with that virus-we-shall-not-name raging, home-dreaming is the best we can do, and plan for future adventures.
To inspire you, I have picked out two articles from the latest issue of the Where.ge travel guide (on everywhere you should Go, Stay, Eat, Drink and Buy in Georgia). Pick up a copy next time you’re in town, or check it out online (where.ge) for weekly-updated travel and gastronomy treats!
GUEST TIPS ON EXPLORING GEORGIA
Nana Janashia, Executive Director of CENN, gives us her top tips for exploring Georgia:
Exploring the Mountainous Municipality in Adjara
Keda is a mountainous part of the Adjara region notable for its cultural sites and natural resources. While visiting Keda, you can explore historical heritage sites, which consist of cultural monuments, watchtowers, arched stone bridges, local cuisine and wine cellars. Diverse flora and fauna, as well as numerous waterfalls, can be seen in the gorges of Adjaristskali and other mountainous rivers flowing in Keda Municipality.
Tsalka is a multiethnic, multicultural place in the Kvemo Kartli region filled with organic nature, and material and non-material cultural heritage. Tsalka is notable for its cultural heritage, natural monuments and archaeological sites. Cyclopean habitation sites, ruins of fortresses, caves, petroglyphs, monoliths, stone oil presses, old settlements, burial grounds, and kurgans are scattered across its territory. While exploring Tsalka, you must visit Dashbashi Canyon, where many water-abundant streams flow from its slopes and create small waterfalls.
Diving into the Clouds of Beshumi
Beshumi is the right place for those who enjoy picnics, hiking, horse riding and adventure tours. Here, one can find a great combination of alpine and coniferous plants in the resort, creating an attractive environment for relaxation. While visiting Beshumi ,you can explore the Green Lake and Khikhani Castle.
Shurubumu Cave is located in Chkhorotsku Municipality, a four-story horizontal cave on the first floor of which you will find a siphon lake, rich in droplets and a branch which extends over 300 meters. The main line of the cave is blocked with the 52-meter high remains of an avalanche. Shurubumu is a very interesting cave, in that it has yet to be fully explored, as well as for its connection to the vertical structured Khaverdovana cave, from which the Ankara River flows after a distance of 7 km.
Photo: Roman Tolordava
Visit the Krtsanisi Forest Park, which covers 200 hectares between Tbilisi and Rustavi. The park is rich in biodiversity and you can meet more than a hundred species of birds. The park offers a unique opportunity to enjoy nature, far from the noise of the city, dust and urban environment. Flat terrain and beautiful alleys make it perfect for bike riding. It is also best for picnics, educational tours, excursions and bird watching.
Photo: Levan Kobalia
WHAT'S NEW TO SEE & DO
Done all the regular sights and fancy something fun? Want to wake up your brain and open your eyes to new sensations? Check out these spacy, science-y and entertaining afternoons out in the capital.
You have to see it to believe it! The dome museum/planetarium is the only 360-degree museum in Georgia and offers a 40-minute immersive experience for all ages, allowing you to discover the origins and secrets of the world we live in- from stars to gravity.
Head up to the roof terrace of City Mall in Saburtalo and step into the gigantic 12-foot diameter dome screen, whose projection system, dynamic ambient sound and immersive imagery will leave you wowed.
And it's not all about space as, aside from the daily full-dome shows, special lectures, live music events, artistic performances, experimental art, and more are organized there.
The Terrace, City Mall, 1 Kavtaradze St., Saburtalo, Tbilisi
(+995) 551 55 39 13
MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS
Hidden in the cute mountain-side back-streets of Old Tbilisi is a museum of fun and magic, built within a wooden-balconied 19th century house wrapped around a traditional courtyard. Boasting everything from mirrors that twist you or make you half-disappear, to the dizzying Vortex, holograms, and the chance for you to defy gravity and size, the Museum of Illusions promises a long afternoon of discovery and giggles. The reception also houses a gift shop of brain-teasing toys and puzzles to take home with you.
10 Betlemi Str., Tbilisi
(+995) 596 04 74 74
TICKETS: Adults 19.50 GEL, Children over 6, 12.50 GEL, Family and student discounts available.
TBILISI DIGITAL SPACE
The first Digital Art Museum in Georgia is located in Tbilisi Mall and covers 500 square meters. This is a place where visual effects and digital and virtual installations create an unexpected and paradoxical world, giving you a chance to escape from reality and experience the world with no limits.
- The Georgian Room: Discover the work of Vazha Pshavela’s titled ‘Withered Beech,’ with the music and graphics created specifically for this show. The digital font was taken from the great writer’s original manuscript. Georgia’s beloved actor Murman Jinoria reads the text to make you a part of the story.
- Forest of Lights: Enter a boundless world of light and beauty.
- Main hall with video projections and mirrors: Eliminate the boundary between Man and Nature. Flowers, butterflies, waterfalls, birds, oceans and beautiful jellyfish will take you into the virtual world of nature. Museum spaces, artifacts, cultural treasures, and rooms designed for children will captivate the viewer and reward them with an unforgettable experience.
- DIGITAL EXHIBITION OF GUSTAV KLIMT: The work of art nouveau painter Gustav Klimt is brought to life by digital technology in Tbilisi in an immersive exhibition that marks the 120th anniversary of the painter’s. See his works brought to life with sounds and music, and colors exploding throughout Digital Space’s immense projection surface for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Open 11 AM – 9 PM. Tbilisi Mall 3rd floor
TICKETS: 5 – 20 GEL, discounts for families. Youth and senior citizens. See their website for details.
ESCAPE ROOM TBILISI
Though not the only escape room the city offers, it is one of our favorites- offering Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and, soon, Dracula!
Staff are fun, multi-lingual and happy to personalize your experience by group-size/age. Solve the puzzles and find hidden objects to move from one room to another within 60 minutes. Music and lighting effects bring each experience to life, and the controller is always watching should you need a hint or helping hand.
1 Vazha-Pshavela Dead End
(+995) 551 11 55 66
Escape room experience: 25 GEL per person. Boardgames room hire: 35 GEL/hr
By Katie Ruth Davies