Years of neglect and poverty after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, followed by war with Russia, left Tbilisi dilipated and battered. The beauty of the old city with its cobbled pathways, wooden buildings and hanging balconies was overshadowed with years of neglect and crumbling infrastructure.
The mayor of Tbilisi launched the “New Life of Old Tbilisi” project back in 2010. The project envisaged the restoration of the crumbling buildings of the old city to help encourage tourism and revive the infrastructure industry in the city.
There have been murmurs of discontent over the progress of restoration – it is slow, it changes only the facade, its less restoration and more destruction, a lot of important monuments are damaged, the workers are not well trained in restoration. Check out Tbilisi Heritage group’s website about the same. It has been claimed that nearly one third of buildings of the old city were destroyed and new buildings have sprung up in its place. This has been cited as one of the reasons for not granting Tbilisi a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list and deferring its claim – “subject to the establishment of adequate legal framework, management structures and guidelines for the rehabilitation and restoration and control of change in the proposed nominated area.”
But everything said and done, it seems that Tbilisi has come alive after years of neglect. Some of the restored buildings do look…umm….renovated. Here are a few street snaps of beautiful Old Tbilisi.
We did walk around the old town catching its beautiful atmosphere and newly built sights. We did not know about the walking tour around Tbilisi back then, but I did find it on Highlander while researching for this post.