Every city lives by its own individual rhythm. The doors of most public workplaces open at 09.00 am and urban noise quits after midnight in Tbilisi, after which time public transport also sleeps and people can only travel by taxi.
Georgians are fond of loud debates around politics and more active debates often continue on Facebook. If you are invited to the bosom of one of Tbilisi’s families, be ready for a long-lasting party. The most distinctive districts are located in Tbilisi’s southern part, around Freedom Square. These mustsees – with narrow blind alleys and nice views, – belong to the Old town.
Georgians greet each other with a kiss and usually use the words: rogora khar? (how are you?) It’s also perfectly acceptable to express your positive attitude just by shaking hands. The population of Tbilisi increased when many displaced people moved here as a result of armed conflicts in the 1990s. Consequently, unemployment and lack of stable work are big problems for Georgia’s capital. If you want to ask something in the street, it is better to address a young person – it is more likely he will understand your question. Middle-aged people would be also helpful, but they rarely speak English.
Georgia is the cradle of wine, with more than 500 grape varieties. Wine is more honored here than beer or vodka. It is a great sign of respect for a person if someone offers a toast to him with a glass of wine. Despite Georgia being the cradle of wine; it is illegal for Georgian society to drink wine, vodka, or any other alcoholic beverage from bottles in the street
TRAVELING BY TAXI
The fastest over ground transport in Tbilisi is pretty common here. A cab can be taken/called up easily everywhere. If you grab a taxi in the street, it is better to negotiate the price with the driver beforehand as foreign tourists sometimes get told double the real price. Taxis are not expensive here. For example: 2 GEL is the acceptable price to ride from Freedom Square to Metechi Bridge by cab.
There are various money exchange points in Georgia’s capital, but when you have to exchange a large amount of money, it is safer to do so in a bank. There are several police-stations in each district. Still, avoid walking alone in the dark. In an emergency situation call 112 from a city or cell phone.
Despite the rapidly increasing number of cyclists, there are no special bike-lanes for bicycles and drivers tend to be dispassionate to cyclists.
THERE ARE MANY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCHES IN GEORGIA. MEN SHOULD ENTER WITHOUT HATS AND WOMEN SHOULD COVER THEIR HAIR AND NOT WEAR TOO OPEN CLOTHING
Traffic is more intense from around 5.00 pm to 7 pm in Tbilisi. It iscommon to give up your seat to little children and elderly people in public transport. There are electronic bus timetables at all bus-stops, which show the exact time of a bus arrival in Georgian and English. Tickets should be bought on boarding a bus and cost 50 Tetri. In minibuses passengers pay only before getting out.
TBILISI MINIBUSES (so-called marshutka) are yellow and a passenger can stop one whenever he wants, excluding Freedom Square, and Rustaveli and Chavchavadze avenues where they can only be stopped at bus-stops. Price – 80 Tetri, in some districts – 40 Tetri. Minibuses are often busy and some passengers travel standing. Even if the minibus is full, a driver will still likely stop for you if you wave your hand. Then it is up to you whether .
The Tbilisi Metro has 21 stations and one transfer line from Station Square to Saburtalo line. The Metro is open from 6.00 am to 12.00 pm. You should purchase special plastic cards for traveling by underground. These cards are on sale at station kiosks and cost 2 GEL whilst journeys themselves – 50 Tetri.
TAP WATER IS DRINKABLE. Famous Georgian mineral waters are on sale in every market or corner shop. GARBAGE – (except construction garbage) is not classified in Tbilisi and is thrown together in bins.
At restaurants you can taste the pearls of Georgian cuisine – khachapuri (cheese bread) and khinkali (dumplings), both of which should be eaten by hand without forks.
It is prohibited to set up a tent in PARKS, GARDENS and STREETS in Tbilisi. Nobody will force you to pay a fine, but you will definitely attract the attention of the police.
The day before of your business meeting try to avoid Georgian drinks, especially the red (‘black’) wine and vodka (“Chacha”). You will be bound to end up with an unpleasant hangover.
Tbilisi is not included on the list of expensive cities. A minimum monthly income is around 200 GEL. Lots of Georgians, especially women, work in foreign countries in order to provide for their families. Many citizens have a contact in villages in order to buy natural and organic food. Natural and organic food – cheese, vegetables, meat and Georgian sweets – can be purchased at the Agrarian market near “Station square” metro-station. For safety, avoid outside traders and stand-alone kiosks.
Tbilisi’s nightlife is not very lively. But clubbing-connoisseurs and culture-vultures can visit trendy and cozy café-restaurants, modern night clubs and enjoy live music performances in the Old town – at Bambis Rigi, Shardeni, Erekle II and Leselidze streets.
Despite Georgia being located on the Black Sea coast; there are only two ports – in Poti and Batumi. Tourists rarely have a chance to travel by maritime traffic there.
There are various hostels, guest-houses and chic hotels in the central and historical districts in Georgia’s capital. In order to get information about this and other issues, you can head to the information center located in Pushkin Garden on Freedom Square.
Ancient buildings make a contrasting blend with Soviet architecture in Tbilisi.
Tbilisi is quite hot in the summer – temperatures may sometimes reach even 40 degrees in August. May is famous for regular downpours whereas January is often a dry month.
Tbilisi is the only city in the Caucasus where a Mosque, a Synagogue and Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches are located together in one district. Tbilisi’s population is multiethnic; consisting of Georgians, Armenians, Jews, Azeris and Greeks.
Georgia is famous for its hospitality but, as they are rather emotional, try to avoid loud arguments with them.