Photographs with Commentary by Debra Jan Bibel

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After some sleep, though jet lag still persists, we embark on our tour of the city's notable places, hearing history from a guide, and soaking in the little aspects of the city, such as traffic jams. Of the nation's 3.7 million people, some 1 million live in Tblisis.  After a week of warm weather before our arrival, the sky is overcast.

Taken on a later day, this photo is of the broadcast antenna which lords over the city.

Dividing the city is the river Mtkvari, or Kura, the right tributary of the Vere. Millennium Hotel stands out. Building for governmental  public services. The Presidential and Administrative building; not the flag of Georgia with scarlet cross with four bolnur-katskhuri crosses in the corners. An exhibition hall, originally planned as a concert hall. One of the bridges across the Kura.

Civic Center. 

Overlooking the river is the Metekhi Church of Assumption

Entrance to the Church.

Looking upward. Georgian and Armenia Orthodox Christian architecture has a conical roof; Roman Catholic churches have a half-spheroid dome; Russian Orthodox has an onion-shaped dome.

Inside the sanctuary.

Prayers.  Tradition quirks: In Georgian churches, women must wear skirts and men must be bare-headed. If women lack a skirt, wraps are provided to be placed around pants.


Ringing the bell. Monument to King Vakhtang Gorgasali, 440-502 BCE, founder of Tblisi. Located adjacent to Metekhi Church, the statue views all of Tblisis. The huge Sameba Cathedral with golden roof is in the distance. Across the river is the ruined walls of the Narikala Fortress, 4th century; restored St. Nicholas church is nearby. Another statue overlooking the city is Mother of Georgia, Kartlis Deda, made of aluminum in 1958, celebrating 1,500 years of Tblisi.
Churchkhela: These are not candles but tubes of nuts (almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts) coated with grape or other fruit juice and flour and dried.



An excavation with wine urns. Old wine distillation from the excavation. Hamman [Turkish bath] spas; a sulfurous hot spring adjacent.:

Several spas; some had massages here.

The spring and mosque.

Some ornate balconies.


The Great Synagogue of Tblisi.  Jews have dwelled in Georgia since the Babylonian exile. Most have moved to Israel but 11,000 remain in the city.

The tablets of the Commandments serve as doors in a gate. The rabbis of the past. Plaque in Hebrew, Georgian, English, and Russian. Inside the synagogue. The almemar/bema and ark. Jewish symbols above the doors.

Modim [we thankfully acknowledge]. Ark; the Torah within.  This section at the left side,..... 
.... behind the divider, is the women's section. As in mosques, orthodox synagogues separate the sexes, but here women cannot see anything. Typically, they would be seated in the balcony.
The history of the
Sourb Gevorg [Saint George]Armenian cathedral. [see enlargement]
Entombed here is the  Armenian poet-composer Sayat- Nova. The monument here has an error, as he played the kamanche spiked fiddle not this fantasy, a 5-string fretless saz or tanbur.
St. George cathedral. Light from the dome. The altar. Dedication plaque. The bishop, Yuval, and Norik. After a recitation of a poem by Sayat-Nova and Norik's duduk performance, the priest sings beautifully. [Video has been made for DVD collection]   Dinner. A wall of wine. 

One of Georgia's traditional foods, khachapuri, cheese-bread. Another traditional dish is tomatoes and cucumber.
These dumplings are khinkali, usually filled with meat. After dinner we pass this modern building, a hotel. First contact: we meet the Didgori Ensemble, traditional Georgian vocalists of polyphony. Yuval and his counterpart director discuss a matter. Tour members listen to the singers.



After the Georgians rehearse, the Yuval Ron Ensemble  presents. Norik closes the gathering. [This gathering was video recorded for DVD collection.]  





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