TBIL­ISI, GE­OR­GIA

Business Traveller - - UPFRONT -

AR­RIVE AT TBIL­ISI’S

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL AIR­PORT dur­ing the tourist sea­son (there are di­rect flights from Gatwick on Ge­or­gian Air­ways) and, if you’re lucky, you’ll be handed a bot­tle of the lo­cal plonk. Bill­boards, mean­while, wel­come you with the mes­sage: “The city that loves you.”

This is just the start of a charm of­fen­sive de­signed to lure tourists to the Ge­or­gian cap­i­tal. Other at­trac­tions in­clude the smor­gas­bord of architecture, rang­ing from crum­bling art nou­veau to Soviet-era bru­tal­ism. Then there’s a vi­brant elec­tronic mu­sic scene (though there were demon­stra­tions in May af­ter a crackdown on clubs) and a cui­sine that in­cludes khinkali dumplings.

Head up to the Narikala fortress which dates back to the fourth cen­tury and of­fers great views across the city. Down below you can get around on the Metro where you’ll see beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated stations.

Need more en­cour­age­ment? Rus­sian writer Boris Paster­nak called this city “a chimera; a fan­ci­ful beast with a Western head and an East­ern body”.

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