A man selling stills to make ChaCha, a strong Georgian Vodka at Tbilisi's Dry Bridge Market. The market is sizable, spanning a couple city blocks, including the Dry Bridge over Mtkvari River. I maintain that whatever your heart may desire, it's at that market.

Tbilisi, Georgia
Included within Travel Program for
Policy and Conflict in the Post-Soviet Space
for Spring, 2017
Photojournalism by Rebekah Welch

Post-Soviet-Conflict-BannerTbilisi, the capital city of Georgia is known for its unique (and un-regulated) architecture and cheap cost of living. In a few short days I discovered both are true, but also that there is much more to the city than some weirdly shaped iconic buildings and inexpensive cafes (of which there are many).

At the end of my travel for Policy and Conflict in the Post-Soviet Space, I chose to spend a few extra days in Tbilisi, because its quirkiness intrigued me, and maybe a little bit because if I went back to Kyiv any earlier I would overstay my 90 lawful visa-free days in the country. Thus, I spent five extra days in Tbilisi doing what I always do: wandering and trying to understand the place through the lens of my camera.

No matter how far I ventured from Fabrika, the very hip hostel that I stayed at (a very hip, converted Soviet sewing factory), I was always fascinated by Tbilisi. From priests to grandmothers and skeptical children and gaggles of teens, I saw every type of Georgian on the streets. And the further you get from the swanky hills on the edges of “Old Tbilisi,” where the former president spent a fortune renovating decaying old buildings into fancy hotels and restaurants, the better. The real Georgians are in the markets, at the produce or khachapuri stands that line streets, or near the churches. Here, let me show you:

 

One of the streets in the “swanky hills” I described earlier. Though it feels, and is, very touristy, it is worth a trip down this street for some outside seating and a good meal. It’s lined with restaurants and bars.

 

A man selling stills to make ChaCha (a strong Georgian vodka) at Tbilisi’s Dry Bridge Market. The market is sizable, spanning a couple city blocks, including the Dry Bridge over Mtkvari River. I maintain that whatever your heart may desire, it’s at that market. Prepare to haggle, though – sellers will try to rip off tourists.

 

A group of teenage boys practicing backflips in one of Tbilisi’s numerous parks.

 

A little girl looking out of a crowded marshrutka window. Though Tbilisi does have a Metro, many rely on the city’s plentiful marshrutkas, or mini-busses, to get around.

 

A clerk in one of Tbilisi’s plentiful roadside produce shops in the city center.

 

A man smokes a cigarette on one of Tbilisi’s main streets at dusk.

A little girl begs her mom for a bag of popcorn she’s holding, as she tries to chat with her friend in downtown Tbilisi.

Tbilisi’s iconic cable cars, taking those who don’t wish to walk up a steep hill to an ancient fortress overlooking the city.

Downtown Tbilisi, overlooking the Mtkvari River towards the aforementioned fortress.

Rebekah Welch

Rebekah Welch

Rebekah Welch is a senior at University of Montana in Missoula. She is a double major in Russian and Journalism with an emphasis on photography. She is studying Russian language at NovaMova in Kiev, and am also working for the school as an intern, creating a photoblog. After a semester abroad, she hopes to become fluent enough in Russian that she can work as photojournalist throughout Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. Although she loves this area of the world, she has a passion for journalism and will go wherever the story takes her.

Rebekah is attending Journalism Internship
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