Trans Eurasia travel

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The Left Bank

The left or north bank of the Mtkvari is, with the exception of the Metekhi church and the area immediately behind it, relatively recently developed; although it contains little of touristic interest, there is much of practical use here, and its safer than the traditional affluent/expat areas. Its heart is the area to the south of the Voksal (railway station), along Davit Agmashenebelis Gamziri (David the Builder Avenue), which was built up in the 19th century.

To the east, the highway from the airport and Kakheti runs in alongside the railway and then dives under it to turn right onto Ketevan Tsamebulis Gamziri just east of the Palace of Weddings, reached by going straight across the road from the 300 Aragveli metro station. Intended by the communists to attract couples away from church weddings, it's very modernist, but with a classical statue (of a naked male) in front of the blatantly phallic carillion tower. The palace was bought in 2002 and used as a private mansion by the reclusive oligarch Badri Patarkatsishvili until his death in 2008. Its future is uncertain but either way you can no longer get inside.

David Agmashenebeli (David the Builder) Avenue (formerly Plekhanov) runs along the left bank of the city more or less parallel to Rustaveli Avenue on the right bank. Known as Mikhailovskaya Street in the 1830s, this road linked the villages of Chugureti, Kukia, and Didube beginning in ancient times.

As mentioned, this zone will not be of enormous interest to first-time visitors to Tbilisi. Sports fans will want to visit National (formerly Dynamo) Stadium, rebuilt in 1976 and home to the enormously popular and successful Tbilisi soccer team Iberia (formerly the Dynamos). Renovation of the 1935 stadium increased the seating capacity from 35,000 to 75,000, a good thing given the city's enthusiasm for its home team.

The westernmost part of the city is called Dighomi. Film aficionados will want to arrange a tour of Gruzia Film Studios located here at 6 Akhmeteli Street. Such greats directors as Tengiz Abuladze, Revaz Chkeidze, Eldar and Giorgi Shengalaya, Lana Gogoberidze, Otar loseliani, and Alexander Rekhviashvili have all worked here.

Behind the Makhata Ridge is the Tbilisi Sea. This natural depression was enlarged in 1951 and uses water from the lori River to irrigate the Samgori Steppe in the east. The reservoir is also a favorite swimming hole for Tbilisi residents.