Everyone has a particular reason to visit Georgia. Some are looking forward to the rich history and abundant reminders of past glory days. Others, in turn, are attracted to the lush greenery and refreshing qvevri wine.
But how many of you are attracted to the arts?
If you are an enthusiast of aesthetics and the beauty of a brush and paint, then you’re in luck. Despite not being known for it, Georgia tourism has plenty to offer to the artistic niche, and a vast collection of destinations to enhance your senses during your next visit. Notably, the capital city.
Amongst the many things to do in Tbilisi, you shouldn’t neglect the joy of exploring the beauty of the city’s art life. If you know where to look, you will find the hidden beauty in each creak and corner. Museums have plenty of treasures to offer, but so do coffee shops, small galleries, and even random street corners.
Ready to delight your eyes? Come with me and explore the places to visit in Tbilisi, Georgia—tailor-made for the steadfast art lover.
Elene Akhvlediani House-Museum
Born and raised in Georgia, Elene Akhvlediani was a famed 20th-century artist. As a painter, theater designer, and graphic artist, her works were intensely Georgian. So her legacy remains one of the best ones to visit in Tbilisi.
During her lifetime, she depicted the beauty and aesthetic harmony of the typical Georgian towns and environments. Akhvlediani is also responsible for designing, sketching, and bringing life to decorations for multiple Georgian plays, as well as illustrating books, novels, and poems.
Akhvlediani was known to host in her home multiple gatherings, turning it into a bustling center for artistic minds and enthusiasts of her work. After death, her beloved house continued the tradition and became a museum dedicated to everything Elene Akhvlediani, as well as a hotspot for the artistic Tbilisi tourism.
Within the exhibition, you can admire the profoundly Georgian atmosphere of her decoration, as well as sketches, designs, paintings, and belongings of one of Georgia’s most celebrated artists.
Working hours: Thursday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 18:00. The museum is closed on Mondays and official holidays.
Admission fees: 3 GEL for adults, 0.5 GEL for students, and free of charge for children under six and people with special needs.
Address: 12, Leo Kiacheli St., Tbilisi, Georgia.
The National Gallery
The National Gallery is the house of art in Georgia, and an obligatory place to visit in Tbilisi.
Established in 1920, the National Gallery owes its existence to the efforts of Dimitri Shevardnadze, a famed Georgian painter, and artist of the era. Shevardnadze organized the National Gallery’s first exhibition in the abandoned Temple of Glory building—a previous military and historical museum dedicated to the Russian Empire.
To kickstart the project, Shevardnadze gathered a plethora of portraits and paintings from Georgia, Russia, Europe, Iran, and other lands. The first exhibition was a success. From then on, the National Gallery doubles as a museum and as an exhibition hall.
Nowadays, the National Gallery has both temporary and permanent exhibitions, conserving everlasting masterpieces while, at the same time, promoting the work of contemporary artists.
Working hours: The National Gallery works from Tuesday to Sunday, and opens on a regular schedule from 10:00 to 18:00. It remains closed on Mondays and public holidays.
Admission fees: Adults pay 12 GEL, while students with their respective ID must pay 0.5 GEL. Admission is free for children under 6 and people with special needs.
Address: 11, Rustaveli Ave., Tbilisi, Georgia
Gallery 27 House
As you may know, the beauty of art is not exclusive to museums and formal institutions. Art is in sculptures, architecture, and theatres. And why not? In beautiful Instagram photos as well.
Any street corner can house art, and if you visit Georgia, you can find the most wondrous hotspots photography in even the most recondite of locations.
Gallery 27 is one of such.
Inconspicuous in its appearance, Gallery 27 is a souvenir shop that sells handmade, traditional Georgian crafts. Its cozy, authentic atmosphere reflects the typical Georgian household. At the same time, its products are all made by Georgian designers, both young and old.
From jewelry to notebooks and tablecloths, Gallery 27 gives you a whole outlook at Georgian tradition and folk art styles. Likewise, it features photography hotspots known for being perfect for Instagram—the stained glass artwork and stairs are favorites!
Working hours: Opens Monday to Sunday, from 11:00 to 20:00.
Admission fees: None. All payments depend on what you choose to purchase within the establishment.
Address: N3 Betlemi St, T’bilisi 0105, Georgia.
Gabriadze Theater & Café
During your visit to Georgia, it’d be impossible to miss one of the most symbolic spots for Tbilisi tourism, as well as an incredible sight for locals—the Gabriadze complex.
Whimsical and quirky, its eye-catching structure answers to the performances within the installations. Beyond being a typical theater, the Gabriadze Theater in old Tbilisi is for puppets. The structure itself was designed and built in 1981 by Rezo Gabriadze. Still, its emblematic clock tower came to be in 2010 by the hands of the same creator.
The clock tower is a magnificent view by itself—once an hour, an angel rings the clock’s bell with a hammer, and twice a day, the “Circle of Life” puppet show takes place, at 12:00 and 19:00.
You can witness multiple marionette performances according to the schedule of the season, or you can also degust a cup of wine as you relax in the annex Café Gabriadze. The main attraction is the architectural beauty of the clock tower structure and its multiple handmade tiles, a real artistic delight within Old Tbilisi.
Working hours: The clock tower is free to visit. For the theater and the café, check the website, as it depends on the season.
Admission fees: None for the clock tower. The theater depends on the performance.
Address: 13 Ioane Shavteli St, Tbilisi.
Although it’s more commonly known as Art Palace, the real name of this institution is Georgian State Museum of Theatre, Music, Cinema, and Choreography. With a name like that, you can expect a visit to this landmark to ooze artistic beauty from every corner.
The building where the museum is located it’s a marvel by itself. Commissioned to Paul Stern by German Prince Constantine Oldenburg, he intended the palace as a love gift. Profoundly enamored of his Georgian wife Agraphina Japaridze, the structure came to be in the late 19th century as everlasting proof of his affections.
In 1927, the building turned into the headquarters for the Museum of Theatre, founded by the estimated Georgian public figure David Arsenishvili amidst the Soviet-impulsed Red Terror. Arsenishvili, fearful for the cultural heritage of Georgia, decided to keep a museum to store and protect his country’s legacy.
Upon visiting the Art Palace, you will find several exhibitions, divided by their nature—manuscripts, composers, books, photos, fine arts, sculptures, gramophone records, posters, and memorial objects. All of them of incalculable value for Georgian history, art development, and humanity’s culture in general.
Working hours: Unlike most museums in Georgia, the Art Palace works on Mondays as well, opening from 10:30 to 18:00 throughout the whole week.
Admission fees: 2 GEL.
Address: Ia Kargareteli st. # 6, 0012 Tbilisi, Georgia.
Zurab Tsereteli Museum of Modern Art
Regularly called by its acronyms of MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art is at the heart of Tbilisi. The institution stores over 300 pieces of work perpetually, while still hosting multiple temporal exhibitions and displays—up to 12 annually.
As its name indicates, the museum focuses on contemporary art, particularly within the 21st century. Although many Georgian and foreign artists are featured regularly, the ubiquitous protagonist is the eponymous Zurab Tsereteli.
A famed artist within Georgia and abroad, Tsereteli led the restoration project of the abandoned building that houses the museum. Nowadays, many of his recognized artworks can be enjoyed in the galleries. Particularly eye-catching are his “Argonauts” and “Apple” compositions.
The Museum of Modern Art has three stores worth of exhibition space and features educational centers, a conference hall, and spaces for children.
Working hours: The Museum of Modern Art works from 11:00 to 18:00 every day except Tuesdays and public holidays.
Admission fees: Entry to the museum costs 5 GEL.
Address: Rustaveli Ave. 27, Tbilisi, Georgia.
Museum of Illusions
Art and science are often pitted against one another—as if they were opposites. However, the Museum of Illusions proves, once again, that they are sides of the same coin.
A long-time favorite in everyone’s list of things to do in Tbilisi, the Museum of Illusions fascinates your senses and intrigues your mind with a long-list of visual spectacles that are far more than meets the eye.
Rooms that make you appear taller than you are, regular rooms that feel like a never-ending void, or stable surfaces that trick you into believing you’re running on top of a rotating cylinder like the best action heroes—all of it, right at Tbilisi.
Of course, it’s all just an illusion. The museum takes good care in explaining the reasoning behind each of these experiences, and how your eyes can fool your brain.
A different type of art, apt for kids and adults alike.
Working hours: The illusion museum works all week, from Monday to Sunday, opening at 10:00 and closing at 22:00.
Admission fees: Admission cost for adults is 19.5 GEL, children from 6 to 17 years old pay 12.5, while children under 5 have free admission. Students (18-24) enjoy a special discount and pay 14.5 GEL for a ticket. Likewise, the family package provides tickets for two adults and two children at 47 GEL.
Address: 10 Betlemi St, Tbilisi, Georgia.
Estia Boutique of Handmade Arts
Art is beauty, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As such, anything can become art, and you can make art if your mind is set to it.
And if your mind is set to it, then you’d do well in visiting Estia Boutique of Handmade Arts, where you can learn how to do art—the Georgian way.
The boutique Estia is named after the Ancient Greek Ὲστία, meaning hearth, and referencing the warmth of home and the domestic. The name perfectly describes the ambiance of this small shop, where the cozy and welcoming atmosphere of a regular Georgian household meets the charm and beauty of traditional handmade crafts.
Pottery, lamps, ceramics, and miscellaneous pieces of functional art can be found at the boutique, making for excellent souvenirs. However, the real charm of Estia Boutique relies on its masterclasses.
For 20 GEL, you can take a two-hour course on the artistic skill you choose, materials included. Make pottery, repurpose furniture or any other option offered at the time of your visit. You can keep your Georgian-made masterpiece and take it back home, as a reminder of your visit to Tbilisi.
Working hours: Opens all days of the week, from 11:30 to 20:30. Regardless, working hours are still subjected to changes.
Admission fees: None. Costs depend on your purchases and whether or not you decide to purchase admission to a masterclass. In the case of the latter, the price tends to be around 20 GEL.
Address: Sinamdzghvrishvilis k. 60 Marjanishvili Square, New Tbilisi, Tbilisi 0102 Georgia.
Few countries are as picture-perfect as Georgia.
Be its exceptional natural beauty, charming folk structures, or memorable historical events, in Georgia, there is always something to reflect in front of a lens.
For enthusiasts of photography, Fotografia remains one of the best places to visit in Tbilisi and a quintessential stop during your visit to Georgia.
Relatively young, Fotografia was established in 2017 at the hand of Ryan McCarrel and Giorgi Rodionov, an American photographer and Georgian visual artist. As its full name reveals, the Fotografia photography gallery is dedicated to showcasing limited edition prints and global pieces while retaining a focus on Georgian-based works and photographers.
By visiting the installations, you can admire the avant-garde work of Ketevan Gvinepadze and Nata Sopromadze, or the trendy pieces made by Mariam Sitchinava.
Although Fotografia is no short in current pieces, it also places a significant focus on the legendary works of many photographers through Georgian history, including Yuri Mechitov and Giorgi Tsagareli.
Working hours: Fotografia works through the week from Monday to Sunday. The gallery opens at noon and closes at 20:00.
Admission fees: The gallery is free to enter and visit. All costs are those associated with the purchase of art pieces within the gallery.
Address: Revaz Tabukashvili 21. Tbilisi, Georgia.