The name means ‘warm’, referring to the hot springs which feed the city’s sulphur baths. Its strategic location at the crossroads of Asia and Europe has seen invasions by Mongols, Khazars, Turks and Arabs over the centuries. But these days peace reigns and Tbilisi is an extremely affordable and fascinating city break.
OUT AND ABOUT: Head for Old Tbilisi, which straddles the river Kura. Here, the streets are lined with fruit stalls, busy cafes and wine shops offering free tastings (beware the potent chacha, Georgia’s national spirit).
There’s noteworthy architecture all over the place: Byzantine churches rub shoulders with crumbling mansions, Art Nouveau designs sit alongside neo-classical buildings, all interspersed with grey, Soviet-era apartment blocks.
Most eye-catching of all are the balconied dwellings on the cliff tops above the Mtkvari river.