Thursday, October 22, 2009

ARTICLE: Redeveloping Old Tbilisi. By Michael Cecire (

Being someone who works in the field of economic development, I found it very interesting to learn that plans are moving forward to demolish sections of Old Tbilisi to allow for the brand new construction of modern high-rises (reportedly). From the way it sounds, it won’t be the kind of developments like that on Erekle Street, which does a very good job of mimicking a ‘European’ old quarter.
That area is quite charming and interesting, although one kind of gets the sense that the development tries a little too hard to replicate a Western European quartier rather than showcase more indigenous forms of architecture and planning, like that on display in Georgia’s tourist town of Sighnaghi.
Sighnaghi (shown below), which is located in the heights of the Kakheti wine region, was refurbished as an idealized representation of a ‘classical’ Georgian mountain town. This would be a much more appropriate model, if you ask me, for revitalizing Old Tbilisi, as opposed to more pseudo-Western Europe developments. Not to say that Erekle Street is a bad place – I actually enjoy it a great deal – but I think tourists would prefer to see more ‘Georgianness’ in the character of Old Tbilisi developments. But it doesn’t seem that the makeover will have any kind of ‘old’ look at all, from what is being implied.

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