By Nicolas LANDRU in Tbilisi
Georgia has experienced deep architectural transformation during the past few years. A combination of rapid economic growth and proactive policies has pulled the country out of fifteen years of stagnation and has introduced new concepts into the urban landscape. “New glass” is to replace “old stones”. President Mikheil Saakashvili has decided to leave his personal visual mark on the country, and the building trade has become a lucrative sector. In passing, it should be pointed out that the lack of interest, of means and of know-how at the governmental and administrative levels with regard to the preservation of the country’s splendid architectural heritage has done serious damage to the architectural treasures of Georgia’s cities, and has consequently harmed the country’s potential as a tourist destination. This is the first chapter of a series which will summarize the current situation on a case by case basis focuses on Tbilisi’s old city centre, the largest area of ancient architecture anywhere in Georgia.