Tbilisi has always been exceedingly more than it seems. It is more than the capital of Georgia; it is the very hub from which Georgia extends. It is more than a city carved into a mountain in the Caucuses; it is a city with cross-roads carved into its very identity. Certainly being situated in between the Turkish Ottoman Empire and the Tsarist Russian Empire during their historic war makes Tbilisi a physical cross-road. Even more potent is the placement of Tbilisi as a proverbial cross-road between the Muslims of Iran, Azerbaijan, and Turkey on the one hand, and the Orthodox Christians of Russia, Georgia, and Armenia on the other. All of this adds to Tbilisi’s identity as a city at the cross-roads in between two eerily similar polar opposites; but what originated this identity?
Tbilisi is a mystery even to those who live there. Yet somehow Tbilisi is a mystery that intoxicates you. Why? Maybe because the city is too resilient to be defined by time. Maybe because the city opened itself to diversity when that was the sort of thing people waged war against. Maybe because the city captures the simplicity of a marketplace and the complexity of a chess stadium simultaneously. Life runs among many courses and follows many different paths; these paths, like everything else, seem to converge in Tbilisi.