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Photographer's Note

This is an ordinary street in the old part of Tbilisi, capital of Georgia.

In the 1990's this former Soviet republic was in turmoil with a civil war followed by general lawlessness, kidnappings, killings, armed gangs ruling the streets etc. The old leaders were thrown out in the "Rose revolution" in 2003, and since 2004 the country has been stabilized, seen considerable economic growth and is looking to a future as a Western ally.

There are still political problems, especially due to the short war with Russia in 2008, and growing disappointment with a government which is seen as increasingly authoritarian. On October 1 this year there will be general elections and unrest can unfortunately not be ruled out.

Provided that stability prevails Tbilisi will in the near future no doubt become a "hot spot" for tourists looking for trendy new places to visit after Barcelona, Berlin, Prague etc. The Old town is a maze of narrow alleys with picturesque buildings and churches along a narrow space between a river and a mountain. But all over Tbilisi modern restaurants, bars and clubs are mushrooming, several new luxury hotels have opened in the last few years, there is also plenty of budget accommodation, along all major streets nearly every building is being restored, a spectacular new footbridge was opened recently and lots of new buildings are being projected. I have also heard reports of plans to make the entire city a wi-fi zone. English speaking tourists find it fairly easy to get along.

While lots of money is invested in restoring public buildings, the private houses in the Old town, off the major streets, will for the time being probably not see much improvement. It is a charming area to visit but sadly rundown after many decades of poverty and neglect during Soviet rule and afterwards. The Old town has had a reputation for thefts and muggings, but my impression was that exploring it on foot is nowadays perfectly safe.

I will add two more pictures from Old Tbilisi as workshops.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3460 W: 298 N: 7381] (38697)
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