Caravanserai & Museum Of Tbilisi

The Caravanserai, tucked away at 8 Sioni Street in Tbilisi, embodies an architectural narrative that weaves the city's turbulent past with its vibrant present. Caravanserai, a term of Persian and Turkish origin, traditionally refers to a resting place for traveling merchants. In Tbilisi, the Caravanserai's story is a testament to the city's resilience and constant evolution.

The structure that stands today was birthed from the ashes of a tumultuous period in the late 18th century, when Agha-Muhammad-Khan's invasion left much of Tbilisi in ruins. This period of reconstruction gave rise to the current incarnation of the Caravanserai, serving as a striking example of architectural palimpsest, a building that has been adapted and transformed over many centuries.

King Rostom first built the original Caravanserai adjacent to Sioni Cathedral in the 16th century, a gift to the church. However, subsequent invasions and reconstructions have shaped the building's form and function over time. In the 19th century, Gevork Artsruni, a merchant who migrated from Turkey, purchased the ruined Caravanserai and undertook a significant restoration. Later, in 1908, the Aphrikiants brothers bought the building and performed a full reconstruction, giving the Caravanserai its modern facade facing Sioni Street. The building's facelift concluded in 1912, symbolizing a new era for this resilient edifice.

In 1984, following another large-scale rehabilitation, the Caravanserai became the Ioseb Grishashvili Tbilisi History Museum. Today, the museum houses a plethora of Georgian cultural treasures across its three levels. Visitors on the first floor can immerse themselves in recreations of traditional Tbilisi homes, complete with historical musical instruments, ethnographic clothing, and traditional appliances. The second floor provides space for various exhibitions.

Perhaps the most enchanting feature of the Caravanserai is its ancient basement, dating back to King Rostom's time. Here, guests can embark on an 8,000-year journey through the history of Georgian winemaking, with opportunities to sample a selection of wines and shop for traditional Georgian handicrafts, clothing, jewelry, and artwork.

Operating under the governmental control of Georgia's Ministry of Culture and Monuments Protection since 2004, the museum houses 50,000 items that intricately narrate Tbilisi's history, culture, and everyday life. From archaeological collections to applied folk art, from Bronze Age relics to masterpieces of contemporary Georgian artists, the Caravanserai is a veritable cultural time capsule in the heart of Tbilisi.

Nearest to Caravanserai & Museum Of Tbilisi

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