Riotous and anarchic, the capital of Georgia is anything but orderly.

Despite this – or because of it – it’s one of the best, most strikingly original cities in the world. It represents the epitome of east meets west: a Silk Road crossroads where Arab, Ottoman, Mongol, and Russian imperial forces each left their own distinctive cultural mark.

Tbilisi was once a labyrinth of crumbling art nouveau palaces and decaying, overgrown balconies. In the aftermath of the country’s brief devastating 2008 war with Russia, waves of foreign investment have transformed Georgia into a model of frenetic development.

Tbilisi’s anarchically bohemian spirit still suffuses its historic districts where traditional Georgian experiences, like the 24-hour sulfur baths, shouldn’t be missed.

Before you depart, indulge in Georgian dishes like Khinkali (hat-shaped dumplings) stuffed with cheese, mushrooms, or a spicy pork-and-beef mixture, and churchkhela, a snack of nuts rolled in thickened grape juice.

Experience Tbilisi’s authentic charms before sprawling developments forever change this bustling metropolis. Here’s a video from National Geographic Travel to ignite that wanderlust in you.

 

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