the balcony of europe
In 2008, when i visited Georgia for the first time, i encountered a depressed country without self-confidence. 11 years later i am experiencing a land that is in the process of rediscovering itself and
is allowing color and joy back into its very core.
Due to its location in the Near East, Georgia is referred to as the balcony of Europe. I have always been interested in regions in which different cultures merge and generate mutual synergies. With this in mind, I travelled in 2008 to the country between the Black Sea, the Greater and Lesser Caucasus and the volcanic Armenian highland. After my tour across the once thriving and fer- tile but then grey country I decided, due to the depressing attitude of the people, never to revisit Georgia.
Fortunately I abandoned my intention and this year in June flew once again to Tiflis (Tbilisi), the capital of Georgia. The city was founded in the 5th century and flourished in the Middle Ages to become one of the richest cities of its time due to intersecting trade routes. The hot sulphur springs are just one of the special features of this constantly changing city. Stricken by a number of occupations by different nations, Tiflis does not have its own clear identity. The population only seems to have recognized now that their plurality is the city’s wealth. Tradition meets youth culture, previous depression and fear gives way to the youth’s hunger to structure their lives in a more gratifying way. Restaurants with specialties of the country and bars, offering Georgian pressed wine, border the centre.
But the thing that pleases me most is the fact that the people in Tiflis are laughing again and have an open approach to tourists. Do I think Tiflis is a beautiful city? It is definitely becoming one. The people are doing their very best; the offer for tourists is being constantly extended. The city council is trying to create architectural highlights and the creative heads in the city are opening charming boutiques offering exciting fashion. Tiflis is changing and this development is extremely positive for the city and the country as a whole.
I chose the five-star Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace as the place to retreat and revive my body and soul during my city visit– an excellent choice. If I am visiting lively, exciting cities I want to have a ”home“, where I can reload my batteries. The very tastefully designed hotel also offers culinary delicacies in its own Ati restaurant and a beautiful stylish spa for relaxing. From my room I can see most of the old town and I enjoy my cigar on the hotel roof terrace in pleasant summer temperatures. With a delicious gin & tonic in my hand I am already looking forward to continuing my journey of discovery the next day, full of energy. ”Tiflis, I am happy to be able to stand on this balcony of Europe.“
Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace
The hotel offers a stunning view of old Tbilisi and boasts 220 well- appointed rooms and suites in soft-pastel colors that are easy on the eye. The hotel has the largest ballroom, meeting facilities and everything in between, ready to host business meetings or social gatherings. Settle in for a meal or enjoy a cocktail at the dining points. Grab a cold beer and cheer for your favorite sports team while enjoying stadium-like food at the Craft House. After a full day of work or exploration, treat yourself to views of the city and delicious cuisine on the roof top restaurant.
Photos Copyrights: Sheraton