The Soviet Union’s heritage is looming upon Georgia. It’s not gone yet and its shadows can be seen everywhere: music, writing, people’s memories. The past is especially vivid in the architecture. Here, brutal and almost Avangard buildings are the symbol of remembrance that once upon a time, Georgia was a part of a utopian project such as the Soviet Union.
Like everything connected to the Soviet Union, the attitude towards Communist architecture differs amongst locals. Some think that every print of communism should be wiped out from the Georgian land as it’s a reminder of the dark past. Others are trying to unpack the political baggage that comes with it and embrace the past and what stands behind it. That Georgia, despite everything, found its independence.
Despite such diverse opinions, there is no doubt that Communist architecture in Georgia is definitely an interesting piece of art. These strange towering giants(and the Soviet Union was only up to monumental constructions) are part of a fascinating culture. If you happen to visit Georgia, and specifically Tbilisi, here we present a guide to Soviet architecture in Tbilisi.
The Chronicle of Georgia
Set on the top of a hill is The Chronicle of Georgia which is also called the Georgian Stonehenge by many tourists and locals. It is a symbol of the past. 30 Meter tall columns feature the stories of the ancient queens and kings and heroes of the past. The bottom panels are depicting the life of Christ. Designed by a very famous sculptor, Zurab Tsereteli, this monument has a very sentimental value for the locals due to a specific relationship that Georgians have with their history.
The Archeological Museum
The former Archeological Museum, now closed and abandoned, certainly is the architecture you usually see only in the Soviet Union. This lionesque complex will definitely remind you of a Cave of Wonders from a very well known Disney Animation, Aladdin. Remember this? “Know this only one may enter here, one whose worth lies far within. A diamond in the rough.” Well, according to many tourists, this is exactly the kind of vibe they’re getting from the former Archeological Museum.
Former Ministry of Highways
Talking about Avangard, the building of the former Ministry of Highways, currently, the Bank of Georgia Headquarters, is the perfect example of the disregard for the traditions. The geometry here is on another level. If you happen to know the game of Tetris(as mentioned by many tourists, this is the first association they get while visiting the former Ministry of Highways), just recall the figures and then you have an idea.
TSU Library Building
The Tbilisi State University Library Building is mostly empty for most of the year. Only when TSU’s students have an exam, will they swarm the building like locusts, as they pass exams, only to leave it until the next one. To get an idea how the TSU Library Building looks like, recall Blade Runner and its dark futuristic design. This is a pretty accurate description and TSU Library is definitely an urban design statement.
Located in Saburtalo, Tbilisi’s Skybridge connects 16 residential buildings. Designed by architects O.Kalandarishvili and G. Potskhishvili, this place is not only an interesting piece of art, but has a practical value too. Due to the complexity of the terrain and mountainous region, the architects had to come up with an idea of somehow connecting this part of the city with the central streets. Thus, this complex was created.
P.S Want to know more about Georgia? Check out our latest article: How to hire and work with locals in Georgia.