David Aghmashenebeli Avenue
The major arterial route of Chugureti district, 2 km long pedestrian zone-David Aghmashenebeli Avenue begins at Saarbrucken Square and ends at the Avenue of King Tamar. Back in the 18th century, Kukia Forest covered this territory. Its first dwellers were German colonists, who contributed a lot to forming the architectural structure of the district. In 1844, the Russian statesman and diplomat Mikhail Vorontsov was appointed commander-in-chief and viceroy of the Caucasus. During this period, Kukia became part of Tbilisi and the construction of Aghmashenebeli Avenue started. In 1851 the Avenue was named Mikheil Street honoring the Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich of Russia. (1832-1909)
After the death of Russian revolutionary, philosopher, and Marxist theoretician Georgy Plekhanov in 1918, the avenue took his name-Plekhanov Street. “Plekhanov” was famous for its cultural spots, most of which are preserved today: the Union of Composers, children’s theaters, a choreography school, unique cinema “Apollo”, squares, and the Marjanishvili theater. In 1990, the avenue was renamed again after David the Builder (Aghmashenebeli)-king of Georgia (1089–1100)
Since 2010, the avenue has seen major rehabilitation works, which include the renovation of seventy buildings, installing modern communication systems, roads, sidewalks, and street lighting. In November 2011, the avenue was inaugurated.
Nowadays Davit Agmashenebeli Avenue is one of the most popular streets in Tbilisi, attracting both locals and tourists with its diversity. The area near King Tamar Avenue is more focused on trade and cultural places: shops, bank branches, and also a number of Turkish food spots.
For those who prefer spending time at café-bars, the second part of the Avenue-beginning of “New Tiflis”, is an idyllic place to relax in a nice, calm pedestrian part of the city. New Tiflis has opened just several months ago and its rehabilitation process included approximately 50 restored historical buildings, 38 of which are on the cultural heritage list. Beautiful facades and wooden balconies catch attention for unusual gates, glass windows, carved doors, original ornaments, wall paintings, and historical inscriptions. For example, near the entrance at 29 D. Agmashenebeli Avenue an old Latin inscription “FRS OUMINSK” was found, which is most likely the name of the owner of that building.
Agmashenebeli street displays numerous architectural masterpieces built in different styles: the Music and Drama State Theatre, Mikheil Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre, the Theatre of Young Audience, Vakhtang Chabukiani Memorial House-Museum, Guram Rcheulishvili Museum, Akaki Vasadze House Museum, Cinema History Museum, Norashen Holy Mother of God Armenian Church (so-called Tandoyants), “One Night Palace” and one of the most beautiful buildings of the avenue, an iconic 100-year-old three-story “Chavchanidze’s house”. It was built by a merchant Erasti Chavchanidze and architect Alexander Ozerov as a residential house, yet used to be most recognized as a post office. The hallway of Chavchanidze’s house is particularly interesting for its unique façade, artistic designs-realistic landscapes, pseudo-classical and rococo style drawings, beautiful balustrades of the hanging balconies, and oriental motifs, believed to be works by masters from Florence. On the second floor, one can see Mihály Zichy’s illustrations and fragments from the Georgian epic poem ‘The Knight in the Panther’s Skin’.
While walking along Aghmashenebeli Avenue don’t miss the Georgian State Museum of Theatre, Music, Cinema, and Choreography located at Kargareteli Street. Designed by a well-known architect-Paul Stern, the museum is housed in one of the most stunning buildings in Tbilisi and represents a perfect example of gothic and Islamic architecture. A three-story tower, decorated cornice, open terrace, high merlons and steep roofing give the building an unusual look, which is most uncharacteristic of the architectural style of Tbilisi.
The museum displays more than 300,000 objects that provide comprehensive information on the development of Georgian theatre, cinema, circus, folklore, opera, and ballet, as well as Persian miniatures, German and French gravures, personal belongings of famous Georgian art-workers, posters, programs, film lances and much more.