New Tiflis project: Thousands celebrate reopening of Aghmashenebeli Ave, Tbilisi

  • Hundreds of people walked along renovated Aghmashenebeli Ave on Sunday. Photo from the Prime Minister of Georgia’s press office., 26 Sep 2016 - 18:36, Tbilisi,Georgia

Thousands of people in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi walked along the renovated Aghmashenebeli Ave on Sunday to celebrate the reopening of the historic Old Town street after seven months of major rehabilitation.

Dozens of houses on the popular road have either been completely rebuilt or had their facades renovated to give the buildings a fresh look. Most of the homes were cultural heritage monuments and were restored back to their former glory.

The restoration works also included digging up the street to replace communication and electricity cables and install a drainage system.

A 500m section of the road is now pedestrian-only. Photo from the Prime Minister of Georgia’s press office.

A 500m section of the road from 44 Aghmashenebeli Ave to Saarbrucken Square has closed to traffic and is now pedestrian-only, giving new opportunities to cafes and shops that have opened on the lower end of the street.

The major renovation of buildings along Aghmashenebeli Ave was completed as stage one of a large-scale Governmental project New Tiflis, which launched in February.

See before and after photos of the renovated Aghmashenebeli Ave in an story here.

The renovated area was officially opened on Sunday in a celebration attended by thousands of locals, guests and Government officials. 

Revellers snapped selfies in front of the 47 historic houses that were renovated within the 30 million GEL (about €11 million/$13 million*) New Tiflis project. Many of the homes and buildings on Aghmashenebeli Ave suffered decades of neglect and were in a bad state.

Guests spent time in front of one of the houses on Aghmashenebeli Ave that still sports a century-old look. Photo from the Prime Minister of Georgia’s press office.

Many of the restored and renovated houses now feature shop plaques in the classic 19th Century Tbilisi style that adorn their first storey facades.

Other glimpses of history can be found when entering hallways of some of the buildings, where renovation efforts revealed wall and ceiling paintings from about 100 years ago.

Hundreds of people celebrate the new look of the street, which had suffered decades of neglect. Photo from the Prime Minister of Georgia’s press office.

The paintings were carefully repaired by renovation experts. 

As well as the decorative work on the front of the buildings, parts of Aghmashenebeli Ave itself was dug up so new communication systems, water and electricity networks could be replaced. Furthermore a drainage system was established on the street for the first time.

Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili (C) was among the crowds celebrating the road opening on Sunday. Photo from the Prime Minister of Georgia’s press office.

Stage one of the project also included installing new street lights, adding new cobbled surfaces and making more green areas including a vertical garden built on the wall of 59 Aghmashenebeli Ave.

The Governmental initiative aimed to bring new life to the neglected homes on Aghmashenebeli Ave that date back to the late 19th-early 20th Century. Once the project is complete the road is expected to become part of a restored historical tourist route in Tbilisi.

Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili attended the opening on Sunday and he said he expected the rehabilitated area to become "one of the most attractive districts in Tbilisi for all tourists".

A detail of the renovated Old Town buildings on Aghmashenebeli Ave. Photo from the Prime Minister of Georgia’s press office.

The second stage of the project will restore pedestrian routes leading from Aghmashenebeli Ave up through the network of narrow Old Town streets and restore the complex of 19th Century yards in the district.

This next phase will also see renovation of the Dry Bridge area – across Mtkvari River from Saarbrucken Square – as well as Orbeliani St.

* Currencies are equivalent with the latest National Bank of Georgia exchange rate.