A metal symphony

Eliava–a fragment of the 90s in present-day Tbilisi

Several new supermarkets, trading in construction and repair materials, have been already opened in Tbilisi. These modern, ritzy stores, where products are conveniently shelved in the orderly manner, are gradually replacing Eliava market, the area that has already become a cult one.

‘Eliava’ market has been operating in Tbilisi since mid-90s. The metal and plank counters, built up in a chaotic manner, the glassed-in shops and the people standing behind them, form a parallel world that is an integral part of Tbilisi urban aesthetics.

Time seems to have stopped, nothing is changing here. This area has its intact smell, character and music. ‘Eliava’, with its dirty narrow passages, its smell of dust and low-priced paint, the women selling puff-pastry cheese pies and the workers befuddled from beer, are sort of a gloomy fragment of the 90s, which the present-day Tbilisi couldn’t cede so far and which has been taken along with it.

For twenty years, this place has saved many families from starvation. For many, this area still remains the only means of self-fulfillment and employment.

Gela Arsiashvili, 65, a turner, has been working here for 20 years already. He’s been producing metal items in a leased premises. As he says, his family has never lacked money for food.

He has taught his son the craft and now there are already two of them. He has no fear of unemployment, since what he has learn throughout the years spent here is that a good craftsman will never be lacking clients.

He has a hard work-there is dust, smoke and continuous noise, i.e. a metal symphony, as Gela calls it himself.




Shorena Tkeshelashvili, Tbilisi

photo: Sopho Bukia 22 October 2016 - 07:28