Tbilisi takes two days to celebrate, turning into one huge open-air farmer’s market overflowing with seasonal harvests.
This weekend Tbilisi’s air is filled with the tantalizing aroma of shashlik and churchkhela, traditional foods made outdoors for this special occasion.
Tbilisoba, the day of the city, is always celebrated with great enthusiasm.
The holiday was introduced in Soviet-era Georgia. The first Tbilisoba took place on 28 October 1979 per initiative of the then first secretary of Georgia, Eduard Shevardnadze.
Tbilisoba is dedicated to the traditional autumn harvest. Farmers and villagers from all corners of Georgia flock to the capital to display and sell their produce. The city turns into one enormous farmer’s market, overflowing with grapes, persimmons, wine, honey, churchkhela (a Georgian candy made with grape must, nuts and flour) and dried fruit. All this and more can be found in the stalls lining most major streets.
This is also the perfect opportunity to enjoy a skewer of freshly done shashlik (BBQ meat) wrapped in lavash, a traditional bread.
The city hosts a series of official public events, such as concerts, theatre performances, activities and games for kids. There are also hand-made arts and crafts on offer.
The day is also ideal for tourists who love walking around as the roads have been closed to vehicles in major areas throughout the centre of the city. Meanwhile, residents of the central districts complain about the traffic jams that occur as a result.