Agmashenebeli Avenue in Tbilisi (Neu-Tiflis)

Agmashenebeli Avenue in Tbilisi (Neu-Tiflis)

From the first years of the Russian Empire in Georgia, Tbilisi began to expand: on the right bank of the Mtkvari River, toward what are currently Freedom Square and Rustaveli Avenue; and on the left bank, the German-style settlement of "Neu Tiflis" or "New Tbilisi."


The perimeter of the New Tbilisi district spreads out across over what is currently Davit Agmashenebeli Avenue and its adjacent streets. The center of the settlement was on Kote Marjanishvili Square, where in 1897, on the territory of a small old shrine, a huge gothic-style Evangelical-Lutheran Church of St. Peter and St. Paul was built by the German architect Otto Jacob Simonson (1829-1914). After the end of the Second World War however, the communists demolished the church and erected a residential building in its place.

District’s History

In 1817, the first village of Swabian Germans from Württemberg, southern Germany, settled near what is presently the village of Sartichala. Moreover, around 1818, one of five German settlements, Neu-Tiflis, a village of German craftsmen, was founded on the left bank of the Mtkvari River, near Kuki and Chugureti villages. As the district of the fourth police department in the city, Neu-Tiflis officially joined Tbilisi in 1862. The main street of the settlement and the city's first hospital built here in 1868 (now the Museum of Modern Art at 58-60 Davit Agmashenebeli Avenue) by architect Albert Saltsman (1833-1897) were named after the Grand Prince of the Russian Empire, Crown Prince Mikhail Romanov.

On the 1878 map of Tbilisi, what was earlier known as Mikhail Street in Neu-Tiflis was already called Mikhail Avenue. By then, the former German village had been completely absorbed due to urbanization. As a result, the overall demographic scene changed dramatically. In addition to Germans, people of other nations came to settle.

Since the 1890s, Mikhail Avenue has been one of the most important places in Tbilisi, with many commercial and state organizations having their offices here. Houses of rich citizens, hotels, parks, open-air cinemas, and clubs have all been built on this territory.

For some time, Neu-Tiflis was home to the famous writer Leo Tolstoy and the singer Fyodor Chaliapin, whose professional careers started here.

The street adjacent to the aforementioned neo-gothic-style church of Neu-Tiflis was formerly called Church Street: “church” in German is "kirche," so in Russian it was called "Kirochnaya." Preserving memories of their ancestors, some locals still refer to this street by that name.

Authentic German architecture in the streets of Neu-Tiflis has almost all gone, but thanks to the Germans who once lived here the inner quarters of Davit Agmashenebeli Avenue remain as green as ever. Other areas once settled by Germans have been renamed Ilia (formerly “Mayer”), Arto (formerly “Art Society”), and Jansug Kakhidze public parks.

What Can You See Here?

There are residential houses as well as rented properties accommodated by rich Georgians and foreign industrialists and businesspersons. Among them, the most notable buildings include:

4 Rome st. - former residence of Giorgi Kartvelishvili (1827-1901), a Georgian businessman, philanthropist, and public figure. The modernization and reconstruction of the building was conducted in 1902 by the architect Simon Kldiashvili;

26 Davit Agmashenebeli Ave. - Nino Abuladze’s rented property, built in 1903 by an engineer named Vasiliev;

36 Davit Aghmashenebeli Ave. - The residential house of Erasti Chavchanidze, a merchant of the second guild, built in 1903;

44 Davit Agmashenebeli Ave – Rented property built in 1913 by Tbilisi-based architect Alexander Ozerov (1849-1922);

52 Davit Aghmashenebeli Ave. - The house of Johann Mayer, a German merchant of the second guild;

93 Davit Agmashenebeli Ave. - Rented property built in 1905 by Tskoba Abazov, a Tbilisi-based merchant of the first guild - the entire entrance hall of the house was painted by Benedict Tellingater and Di Marzo;

121 Davit Aghmashenebeli Ave. - The house of German businessmen working in Azerbaijan, the brothers Forest;

128 Davit Aghmashenebeli Ave. - The house of the famous German architect Paul Stern who built the Georgian State Museum of Theater, Music, Cinema and Choreography at 6 Ia Kargareteli st.

One of the most famous buildings in the district of New Tbilisi was "Wetzel Hotel," built in 1900 by the architect Leopold Bielefeld (1838-1922) under the order of Friedrich Wetzel, a descendant of German pioneer settlers, and a successful entrepreneur.

Of the previously-existing cinemas in the area, only the modern building of "Apollo" (built in 1909 at 135 Davit Agmashenebeli Ave.) survives in its original form, albeit it is currently closed.

The "Palace" cinema, built in 1914, at 125 Davit Aghmashenebeli Avenue, is now the Jansug Kakhidze Music Center. Only small details of the facade remain from the previous building, but the old entrance hall to the cinema is preserved in its authentic form, which, alongside the decor, wall paintings, and sculptures, creates an outstanding display of modern-style architecture in Georgia.

Among the most valuable modern public buildings in the district are the

former "People's House" of Konstantine Zubalashvili (now Kote Marjanishvili Theater on Kote Marjanishvili st.), built in 1907 by architect Stefan Krichinski, and the former "Economic Society of Caucasian Officers" building (now the head office of TBC Bank on Kote Marjanishvili st.), built in 1913 by architect Alexander Rogoisky.

Among the ecclesiastical architecture of New Tbilisi, the most notable example is the Catholic Church of Saints Peter and Paul, at 55 Ivane Javakhishvili st., built at the end of the 19th century by architect Albert Saltsman under the initiative of the famous Georgian philanthropist Konstantine Zubalashvili.

Soviet and Modern Architecture

Looking at the architecture of the Soviet period, there are several notable multi-apartment residential buildings from the Stalinist period located on Kote Marjanishvili and Saarbrücken Squares.

In the 2010s, a modern building accommodating the Puri Guliani restaurant was built on the latter square.

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