Described in the 1830s by the French scientist and traveler Frédéric DuBois de Montperreux as, “a bazaar which, just like in Athens, is the central point of life and movement”. The bazaar was, even then, more than just a market. People painstakingly prepared for the bazaar days, Wednesday and Friday.
This was because going to the bazaar was more than just selling one’s wares and buying things for the house. The bazaar was also a place for meeting acquaintances, exchanging greetings and well wishes for absent family, and exchanging news and gossip. When shopping, the leaders of the family would go with a porter or handcart to carry back their purchases.
Having stood in the same place for many years, the bazaar has brought together many people over the centuries. In that time, a great many stories have been told in and about the bazaar, with the tale of the actor Eremia Svanadze being a popular one.
In the 1940s, Eremia was still a child and was with his father in the Green Bazaar. In those times, women only rarely stood behind the counter, and there was only one woman there that day, selling herbs.
All of the other herb-sellers would send her their customers, saying that she had the best herbs. Eremia asked his father why all of the herb-sellers were doing that, and received the following answer: “The woman has lost her husband, and she is expecting a child, so soon she will have no chance to work, because she will look after it”.
This story is an excellent illustration of the Georgian values of family and community.
Even though modern shopping centers and supermarkets have opened up in Kutaisi over the years, the Green Bazaar has not lost any of its charms. The bazaar is split over two floors, where you’ll find arrays of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, dried fruits, churchkhela and tklapi, appetizing homemade sauces, and many other amazing local products.