Orbeliantubani in Tbilisi

Orbeliantubani in Tbilisi

Georgian royals and nobility have always owned spacious residential buildings in Tbilisi and its surroundings. Indeed, the historical names given to some of them survive to this day. The Orbeliani district (Orbeliantubani) is one such place, where Orbeliani Palace and Church once stood tall.


Orbeliantubani lies between April 9 and Giorgi Leonidze Gardens, towards the Mtkvari River, stretching from Atoneli Street to Mtkvari Street.

District’s History

The Orbeliani were well-known and famous representatives of feudal aristocratic lineage. After, King Teimuraz II gave royal estates to Commander Revaz Orbeliani for his loyalty and dedication to the royal court in 1751, this place was renamed Orbeliantubani.

What Will You See Here?

Mshrali Bridge (Dry Bridge)

Big and small islands used to be scattered by the banks of the Mtkvari River. In 1851 an Italian architect Giovanni Scudieri connected one of the islands with the right bank of the river by a bridge. In 1933, the Soviet government turned the banks of the Mtkvari into highways and the river into a single stream bed, so that an asphalt highway appeared instead of the river running under the Scudieri Bridge. It was after this that the bridge came to be called "Dry Bridge."

The Orbeliani Tower Fence

From the extensive fence surrounding the Orbeliani district, only one tower has survived to this day, located at Mtkvari Street 3.

Presidential Palace

Meanwhile, the building of the Presidential Palace has a long history.

Today, the residence of the President of Georgia is located at Atoneli Street 25. The Palace of King Vakhtang V stood here from the second half of the 17th century onwards. Thereafter, King Teimuraz II gave this place to the Orbeliani family. 

At the end of the 19th century, the old palace was demolished, and in the 1880s, George, the nephew of the famous Georgian poet Grigol Orbeliani, built a new house in its place. 

The building, tucked away from the street, is designed in an eclectic style. During the Soviet period, one of the state organizations had its office here, which in 1992 was handed over to the United States Embassy, and since 2018, the former palace of the Orbeliani family has accommodated the Administration of the President of Georgia. The building is open to visitors several days a week.

Atoneli Street 23 and 27

To the right of the presidential building at Atoneli Street 23 stands a property that once housed the Abovianti brothers, Tbilisi-based merchants. It showcases eclectic architecture, and was built in 1898 according to the design of the architect Alexander Rogoyski. Restoration of the painted entrance hall and staircase of the house was carried out in 2021.

To the left of the presidential building at Atoneli Street 27 stands a modern-style residential-building-turned-school, which is still operating today. The metal staircase in the interior of this three-story building is one of the best pieces of modern design you will find in Tbilisi.

"London" and "Grand” Hotels

In Orbeliantubani, on what is now Atoneli Street, there were once two very famous hotels. The "Grand Hotel" (Atoneli Street 29) and "London" (Atoneli Street 31).

The "London" building belonged to the wealthy philanthropist Zubalashvili family. A project to construct it was drawn up in 1872 by the architect Otto Jacob Simonson (1832-1914), and the hotel opened in 1875. In 1893, the first French manager of the hotel was replaced by a married German couple, the Richters, who managed the hotel until 1914, when it was demolished. After the start of the First World War, the Zubalashvili family handed the hotel building over to the government to build a military hospital there. In the Soviet period, the hotel was first turned into a communal flat, then a police station, and since the 1960s it has been a residential house where several families have lived.

Particularly valuable in the architecture of the building is its entrance, with its tastefully painted walls.

In the 1880s and 1890s, almost all of the famous and honorable guests who came to Tbilisi stayed in the "London." Among them were the composer Peter Tchaikovsky and the writer Knut Hamsun, who wrote the plays "Queen Tamar" and "The Fairyland" inspired by their stays in Georgia.

Meanwhile, the "Grand" building belonged to a merchant from Baku, with a hotel opening there in 1881. Its history is associated with a tragic event however. In 1901, Władysław Emeric, the son of the owner of Chiatura manganese deposits, killed the wife of the Polish writer Stanisław Przybyszewski, the writer and translator Dagny Juel, who was the muse of the Norwegian Edvard Munch and the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. The killer left a suicide note and killed himself.

Juel was first buried in the Catholic cemetery, and in 1999 was transferred to the Kukia cemetery of St. Nino’s Church.

After 1930, the "Grand" was given over to Red Army soldiers, and the building has been residential since independence.

9 April Garden

Between Orbeliantubani and Shota Rustaveli Avenue, there is a large public park, which used to be one of the favorite places of entertainment for locals, also known as “Khabakhi”. In 1862, Otto Jacob Simonson constructed the very first public park here, named in honor of Emperor Alexander II of Russia, which was later changed by the Communists to "Commonary".

In honor of those who died for the independence of Georgia in 1989, the park was named 9 April Garden in 1991. The lower part of the park bears the name of the famous Georgian poet Giorgi Leonidze, where a statue of him also stands.

Bazaar Orbeliani

In 2019-2021, extensive rehabilitation works were carried out across the whole Orbeliantubani district. Today, it attracts a multitude of locals and tourists alike with the most-visited place being the Bazaar on Orbeliani. Markets have flourished in this area since 1886. In Soviet times, a three-story building was built for all sorts of trading, and has been renovated spectacularly in recent years.

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