Tbilisi, Sololaki district

Tbilisi, Sololaki District

The first buildings on the current Freedom Square were built in the 1820s, after the establishment of the Russian Empire’s annexation of Georgia. It resulted in the development of surrounding residential areas, Sololakii and Mtatsminda, and gave way for Rustaveli Avenue to become the main axis of the city.


Sololaki, one of the most impressive architectural districts of Tbilisi, includes the development bordered by Giorgi Leonidze, Daniel Chonkadze, Amaghleba, Gizo Nishnianidze, Lado Asatiani, and Shalva Dadiani streets.

District History

The new name "Sololaki" of the area surrounding the historic Avanaantkhevi appeared in the 19th century. According to tradition, it is derived from the word "sulu-lah", whose origin is attributed to the Arab era, although the word "su" means water in Turkish. This name was given to the aqueduct that was used to irrigate part of the present botanical garden, the former "castle garden", and the nearby mountain slope.

In the 19th century, "Sulu-lah" became Sololaki. Over time, Sololaki became established in the spoken language. Intensive development of the district started in the middle of the 19th century and it became a residential area of bourgeois Tbilisi.

In the first half of the 19th century, when Tbilisi was still very weak from the devastating invasion of Agha Mohammad Khan in 1795, the lands of the outskirts, a large part of the former gardens and estates of the Georgian kings and nobles, were taken over by a large number of people of different nationalities in Tbilisi. A similar situation happened in the Eastern European countries of this period, where the main industry of the locals was agriculture, the economic reins of the central cities, and, accordingly, the central areas of development were mostly owned by representatives of other nations engaged in trade.

Urban development stages are seen in other cities of Georgia, but the best example is Tbilisi, where rich foreign industrialists buy suburban estates of the Georgian aristocracy and start building better houses. Due to intensive construction, the streets of this district became an arena of "architectural competition", as a result, it was formed into a development.

In Sololaki, not only the facades of the buildings are artistically valuable, but also the entrances of these houses. The entrances make the first impression of the house's grandeur and the wealth and taste of its owner. With exquisite decor, almost all entrances with richly decorated doors had Italian and local marble, wall paintings, metalwork details, and sculptural decoration.

The communist government declared the city's bourgeoisie an enemy and accommodated Soviet workers in their homes. Since then, instead of one family, 10-15 or more families live in each house, which has damaged the authenticity of the buildings, especially the storage rooms, that is, the entrances, which have been completely neglected.

Due to the large perimeter of Sololaki and a large number of buildings, the complete rehabilitation of the area has not yet been completed, although in recent years several streets, buildings, and entrances have been restored (Galaktioni Street, 13 and 18, Ivane Machabeli St. 17).

Tbilisi houses with wooden balconies

Traditional Tbilisi houses with wooden balconies are still preserved in the architecture of residential houses in Sololaki St. 8 and Amaghleba St. 23.


The district dominates by several eclectic buildings which stand out:

  • Geronti Kikodze St. 11 - the best example of architecture created with a mixture of European styles, a residential house of rich industrialists, built-in 1914 by the architect Gabriel Ter-Michelov (1874-1949);

  • Geronti Kikodze St. 9, which is famous for its beautiful staircase in the area. A staircase, made with filigree craftsmanship, with an openwork decor, once decorated a wide and bright entrance hall, where now only the ceiling painting remains.

Islamic and Moorish motives

There are also improvised buildings based on Islamic and Moorish architectural motives in Sololaki. These include:

  • 17 Ivane Machabeli St., a house built in 1910 by engineer Ghazar Sarkisian, which belonged to Baku oil magnate Mkrtich Kalantarov;

  • Daniel Chonkadze St. 11, whose reconstruction was carried out in 1892 by Mirza Reza Khan, the Consul General of Iran in Tbilisi.

In Sololaki, there is also a house decorated with Georgian medieval church decor at Galaktioni St. 22, by architect Albert Salzmann (1833-1897).

Modernist architecture

Valuable examples of the modern style create a unique heritage of the district. Notable residential houses include:

  • Ivane Machabeli St. 13 - the house of the famous Georgian businessman Davit Sarajishvili, which was built in 1905 by architect Karl Zaar; 

  • Geronti Kikodze St. 4;

  • Daniel Chonkadze St. 4 - Anna Madatova's house, built in 1902 by architect Mikhail Oganjanov;

  • Daniel Chonkadze St. 12 - the house of businessman Nikoloz Bozarjiantsi, built in 1915 by architect Mikhail Oganjanov;

  • Pavle Ingorokva St. 20 – built in 1914 by Mikhail Neprintsev;

  • Galaktion St. 3-5 by architect Ghazar Sarkisian;

  • Amaghleba St. 7 & 9;

  • Gizo Nishnianidze St. 3 - built in 1905 by architect Pavle Zurabian; 

  • Lado Asatiani St. 66;

  • In Sololaki, there is also a former bank building, an outstanding example of Tbilisi modernist architecture, designed by architect Mikheil Oganjanov in 1915 at Giorgi Leonidze St. 3; 

  • Former glove workshop at Giorgi Leonidze St. 3 and the former boys’ school #3 on Lado Asatiani St. 50, built in 1911 by architect Ghazar Sarkisian.

There is also a good example of the modernist style at Galaktion Tabidze St. 18, whose entrance paintings from 1911 were made by the decorator of Tbilisi and Baku theaters, Benedict Tellingarter.

Soviet period

In the first years of coming to power, the Soviet government built a residential house for Soviet workers in the prestigious bourgeois district. It is a well-planned residential house for bank workers with a plain facade, at Daniel Chonkadze St. 10.

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