Old Tbilisi Photos from the New York Public Library

Last week the New York Public Library opened its digital photo archives and among thousands of magnificent pictures, residents of Wunderland could discover whole new world of their capital Tiflis as it was before communists razed unique city fabric of fairytailish cityscape.

While Soviet planners excelled in fixing certain painful issues of Tiflis, such as water and sanitation, as well as transport, their attitude in preserving pre-Soviet vibe was uncompromising – Tiflis had to transform from dreamlike merchant town with camels and river mills into magnificent Socialist regional capital, with wide avenues and broad squares.

For example, this square was planned and carried out by prominent Soviet leader of Georgian origin Lavrenty Beria, who was one behind drastic urban transformation of Tiflis in 1930s. He wanted to expand the city to west and create new central square for the Socialist capital. Today it is called Heroes square, we will talk about it later, as well.


New bridge on Kura (Mtkvari) river built in the 1950s


New riverside road, built in several installments. Today it is called “dry bridge”, however it wasn’t always dry. There was a river flow instead of the road, creating an island.


Streets in the old district of Meidani.


One of the central locations of today’s Tbilisi – Museum of Fine Arts near Freedom Squre


Central avenue – Today’s Rustaveli


Avlabar bridge from Meidani to Avlabari. These buildings do not exist – there is wide bridge and empty Soviet space.



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