Historically, Tbilisi has seen many designated places to gallop horses. Horse fields then became absorbed by the growing borders of the city. One of the latest of such transitions is yet to happen in Tbilisi hippodrome on Saburtalo.
Photos above: Saburtalo hippodrome history and present at the same spot
Serving the horse sports since Soviet rule in early 20th century, hippodrome in Saburtalo district was a spot in vastness outside of the city limits. However, already during Soviets it got encircled with new roads and residential blocks of Saburtalo and Bakhtrioni streets.
Photos above: Bakhtrioni and Panaskerteli residential blocks
After communists perished, the hippodrome was a green jungle of wild greenery and crumbling structures of horse shelters and abandoned spectators’ platforms.
During Saakashvili’s rule, the whole territory was privatized in portions. The portion adjacent to the Vake-Saburtalo road went for real estate development (which is still in effect). A hippodrome horse circle went for new road connecting Saburtalo to new Mziuri highway to the city center (another controversial project) via tunnel. And the last, biggest chunk of the land was allegedly purchased by wealthiest man in Wunderland – Bidzina Ivanishvili, who ousted Saakashvili’s party in 2012 elections, served as a prime minister and now, despite being outside politics, remains de facto ruler and decision-maker in Georgian governments.
Photos above: Ongoing real estate developments along Tamarashvili street
Hence, leaving aside politics and real estate development on its periphery, biggest chunk of the hippodrome remains as a de-facto recreation zone for neighbouring residential districts, where people come to exercise, take a walk with their kids, pets of friends, stroll on a bicycle or just clear their heads.
In a good weather hippodrome space is exremely uplifting and refreshing.
It is still unclear what will be the future of this space.
Will it transform into residential block?
Or will it become a decent park for residents of Tiflis?