By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, June 25
It can be said that Mtatsminda mountain, a wonderful place with an amazing past and present, is the place most associated with the capital of Georgia.
Picturesque Mtatsminda, which means Holy Mountain, rises over the city from the west and dominates it. On the steep slopes of the mountain are two churches, both dedicated to St. David of Gareja. Their history begins in the 6th century, when the 13 Syrian Fathers came to Tbilisi to strengthen Christianity in Georgia and save the Orthodox Faith from invaders of other religions. Father David, one of the brightest of the Syrian monks, settled on Mtatsminda. Soon he decided to leave Tbilisi and move to the south -eastern part of Georgia, to a place later called the David-Gareji desert. Centuries after his death and canonisation by the Georgian Church Mtatsminda became very popular among Georgian pilgrims. The cell where Saint David lived formed the basis of St. David’s Church. A spring of water miraculously appeared there and still flows today, curing people who are childless and blind, as the legend goes.
The mountain is very significant for Georgians for several reasons, one of the foremost being that the Pantheon of Georgian Writers and Public Figures is in the churchyard of Saint David’s church. The first celebrities to be buried here were the Russian writer Alexander Griboyedov and his Georgian wife Nino Chavchavadze, daughter of famous Georgian nobleman and poet Aleksandre Chavchavadze and muse of many artists. The Pantheon was officially opened in 1929 to celebrate the centenary of Griboyedov’s death in Iran. Since then several illustrious Georgians have been buried or reburied there. The Pantheon is administered by the Municipality of Tbilisi.
Recently Mtatsminda has also attracted visitors to its modern amusement park, called Bombora. The park is meant to cater for many different people, regardless of their age and interests, and is divided into three thematically different zones: one for children, another for families and a third for people seeking adventure and extremes. The project includes up to 50 contemporary sideshows: drop towers, a merry-go-round, ejection seats, a rollercoaster and the world’s largest American hills, which are 60 metres high. Parking and catering are also available. The park is designed to serve 5-6,000 people daily.
Those who want a panoramic view of Tbilisi should visit this place, from which they can see almost all the remarkable sights the capital of Georgia is proud of. Amongst them are the Sameba Cathedral, which has become the symbol of Tbilisi due to its beauty and size, and the newly-built Presidential Palace. Modern constructions like the recently opened Bridge of Peace, with its original shape and design, can also be seen. The view of Tbilisi from Mtatsminda is astonishing during the day, but arouses deeper, positive emotions at night.
The mountain, with its treasures and natural beauty, makes a wonderful impression on visitors, who always want to come back. No one should miss the chance of visiting Mtatsminda when in Tbilisi.