If you are looking for a bit of a hidden gem in Tbilisi what is not yet included in many tourist guides, you are in the right spot. This post will tell you about a new venue – Urbanare, the first apartment space in town where you can learn so much more about the country’s capital, than anywhere else. So keep on reading!
What’s Urbanare and why you should visit it
Urbanare is a space created by the passion of two friends Ana Ramazashvili and Data Tchigholashvili, both former colleagues, and anthropologists who have worked on various projects together. They wanted to show Tbilisi from a different, their own, local perspective, “as most of the touristic places kind of look the same”. As both of them had worked on many projects around the theme of Tbilisi and had different publications on hand, decided to create a space where they would display all the different things connected to Tbilisi, be it old and new books, or handmade souvenirs and sketches of local artists.
The main goal of the Urbanare is to create a homey atmosphere for a visitor and learn what it’s like to live in Tbilisi at some point. This perfectly resonates with the location they have chosen – one of the oldest districts of the city, Plekhanov, located in a typical Tbilisian courtyard house at Tsinamdzgvrishvili 44/46.
What you will find here
Urbanare’s unique feature is in its library that consists of both old and new books, publications of different researches, and tourist guides to name just a few. Those publications most of the time are of limited addition you can’t find in bookstores. The small bookshelf is jam-packed with an ‘archive’ showcasing the urban development of 19th-20th century Tbilisi, a small booklet of Soviet architectural buildings in Tbilisi and across the country, various magazines, and books all about Tbilisi in Georgia, English, and Russian languages.
The second part of the space is a souvenir shop displaying handmade works of local artists on various themes, but they have one thing in common – Tbilisi. Those artists are not famous for masses, therefore you won’t see them in typical gift shops. This area features Soviet mosaic posters, urban sketches, coasters, pins made from repurposing Lego toys, candles with the shape of Tbilisi’s famous buildings, and many more. Moreover, those items most of the time are only one sample, so basically, you’ll be getting a very precious, custom-made gift to take back home as a memorabilia.
Besides the Tbilisi theme, Urbanare also features the recycling themed items made by Austrian artist Katharina Stadler who creates small purses out of juice carton boxes, or ashtrays from beer cans.
One of the coolest things I found there was for kids – a soup box that comes with a small story and encourages the kids to wash their hands frequently in order to read the end of the tail that gets revealed only when they finish the some. Awesome, right?
However, this is not all Ana and Data have planned for their homey space. In the future, they’ll organize various exhibitions of less-known artists in Tbilisi’s different houses and host various workshops to get involved both the neighborhood and enthusiastic locals who’d love to do something unusual once in a while.
Honestly, as a local, I thought I knew a lot of things happening in Tbilisi, but Urbanare proved me wrong! It’s a fantastic place to see the capital from a different angle, hear and read different stories about its development that you won’t see in typical guidebooks, and find unique items not known to masses. Whenever you are in town, make sure to come by and check it out, you won’t be disappointed.