When I was researching things to see and do in Tbilisi through Google Maps, I stumbled upon the a seemingly huge site known as the Chronicle of Georgia. I favorited it, as I do with interesting locations to visit later, and only thought about it again when it was time to discover the Chronicle.
Little did I know this majestic memorial statue isn’t that well known by local Georgians. In fact, only a few people I spoke to knew of its existence and even fewer of them went to take a look. You can imagine it cost us some time to explain to a – Russian speaking – taxi driver where we wanted to go.
When you have no idea what the Chronicle of Georgia is, the best I can do to describe it is a huge ass statue made of columns, set on a hill. It chronicles Georgia’s history. The top part of the statue features the kings and queens of Georgia, the lower part portrays the life of Christ. The dark sculpture can be seen all the way from the highway, if you pay attention that is.
The Chronicle of Georgia was created by Zurab Tsereteli, a Georgian born Soviet-trained sculptor. Building began in 1985 but never finished. The statue is partially incomplete.
statues in front of the actual sculpture
Our taxi driver mumbles something about a memorial and points in a direction we think could be accurate. He’s a friendly man but looks like he could serve as a convincing extra in a Russian mafia film. The man is kind enough to take us there, wait for us and take us back for 30 GEL. A nice price considering the trouble we put the poor man in.
Our ride to the Chronicle takes us straight through Tbilisi’s suburbs. Suddenly street names are written only in Georgian alphabet and it is fun to see the regular day to day life things people do here. Children play on the streets safely as there’s less honking traffic here than in the center of Tbilisi. When you’ve been in Tbilisi long enough, you know how much of a break that must be.
The Soviet looking suburbs of Tbilisi
Up and up we keep going on Georgia’s famous cobblestone roads. Because it’s a million degrees outside, our windows are open and gravel flies all around us while we wiggle ourselves to the top of the hill. I wonder if the car can handle all the shaking but we get to the top safely. There, with excellent view over Tbilisi sea, is one of the biggest, most dramatic structures I’ve seen in Georgia (and that’s saying a lot because they love a little bit of drama.).
A serious set of stairs take you to the top of the platform where the Chronicle of Georgia is located. Only at the top you have an idea of how big it actually is – although I had to take a photo next to it to prove it to myself. In front of the statue there’s the cross of St. Nino, the woman who first brought Christianity to Georgia. Behind the statue is a chapel. When you walk around the sculpture you have excellent view on Tbilisi sea – which is not a sea but a reservoir – and the communist blocks of the city.
Can you spot me?
One of the best things about the Chronicle sculpture is the lack of tourists visiting. I haven’t seen major tourist explosions during the summer anyway, but this might be one of the least visited places in Tbilisi. Apart from a family and a couple, we didn’t see a single soul up there.
How to get to the Chronicle of Georgia
Not many people seem to know about this gem in Tbilisi. Is it named differently in Georgian or do locals just not look at it twice? It was rough trying to figure out how to get to the Chronicle of Georgia but in the end we got there smoothly. This is how you do it.
Option 1: Take the metro and get out at Sarajishvili. Take a taxi from there or walk (about 45 minutes to an hour) to the Chronicle.
Option 2: Find a reliable taxi driver and fix a ride to the sculpture. Most of them don’t know the name so you must address it as the memorial at Tbilisi Sea. Pointing it out on a map or showing a photo might help tremendously.
And when you’re there anyway, make sure to take a dip in Tbilisi Sea. There are many ways to entertain yourself there, from lying on the beach to exploring the reservoir by boat.
During my stay in Tbilisi seeing the Chronicle of Georgia was definitely one of the highlights. I serves as a fun break from the hectic life in the center of Tbilisi and gives you a sneak peek into the nature of Georgia. I hope that you’ll be able to visit the Chronicle of Georgia through this post as it is worth spending some time there.