The Orbeliani Baths in downtown Tblisi are not a typical spa. Sure they offer scrubs, massages and sulfurous skin treatments, but there’s no soft music, plush locker rooms or big fluffy robes. You can read more indepth about my spa experience at the Orbeliani Baths if you dare.
Culturally, bathhouses are traditionally places for people to gather, gossip and exchange news. In Tblisi, the bathhouses are grouped together in a neighborhood called Abanotubani or “bath district”. Sitting down by the river in “Old Tblisi” at the foot of the ancient fort, Several bathhouses, ranging in price and luxury sit together, mostly under ground where the sulfurous water bubbles up from the earth.
I love looking at this picture of the bath because it reminds me of the tile work we saw later on the silk road, especially in Uzbekistan.
IF YOU GO: Don’t be scared by my experience. It was humiliating and a bit strange, but honestly, I went back! The whole experience felt incredibly authentic. There are many great restaurants and shops near the river in Old Tblisi and at the time we were there a new pedestrian bridge was nearly complete to cross the river.