Mount Mtatsminda, Tbilisi
Oh, Mtatsminda! Thou Holy Mount! the sight does haunt
The soul to thought – a place that wilderness has wrought
The dew divine like drops of pearl does grace the site
And, trembling, mingles in delight with soft twilight.
Mount Mtatsminda (Holy Mountain) is a symbol of Georgia’s capital which is visible from almost anywhere in the city. Located in Mtatsminda district in Tbilisi, it is one of the city’s most popular destinations for locals and tourists alike.
The name “Mtatsminda” refers to Mount Athos in Greece. The idea to recreate this famous mountain was developed at the end of the 19th century, at which time the land was covered in forest. In 1938 a park was opened and named after Joseph Stalin. Today, Mount Mtatsminda includes a funicular, amusement park, TV tower, popular eatery and famous cemetery.
The Tbilisi Funicular was constructed more than 100 years ago. Upon its grand opening in 1905, the initial line was 500 meters long. It was shuttered in 2000 and reopened in 2012 after undergoing a complete renovation.
The funicular connects Old Tbilisi with Mount Mtatsminda and includes three stations. The first one is on Chonquadze Street near Rustaveli Avenue, the second one near the Pantheon and the third one on the top of Mount Mtatsminda.
Located at 770 meters above sea level and covering an expanse of approximately 100 hectares, Mtatsminda Amusement Park is considered the highest spot in Tbilisi. The park is divided into three sections dedicated to extreme sports, children’s entertainment and family activities. Each zone offers various attractions, souvenir shops, restaurants and food stalls serving Georgian and European dishes, fast food, drinks and snacks. Beautiful panoramic views of Tbilisi can be enjoyed from the park's observation deck.
The park has numerous attractions for visitors of all ages, including roller coasters, river rapids and other carnival rides. The Ferris Wheel, whose glass carriages allow for aerial views of the city, remains the park’s most popular attraction. In addition to amusement rides, Mtatsminda Mountain is famous for its parks and meadows filled with foliage, flowers, comfortable benches and picnic areas.
The famous Funicular Restaurant, where Fidel Castro, Margaret Thatcher and Alain Delon all dined during their visit to Tbilisi, is located at the park’s entrance.
Mtatsminda Pantheon is a cemetery dedicated to influential Georgians. Created in 1929, the graveyard is located at Mama Daviti Church on Mount Mtatsminda. The first individuals buried at the pantheon were Russian author Alexander Griboyedov and his Georgian wife Nino Chavchavadze. In subsequent years Ilia Chavchavadze, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Nikoloz Baratashvili, Vazha-Pshavela, Ekvtime Takaishvili, Galaktion Tabidze and other renowned Georgians have also been interred in Mtatsminda Pantheon.
Tbilisi TV Tower
Along with Mt. Mtatsminda, the Tbilisi TV Tower is a city icon. The original 1955 transmission tower was replaced with a new one in 1972. The tower pierces the sky at nearly 275 meters in height and is further magnified by its position on the Mt. Mtatsminda hillside. Currently, Tbilisi TV Tower is not open for visitation.
How to Get to Mtatsminda Park and Attractions
Mount Mtatsminda can be reached in several ways, yet the most popular option is to take the funicular. The ride makes two stops, allowing visitors to get off near the Pantheon as well as at the amusement park. There is also a road for vehicles which winds through beautiful scenery on its way up the hill. Mtatsminda Park may be reached on foot from Turtle Lake along a pleasant hiking path which can take upwards of two hours to traverse.