Kutaisi

Kutaisi old town
Downtown Kutaisi

Kutaisi is a city in the Rioni Region of Georgia.

Understand

Kutaisi is the traditional rival of Tbilisi for capital status, and has since the days of the Golden Fleece been considered the capital of Western Georgia (then Ancient Colchis). It remains Georgia's second largest city, but to the irritation of the proud locals, does not come even close to Tbilisi's present day size and wealth. Since the Georgian government decided to move their parliament to Kutaisi, there has been a lot of work on restoring streets, buildings, parks and monuments and the city has become much safer. The seat of the state parliament was removed here a few years ago.

But a visit here is nonetheless near mandatory to see the magnificent Bagrati Cathedral, and Gelati Monastery, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites, and have commanding views from the mountain slopes over the city and the Rioni river.

Get in

By plane

Transportation to the airport:

By train

All trains from and to Tbilisi Central leave from and arrive at the modernized Kutaisi I station. There are three daily departures to the capital. All Georgia Rail Timetable A ticket with reserved seat costs (passport required for purchase) minimum 5 GEL. Also stops in Mtskheta (old capital of Georgia), Gori (birthplace of Stalin) and Zestafoni. Nice journey but slow due to long intermediate stops.

A local, but "fast" train runs from Kutaisi I to Batumi (listed Makhinjauri in the timetable — the name of the station about 8 km north of Batumi), leaving at 9:00, arriving 3 hours later. Cost 4 GEL, payable on the train. Trains to Kharagauli leave every day. (4-10 GEL, 3.5 h)

By bus

Mini-buses ('marshrutkas') and full 54-passenger buses depart regularly for Kutaisi from 'Didube Bus Station' located at the Didube metro stop in Tbilisi. Marshrutkas (hourly, 3.5 hours, 10 lari); large buses (every three hours, 4 hours).

Minibuses to Borjomi leave every day, every hour (8 Gel, 2 hr). Minibuses to Kharagauli leave every day, twice a day (10 GEL, 3.5 h).

Get around

The interesting parts of the town are walkable. To visit the monasteries in the mountains nearby booking a day-tour may be a time-saving option.

By bus

No.1 city bus is a useful circular route (both clockwise and anticlockwise direction) linking the main city square, Kutasi I (main train station), and Kutaisi II (bus station). 0.4 Lari, pay the driver at exit, change given. From Kutasi II (bus station), clockwise direction (to the left, cross the road from McDonalds) is the faster route to the city centre. Note each direction takes slightly different route on the centre of the city (east side of the river). The clockwise direction does not go in front of Kutasi I but goes south on Tsereteli St. along the river. The anticlockwise direction stops in front of Kutaisi I then goes uphill on Solomon Piveli Street and downhill on 26 Maisi (May) Street towards the main square.

Local marshrutkas ply the city but are difficult to find the route for avarage tourists.

By train

Kutaisi Train Schedule (Aug 2015)

See

Bagrati Cathedral
White bridge

Museums

Further afield

Gelati Monastery
Geguti Palace

Do

Theatres

Parks

Buy

Eat

Kutaisi has quite a big number of decent restaurants despite how poorly the city looks itself. They are mainly located in the city center but a bit spreaded so just walk around to find what you're looking for.

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Connect

The tourist office kiosk between the two main bridges is staffed during the summer season only. Rest of the year it is located in the annex building left to the city hall at the ground floor. (It is a bit hard to find since the mayor don't want to have signs to it. Ask in the city hall if you cannot find it.)

Dingy post office on Tamar Mepe St. Previously existing Internet cafés have closed due to numerous freely available hotspots.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, December 26, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.