Open Air Museum of Ethnography, Tbilisi
Address: 25, M. Berdzenishvili Str., Tbilisi
Phone: (+995 32) 272-90-45
Working hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 a.m. till 06:00 p.m.
Closed: on Monday
The Open Air Museum of Ethnography is located in Tbilisi at the Turtle Lake. It was founded in 1960. As of today, one of the most visited museums in Georgia includes a collection exceeding a hundred exhibits. However, the uniqueness of this museum is that the entire exhibition of the museum represents a kind of a Georgian village where every house and every estate are a reflection of the different eras of Georgian history.
The open air museum is impressive in its beauty and diversity. You can walk for hours, studying the Georgian everyday life of all the eras and regions. One of the most famous museum "pieces" is a reconstruction of an ancient Georgian dwelling - "darbazi", which looks like a dugout. These dugouts were the place for the Georgians to hide during the Turkish attack in the Middle Ages.
The Tbilisi Open Air Museum of Ethnography has collected houses from various parts of the republic, beginning from the Bronze Age to the early XX century. There are wooden houses from Mingrelia with a casing around the tube, and a XVIII century log house from Imereti, built on a stone foundation. In addition, the museum territory houses unique museums-shops, where famous masters exhibit the best examples of Georgian arts and crafts. In particular, the house from Lakhuti, features an operating blacksmith shop, where everyone can watch a fabrication process of various house wares and traditional Georgian weapons.
Besides the houses, their interior decoration is also of a particular interest. Inside them, you can see household items and furniture, traditional clothing, embroidery, various home decorations specific to each region. Of huge interest are collections of weapons, the Georgians were famous for in the Middle Ages: knives, swords and daggers, plain and gem-incrusted, sine qua non for any Georgian man.
In addition to the houses, the museum also displays other home facilities: forges, stables, wine cellars, "Merani", barns, cowhouses and many other household items. One of the museum sections includes mini-exhibitions to display various archaeological finds. A hunting lodge of XVIII-XIX centuries is especially popular among the museum visitors, as well as among film producers who shot some scenes there for several well-known films.
The Open Air Museum of Ethnography is open every day except Monday. Anybody who wishes can visit it. The museum visitors can learn much new about the culture of the Georgian people, and also trace the Georgian history from the ancient times to the present.