Silk Museum, Tbilisi
Georgia State Silk Museum was established in Tbilisi in 1887 by Nikolay Shavrov, one of the most known silk specialists of that time. The museum is famous with its unique collection that displays more than five thousands breeds and variations of cocoons, silkworms and butterflies. Apart from that this Georgian museum houses literally all kinds of exhibits related to the production of silk. These include, but not limited to mulberries and their products, samples of natural and synthetic dyes, examples of silk products for both domestic and industrial use, and many more. Silk museum in Tbilisi also offers its visitors other different collections that represent not only Georgian experience in silk production, but also that of other countries with rich traditions in silk industry. Part of it was collected by the founder himself, some were donated by his fellow research colleagues from Europe and Russia.
The exposition is definitely worth seeing for all who are interested in natural silk production and its history. The museum even houses and grows their own silkworms and, if you are lucky to visit during the specific period (i.e. from April till June), you have a chance to feed them with mulberry leaves, the very source of silk pupa, and consequently the silk itself. Those who wish may buy an original silk cocoon from the museum shop for less than 25 cents (as per July 2015).
Tbilisi Silk Museum building itself is one of the best examples of the 19th century Georgian architecture, and is currently listed as a national monument. Classicism, Gothic style and Islamic art are all reflected in the building exterior and interior designs. Most of the visitors make a special note on the Silk museum’s interior decoration as it features silk related elements such as a mulberry leave, pupa, silkworm and cocoon.