Betlemi Street also spelled Bethlehem Street, is a historic street located in the Old Town district of Tbilisi, Georgia. This charming street is known for its cobblestone pavement, historic architecture, and the sense of stepping back in time as you explore its narrow lanes.

A Brief History of Betlemi Street

The roots of Betlemi Street can be traced back to the medieval period when Tbilisi was a bustling trading and cultural center along the Silk Road. During this time, the street likely served as a marketplace and a hub for commerce and social interactions. The historic architecture along Betlemi Street bears witness to the various influences that have shaped Tbilisi over the years. Persian, Georgian, and other architectural styles have left their mark on the buildings, characterized by colorful facades and ornate balconies.

Over time, Street became a cultural hub where artists, writers, and artisans gathered. This creative atmosphere has endured, and you can still find art galleries, studios, and exhibitions in the area. In recent years, Betlemi Street has become a popular destination for tourists seeking to explore Tbilisi’s historic and cultural heritage. The street’s unique charm and ambiance draw visitors from around the world.

Betlemi Street’s history is a testament to Tbilisi’s enduring spirit, as it has evolved over the centuries while preserving its unique character and cultural heritage. Today, it stands as a captivating part of the city where history, culture, and artistic expression come together, making it a must-visit destination for those exploring Tbilisi’s Old Town.

Infrastructure around Betlemi Street

  • Narikala Fortress: The iconic Narikala Fortress, a historic citadel, is located on a hill overlooking the botanical garden. Visitors can access the fortress by a cable car or by walking from the garden. It offers panoramic views of Tbilisi and the surrounding area.
  • Meidan: Meidan Square is a central gathering place in the Baths District. It’s surrounded by cafes and shops and often hosts cultural events and performances.
  • Historic Architecture: The entire area surrounding Betlemi Street is known for its historic architecture. The buildings feature colorful facades, ornate balconies, and traditional Georgian designs. It’s a delightful place for a leisurely stroll to admire the architectural heritage.
  • Cafes and Restaurants: You’ll find numerous cafes, restaurants, and wine bars along Betlemi Street and its adjacent lanes. These establishments serve traditional Georgian dishes and local wines, making it an excellent place to savor Georgian cuisine.
  • Art Galleries and Studios: The Old Town, including Betlemi Street, has a thriving artistic community. You may encounter art galleries, studios, and exhibitions showcasing a wide range of artistic expressions.
  • Shopping: The area is dotted with shops and boutiques selling traditional Georgian products, souvenirs, jewelry, antiques, and crafts. It’s an ideal place to shop for unique gifts and mementos.
  • Views of Historic Landmarks: Betlemi Street provides picturesque views of several historic landmarks, including the Metekhi Church and the Narikala Fortress. It’s a great spot for photography and capturing the essence of Tbilisi.

How to get there

Getting to Betlemi Street in Tbilisi’s Old Town is relatively straightforward, as it is located in the city center and is easily accessible by various means of transportation. Here are some common ways to get to Betlemi Street:

  • Walking: If you’re already in the city center or near the Old Town, walking is the most convenient way to reach Betlemi Street. The Old Town is pedestrian-friendly, and you can explore its narrow streets and lanes on foot.
  • Taxis: You can take a taxi to Betlemi Street from anywhere in Tbilisi. Taxis are readily available, and you can either flag one down on the street or use ride-sharing apps like Bolt (formerly Taxify) or Yandex.Taxi. Simply tell the driver you want to go to “Betlemi Street.”
  • Public Transportation: Depending on your location in Tbilisi, you can use public buses or the Tbilisi Metro to get closer to Betlemi Street. The nearest metro station is “Avlabari” on the Akhmeteli-Varketili Line (Line 2). From there, it’s a short walk to Betlemi Street.
  • Minibuses (Marshrutkas): Marshrutkas are shared minibusses that operate on various routes throughout the city. You can inquire about a marshrutka heading to the Old Town, and then walk to Betlemi Street from there.

Betlemi Street is a well-known landmark in Tbilisi’s Old Town, so many locals and taxi drivers should be familiar with its location. It’s a central part of the city, making it relatively easy to find and access from various parts of Tbilisi.

Tours via the Betlemi Street

Useful Tips

When visiting Betlemi Street and exploring the Old Town of Tbilisi, here are some useful tips to enhance your experience and ensure a pleasant visit:

  • Comfortable Footwear: Wear comfortable walking shoes or sandals with good support, as you’ll likely be exploring cobblestone streets and hilly terrain in the Old Town.
  • Cash and Cards: While many businesses in the Old Town accept credit cards, it’s a good idea to carry some local currency (Georgian Lari) for small purchases and at local markets where cash is preferred.
  • Dress Modestly: When visiting religious sites like the Metekhi Church or Sioni Cathedral, dress modestly by covering your shoulders and knees. This is a sign of respect for local customs.
  • Language: While English may be spoken in tourist areas, learning a few basic Georgian phrases or using a translation app can be helpful for communication and may be appreciated by locals.
  • Water: Carry a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated, especially during the warmer months. Tbilisi’s tap water is generally safe to drink.
  • Sun Protection: If you’re visiting in the summer, wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Photography: Ask for permission before taking photos of people, especially in more private settings like cafes or shops. Respect the privacy and wishes of the locals.
  • Safety: Tbilisi is generally a safe city for tourists, but be cautious of pickpockets in crowded areas. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in busy markets or on public transportation.

By following these tips and being considerate of local customs, you can make the most of your visit to Betlemi Street and the Old Town of Tbilisi, creating lasting memories in this culturally rich and historic part of the city.

Betlemi Street on a Map