PHOTO ESSAY: A stroll around old Tbilisi

Ah, Tbilisi! What a magical metropolis. Having spent a few days here this week I can see why Pushkin, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Gorki, Steinbeck et al have all been seduced by her exotic charms.

But alas, the city’s historic old quarter is rapidly being demolished by time, earthquakes and rampant modernisation. Its carved wooden balconies, romantic courtyards and intricate neo-classical façades are crumbling before our very eyes. And in their place new hotels, shiny apartment blocks and glass and steel edifices appearing daily.

Here are a handful of photographs to give you a glimpse of the old city. Here today – hopefully not gone tomorrow.

Neo-Classical architecture in the old city

A little boy outside his home on Betlemi Street

King Vakhtang beside the Metekhi Church

Rusting starting stalls at the Hippodrome, the city’s former horse-racing track

View over the city from the East: St David’s Church and the Narikala Fortress on the left

 Typical houses in the old city