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80-thousand crowd in Minsk celebrated a new Tbilisoba

On September 1st Minsk hosted the fourth Georgian festival called “Tbilisoba”. This year Borjomi presented a new Georgia that inspires to live to the fullest. For this festival, an active entertainment park featuring a zip line and a climbing wall was built in the Upper Town, the food court was enlarged to 30 restaurants, and the festival itself stretched, for the first time, from the Freedom Square to the Svisloch Quay. The legendary jazz singer Nino Katamadze and Insight band ended the festival headlining.

Every year, Tbilisoba sets trends for national festivals in the Upper Town, surprising the guests with unusual hotspots and presenting traditional and modern Georgian culture. This year’s festival was no exception, either. Borjomi showed Georgia as a country inspiring for daring discoveries and new journeys. Tbilisi Mayor Kakhaber Kaladze became an honorary guest of the fourth Tbilisoba – for the ex-Dynamo Kyiv and AC Milan player it was the first trip to Minsk in the capacity of mayor.

‘This year, Borjomi set itself an inspiring task of offering the maximum pleasure and new entertainment to Belarusians. And I think we were able to do it’, Denis Krupets, IDS Borjomi Belarus Director and the organizer of Tbilisoba Fest says. ‘The Upper Town has never seen celebrations of such a magnitude, taste and energy before. The festival continued from 12 noon till 2 am, and during this time, it received almost 80,000 visitors’.

Kharcho soup, meat khinkalis, Adjarian khachapuri and Borjomi mineral water — that’s only a very short list of culinary pleasures offered by the new Georgian food court. 20 outdoor cafes and restaurants were opened in the Freedom Square; traditional menu was offered on verandas of 10 establishments in the Upper Town, and a good Georgian wine was served in outdoor Tamada and Teliani Valley bars. For the first time the festival featured a nighttime Gastro Courtyard where Belarusian chefs cooked dishes of all 12 regions of Georgia until 2 am, and those who wanted to take a “bit” of Georgia home could visit a market that stayed open till midnight and sold spices, churchkhela, souvenirs and even socks with knit khinkalis.

Visitors could plunge into the atmosphere of Old Tbilisi on the art terrace in the corner of Mamuli diaspora. An interactive exhibition showed what costumes Georgians wore and what songs they sang 100 years ago. The new culture of Georgian streets was presented on the Dance Stage, which saw spectacular battles between dancers of Tbilisi’s various schools. One of the tensest moments was the “battle” between break dancers and Georgian artists, waged to the beat of ethno drums.

For the first time the festival featured Tour Bazar, where visitors could learn more about modern Georgia and even book a mountain hiking, wine or another unusual tour. Travelers and popular bloggers shared the stories of how to conquer Mount Kazbek, where to go for kayaking and what tour to choose: air, bus or in personal car. The most resolute Belarusians could get the chance to travel from Belarusian Tbilisoba to the native land of Borjomi for free. For that, they had to come on stage and convince the jury in one minute that the trip would change their life 100 percent. The contestants sang, danced and confessed their love to Georgia, competing for three trip vouchers.

Borjomi Land was an active entertainment park that featured about a dozen attractions where visitors could try their courage and resoluteness and learn about little-known corners of Georgia. The park stretched along Zybitskaya Street and along the Svisloch Quay. Thus, the climbing wall became the summit of the unapproachable Kazbek Volcano, and the 20-meter swimming pool for mini-board riding represented Batumi’s remote beaches popular among surfers. One of the park’s most popular attractions was the trolley across the Svisloch River. All visitors older than 4 years could jump from the 10-meter height and ride at 30 km/hour. Thanks to a selfie tower, a visitor could conquer the height again, but this time for a beautiful picture. The 10-meter aerial lift was installed near the Town Hall, which offers the best view of the main stage and the entire Upper Town.

Borjomi Land’s children area was full of sports and active games: futsal, street “panna”, bubble football, twister, pétanque and many more. Active leisure for older ones was offered at Borjomi Pleasure Banks, where young people met and communicated to each other while playing volleyball or badminton, and some even decided to go to a concert together.

The evening program was as diverse as during the day. Georgian short films were exhibited in Monastyrsky Courtyard; paintings by the Georgian artist Niko Pirosmani and his talented Belarusian colleague Alyona Kish “came to life” in Muzykalny Pereulok, and Peshekhodki street musicians gave a theatrical music performance in Karetny Courtyard.

Tbilisi Big Band orchestra, Georgian Voices folk song ensemble, and ethno dancers from Erisioni, an ensemble boasting 130 years (!) of history, performed on the main stage. At 10 pm, Nino Katamadze and Insight band took the stage. At that time, hundreds of bright lamps lit up in the streets of the Upper Town, and several thousand fans of the talented signer gathered in the Freedom Square. Her emotional show, full of energy and improvisations, became an inspiring conclusion of the festival at 100 percent.

The festival was organized by Minsk City Council’s Executive Committee, Embassy of Georgia in the Republic of Belarus, Tbilisi Mayor’s Office, Mamuli Georgian Society, and BorjomiTM.