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Tbilisi's Changing Face

With its rich and varied history, Tbilisi has always embraced a range of architectural styles. Over the years many classical, medieval, and even Soviet structures have found a home in the Georgian capital. Under the administration of President Mikheil Saakashvili, however, Georgia's principal city has seen the erection of many implacably modern structures of glass and steel. Although there are many who bemoan the gradual disappearance of Tbilisi's rickety, but charming, old wooden buildings, their complaints seem to be falling on deaf ears. Like it or loathe it, this latest wave of development seems certain to leave an indelible mark on the city landscape, changing its appearance forever.

A view of Tbilisi's old town
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A view of Tbilisi's old town

Apartment blocks in the old town with the Sioni Cathedral in the background. 
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Apartment blocks in the old town with the Sioni Cathedral in the background. 

A typical Tbilisi tenement house
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A typical Tbilisi tenement house

Lermontov House on Gudiashvili Square. City authorities began tearing down this iconic building in May.
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Lermontov House on Gudiashvili Square. City authorities began tearing down this iconic building in May.

The ancient Sioni Cathedral, which dates to the 12th century.
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The ancient Sioni Cathedral, which dates to the 12th century.

Sioni Cathedral was the main Georgian Orthodox cathedral until the Holy Trinity Cathedral (pictured) was consecrated in 2004.
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Sioni Cathedral was the main Georgian Orthodox cathedral until the Holy Trinity Cathedral (pictured) was consecrated in 2004.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral at night. Construction began on this building in 1995 and it was completed in 2004.
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The Holy Trinity Cathedral at night. Construction began on this building in 1995 and it was completed in 2004.

Georgia's Presidential Palace with the Holy Trinity Cathedral in the background. 
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Georgia's Presidential Palace with the Holy Trinity Cathedral in the background. 

A nighttime view of the 13th century Metekhi Church (front right), the Holy Trinity Cathedral (back right), and the Presidential Palace (far left).
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A nighttime view of the 13th century Metekhi Church (front right), the Holy Trinity Cathedral (back right), and the Presidential Palace (far left).

Freedom Square in central Tbilisi
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Freedom Square in central Tbilisi

Pedestrians walk across the recently built Bridge of Peace, which traverses the Kura River in Tbilisi's old town.
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Pedestrians walk across the recently built Bridge of Peace, which traverses the Kura River in Tbilisi's old town.

The Bridge of Peace at night
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The Bridge of Peace at night

The newly constructed Rike Park with the Bridge of Peace in the distance.
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The newly constructed Rike Park with the Bridge of Peace in the distance.

The building that houses Georgia's traffic police in Tbilisi's old Avlabar district.
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The building that houses Georgia's traffic police in Tbilisi's old Avlabar district.

Georgia's new House of Justice, which was opened in Tbilisi earlier this year.
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Georgia's new House of Justice, which was opened in Tbilisi earlier this year.

The former residence of the oligarch Badri Patarkatsishvili, who died in 2008.
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The former residence of the oligarch Badri Patarkatsishvili, who died in 2008.

Construction is under way on a new opera house in Rike Park. The Presidential Palace can be seen in the background. 
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Construction is under way on a new opera house in Rike Park. The Presidential Palace can be seen in the background. 

The heliport at the villa of Georgia's new billionaire prime minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, which overlooks Tbilisi's old town.
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The heliport at the villa of Georgia's new billionaire prime minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, which overlooks Tbilisi's old town.

An aerial view of Ivanishvili's opulent residence. 
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An aerial view of Ivanishvili's opulent residence. 

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