Georgia (Caucasus) — Shopping and Leisure
Georgia is rich in craft makers that can fashion all kinds of products from a wide range of indigenous materials so you’ll find plenty of local items to take home from your trip. Popular buys include gold and jewelry and accessories handmade from precious stones. Paintings by local artists like Gigo Gabashvili, Pirosmani, Korneli Sanadze, and others are also favorites. Many streets are lined with art shops and many designers openly sell their wares outside.
Locally-made antiques are also popular, but they are not all from Georgia. It’s common to find pieces from Russia, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and other European origins. Authentic Georgian carpets are of great quality and design, and you can find them just about everywhere. Georgian wine and cognac are also great buys though you should be mindful of counterfeit bottles. Some items may be subject to export duty and must be licensed by the Ministry of Culture. These include rugs, icons and antiques. Buying from an official tourist shop will save you a headache as their products already come with export licenses and certifications.
In addition to street art and salons, you can enjoy shopping in any of the local markets that sell all kinds of trinkets and souvenirs side-by-side with fresh local produce. Meidan 91 in Tbilisi is the place to buy carpets, being the oldest shop of its kind in the Caucasus. If you want an unforgettable market experience, head to the Dry Bridge to find different knick-knacks and souvenirs from electronic gadgets to art, glass and china. The main shopping streets in Tbilisa are Chavchavadze and Rustaveli avenues.
Georgia is known for its rich mineral springs and the town of Bojomi has been especially developed to exploit this natural gift. It can be found in the postcard-perfect valley of the River Kur. Aside from its beautiful historic sites and splendid gardens, it is known for its world-class health resorts. Borjom-Haragaul National Park is a 68,000 hectare park that contains a sizeable spa/hotel in a pleasant mid-mountainous climate. Its water is useful for easing digestive and metabolic diseases. In addition to wine, mineral water is also a popular export from Georgia.