National Botanical Garden of Georgia
UNESCO World Heritage Designation :
Type of Historical Garden:
Botanical Garden, Arboretum, Natural landscape
1 Botaniukuri St., 0105, Tbilisi, Georgia
+995 322 724306
Tbilisi, Krtsanisi district
Gorge river Tsavkisistskali
Google Maps Coordinates:
Access from the provincial capital :
Garden is located in the central part of the capital city
Access from the nearest place to the site :
Via steep Botanikuri street from the bath district (Abanotubani) and Sololaki ridge from Rike park via cable car
Visitors’ Reception Centre
Activities for the general public
Parking for private vehicles
Parking for buses
Access for people with disabilities or reduced
Others: Informational desks
Tour by electric cars
Nearest parking for buses:
Nearest parking for private vehicles:
Days open to the public:
Types of visits:
Free of charge small garden map for visitors
Duration of visits:
Estimated duration 2h
Maximum number of visitors in a group:
Maximum number of visitors per day:
Adults – 4 GEL
Children under 6 year – free
Prior purchase of tickets:
Thematic lectures, cognitive tours, weekend school.
Activities for the public:
Flowers show, Green Expo, bread, chocolate and honey festivals.
Nearest cultural destinations:
Nearest natural destinations:
- Metekhi church
- Narikala fortress
- Sulphur baths
- Museum of history of Tbilisi
- Mirza Fatali Akhundov Azerbaijanian Culture Museum and Centre
Tbilisi National Park
Crafts, gastronomy, gift shops etc., at the site or in the area:
Natural environment of the garden
From the main Botanikuri entrance, a steep path rises up above the river promenade to the west past a group of historic ‘Brick Style’ and two stone towers, with the ruins of the Narikala Fortress directly above. After passing the children’s play area, which occupies two terraces, the main path leads onto the gardens surrounding the former Museum, which still retains elements of the formal bed layout seen in historic photographs and remains of historic structures.
Topography and landform
A series of artificial terraces climb up an area of slightly more shallow slopes at the foot of the Sololaki ridge. They are retained by a series of stone and brick walls, some of which have been recently rebuilt. Some of these retain ornamental features and there is potential evidence of earlier phases of retaining walls and structures. With a southerly aspect, the terraces enjoy excellent sun exposure.
Vegetation and Plant Collections
This area is currently managed as an arboretum, somewhat densely planted and with many self-set trees. Although much of its historical bed layout survives, edged with small rockery stones as shown in historic photographs. On the terrace above the play area there is a display of subtropical plants. The tree cover now heavily shades the area, limiting the potential for growing other plants.
Paths, roads and access
The principal route from the entrance to the Garden is surfaced with asphalt. Other paths are primarily unsurfaced or surfaced with loose gravel, and some are edged with rockery stone in a variety of sizes. There is a brick paved path with brick edges leading to one of the historic towers.
Buildings and structures
The Museum is at the heart of the historic terraces, overlooking the core of the ornamental gardens. The historic stone towers are also part of the periphery of the site, along with the ‘Brick Style’ historic guesthouse and laboratory (ticket office) buildings near the Botanikuri entrance. In addition to the remains of the ‘French Orangerie’ ornamental conservatory in the south part of the terraces, there were other greenhouses/conservatories in this area. The large rectangular pool can be seen in historic photographs to have supported a similar structure, and beyond the existing greenhouse a high brick wall is likely to have supported a lean-to greenhouse. There is a pool with a stature remains on the Museum terrace. Historic photographs show a single jet fountain with a pool was previously located in the vicinity. Further up the slope adjacent to the main path below the Sololaki Ridge, there is a substantial brick built grotto with evidence of artificial tufa rustication partially adhering to the brickwork.
A variety of utilities cross the area, most of which are underground. There are some above-ground irrigation network pipes. There is a large, meshcovered rectangular cistern in the north part of the area.
Site furniture and signage
Benches and bins in this area are in a slatted-timber style. There are some with ornamental cast-iron or steel ends, and another type with a curved seat and back. There are several signs and plant tags identifying specimens of interest and orientation signs at some path junctions. There are lampposts at the main path junction in an historic gas lamp style. Views out of the area are limited by the surrounding trees, although there is potential for views out across the river to the gardens beyond.
Description of the Garden
The Garden has a long history. Narikala, the Medieval fortress of Tbilisi, occupies the Sololaki ridge on the northern border of the Garden and in the Middle Ages, the area was covered with the orchards of Georgian kings. The French traveller Jean Chardin, who spent several months in Tbilisi in 1672, wrote that in the royal garden, along with fruit trees, he saw beautiful large trees which created shade and coolness. In 1701, the French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort observed that plants were well-kept in the royal garden. In the late Middle Ages, a Muslim cemetery appeared next to the garden.
On the plan of Tbilisi made by Prince Vakhushti Bagrationi in 1735, a garden occupies a long and narrow area on the right bank of the Tsavkisistskali river between the present Queen Tamar’s Bridge and the former Muslim cemetery. On the map, it is labelled as the “fortress garden”, which may mean that it no longer belonged to the royal family.
These maps also indicate that a route existed through the current area of the gardens, from east to west, crossing the Narikala Fortress, which formed part of the Silk Road. Another route joined it, within the boundary of the current garden, called the Anatolia Road, connecting Tbilisi with Turkey. After the annexation of Georgia by the Russian Empire in 1801, the garden became a state property and a municipal garden was established growing fruit and vegetables. During the 19th century, it was kept and managed by various state organisations and saw several periods of decline and renewal. In 1845, Mikhail Vorontsov, the Russian Viceroy of the Caucasus established the Tbilisi Botanical Garden, expanding the garden into the valley, including the former Muslim cemetery, which occupied rising ground on the right bank of the river, in the vicinity of the current Pantheon of Eminent Azerbaijanis, Rose Garden, North American and East Asian Collections.
In 1872-3 ornamental gardens with trees, shrubs and flowers were created in the area around the Museum building (monument number 010507275) and the ‘French Orangerie’. The Botanical Garden became an academic body in the 1890s, and in 1896 occupied approximately 6.5ha on the southern slopes of the Sololaki range, from the current entrance to the waterfall. By the end of the 19th century, the Botanical Garden was expanded to the west and south-west and its collections grew significantly and it was organised in bio-regional groupings from 1897.
By 1903, the Garden had expanded to the Kojori highway (in the vicinity of the present-day Institute of Botany and the surrounding slopes), and later further land was added on the left bank of the river above the waterfall, in the area of the Mediterranean Collection. Figure 6 shows a map of the Garden in 1904 . Many new plants were introduced and an irrigation system was created. Along with decorative and horticultural functions, the Garden was used as a nursery of Caucasian flora. In 1925 the site was expanded further, and in 1946 the area of the Ornamental Herbaceous Plants Collection, above the sulphur waterfall, was added.
Expansion of the area of the gardens continued to the south of the river in the Soviet period and, in 1956, 28ha was added on the Tabori slopes above the Nursery. Directors and conservators of the Garden Karl Heinrich Scharer, Adolf Christian Roloff, Yuri Voronov and others made considerable contribution to its development. They established cooperation and exchange with many botanical gardens and parks all over the world. In the Soviet period, the Garden acquired new lands reaching 128ha in the 1960s. Special attention was paid to the creation of new collections through plant propagation by both seeds and cuttings.
Since the Independence of Georgia was declared in 1991, a new period began in the history of the Garden. After the economic and political difficulties of 1990s, the situation improved in the 2000s and 2010s and in 2000, the gardens were taken over by the city.
Along with its unique collections of plants, the Botanical Garden has a rich cultural heritage and each phase of development of the Garden can be traced in the landscape, buildings, structures and planting that remain today. A number of these are designated cultural monuments and other more recent features, such as the parterre garden, have become distinctive features of the gardens in their own right.
1636 – first notes on the existence of the royal garden around the complex of Narikala fortress.
1795 – historical garden was devastated by the fire as a result of invasion by Agha Mohammad Khan.
1801 – administration of Russian empire transferred the garden to the department of state and was named as “Tbilisi Treasury Garden”.
1805 – the garden was transferred to the Russia’s administration of healthcare.
1809 – the garden was established as pharmacy (physic) garden and was transferred to the Caucasian society of encouragement of agriculture and manufacture.
1845 – the garden moved to the disposition of Viceroy of the Caucasus M. Vorontsov, was formally established as a botanical garden and named “Tbilisi Botanical Garden”.
1846 – the first fortyfing walls and terraces have been developed in the area surrounding the rived bed.
1856 – the garden was transformed into enjoyment or promenade garden and scientific-research activities and creation of plant collections have been stopped.
1858 – the school of gardening was opened and the garden was named “The garden of “Gardening school”.
1860 – the Gardening school was abolished and the status of Botanical garden restored.
1861 – Hans Sharere was appointed as a manager of the Garden.
1873 – French orangery was constructed.
1884 – Garden was transferred under the supervision of the Ministry for land cultivation and agriculture.
1886 – Museum of the Botanical Garden has been established.
1887 – the first catalog of collections of the Botanical garden was published.
1889 – A. Ginzenberg was appointed as a manager of the Garden.
1891 – Scientific cabinets have been established.
1892 – Collecting of herbarium of Caucasus plants has started.
1892 – Scientific Library of the Botanical Garden has been established.
1895 – The first proceedings of scientific works of the Botanical Garden has been published.
1896 – the Garden territory was extended by 26ha area.
1898 – The Garden territory has been extended by 22 ha area.
1899 – Adolf Christian Roloff acts as an acting head of the Garden.
1900 – The first school of professional worker gardeners was established.
1902 – Adolf Christian Roloff was appointed as the first director of the Botanical Garden.
1902-1916 – Scientific departments and laboratories have been established.
1902-1916 – experimental stations have been organized in Caucasus scale – (Bakuriani Alpine Botanical Garden, Bobokvati (Jiati) Garden for the introduction of subtropical plants) (Ajara); Karayaz nursery (Kvemo Kartli), Gokcha (Sevan) Alpine Botanical Garden; Agstafa and Mughan (nowadays Azerbaijan territory), Ozurgeti, Saqara and Zugdidi Experimental stations.
1909-1914 – The tunnel, connection the Garden with the city center in Sololaki, has been constructed.
1914 –An arched white bridge has been constructed.
1917 – The school of gardening was abolished.
1921 – Various transcaucasus experimental stations left the Garden structure.
1923-1924 – Due to severe frosts and drought part of plant collections were lost.
1934 – Botanical Garden split into several independent scientific institutions, Institute of Botany and Herbarium and Library as well left Botanical Garden and were transferred to the Executive committee of worker deputies of the city council.
1934-35 – Additional 10 ha area was transferred to the Garden.
1938 – The first centralized line of irrigation network was laid out in the Garden.
1943 – Garden was conferred the status of scientific-research Institution and it became the unit of the Academy of Sciences.
1943 – V. Gulissashvili was appointed s a director of teh Garden.
1947 – construction of the French garden – “Parterre” has been started.
1949 – publishing of the proceedings of scientific works was renowned.
1950-1952 – Irrigation system has been extended.
1953 – M. Golgolishvili was appointed as a director of the Garden.
1956 – ornamental regular garden – “Parterre” was opened.
1960-1975 – post-graduated courses of the Tbilisi Botanical Garden of the Georgian Academy of Sciences have started functioning.
1960-1975 – experimental sections have been established in Krtsanisi and village Tsavkisi, of Tbilisi environs.
1980 – Dendrological Museum of the Botanical Garden has been established.
1998 – Botanical Garden became a member of the BGCI (Botanical Gardens Conservation International).
2000 – International Charitable Foundation “Cartu” started financially supporting the Botanical Garden.
2001 – Caucasus Regional Seed Banks has been established, which in 2011 was transformed into National Seed Bank of Georgia.
2007 – Botanical Garden and Institute of Botany have merged.
2011 – Botanical Garden and Institute of Botany have split again.
2016 – The Secretary general of Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) Dr. Paul Smith has visited the Garden.
2018 – Strategic Development Plan of the National Botanical Garden of Georgia has been approved.
2019 – The Garden has developed the Landscape Master Plan 219-2030.