Tbilisi Metro: Georgia Underground
Updated November 2023, Tbilisi Metro: Georgia Underground was originally published in January 2022
Getting around using the Tbilisi Metro is a pretty straightforward option for exploring the city with an underground that consists of two lines, the Akhmeteli–Varketili Line and the Saburtalo Line.
On both my visits to Georgia, I’ve found the Tbilisi Metro to be easy to use and one of the fastest and cheapest ways to get around to different sites in the city.
The Tbilisi Metro was the fourth metro after Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kyiv to be constructed by the Soviet Union, after reaching the one-million-resident threshold required by the USSR for a city to get its own metro system.
Tbilisi’s Metro officially opened its doors in January 1966 and in the years following several more stations would be added to the original Akhmeteli–Varketili Line. 1979 would see the opening of the second Saburtalo Line. In total, there are 23 Tbilisi Metro Stations (one of which is currently closed for renovations).
While not as ornate as the Tashkent Metro over in Uzbekistan, the Tbilisi Metro does have a few unique and interesting stations to check out. Personal favorites of mine include Ghrmaghele, Guramishvili, Nadzaladevi, Avlabari, Isani, Delisi, Technical University, and Tsereteli.
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Tbilisi Metro Hours
The Tbilisi Metro is open daily from 6 am to midnight. Trains run in 5-6 minute intervals most of the day, though during peak hours will reduce down to 2 minutes, and at late night they can have up to 12 minute intervals.
Peak hours on the Tbilisi Metro typically are between 7 am to 9 am and again from 4 pm to 6 pm, coinciding with rush hour traffic. Expect trains to be fairly crowded during these peak hours on weekdays. Around lunchtime, you can also expect the stations and trains to be a bit busier.
Tbilisi Metro Tickets
Tickets for the Tbilisi Metro cost 50 tetri (0.50 GEL) per ride. Credits are loaded onto Metromoney cards that are scanned when you enter a station.
Purchasing a Metromoney card is pretty simple and can be done from counters inside the metro stations. The Metromoney card itself will cost 2 GEL but do note that the 2 GEL does not get you any rides, so you’ll need to top up your card.
Topping up is easy and can be done either at the ticket counter or from the orange machines you’ll see at the stations. You can also use the Metromoney cards on some Tbilisi buses and cable cars.
Looking for a cool day trip from Tbilisi? Head out to the monastery complex of Rkoni
The Tbilisi Metro Stations
Akhmeteli–Varketili Line (Red Line)
Akhmetelis Teatri Metro Station (formerly Gldani Metro Station)
Originally opened in 1989 under the name Gldani at the northern terminus of the Akhmeteli–Varketili Line, the station was renamed to Akhmetelis Teatri Station in 1992.
The station was named after the great Georgian theatre director, Aleksandre Akhmetelashvili (1886-1937) who directed at the famed Rustaveli Theatre from 1926 until his death in 1937. Aleksandre Akhmetelashvili was arrested during Joseph Stalin’s Great Purge for espionage and executed.
The Akhmetelis Teatri Metro Station platform has a curved white ceiling outlined in blue-gray and supported by marble pillars with inlaid black vertical bands. Though two things made Akhmetelis Teatri Station stand out from the others- the end of the platform, on the wall above the opening to the escalator displayed a mosaic, and an interesting green mosaic found on the station wall.
The mosaic at the platform end featured various battle scenes with humans and animals centered around an orb which had to be most likely the sun, and the green wall mosaic displayed various animals and bow hunters on each tile with the center tiles being some type of letters (not entirely sure, they didn’t look Georgian to me).
Nearby attractions: Gldani District
Sarajishvili Metro Station
Sarajishvili Station opened in 1989 and is named after the famous Georgian tenor Ivane Sarajishvili who lived from 1879 until 1924.
Sarajishvili Metro Station was another quite basic platform with a curved white ceiling and ivory-colored pillars that were bisected vertically by inlaid black stone.
Nearby attractions: Tbilisi Sea
Guramishvili Metro Station (formerly TEMKA Metro Station)
Guramishvili Station opened its doors in November 1985 under the name TEMKA- an abbreviation for the Tbilisi Electric Locomotive Plant. In 1992 the name of the station changed to Guramishvili, after the 18th-century Georgian poet Count Davit Guramishvili (1705-1792).
Unfortunately, the Guramishvili Metro Station platform was very dark when we visited (it appeared to maybe be starting to undergo renovations?). The platform floor featured a white inlaid zigzag on wither edge before the train tracks and the walls had red marble half-circles decorating the tunnel.
The most interesting attribute of the Guramishvili Station platform was the mosaic relief at the end of the platform displayed above the entrance to the escalator showcasing a scene of men and women dancing (I believe).
One thing to note is that I screwed up and should have left the platform. Later when researching information about the station I discovered a photo of a cool bas relief mosaic near the top of the stairs… so it’s on my Tbilisi architecture to-do list when I return.
Nearby attractions: Tbilisi Sea
Ghrmaghele Metro Station
Ghrmaghele Station opened in November 1985. The station is closest to the Chronicles of Georgia Monument, which is best accessed by bus 60 from the bus station about 500 meters from the Ghrmaghele Metro Station.
The Ghrmaghele Metro Station platform exhibited vertical dark-grey bands that ran the length of the ceiling interrupted by lights and at the end of the platform, a black bas relief of three workers (two men and a woman) in front of cogged wheels.
Nearby attractions: Tbilisi Sea
Didube Metro Station
Opened in January 1966, Didube is among the metro stations that comprised Tbilisi’s first segment of metro stations and is located above ground.
Outside Didube Station you’ll find yourself thrown into the busy Didube Bazaar and the Tbilisi Central Bus Station.
Being above ground makes Didube Metro Station unique compared to the other stations. The platform exhibits an ivory ceiling and a floor of charcoal-colored tiles, interrupted by squares of pale lime green and grey.
Nearby attractions: Didube Bazaar, Tbilisi Central Bus Station
Gotsiridze Metro Station (formerly Elektrodepo Station) – CLOSED
Gotsiridze was the only Tbilisi Metro station we did not visit on account that it was closed for construction. It appears the station closed in February 2021 and was to remain shut for three months for renovations- with that said, Gotsiridze was finally open again on my third visit to Georgia in March 2023 (though I passed it by when headed to Didube to catch a marshrutka and was feeling to lazy to step off for a photo on the account that I was carrying a backpack and it was crowded).
Much like Didube, Gotsiridze is an above-ground metro station.
Nadzaladevi Metro Station
Opened in 1966, Nadzaladevi Station is also part of the original segment of the Tbilisi Metro. The station underwent renovations in 2007. It serves the Nadzaladevi District neighborhoods of Nadzaladevi, Sanzona, Temka, and Lotkini.
Nadzaladevi Metro Station’s platform was easily a favorite of mine with its trippy interior. For starters, the platform features an arched white ceiling intersected with bands of bright blue, and the end of the platform displayed an acid-trip-like painting. The painting appears to have a ghost floating away from colorful Kandovan-esque houses that look like they’re melting and up toward a sprawled out sun. I’m not entirely sure what is supposed to be going on in the painting, but I like it.
Nearby attractions: Nadzaladevi District
Station Square (formerly Vagzlis Moedani Station)
Station Square serves as the interchange between the Akhmeteli–Varketili Line and the Saburtalo Line with the original station opening in 1966 and the Saburtalo Line interchange add-on completed in 1979. The Saburtalo Line station of Station Square was originally named Vagzlis Moedani.
The Station Square Metro platform on the Akhmeteli–Varketili Line features an arched white ceiling with ivory-marble-based arched openings that lead to the trains. The ceiling features black circular vents.
Nearby attractions: Dezerter’s Bazaar, Bassiani
Marjanishvili Metro Station
Marjanishvili Station opened in 1966 and was named after Georgian theater director Kote Marjanishvili (1872-1933). Known for his over-the-top shows, Kote Marjanishvili was a major contributor to the pre and post-revolutionary evolution of Georgian theatre.
The Marjanishvili Metro Station platform is decorated with plain ivory marble and has an arched ceiling. The only distinguishing piece in the platform is the bas relief wall bust of Kote Marjanishvili himself.
Nearby attractions: Alexander Nevski Cathedral, Fabrika Tbilisi
Rustaveli Metro Station
At 60 meters underground, Rustaveli Station is the deepest of the Tbilisi Metro Stations and feels like you’re journeying to the center of the earth as you ride the elevator deeper and deeper into the abyss. Part of the original six metro stations in Tbilisi, Rustaveli Station opened in 1966. The station is located on Rustaveli Square.
The Rustaveli Metro Station was named after Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli (1160-220), the most famous poet of the Georgian Golden Age. His most famous work, The Knight in the Panther’s Skin, is considered to be a Georgian national epic.
The interior of the Rustaveli Metro Station platform is accented by red stone pillars and relief of a battle at the end of the platform.
Nearby attractions: Stamba Hotel Tbilisi, the abandoned lower station of the Mtatsminda Cable Car, Sabatono Restaurant, Academy of Arts, Kvarts Coffee
Tavisuplebis Moedani Metro Station (Liberty Square Metro Station)
Located near Freedom Square, Tavisuplebis Moedani Station opened in 1967 near the southern terminus of the original Tbilisi Metro Line (now it’s more toward the middle). Tavisuplebis Moedani Station underwent renovations in 2006.
Liberty Square is the site of many demonstrations in Georgia including those that led to Georgia’s independence and the 2003 Rose Revolution that commanded the ousting of President Eduard Shevardnadze.
The platform for Liberty Square Metro Station features a white arched ceiling with bands of red, resembling Georgia’s flag. At the end of the platform is a piece that incorporates the Georgian flag and a rose.
Nearby attractions: Dry Bridge Flea Market, Cafe Leila, Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Bridge of Peace, Erekle II Pedestrian Street, Meidan Bazaar, Tbilisi History Museum & Georgian Wine Museum, the Underground Bakery, Sioni Cathedral, Ateshgah Zoroastrian Fire Temple, Checkpoint Hotel & Cafe Freida, Kaleidoscope House & Gallery 27, Abanotubani Baths, Narikala & St. Nikolas Cathedral, Leghvtakhevi Waterfall, Cone Culture Icecream, Restaurant Hide
Avlabari Metro Station (formerly 26 Komisari Station)
26 Komisari opened in 1967 as part of the second segment on the original line. It was named after the 26 Baku Commissars- a leftist socialist revolutionary and Bolshevik member of the Baku Commune.
In 1992 the station was renamed Avlabari to reflect the name of the neighborhood it serves. The station underwent renovations in 2006.
Inside, the architecture of the Avlabari Metro Station isn’t too exciting with arched white ceilings, however, there is a cool bas-relief design cast into the wall at the end of the platform.
More interesting is the exterior of Avlabari Station, boasting a vertical garden created by French botanist Patrick Blanc, the founder behind these “le Mur Végétal”, meaning the vegetable wall. The vertical garden at Avlabari features 104 different plant species.
Nearby attractions: In the Shadow of Metekhi Restaurant
Samasi Aragveli Metro Station
Samasi Aragveli, meaning 300 Aragvians is named after the 309 soldiers from Aragvi Valley who died defending Tbilisi in the Battle of Krtsanisi against the invading Persian Army in 1795.
The Samasi Aragveli Metro Station doesn’t stand out from many others, featuring the typical white arched ceiling and beige walls. The only thing that sets it apart is the black stone bas relief of three men on horses.
Nearby attractions: Stalin’s Underground Printing Museum
Isani Metro Station
Isani Metro Station was constructed to serve those living in the Isani District of Tbilisi. The station opened in 1971 and was renovated in 2006.
Similar to the Nadzaladevi Metro Station platform, Isani Station’s platform features the same blue bands across the ceiling, though Isnai’s bands of blue feature funky 4×4 light fixtures. The end of the platform has a map display that looks to be falling over, with funky-cool wooden benches in front of it.
But the real highlight of Isani Metro Station? You’re going to have to upstairs for that- a fantastic mural decorates the wall next to the entrance turnstiles to the elevator. We only happened to catch the mural because Dan had to use a toilet asap and we had to go outside the station on a mission to find one.
The mosaiced mural displays a scene that includes deer, a bow hunter with an owl on his shoulder, what appears to be a member of royalty (he’s wearing a crown) on a horse, and another bowhunter kneeling. I’m not sure what story the mural tells (if you happen to, please tell me in the comments!).
The Isani Metro Station building itself is also pretty interesting as it’s a funky-futuristic super Soviet-era-looking design.
Samgori Metro Station
Opened in 1971 Samgori Metro Station serves those living in the Samgori District of Tbilisi.
Upon initial inspection, Samgori Metro Station reminded me a lot of a number of the Tashkent Metro Stations with its corrugated-looking ceiling. But the station was a bit more interesting than I initially realized once I noticed the black stone reliefs on wither wall depicting sunshine, forests, deer, ram’s horns, and harvest.
Nearby attractions: Samgori Bazaar, Samgori Cable Car
Varketili Metro Station
Varketili Station opened in 1971 and has served as the southeast terminus of the Tbilisi Metro. It is the station nearest to the airport.
Varketili Metro Station’s platform was clearly under construction when we visited, so it’s hard to comment on its bare-bones appearance as the interior decor was stripped away. If you want to see what it looked like before, check out the image on the Wikipedia page for Varketili Station. I look forward to seeing how they finish the station one of these days when I return to Tbilisi.
Continuing on toward western Georgia? Don’t miss the fascinating Uplistsikhe Cave City near Gori
Saburtalo Line (Green Line)
Station Square II (formerly Vagzlis Moedani)
The Saburtalo Line side of Station Square was originally named Vagzlis Moedani II when it opened in 1979. It takes about three minutes to walk between the Saburtalo Line and the Akhmeteli–Varketili Line here at Station Square.
Station Square II Station features lampposts with white bubble lights and a beautiful mosaic relief at the end of the platform displaying various scenes.
Tsereteli Metro Station
Tsereteli Station was opened in 1979, named after Georgian poet and national liberation movement leader Akaki Tsereteli (1840–1915). Akaki as he more commonly referred was born in the Imereti region to aristocrats Prince Rostom Tsereteli and Princess Ekaterine, daughter of Ivane Abashidze.
Akaki would go on, along with close friend Ilia Chavchavdze, to lead protests against the Tsarist regime, pushing for Georgian cultural revival. His writing would also become quite famous, known for its satirical humor in addition to politics and history.
Tsereteli Station is one of the more vibrant of the Tbilisi Metro stations with a bright turquoise ceiling with black pillars. A bas relief wall bust of Akaki Tsereteli is seen at the end of the station platform.
Nearby attractions: Mushtaidi Garden, Bassiani
Technical University Metro Station
Technical University Station was opened in April 1979 to provide public transit to important and commonly visited sites in the city, such as the Georgian Technical University, Tbilisi Sports Palace, and the National Statistics Office of Georgia.
The station is the most commonly photographed of the Tbilisi Metro Stations, owing to its attractive design. The ceiling features three-dimensional geometric patterns and beautiful mosaics above the entrance to the escalators on either end of the station. The murals feature bas reliefs of people on a colorful, glimmering backdrop of mosaiced tiles.
Nearby attractions: Georgian Technical University, Tbilisi Sports Palace
Medical University Metro Station (formerly Komkavshiri Metro Station)
Komkavshiri Station opened in 1979 to serve students and faculty of the Tbilisi State Medical Institute. Following Georgia’s independence, the medical institute was renamed Tbilisi State Medical University, and subsequently, the metro station was renamed Medical University Station.
The interior of the Medical University Station platform was pretty minimalist with white pillars and rectangular cut-outs on the ceiling.
Nearby attractions: Tbilisi State Medical University
Delisi Metro Station (formerly Viktor Gotsiridze Metro Station)
Delisi Station opened to the public in 1979. The platform was known as Viktor Gotsiridze Station from 1992 until 2006 when the station name was changed to Delisi.
Despite a simplistic look, I liked the interior of the Delisi Station platform, which reminded me a bit of the Dostlik Metro Station on the Tashkent Metro. Delisi Station features an arched white ceiling with thin bands of rectangular lights. The station walls also featured a couple of interesting bas reliefs that depicted lions and birds.
Nearby attractions: Amra Restaurant (6 mins by car/35 mins walking).
Vazha Pshvela Metro Station
Vazha Pshvela Station is named after Georgian poet Vazha Pshvela (1861-1915), whose actual birth name was Luka Razikashvili. He’d go on to become associated with Georgian populists and later represented the National-Liberation Movement of Georgia.
Vazha Pshvela’s writing career began to flourish in the 1880s as he produced works that portrayed the everyday life of the Pshavs, the ethnic group he was born into, from Pshavi, a small region northeast of Tbilisi.
The Vazha Pshvela Metro Station platform reminded me a lot of Medical University Metro Station as it featured the same white pillars and a flat ceiling. One main characteristic that made Vazha Pshvela Station unique from Medical University Metro Station and others is the staircase that enters right at the middle of the platform.
State University Metro Station
Originally planned to serve students and faculty of the Tbilisi State University, State University Station sits at the western terminus of the Saburtalo Line. Construction of the State University Station began in 1985 but was halted by financial instabilities by 1994. Construction on State University Station was finally picked back up again by 2015 and completed in 2017 with the help of the Asian Development Bank.
The State University Metro Station is one of the most easily recognizable stations on the Tbilisi Metro with the large white tiles with blue and green tiled designs that zigzag across the floor. The end of the platform displays a mosaic made of the same blue and green floor tiles. What landed State University Metro Station as one of my favorites though was the escalator as the tiled ceiling and walls gave it a futuristic feel, similar to Baikonur Metro Station on the Almaty Metro in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Nearby attractions: Tbilisi State University.
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