Video about the place but the photos in the post are much better.
While in Tbilisi, Georgia, I had found some information about an abandoned water reservoir named "Treligora", built during the Soviet times. Urban exploration (urbex) is always exciting and Georgia is an urbex paradise. After some research I had a clue that the water reservoir was located somewhere near the also abandoned former archaeology museum so I decided to go have a look.
The former museum of archaeology is located on a hill in the Dighomi district, at the north west part of Tbilisi. Since it is a little bit tricky to reach as you need to go round the hill and up, the best option is to take a bolt taxi (just download the bolt application at your smartphone, you will also need to have data available, bolt works perfect in the Caucasus).
The taxi will drop you at a gate where you can already see the former museum and the nearby Saint Nino monument.
The now abandoned museum was built in 1988 and was founded by Rostom Abramishvili, a famous Georgian archaeologist at that time. The area around the museum was an archaeological site itself, named "Treligorebi".
When I arrived at the site there was nobody apart of another tourist who was taking photos and left soon after. Even though the museum is not in operation today, it is one of the best examples of 20th century Soviet modernist architecture. The gates are closed and guarded by a guard so there is no way to get inside. The guard is stationed at the left corner of the museum which also has a satellite dish, there was also a dog there but I am not sure if it was a stray one (had a tag on his/her ear) or a companion of the guard.
Then I started searching how to enter the water reservoir which was directly behind the museum. There were two paths going around, one on the west and one on the east. I first took the path to the west, it went by the water reservoir but it was fenced with barb wire. Considering that the place was guarded I did not want to trespass so I needed to find a proper opening to get it. After around 10 minutes, I reached some pipes and I realized that path was leading me away from the site, so I went back to the museums entrance and took the other path on the east which proved to be the right one, so facing the museum entrance you have to take the path on the left.
Going through the other path, I realized that there were not one, but two water reservoirs! Actually from what I read, there is a possibility that there were actually three of them on this site, and they decided to convert one of them into a museum in 1988 (looking on google maps terrain view, the museum roof has the same measurements as the reservoir behind it), although I can't verify this as information about the site is very limited.
I passed the fenced reservoir and by the end of it, after a metal structure, there was no more fence and a path was going towards the roof of the second reservoir. So eventually I realized that my aim was that 2nd reservoir and not the 1st one. From google maps only the 1st reservoir is clearly visible. Some people have managed to go into the 1st one as well, it seems to be attached to the museum and was used as a warehouse.
Reaching the roof I spotted the way in, or to say better, the way down the reservoir. There was a small concrete cube with a hole around 1m x 1m and a metal ladder going down to the now empty and abandoned reservoir. My first thought when I saw it was "am I really going down there through here?". Due to the sun, looking down the ladder from outside I couldn't see anything, just pitch black.
I did a fast check on the ladder from up there and it seemed sturdy enough so I decided to go down. As the hole was quite small and I had with me a bag, a big camera and a tripod, I had to be careful on my way down. When I reached the bottom and my eyes got used to the light conditions I realized there was quite a lot of light down there, enough not to need a flashlight at least. And the ladder was eventually quite secure with metal poles to a huge pipe.
It was so beautiful and surreal down there I felt like I stepped into a different world. The texture of the circular ceiling was like a sci-fi movie alien spaceship. Two sunrays were shining down from the ceiling holes giving an extra eerie atmosphere. There was silence and if you made any sound the acoustics of the enclosed space were out of this world. The area inside there was quite large and the ground was mostly wet with a lot of debris so some good waterproof shoes are needed if you decide to visit. As the concrete ceiling was deteriorating, it's metal rods were starting to appear which looked like ancient runes. Since the light conditions are quite low, if you want to take nice photos a tripod and a dSLR would do the trick. And try to time your visit around mid-day when the sun is directly above so you can get the nice sunrays coming in.
Spent around an hour inside, first setting up the tripod here and there to take some photos and then just relaxing and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. Nobody else showed up, I think most of the people just check out only the former archaeological museum and don't know about this place. Finally I decided to go up the ladder and return to reality.
Time to get out and go back to reality...
Before I leave the area I had a look at the monument of Saint Nino which is at the premises, not far from the front of the former museum. It also provided beautiful views of the city.
Georgia at the 4th century was known as the kingdom of Iberia. It was that time that Saint Nino, who came from Cappadocia, preached Christianity to the country. She traveled around spreading the Gospel with just a cross made of grape branches tied together with braids from her own hair. She was so successful that the king Mirian III of Iberia converted and declared that the official religion of Iberia would be Christianity from then on. Because of that, Saint Nino is now celebrated as one of Georgia's most important religious figures and is a very popular name given to women.
The monument was made at 1988-1994 by Zurab Tsereteli, a Georgian-Russian artist (he also created "The Chronicle of Georgia" monument - one of the most magnificent monuments I've ever seen - post coming soon). The creation of the monument represented a concession to Georgian national heritage by the Soviet authorities back then, who were typically anti-religious.
The Saint Nino monument front and back. Check the cross which was made of grape branches tied together with braids from her own hair.
Having been exploring from the morning it was time for lunch, as I had been overdosing myself with delicious Georgian food, I felt like something different so I ended up in "Saramene Onimusha" (post coming soon), my favourite Japanese restaurant in Tbilisi, near the old town.
GPS coordinates for places in this post, click on them to be redirected to the exact point in google maps. Click on the names to be redirected to their official websites (if applicable).
Former Archaeology Museum: 41°45'49.6"N 44°46'00.1"E
Treligora water reservoir: follow the directions in this post
Saint Nino Monument: 41°45'45.0"N 44°46'00.6"E
Click below to read the connected previous and next post:
Tbilisi Skybridge (coming soon)
Saramene Onimusha Japanese restaurant (coming soon)
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