Shardeni Street is one of the most popular and beautiful streets in Tbilisi. This pedestrian street is so well known that any guest that travels to Georgia never leaves this country without visiting Shardeni Street. But who was Jean Chardin and how he made Georgians remember him? I am going to tell you interesting stories about this interesting man.
Jean-Baptiste Chardin was born in the 17th century in the French jeweller’s family. He was a successful jeweller too. Chardins were Protestants and they had a controversy with Catholics. Because of this fact, young Jean Chardin decided to find his own fate outside his country. Soon Chardin became a private merchant of Persian Shah Abbas II. He was travelling very often and always searched for new adventures. During his travel, he visited Georgia as well. Chardin wrote and published a book about his travels. A traveller described Georgia and its people with the following words:
“Georgians are very polite and they love guests so much. They are very brave and moderate people. Georgians have their own traditions and culture that they respect very much. They have diplomatic relations with the other nations. In Georgia, you will feel yourself free and happy as this is a country, where everybody has freedom of expression and religion…”
He liked Tbilisi very much. In his book, Chardin wrote that Tbilisi is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. He was attracted by the simplicity of the city and also by its contrasts at the same time.
The most important for us is a map of Tbilisi, which he published in his book. This is the only one graphic map that has survived and reached us until today.
In past, Shardeni Street was called “Dark Row”. This small, narrow street was located in the old town as it is today. The street was a center of the cultural and social life. Shardeni Street was intended for trading and as it was covered with the roofs, people called it a dark row.
In the 20th century, the street was reconstructed (1981) and renamed as a “Shardeni Street” in honour of Jean Chardin who gifted us a map of the city as I have already mentioned above.
Nowadays, popular restaurants, open cafes and bars, nightclubs and galleries are located on this street. Shardeni is the best place to visit to explore Tbilisi’s nightlife. Furthermore, many exhibitions, celebrations and concerts are organized here. This street stays one of the most favorite places for locals and tourists.
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