Shardeni Street is one of the most popular and beautiful streets in Tbilisi. This pedestrian street is so well known that no guest that travels to Georgia 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 jeweler’s family. He was a successful jeweler too. Chardins were Protestants, and they had a controversy with Catholics. Because of this fact, the young Jean Chardin decided to find his own fate outside his country. Soon Chardin became a private merchant of the Persian Shah Abbas II. He was traveling 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 traveler 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 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 the map of Tbilisi, which he published in his book. This is the only graphic map that has survived and reached to us until today.
In the 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 cultural and social life. Shardeni Street was intended for trading, and as it was covered with roofs, hence people called it "the dark row."
In the 20th century, the street was reconstructed (1981) and got renamed “Shardeni Street” in honor 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 and explore Tbilisi’s nightlife. Furthermore, many exhibitions, celebrations and concerts are organized here. This street remains one of the most favorite places for locals and tourists.
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