This winter, we had a chance to visit Tbilisi, The capital of Georgia, where the majority of the countries population resides. We were previously in Turkey and figured that Georgia could offer something new to our travel history.
It is a bustling city like any other, with a touch of modern in a really dramatic old city trying to move forward. There is no sign of any cyclists here. We set out to visit the standard Top 5’s (TripAdvisor) and if you enjoy cathedrals, monasteries and open markets then this is the place for you.
However, there was the urge to discover something new. We saw that there was a new Velodrome built and being bicycle fanatics, we were interested in checking it out. A Google search actually led us to one very insignificant article mentioning an abandoned outdoor Soviet Velodrome somewhere in the city. Now this caught our interest. Only the neighbourhood was mentioned. Thanks to Google earth, we spotted what looked like to be the remains of an outdoor velodrome.
The next day we took the underground to that area. We were very excited about this. Most locals don’t even know about this place. It is important to note that the article online dated from 2009. And so to our disappointment, the area was mostly demolished except part of the stadium. Out with old and in with the new! They had built a car dealership on part of the property. What a shame. I believe that this old soviet velodrome would have been something tourists would actually want to see. Especially, since there is a growing interest for abandoned places.
Was that it? For some reason we decided to scope out Google again. To our surprise we found another location with a similar oval shape closer to the city center. Could this be another velodrome? We hired a Taxi to that location the following day. We arrived in a more residential neighbourhood next to a concrete wall along the side walk. We walked around and found a chained rusty old gate. Inside was an empty field and beyond the tall growth was what looked like a banked concrete surface.
The only way in was to climb over the 10-foot wall. The bricks were very old with gaps, which made it possible to get up. What a great feeling it was to find this place.
In the middle of this residential neighbourhood layed this abandoned Soviet Velodome. An out of place, forgotten piece of land. It felt like looking into the past, You can almost imagine the cyclists riding around you. We stayed for quite a while, to absorb what we had discovered. To some, this is a unique space, and to others (understandably) it has no value, and sadly it might make way for new development just like the other Velodrome.