Thursday, September 13, 2007


This is the building that held the market I would sometimes go to. To be fair, it did not look that much better when it was operating...

It was a huge market with folk from all around Tbilisi bringing in their wares, be it vegetables, suckling pigs arranged on the tables just so with their little legs in the air, cheese, dried fruit, honey, tskhemali sauces. Everything was always beautifully displayed - but you wouldn't want to inspect the floor too closely, and we suggested to our colleague with the 3-year-old daughter that she might not want to bring the child to the market.

Anyway, now the market is closed. It's a great shame because it was quite central, and lots of people could access it easily. At the same time also other little markets have been closed or bulldozed, like this is going to be by the looks of it. The reasons?

There was a story that the traders were supposed to get a little machine that prints out receipts and presumably keeps track of transactions; the cost allegedly was over 200 dollars. Not really affordable by the wee market traders, and I'm not convinced, having seen some of these machines in other shops, that they are this expensive. And it only tracks those transactions that are entered into it, much like when you get on a minibus in Vilnius and pay, but don't get a ticket....

Of course the official reason will be that all income must be taxed, bla, bla. And looking at the speed at which the market building comes down, one of the reaons for this might be that otherwise people would just have moved back into the market. On the other hand it is a prime site, and very central in Tbilisi - wouldn't surprise me at all if some developer had greased some palms. Not that we have corruption any more in Georgia, you understand... Or it could be yet another attempt at cleaning up the city - which has already cost so many people their livelihoods.

Looks like now I will have to hop on the metro to get a big vegetable shop (for one...).