What happened to my wedding ring?

Copyright Susanna Melo, 2011

Susanna and I visited the bath district near the Mtkvari (Kura) River in Old Tbilisi. The three baths were built between the 17th and 19th centuries. We first looked at the Royal Baths and then the Sulfur Baths, which from the outside look like small domes at ground level. We decided to give our business to Orbeliani Baths, which are located in a building that resembles a Turkish mosque. It is is decorated on the outside with beautiful blue tiles and has minarets on top. We paid for one hour’s worth of time in a private area. Before entering the bathing area, we removed and hung our clothes in a steamy wet area with a plastic table and two chairs. Then we climbed into a waist-high tub of hot mineral water. Of course, instead of hiring a room, you can use the larger public area for less money. In the public room, people not only go to wash themselves, but they also socialize.

Susanna and I enjoy our bath.

The tub was full of water that came from hot sulfur springs deep in the earth. Sulfur, of course, smells bad—think rotten eggs—but for some reason it didn’t bother me at all after the first minute. The water was hot—38-40C (100-104F), and it felt invigorating.

I paid for a scrub (massages are also available). As I laid on a tiled elevated massage “table,” a man used two coarse mitts to scrape away any dirt and dead skin from my body. Then he used a bag of soapsuds to wash me.

In the 5th century, Georgian King Vakhtang Gorgasali was hunting and shot a pheasant, which fell into a warm spring and was boiled. The king decided to found a city on this site and he called it Tbilisi. Tbili means “warm” in Georgian.

And my wedding ring? My silver ring was badly tarnished by the sulfur, but two days later it has almost recovered its original shine. I’ve heard it will return to normal in two more days.


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

4 Responses to What happened to my wedding ring?

  1. Maral says:

    Hello Keith!

    Your blog was really helpful. THANKS!
    I just like to get your tips and advice… We are planning to visit Tbilisi in end of June 2012 (25,26) for 2 days only, in fact we arrive 25th afternoon and 26th whole day…
    What do you think worth trying during this less than 2 day period?
    What are the must sees and must try food, customs… (stuffed dumplings and the sulphur bath are noted 🙂

    Many thanks in advance for your time and attention


  2. Maral says:

    Hi again!

    Any updates regarding the blog that you and your wife would write?
    Would you please give me the link to check it 🙂

    thank you!!!

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