Reading Comprehension Text and Exercises


The Food Capital

Georgia's tourism industry has been growing, and Tbilisi, its capital, has been identified as the most popular tourist destination. Lying on the banks of the Kura River, Tbilisi is known for its diverse architecture, centuries-old monasteries and one of the most delicious and nutritious cuisines in the world.


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A Brief History of Tbilisi

  • Archaeological studies show that humans have been living on the site of Tbilisi for 6,000 years.
  • An old legend suggests that the city was founded by King Vakhtang I, who discovered a hot spring while he was hunting and decided to build a city there. In Georgian, Tbili means 'warm location'.
  • Due to its favorable location, Tbilisi was often an object of rivalry between different foreign powers, such as the Roman Empire and the Turks.
  • When Tbilisi finally became the capital of a unified Georgian State, it rose as a dominant regional power with a rather thriving economy.
  • After this prosperous period, Tbilisi was repeatedly conquered by Mongols, Iranians and Russians.
  • Georgia regained its full independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then, many large-scale projects have been done in and around the city, which helps its continuous development.



Anchiskhati Basilica

Dating from the 6th century, Anchiskhati Basilica is the oldest surviving church in Tbilisi. This incredibly well-maintained church was originally dedicated to Virgin Mary, but it was renamed after a very important 12th century icon was moved there to be sheltered from the Ottoman invasion.

This particular icon survived, and is now on display at the Art Museum of Georgia. The basilica was damaged and rebuilt several times, and finally renovated to resemble to its 17th century version. The church only started to be used for religious purposes again after Georgia's independence. It has a central location and is often used for weddings.

Anchiskhati Basilica

Aerial Cable Car and Narikala Fortress

Georgia is a very hilly country, so cable cars are frequently used in major cities to transport tourists to one of the hills surrounding the city. In Tbilisi, this can be done with an aerial cable car which connects the south end of Rike Park with Narikala Fortress. While in the car, you will go over the Mtkvari River and the Old Town, and have a fascinating 360-degree view of the city from the car's large windows.

One you've reached the top of the hill, you can explore the Narikala Fortress, originally built in the 4th century, although most of its extant fortifications are more recent. Within the fortress you can also visit the recently restored St Nicholas church, replacing the original one which was destroyed in a fire. Inside the church, there are a number of frescos portraying the history of Georgia.

Aerial Cable Car and Narikala Fortress

Old Tbilisi

All different layers of Tbilisi's history – from early-centuries buildings to modern cafes - can be found on the narrow streets of Old Tbilisi.

This vibrant area is known as a place where you can enjoy traditional Georgian food, try one Georgian wine, and learn about the non-Christian history of Tbilisi by visiting one of the synagogues or the mosque.

In this historical district, you can also visit one of the famous Sulphur bathhouses, which an essential part of every tourist's experience in Georgia.

Old Tbilisi

What to Eat in Tbilisi

Being one of the oldest nations in the world, Georgians also have the most unique cuisine you will find in this region. Internationally famous, kachapuri, a circular bread filled with lots of melted cheese and eggs served fresh out of the oven, is one of the most delicious and most filling dishes.


Eggplant dominates Georgian cuisine, so you will often find it in dishes like ajapsandali, a spicy vegetable ratatouille, eaten both in winter and summer.


The most interesting by far is tklapi, colorful sundried fruit that from afar looks like a gift wrapping paper. If you are courageous enough to try it, you will discover that both the sweet (fig or apricot) and the sour (cherries and plums) version taste absolutely amazing. The best thing about Georgian food is that most of it is very healthy and rich with fresh and nutritious ingredients.


Comprehension Exercises

Vocabulary Questions

  1. What does "nutritious" mean?
    1. full of sugar
    2. healthy, efficient as food
    3. very traditional

  2. What does "aerial" mean?
    1. related to an airplane
    2. coming from Greek medicine
    3. existing, happening in the air

  3. What does "rivalry" mean?
    1. a battle between two empires
    2. competition for the same goal
    3. a race

  4. What does "extant" mean?
    1. still existing, surviving
    2. expanded
    3. taken from somewhere else

  5. What does "ratatouille" mean?
    1. Georgian olive oil
    2. French fashion style
    3. a vegetable dish

Collocation Questions

  1. Tbilisi rose as a regional power with a __________ economy.
    1. increasing
    2. fortunate
    3. thriving

  2. Georgian __________ is rich with fresh ingredients.
    1. A. cooking
    2. B. cuisine
    3. C. kitchen

  3. Georgia became independent after the __________ of the Soviet Union.
    1. crumble
    2. loss
    3. collapse

  4. Anchiskhati Basilica is the oldest __________ church in Tbilisi.
    1. surviving
    2. living
    3. sustaining

  1. From __________ tklapi looks like wrapping paper.
    1. afar
    2. space
    3. further away

  1. Kachapuri is the best when it's __________ out of oven.
    1. hot
    2. ready
    3. fresh

  1. The frescos in St Nicholas Church __________ Georgian history.
    1. sketch
    2. portray
    3. display

  2. Throughout history, Tbilisi was often the __________ of rivalry among different empires.
    1. recipient
    2. target
    3. object

  3. The icon was put in the church to be sheltered __________ Ottoman invasion.
    1. from
    2. by
    3. of

  4. St Nicholas church was built recently restored, __________ the original.
    1. renovating
    2. replacing
    3. returning

Wh Questions

  1. Why did many empires want to take control over Tbilisi?
    1. because Tbilisi had a lot of gold
    2. because of Georgian food
    3. because of its location

  2. When did Georgians start using Anchiskhati Basilica for religious purposes again?
    1. after World War II
    2. after Georgian independence
    3. in 2016

  3. How was the original St Nicholas church destroyed?
    1. in a fire
    2. in a flood
    3. by earthquake

  4. Who founded Tbilisi according to an old legend?
    1. Christian missionaries
    2. Greek gods
    3. Georgian King

  1. Where in Tbilisi can you find a mosque and synagogues?
    1. in Old Tbilisi
    2. in Narikala fortress
    3. in Rike park

Evaluating Statements

  1. Based on the information in this lesson, which statement is true?
    1. Most of the present-day Narikala fortress dates from the 4th century.
    2. Most of the present-day Narikala fortress dates from the past few centuries.

  2. Based on the information in this lesson, which statement is false?
    1. The icon after which the Anchiskhati Basilica was renamed is still kept in the church.
    2. The icon after which the Anchiskhati Basilica was renamed is kept in the Art Museum.

True or False?

  1. Based on the information in this lesson, is the following statement true or false?

    "Because eggplant is a seasonal vegetable, you can only eat ajapsandali in winter."
    1. True
    2. False

  2. Based on the information in this lesson, is the following statement true or false?

    "The Aerial Cable Car in Tbilisi is one of several cable cars in Georgia."
    1. True
    2. False

Answer Key

1. B | 2. C | 3. B | 4. A | 5. C | 6. C | 7. B | 8. C | 9. A | 10. A | 11. C | 12. B | 13. C | 14. A | 15. B | 16. C | 17. B | 18. A | 19. C | 20. A |21. B | 22. A | 23. B | 24. A

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