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Mestia, Georgia

Queen Tamar Airport

Despite being tiny and rural this Georgian airport looks like a sci-fi boondoggle. 

The view of most small, rural institutions is that they will be either utilitarian at best, and dilapidated at worst, But in Georgia, out of the way buildings seem to simply be opportunities to create strange and often beautiful pieces of singular architecture such as the Queen Tamar Airport.

Located near the mountainous Georgian townlet of Mestia, the little airport was only put in place in 2010. Designed and planned by a group of German and Georgian architects, the building is not meant to be a grand metropolitan transport hub, but an iconic little waystation that helps connect the historic region with Tbilisi.

The airport was named after Queen Tamar of Georgia who ruled the country from 1184 to 1213. Looking like a naturally reclining “j” shape, the structure combines control tower and terminal in one smooth curve. While it looks like the ultra-modern work of an experimental architect, the building was created to invoke the image of Mestia’s famous historic watch-towers, known as “Svan Towers.”

The airport is serviced by United Airports Georgia, the national company that oversees air travel facilities in the region. It is hoped that the Queen Tamar airport will increase tourism in the area, bringing people in to see the UNESCO-protected historical sights in the region. And now to see the airport itself.