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  TBILISI- The General Information and History 

 

Tbilisi (Tiflis, before 1936), the capital of Georgia, is situated on the Kura (Mtkvari) River at the southern end of the Georgian Military Road. Located in a mountain-ringed basin, Tbilisi is the economic, administrative, and cultural heartland of Georgia. Its territory reaches more than 350 sq. kilometers, population - almost 1,5 millions.  

The city rises in terraces from both banks of the Kura. In the old section are medieval buildings and courtyards, narrow streets, overhanging balconies, and the famous hot sulfur springs. The rest of the city has been extensively modernized. The new residential districts are connected with the city center and one another by the underground (opened in 1966), bus, trolleybus routes and  tramlines (click here to see the map of the city). 

Landmarks include the Sameba Cathedral (modern), the  Zion Cathedral (6th cent.; restored in  16th–18th cent.), the Anchiskhati Basilica (6th–7th cent.), the Metekhi  church (1278–89) and Tbilisi Fortress (4th-18th cent.). A funicular railway runs to Mt. David. Tbilisi's main educational and cultural facilities include the Tbilisi State University (1918), the Georgian Academy of Art (1922), and the Academy of Science (1941).

The National Museum of Georgia was founded in 1923 on the basis of the former Caucasian Museum existed since 1852. The museum has rich collection of archeological finds of the early Stone Age and the Bronze Age, and the period of the Georgian slave-owning states, which were discovered in various corners of Georgia. The treasury of Georgian kingdom is shared between The National Museum and the State Art Museum of Georgia, which was founded as National Paintings Gallery in 1920. The State Art Museum owns some 60,000 objects, dating from the 4th century until today.

Archaeological evidence indicates that the site was settled as early as the 4th cent. but according to the legend, Tbilisi was founded in 453 A.D. by the King  Vakhtang Gorgasali.  The legend says:    

...In the impenetrable forests that once covered the slopes of the Kura valley, Vakhtang Gorgasali, King of East Georgian kingdom-Kartli (Iberia), was hunting a pheasant with a hawk. When he galloped up to retrieve the bird, he saw that it had fallen into a warm spring. Amazed by the discovery, he announced that he would found a city there to be called Tbilisi ("tbili" in Georgian means "warm") and move his capital from Mtskheta 

 

Liberty Square, the house of city council, built in mid 19th century

 

"Sameba" (trinity) Cathedral

 

 

The house of Tbilisi State University ( built in the beginning of 20th century)

 

Metekhi church (13th century) and the statue of the king Vakhtang Gorgasali 

 

"Tbilisi the capital of Georgia" - the painting by Turnefore, 1701

From the 6th cent., Tbilisi became the seat of the Iberian kings. The city lay along the natural trade route between the Caspian and Black seas but was also astride one of the world's great crossroads of invasion and migration. Tbilisi became a stronghold of Muslim power  in the 8th cent. In 10-11th centuries the ruling power came into the hands of the city aristocracy - Council of Elders, Tbilisi monks (Tbileli berebi), but later (In 1122) Tbilisi became the capital-city of united Georgian kingdom. 

 

   

Tbilisi (Tiflis), the photo of XIX century

 

After Russian occupation (1801) Tbilisi became the seat of the czarist government in the Caucasus but also developed as a revolutionary center from the second half of the 19th cent. Tbilisi was the capital of the anti-Bolshevik Transcaucasian Federation (1917–18), the capital of independent Republic of Georgia (1918–21), the capital of the Transcaucasian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic (1922–36), and the capital of Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia (1936-1991).  Tbilisi was the scene of a 1989 massacre of civilian demonstrators by Soviet troops. The incident led to an explosion of Georgian nationalist sentiments. In 1991 independence of the country was restored and Tbilisi became the capital of independent Georgia.  

 

The old part of the city, nowdays

 

 

 

Related sources:

http://www.ceroi.net/reports/tbilisi/background/about.htm

 

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