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Tbilisi English: Founded in the 5th century AD by Vakhtang I of Iberia , since then Tbilisi served as the capital of various Georgian kingdoms and republics. Because of its location on the crossroads between Europe and Asia , and its proximity to the lucrative Silk Road , throughout history Tbilisi was a point of contention among various global powers. The city's location to this day ensures its position as an important transit route for various energy and trade projects. Tbilisi's diverse history is reflected in its architecture, which is a mix of medieval , neoclassical , Beaux Arts , Art Nouveau , Stalinist and the Modern structures. Historically, Tbilisi has been home to people of multiple cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, though it is currently overwhelmingly Eastern Orthodox Christian.
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Tbilisi English: Founded in the 5th century AD by Vakhtang I of Iberia , since then Tbilisi served as the capital of various Georgian kingdoms and republics. Because of its location on the crossroads between Europe and Asia , and its proximity to the lucrative Silk Road , throughout history Tbilisi was a point of contention among various global powers. The city's location to this day ensures its position as an important transit route for various energy and trade projects.
Tbilisi's diverse history is reflected in its architecture, which is a mix of medieval , neoclassical , Beaux Arts , Art Nouveau , Stalinist and the Modern structures. Historically, Tbilisi has been home to people of multiple cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, though it is currently overwhelmingly Eastern Orthodox Christian. On 17 August , by order of the Soviet leadership, the official Russian names of various cities were modified to more closely match the local language.
Most other languages have subsequently adopted the new name form, but some language such as Turkish, Persian, Greek, and German have retained a variation of Tiflis. On 20 September , the Georgian parliament held a ceremony celebrating the 70th anniversary of the renaming. Some of the traditional names of Tbilisi in other languages of the region have different roots. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of continuous habitation of the Tbilisi suburb of Dighomi since the early Bronze Age, and stone artifacts dating to the Paleolithic age.
One widely accepted variant of Tbilisi foundation myth states that King Vakhtang I of Iberia went hunting in the heavily wooded region with a falcon sometimes the falcon is replaced with either a hawk or other small birds of prey in the legend. The King's falcon allegedly caught or injured a pheasant during the hunt, after which both birds fell into a nearby hot spring and died from burns. King Vakhtang became so impressed with the hot springs that he decided to clear the forest and build a city on the location.
During his reign began construction of the fortress wall that lined the city's new boundaries. From the 6th century, Tbilisi grew at a steady pace due to the region's strategic location along important trade and travel routes between Europe and Asia. Tbilisi's favorable trade location, however, did not necessarily bode well for its survival. Located strategically in the heart of the Caucasus between Europe and Asia, Tbilisi became an object of rivalry among the region's various powers such as the Roman Empire , Parthia , Sassanid Persia , Arabs , the Byzantine Empire , and the Seljuk Turks.
The cultural development of the city was somewhat dependent on who ruled the city at various times, although Tbilisi was fairly cosmopolitan. After this point, the Arabs established an emirate centered in Tbilisi. In , Tbilisi — still under Arab control — was once again sacked by the Khazars. In , the armies of Arab leader Bugha Al-Turki invaded Tbilisi in order to enforce its return to Abbasid allegiance.
The Arab domination of Tbilisi continued until about In , after heavy fighting with the Seljuks , the troops of the King of Georgia David IV of Georgia besieged Tbilisi , which ended in and as a result David moved his residence from Kutaisi to Tbilisi, making it the capital of a unified Georgian State and thus inaugurating the Georgian Golden Age.
From 12—13th centuries, Tbilisi became a regional power with a thriving economy and astonishing cultural output. By the end of the 12th century, the population of Tbilisi had reached , The city also became an important literary and a cultural center not only for Georgia but for the Eastern Orthodox world of the time. Tbilisi's "Golden Age" did not last for more than a century. In , Tbilisi was captured by the Khwarezmian Empire Shah Jalal ad-Din and its defences severely devastated and prone to Mongol armies.
In , after suffering crushing defeats to the Mongols , Georgia came under Mongol domination. The nation itself maintained a form of semi-independence and did not lose its statehood, but Tbilisi was strongly influenced by the Mongols for the next century both politically and culturally. In the s, the Mongols retreated from Georgia and Tbilisi became the capital of an independent Georgian state once again. An outbreak of the plague struck the city in From the late 14th until the end of the 18th century, Tbilisi came under the rule of various foreign invaders once again and on several occasions was completely burnt to the ground.
In , Tbilisi was invaded by the armies of Tamerlane. From to the city was held by the Ak Koyunlu tribesmen of Uzun Hassan. As early as the s, Tbilisi and the kingdoms of Kartli and Kakheti were made vassal territories of Safavid Iran. During this period, many parts of Tbilisi were reconstructed and rebuilt. The four campaigns of king Tahmasp I r. Under the later rules of Teimuraz II and Heraclius II , Tbilisi became a vibrant political and cultural center free of foreign rule—but, fearful of the constant threat of invasion, Georgia's rulers sought Russian protection in the Treaty of Georgievsk.
Despite this agreement, the city was captured and devastated in by the Iranian Qajar ruler Agha Mohammad Khan , who sought to re-establish Iran's traditional suzerainty over the region. In , the Russian Empire annexed the Georgian kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti of which Tbilisi was the capital , later cementing its rule with the Treaty of Gulistan of ,   which ended Iranian control of Georgia. Russian Imperial administrators implemented a new European-style city plan and commissioned new buildings in Western styles.
Roads and railroads were built to connect Tbilisi to other important cities in the Russian Empire , such as Batumi and Poti. By the s, Tbilisi once again emerged as a major trade and a cultural center. The city was visited on numerous occasions by and was the object of affection of Alexander Pushkin , Leo Tolstoy , Mikhail Lermontov , the Romanov family and others.
The main new artery built under Russian administration was Golovin Avenue present-day Rustaveli Avenue , on which the Viceroys of the Caucasus established their residence. For much of the 19th century, Tbilisi's largest ethnic group was Armenian, who, at some point, formed View on Rustaveli Avenue as seen form the site of present-day Freedom Square.
Building of the current Tbilisi City Hall. Building of the current Art Museum of Georgia , built at the end of the s, photo ca. Tatar bazaar and with the Metekhi Orthodox church seen on the cliff. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral , demolished by the Soviets to make way for the present Parliament building. After the Russian Revolution of , the city served as a location of the Transcaucasus interim government which established, in the spring of , the short-lived independent Transcaucasian Federation with the capital in Tbilisi.
At this time, Tbilisi had roughly the same number of Armenians as Georgians, with Russians being the third largest ethnic group. After this, Tbilisi functioned as the capital of the Democratic Republic of Georgia until 25 February From to the city was also consecutively home to a German and British military headquarters. Under the national government, Tbilisi turned into the first Caucasian University City after the Tbilisi State University was founded in During Soviet rule, Tbilisi's population grew significantly, the city became more industrialized, and it also came to be an important political, social, and cultural centre of the Soviet Union.
In the city housed the first state-sanctioned rock festival in the USSR. As a major tourist destination for both Soviet citizens and foreign visitors, Tbilisi's "Old Town" the neighborhoods within the original city walls was reconstructed in the s and s. Tbilisi witnessed mass anti-Russian demonstrations during in the 9 March Massacre , in protest against the anti-Stalin policies of Nikita Khrushchev. Peaceful protests occurred in , and in the April 9 tragedy was a peaceful protest that turned violent.
Since the break-up of the Soviet Union , Tbilisi has experienced periods of significant instability and turmoil. After a brief civil war, which the city endured for two weeks from December to January when pro- Gamsakhurdia and Opposition forces clashed , Tbilisi became the scene of frequent armed confrontations among various mafia clans and illegal business operators. Even during the Shevardnadze Era — , crime and corruption became rampant at most levels of society.
Many segments of society became impoverished because of unemployment caused by the crumbling economy. Average citizens of Tbilisi started to become increasingly disillusioned with the existing quality of life in the city and in the nation in general. Mass protests took place in November after falsified parliamentary elections forced more than , people into the streets and concluded with the Rose Revolution.
Since , Tbilisi has experienced considerably more stability with decreasing crime rates, an improved economy, and a real estate boom. After the war, several large-scale projects were started, including a streetcar system,  a railway bypass and a relocation of the central station  and new urban highways.
The City Assembly is elected once every four years. The mayor is elected once every four years by direct elections. Administratively, the city is divided into raions districts , which have their own units of central and local government with jurisdiction over a limited scope of affairs. This subdivision was established under Soviet rule in the s, following the general subdivision of the Soviet Union. Since Georgia regained independence, the raion system was modified and reshuffled.
According to the latest revision, Tbilisi raions include:. Most of the raions are named after historic quarters of the city. The citizens of Tbilisi widely recognise an informal system of smaller historic neighbourhoods. Such neighbourhoods are several, however, constituting a kind of hierarchy, because most of them have lost their distinctive topographic limits.
The natural first level of subdivision of the city is into the Right Bank and the Left Bank of the Mt'k'vari. The names of the oldest neighbourhoods go back to the early Middle Ages and sometimes pose a great linguistic interest. The newest whole-built developments bear chiefly residential marketing names. In pre-Revolution Tiflis, the Georgian quarter was confined to the southeastern part of the city; Baedeker describes the layout succinctly:.
This is adjoined on the south by the Armenian and Persian Bazaars. Avlabari is considered "the integral component of the so-called 'old Tbilisi'" and is currently the object of planning and cultural heritage preservation. The city lies in Eastern Georgia on both banks of the Mt'k'vari River. To the north, Tbilisi is bounded by the Saguramo Range , to the east and south-east by the Iori Plain , to the south and west by various endings sub-ranges of the Trialeti Range. The relief of Tbilisi is complex.
The part of the city which lies on the right side of the Mt'k'vari River, on the other hand, is built along the foothills of the Trialeti Range , the slopes of which in many cases descend all the way to the edges of the river Mt'k'vari. The mountains, therefore, are a significant barrier to urban development on the right bank of the Mt'k'vari River.
This type of a geographic environment creates pockets of very densely developed areas while other parts of the city are left undeveloped due to the complex topographic relief. To the north of the city, there is a large reservoir commonly known as the Tbilisi Sea fed by irrigation canals. Cfa with considerable continental influences.
The city experiences very warm summers and moderately cold winters. Like other regions of Georgia, Tbilisi receives significant rainfall throughout the year with no distinct dry period. Because the city is bounded on most sides by mountain ranges, the close proximity to large bodies of water Black and Caspian Seas and the fact that the Greater Caucasus Mountains Range further to the north blocks the intrusion of cold air masses from Russia, Tbilisi has a relatively mild microclimate compared to other cities that possess a similar climate along the same latitudes.
The average annual temperature in Tbilisi is January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 2.
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