Kutaisi

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Kutaisi
ქუთაისი
Skyline of Kutaisi  ქუთაისი
Flag of Kutaisi  ქუთაისი
Flag
Official seal of Kutaisi  ქუთაისი
Seal
Kutaisi  ქუთაისი is located in Georgia (country)
Kutaisi  ქუთაისი
Kutaisi
ქუთაისი
Location of Kutaisi in Georgia
Coordinates: 42°15′0″N 42°42′0″E / 42.25000°N 42.70000°E / 42.25000; 42.70000Coordinates: 42°15′0″N 42°42′0″E / 42.25000°N 42.70000°E / 42.25000; 42.70000
Country Georgia
Region (Mkhare) Imereti
Established 1400 BC
Government
 • Mayor Dmitri Kopaliani
Area
 • Total 82 km2 (32 sq mi)
Population (2013)
 • Total 200 611
Time zone Georgian Time (UTC+4)
Website kutaisi.gov.ge

Kutaisi (Georgian: ქუთაისი; ancient names: Aea/Aia, Kotais, Kutatisi, Kutaïssi) is Georgia's second largest city, legislative capital, and the capital of the western region of Imereti. It is 221 kilometres (137 miles) west of Tbilisi.

Geography[edit]

Kutaisi is located along both banks of the Rioni River. The city lies at an elevation of 125–300 metres (410–984 feet) above sea level. To the east and northeast, Kutaisi is bounded by the Northern Imereti Foothills, to the north by the Samgurali Range, and to the west and the south by the Colchis Plain.

Landscape[edit]

Kutaisi is surrounded by deciduous forests to the northeast and the northwest. The low-lying outskirts of the city have a largely agricultural landscape. The city centre has many gardens its streets are lined with high, leafy trees. In the springtime, when the snow starts to melt in the nearby mountains, the storming Rioni River in the middle of the city is heard far beyond its banks.

Climate[edit]

The climate in Kutaisi is humid subtropical with a well-defined on-shore/monsoonal flow (characteristic of the Colchis Plain) during the Autumn and Winter months. The summers are generally hot and relatively dry while the winters are wet and cool. Average annual temperature in the city is 14.5 degrees Celsius. January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 5.3 degrees Celsius while July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 23.2 degrees Celsius. The absolute minimum recorded temperature is −17 degrees Celsius and the absolute maximum is 44 degrees Celsius. Average annual precipitation is around 1,530 mm (60.24 in). Rain may fall in every season of the year. The city often experiences heavy, wet snowfall (snowfall of 30 cm/12 inches or more per single snowstorm is not uncommon) in the winter, but the snow cover usually does not last for more than a week. Kutaisi experiences powerful easterly winds in the summer which descend from the nearby mountains.

Climate data for Kutaisi
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 9
(49)
11
(51)
13
(56)
18
(65)
24
(75)
26
(79)
28
(82)
28
(83)
26
(78)
22
(72)
18
(64)
12
(54)
19.6
(67.3)
Average low °C (°F) 4
(39)
4
(39)
6
(42)
9
(49)
14
(57)
17
(62)
19
(66)
19
(66)
16
(61)
13
(55)
11
(51)
7
(44)
11.6
(52.6)
Precipitation mm (inches) 145
(5.7)
104
(4.1)
86
(3.4)
84
(3.3)
84
(3.3)
112
(4.4)
99
(3.9)
91
(3.6)
122
(4.8)
100
(4)
81
(3.2)
183
(7.2)
1,291
(50.9)
Source: Weatherbase [1]

History[edit]

Kutaisi in 1870
Kutaisi in 1885

Kutaisi was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Colchis. Archeological evidence indicates that the city functioned as the capital of the kingdom of Colchis as early as the second millennium BC. Several historians believe that, in Argonautica, a Greek epic poem about Jason and the Argonauts and their journey to Colchis, author Apollonius Rhodius considered Kutaisi their final destination as well as the residence of King Aeëtes. From 978 to 1122 CE, Kutaisi was the capital of the united Kingdom of Georgia, and from the 15th century until 1810, it was the capital of the Imeretian Kingdom. In 1508, the city was captured by Selim I, who was the son of Bayezid II, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

During the seventeenth century, Imeretian kings made many appeals to Russia to help them in their struggle for independence from the Ottomans. All these appeals were ignored as Russia did not want to spoil relations with Turkey. Only in the reign of Catherine the Great, in 1768, were troops of general Gottlieb Heinrich Totleben sent to join the forces of King Heraclius II of Georgia, who hoped to reconquer the Ottoman-held southern Georgian lands, with Russian help. Totleben helped King Solomon I of Imereti to recover his capital, Kutaisi, on August 6, 1770.

Finally, the Russian-Turkish wars ended in 1810 with the annexation of the Imeretian Kingdom by the Russian Empire. The city was the capital of the Gubernia of Kutaisi, which included much of west Georgia. In March 1879, the city was the site of a blood- libel trial that attracted attention all over Russia; the ten accused Jews were acquitted.[2]

Kutaisi was a major industrial center before Georgia's independence in 1991. Independence was followed by the economic collapse of the country, and, as a result, many inhabitants of Kutaisi have had to work abroad. Small-scale trade prevails among the rest of the population.

Parliament of Georgia in Kutaisi.

The city had a massive Soviet war memorial for the Georgians killed in World War II. On December 18, 2009, a private demolition company working for the Georgian government demolished the monument to make room for a parliament building, despite massive protest from Russia and the Georgian opposition. Safety regulations were violated, resulting in flying chunks of concrete hitting civilian population centers. A woman and her daughter were killed in the courtyard of their home, and four other people were critically injured.[3]

In 2011 Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of Georgia, signed a constitutional amendment relocating the parliament to Kutaisi.[4]

On 26 May 2012, Saakashvili inaugurated the new Parliament building in Kutaisi. This was done in an effort to decentralise power and shift some political control closer to Abkhazia, although it has been criticised as marginalising the legislature, and also for the demolition of a Soviet War Memorial formerly at the new building's location.[5]

Culture[edit]

Kutaisi has an ancient cultural tradition. Here is a list of the cultural centers in Kutaisi.

Museums and other cultural institutions[edit]

1. Kutaisi State Historical Museum
2. Kutaisi Museum of Sport
3. Kutaisi Museum of Martial Art
4. Museum of Zakaria Paliashvili
5. Kutaisi State Historical Archive
6. Kutaisi State Scientific-Universal Library
7. David Kakabadze Fine Art Gallery
8. Art Salon
9. Akaki Tsereteli State University

Theatres and cinema[edit]

1. Kutaisi Lado Meskhishvili State Academic Theatre
2. Kutaisi Meliton Balanchivadze State Opera House
3. Kutaisi Iakob Gogebashvili State Puppet Theatre
4. Cinema and Entertaining Center “Suliko”
5. Hermann-Wedekind-Jugendtheater

Professional unions and public organizations[edit]

  • Georgian Writers’ Union
  • Georgian Painters’ Union
  • Folk Palace

Media[edit]

Local newspapers include: Kutaisi, Imeretis Moabe, PS, Akhali Gazeti, and Kutaisuri Versia. Other publications include Chveneburebi, a journal published by the Ministry of Diaspora Issues, and Gantiadi, a scientific journal.

TV: "Rioni"; Radio: "Dzveli Kalaki" (old City)

Also all the republican newspapers, journals and television stations have their representatives in Kutaisi.

Sport[edit]

Kutaisi has a great tradition in sports, with many famous sport clubs. FC Torpedo Kutaisi has participated on the highest level of the Soviet Union football league. After Georgia achieved independence, it won many domestic and international titles. RC AIA Kutaisi won the Soviet Championship several times in rugby, and after independence, national championships and cups. Kutaisi also had an influential basketball club BC Kutaisi 2010.

Main sights[edit]

The landmark of the city is the ruined Bagrati Cathedral, built by Bagrat III, king of Georgia, in the early 11th century. The Bagrati Cathedral, and the Gelati Monastery a few km east of the city, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the famous churches in Georgia is Motsameta Church. It is named after two saints, brothers David and Constantine. They were the Dukes of Margveti, and were martyred by Arab invaders in the 8th century. Besides the churches, there are many interesting places in Kutaisi, such as: Sataplia Cave, where one can observe footprints of dinosaurs; Geguti Palace, which was one of the residences of Georgian monarchs; "Okros Chardakhi" – Georgian Kings’ Palace; and the Pantheon, where many notable citizens are buried.

In December 2009, the demolition of a major World War II memorial in the city resulted in the death of two people. Russia had heavily protested the decision to remove the memorial.[3]

Economy[edit]

On April 2, 2009, the Georgian economy minister, Lasha Zhvania, announced that an Egypt-based home appliances producer company, Fresh Electric, intends to create a free industrial zone in Kutaisi.[6]

Transport[edit]

Airport[edit]

David the Builder Kutaisi International Airport (IATA: KUT, ICAO: UGKO) is an airport located 14 km (8.70 mi) west of Kutaisi. It is one of three international airports currently in operation in Georgia.

Railway[edit]

Kutaisi Rail Terminal has direct connection with Tbilisi (Central). Line is served by Georgian Railways.

Local celebrations[edit]

"Kutaisoba" is the most important holiday in Kutaisi. It is celebrated on the second of May. On this day the population of Kutaisi crowds into the central park, with their children and celebrate together. Some people make masks and there are many kinds of performances, so it is a lot of fun. Also little children sell chamomiles. It is an old tradition, in the past ladies collected money for poor people, so today children also collect money for them.

On this day one can see traditional Georgian dances and you can hear folk music. Also it is an old tradition to go in the forest, which is near Kutaisi. Families barbecue and play games. On this day, people wear traditional clothes, choxa, so you can imagine that you are in past times. Also there is a new tradition of writing lyrics which have been written by writers from Kutaisi and then airplanes throw them from the sky. There is also a competition in different kinds of martial arts.

Notable natives[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns and sister cities[edit]

Kutaisi is twinned with:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Kutaisi, Georgia". Weatherbase. 2011.  Retrieved on November 24, 2011.
  2. ^ Effie Ambler, Russian Journalism and Politics: The Career of Aleksei S. Suvorin, 1861-1881 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1972: ISBN 0-8143-1461-9), p. 172.
  3. ^ a b Georgia Blows Up Soviet War Memorial; Mother, Daughter Killed
  4. ^ Relocation of Next Parliament to Kutaisi Endorsed,Civil Georgia, Tbilisi, 21 June 2011.Retrieved: 24 November 2013.
  5. ^ "Georgia opens new parliament in Kutaisi, far from the capital". Washington Post. 26 May 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012. [dead link]
  6. ^ Egypt-based Company Plans Free Industrial Zone in Kutaisi. Civil Georgia. April 2, 2009
  7. ^ "Twin-cities of Azerbaijan". Azerbaijans.com. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  8. ^ "Poznań - Miasta partnerskie". 1998–2013 Urząd Miasta Poznania (in Polish). City of Poznań. Archived from the original on 2013-09-23. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 

External links[edit]