|Elevation||1,707 m (5,600 ft)|
|Time zone||Georgian Time (UTC+4)|
Akhalkalaki (Georgian: ახალქალაქი for New City; Armenian: Ախալքալաք) is a town in Georgia's southern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Akhalkalaki lies on the edge of the Javakheti Volcanic Plateau. The city is located about 30 km from the border with Turkey. In 2002 over 90 percent of the city's population were ethnic Armenians. The city was passed from Ottomans to Russians after Russo-Turkish War (1828–1829). On January 4, 1900, an earthquake destroyed much of the town and killed 1,000 people in the area. According to the 2002 official estimate, the town had a population of 60,975.
Akhalkalaki was founded in 1064. In 1066 the city was destroyed during the Seljuq invasions of the Kingdom of Georgia. Akhalkalaki had alternated between Georgian and Armenian rule until it passed to the Georgian Bagratids in the 11th century. In 11th century Akhalkalaki became political and economical centre of Javakheti. In the 16th century the city came under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and became a sanjak centre in Çıldır Eyaleti. Under the Ottoman rule, the town was known as "Ahılkelek". The population was mainly Georgian but had been converted to Islam by 1829. The city was passed from the Ottomans to the Russians after the Russo-Turkish War in 1828–1829. After this event most of the native Muslims left the area for the Ottoman Empire and in their place Christian Armenian refugees from Erzurum and Bayazid settled here. In 1887 there were 4303 inhabitants in Akhalkalaki, including Russians - 61, Armenians — 4080, Jews — 63 and Georgians — 45. According to Georgian encyclopedia, after the establishment of a Russian regime, Georgian Muslims were deported to Turkey and Armenians were settled down from the Vilayet of Erzurum.
Since 1829 most native Georgian Muslims left and the area was resettled by Armenian refugees from the Ottoman Empire. Akhalkalaki is a predominantly Armenian populated city. According to the 2002 Georgian census it had 60,975 inhabitants, of which 57,516 were Armenians (94.3%) and 3,214 (5.3%) were Georgian.
In April 2005, an agreement was signed to build a new railway connecting Turkey with Georgia and Azerbaijan, passing through Akhalkalaki. This would bypass an existing line through Gyumri in Armenia which has been closed by Turkey, blockading Armenia, for political reasons since the 1990s. It is here where the break-of-gauge will be.
The city was a home to the Soviet-era 147th Motor Rifle Division (part of the 9th Army of the Transcaucasian Military District) up until the early 1990s. After the fall of the Soviet Union the Division became the Russian 62nd Military Base which was officially transferred, according to the Sochi agreement, to Georgia on June 27, 2007.
- Derenik Demirchian, Armenian writer
- Jivani, Armenian bard
- Harutyun Khachatryan, Armenian film director
- Ruben Ter-Minasian, Defense Minister of the Democratic Republic of Armenia
- Hamo Ohanjanyan, the third Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Armenia
- Ahmed bey Pepinov, Azerbaijani statesman
- The Annual Register of World Events, 1900 (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1901) p461
- Suny, Ronald Grigor (1994), The Making of the Georgian Nation: 2nd edition. Indiana University Press, p. 34
- Richard G. Hovannisian (1971). The Republic of Armenia: The first year, 1918-1919. University of California Press. pp. 459–. ISBN 978-0-520-01805-1.
- "Ахалкалаки". Брокгауз-Ефрон. Archived from the original on 2012-02-15.
- Georgian Soviet Encyclopedia, volume 2, 1977, p. 96
- "Ethnic groups by major administrative-territorial units" (PDF). National Statistics Office of Georgia. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- Railway Gazette International February 2009, p54
- Russia Transfers Akhalkalaki Military Base to Georgia. Civil Georgia. June 27, 2007. Accessed on June 29, 2007.
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