Coordinates: 42°15′0″N 42°42′0″E / 42.25000°N 42.70000°E / 42.25000; 42.70000
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Top to bottom:
Downtown Kutaisi & White Bridge as seen from Mt Gora,
A downtown street,
Bagrati Cathedral in 2014
Kutaisi is located in Georgia
Kutaisi (Imereti)
Kutaisi is located in Imereti
Kutaisi (Imereti)
Coordinates: 42°15′0″N 42°42′0″E / 42.25000°N 42.70000°E / 42.25000; 42.70000
Country Georgia
Region (Mkhare)Imereti
Established8th century B.C.
 • TypeMayor–Council
 • BodyKutaisi City Assembly
 • MayorIoseb Khakhaleishvili (GD) [1]
 • Total67.7 km2 (26.1 sq mi)
80 m (260 ft)
 (2023 census)[2]
 • Total130,411
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,900/km2 (5,000/sq mi)
Population by ethnicity[3]
 • Georgians99.0 %
 • Russians0.36 %
 • Ukrainians0.10 %
 • Armenians0.09 %
Time zoneUTC+4 (Georgian Time)
Postal code
Area code(+995) 431

Kutaisi (/kˈts/ koo-TIE-see,[4] Georgian: ქუთაისი [kʰutʰaisi]) is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the third-most populous city in Georgia after Tbilisi and Batumi. Situated 221 kilometres (137 miles) west of Tbilisi, on the Rioni River, it is the capital of the western region of Imereti.

Historically one of the major cities of Georgia, it served as political center of Colchis in the Middle Ages as capital of the Kingdom of Abkhazia[5] and Kingdom of Georgia and later as the capital of the Kingdom of Imereti. From October 2012 to December 2018, Kutaisi was the seat of the Parliament of Georgia as an effort to decentralise the Georgian government.


Archaeological evidence indicates that the city functioned as the capital of the Colchis in the sixth to fifth centuries BC.[6] It is believed 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.

Kutaisi in 1870

Later, it was the capital of the kingdom of Lazica until being occupied briefly by the Arabs. An Arab incursion into western Georgia was repelled by Abkhazians jointly with Lazic and Iberian allies in 736, towards c.786, Leon II won his full independence from Byzantine and transferred his capital to Kutaisi, thus unifying Lazica and Abasgia via a dynastic union. The latter led the unification of the Georgian monarchy in the 11th century.

From 1008 to 1122, Kutaisi served as 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 conquered by Selim I, who was the son of Bayezid II, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

During the 17th century, Imeretian kings made many appeals to Russian Empire 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.

Kutaisi in 1885

Finally, the Russian-Turkish wars ended in 1810 with the annexation of the Imeretian Kingdom by the Russian Empire. The city was the administrative capital of the Kutais Uyezd and the larger Kutaisi Governorate, 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.[7]

Kutaisi was a major industrial center before Georgia's independence on 9 April 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.

In 2011, Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of Georgia, signed a constitutional amendment relocating the parliament to Kutaisi.[8] 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.[9] The subsequent government of the Georgian Dream passed a new constitution that moved the parliament back to Tbilisi, effective from January 2019.[10]


Bagrati Cathedral, originally built in the Middle Ages and recently repaired from damages suffered through centuries
Gelati Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the outskirts of Kutaisi


The landmark of the city is the ruined Bagrati Cathedral, built by Bagrat III, king of Georgia, in the early 11th century. The Gelati Monastery a few km east of the city, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the famous churches in Georgia is Motsameta monastery. 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 other places of note such as: Sataplia Cave, where one can observe footprints of dinosaurs; ruins of Geguti Palace, which was one of the residences of Georgian monarchs; "Okros Chardakhi" – Georgian Kings’ Palace; the Pantheon, where many notable citizens are buried; The Kutaisi Synagogue which was built in 1885.

Museums and other cultural institutions[edit]

Kutaisi State Historical Museum

Theatres and cinema[edit]

Drama Theatre
  • Kutaisi Lado Meskhishvili State Academic Theatre
  • Kutaisi Meliton Balanchivadze State Opera House
  • Kutaisi Iakob Gogebashvili State Puppet Theatre
  • Cinema and Entertaining Center “Suliko”
  • Hermann-Wedekind-Jugendtheater


Higher educational institutions in Kutaisi:

Professional unions and public organizations[edit]

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


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 nearly all of Georgia's national-level newspapers, journals and television stations have their representatives in Kutaisi.


Downtown Kutaisi

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.


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 center has many gardens and 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.


Kutaisi has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) 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. The average annual temperature in the city is 14.8 °C (58.6 °F). January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 5.4 °C (41.7 °F) while August is the hottest month with an average temperature of 24.7 °C (76.5 °F). The absolute minimum recorded temperature is −17.0 °C (1.4 °F) and the absolute maximum is 43.1 °C (109.6 °F).

Average annual precipitation is around 1,500 mm (59.06 in). Rain may fall in every season of the year. The city often experiences heavy, wet snowfall (snowfall of 30 cm / 12 in 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 (normals and extremes 1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 21.4
Average high °C (°F) 9.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.6
Average low °C (°F) 3.2
Record low °C (°F) −6.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 164.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 11.7 13.8 13.8 13.3 12.1 11.9 13.6 11.6 10.8 10.3 11.8 14.5 149.2
Average relative humidity (%) 68 68 69 66 69 72 76 75 74 71 65 64 70
Source 1: World Meteorological Organization[11]
Source 2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (days with precipitation and humidity)[12]


View of Kutaisi
Historical population and ethnic composition of Kutaisi
Year Georgians Jews Armenians Russians Others Total
1886[13] 15,200 67.1% 2.788 12.3% 2,320 10.2% 1,526 6.7% 22,643
1897[14][15] 22,017 67.8% 3,419 10.5% 1,264 3.9% 3,684 11.3% 32,476
1916[16] 33,843 58.2% 10,479 18.0% 1,845 3.2% 10,975 18.9% 1,009 1.7% 58,151
1926[13][17] 39,871 82.7% 4,738 9.8% 830 1.7% 890 1.8% 48,196
1939[13][18] 59,612 76.9% 6,986 4.7% 977 1.3% 8,753 11.3% 77,515
1959[13][19] 96,614 75.4% 581 0.5% 1,614 1.3% 16,213 12.6% 128,203
1970[20] 160,937
1979[21] 194,297
1989[22] 234,870
2002[23] 181,465 97.6% 613 0.3% 2,223 1.2% 1,664 0.9% 185,965
2014[24] 146,153 99.00% 60 0.04% 127 0.09% 533 0.36% 762 0.52% 147,635

Administrative division[edit]

Map of Kutaisi

There are 13 administrative units in Kutaisi:

  1. Avtokarkhana
  2. Gamarjveba
  3. Gumati
  4. Vakisubani
  5. Kakhianouri
  6. Mukhnari
  7. Nikea
  8. Sapichkhia
  9. Sulkhan-Saba
  10. Ukimerioni
  11. City-museum
  12. Dzelkviani
  13. Zastava



White bridge at night

The most recent mayoral election was held on 2 October 2021, with a runoff held on 30 October, and the results were as follows:

CandidatePartyFirst roundSecond round
Khatia DekanoidzeUnited National Movement28,32543.3332,70348.36
Ioseb KhakhaleishviliGeorgian Dream27,09341.4534,92551.64
Giorgi GoguadzeFor Georgia5,6988.72
Andro LosaberidzeStrategy Aghmashenebeli3,2765.01
Irina SaghinadzeFree Georgia9711.49
Valid votes65,36395.5167,62896.58
Invalid/blank votes3,0744.492,3963.42
Total votes68,437100.0070,024100.00
Registered voters/turnout153,86144.48153,72645.55
Source: CEC, CEC

List of elected mayors of Kutaisi [a]

  • Ioseb Khakhaleishvili (GD) (2020–)
  • Giorgi Chighvaria (GD) (2017–2020)
  • Shota Murghulia (GD) (2014–2017)

City council[edit]

Rustaveli bridge at night

The Kutaisi city council (Sakrebulo) governs the city alongside the Mayor. The most recent city council election was held on October 2, 2021, and the results were as follows:

Party Lead candidate Votes % +/- Seats +/-
Georgian Dream Dimitri Mkheidze 25,957 39.21 Decrease 9.94 18 Decrease 1
United National Movement Giga Shushania 24,893 37.60 Increase 14.23 14 Increase 10
For Georgia Eleonora Archaia 4,440 6.71 New 2 New
Strategy Aghmashenebeli Koba Guruli 2,168 3.28 Increase 0.64 1 Increase 1
Lelo Gia Gurgenidze 1,339 2.02 New 0 New
Labour Party Samson Gugava 1,130 1.71 Decrease 2.05 0 Steady
Girchi - More Freedom Dachi Dididze 1,073 1.62 New 0 New
For the People Shota Chikovani 820 1.24 New 0 New
Alliance of Patriots Nona Asatiani 804 1.21 Decrease 2.68 0 Steady
European Georgia David Gogisvanidze 733 1.11 Decrease 10.82 0 Decrease 2
Total 68,486 100.0 35 ±10
Electorate/voter turnout 153,861 44.53 Decrease 0.81
Source: არჩევნების შედეგები


TBC Bank in Kutaisi

Kutaisi has traditionally been an important industrial center in Georgia, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union most of the old manufacturing lines either stopped working or had to greatly reduce their operations. Nevertheless, the city continues to be an important regional center for the greater Imereti area, acting as a commercial hub for the surrounding countryside. In recent years, the city has started attracting more investment from various multinational corporations.

The Auto Mechanical Plant, originally established in 1945, is located in Kutaisi.

There are two free industrial zones in Kutaisi: The Kutaisi free industrial zone (Kutaisi FIZ) and the Hualing free industrial zone (Hualing FIZ).[25] The Kutaisi FIZ was created in 2009 and was established on the initiative of Fresh Electric, an Egypt-based home appliances producer.[26] The Hualing FIZ operates since 2015, and specializes in wood and stone processing, furniture and mattress production and metal construction. Both of the free industrial zones offer multiple incentives to investors such as tax exemptions and reduced barriers for trade.[25]

In 2019, German solar panel manufacturer AE Solar opened a new, fully automated manufacturing line in Kutaisi. With a total output of 500 MW per year it is the largest solar panel factory under one roof in Europe.[27] During the same year Changan Automobile announced plans to construct an electric car factory in Kutaisi, with an annual production capacity of up to 40,000 vehicles. The company plans to export annually about 20,000 cars to the EU.[28] The factory plans to employ about 3,000 people.[29]


Kutaisi has a great tradition in sports, with many famous sports 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. The women's football club FC Martve takes part at the 2017–18 UEFA Women's Champions League qualifying round after becoming champion in the Georgia women's football championship in 2016.[30] Kutaisi also has an influential basketball club BC Kutaisi 2010, 2016 Champion of the Georgian Superliga, which plays its home games at the Kutaisi Sport Palas.



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.


Kutaisi has two main railway stations, along with multiple smaller ones. Direct inter-city, as well as suburban railway services, are provided to Tbilisi (Central) and other major cities across the country. The rail operator on all lines is Georgian Railways.

Local celebrations[edit]

Colchis Fountain in main square

Kutaisoba is the most important holiday in Kutaisi. It is celebrated on 2 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. Also, 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 Kutaisoba one can see traditional Georgian dances and can hear folk music. Also, it is an old tradition to go to the forest, which is near Kutaisi. Families barbecue and play games. On this day, people wear traditional clothes, choxa. There is a tradition of writing lyrics that 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 people[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Kutaisi Walk in Newport

Kutaisi is twinned with:[31]

Cooperation agreements[edit]

Kutaisi has cooperation agreements with:[31]

See also[edit]

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ Prior to the 2014 Local self-governance reform, mayors were elected by the city assembly.


  1. ^ "The Mayor of Kutaisi: iosib khakhaleishvili". Kutasai Municipality. Archived from the original on 2020-12-31. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  2. ^ "Population - National Statistics Office of Georgia". www.geostat.ge.
  3. ^ "Ethnic composition of Georgia 2014". mashke.org. Archived from the original on 2018-11-04.
  4. ^ ""Kutaisi", Dictionary.com". Archived from the original on 2018-04-16. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  5. ^ Bondyrev, Igor V; Davitashvili, Zurab V; Singh, V. P (2015). The geography of Georgia: problems and perspectives. ISBN 978-3-319-05413-1. OCLC 912320815.
  6. ^ Gela Gamkrelidze. RESEARCHES IN IBERIA-COLCHOLOGY. Edited by David Braiind (Prof, of University of Exeter (UK)) // Olar LORDKIPANIDZE CENTRE OF ARCHAEOLOGY OF GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM. P. 43 "According to the data on archaeological excavations on the Gabashvili, Dateshidze and Ukimerioni hills in Kutaisi, an urban-type settlement of the 6-5 cent. BC was found to be concentrated"
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Relocation of Next Parliament to Kutaisi Endorsed, Civil Georgia, Tbilisi, 21 June 2011 Archived 13 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine.Retrieved: 24 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Georgia opens new parliament in Kutaisi, far from the capital". Washington Post. 26 May 2012. Archived from the original on 2018-12-11. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  10. ^ "New Constitution of Georgia comes into play as the presidential inauguration is over". Agenda.ge. 17 December 2018. Archived from the original on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  11. ^ "World Meteorological Organization Climate Normals for 1981–2010". World Meteorological Organization. Archived from the original on 9 October 2021. Retrieved 9 October 2021.
  12. ^ "Klimatafel von Kutaisi / Georgien" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961-1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 December 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  13. ^ a b c d "население грузии". Archived from the original on February 8, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  14. ^ "Демоскоп Weekly – Приложение. Справочник статистических показателей". Archived from the original on August 18, 2016. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  15. ^ "Батумский округ 1897". Archived from the original on May 9, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  16. ^ Кавказский календарь на 1917 год [Caucasian calendar for 1917] (in Russian) (72nd ed.). Tiflis: Tipografiya kantselyarii Ye.I.V. na Kavkaze, kazenny dom. 1917. pp. 198–205. Archived from the original on 4 November 2021.
  17. ^ Кутаисский Уезд (1926 г.). ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru. Archived from the original on 2020-09-24. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  18. ^ Кутаисский Район (1939 г.). ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru. Archived from the original on 2020-02-16. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  19. ^ Всесоюзная перепись населения 1959 г. Численность городского населения союзных республик (кроме РСФСР), их территориальных единиц, городских поселений и городских районов по полу [All-Union Population Census 1959 The size of the urban population of the Union republics (except for the RSFSR), their territorial units, urban settlements and urban areas by sex]. Demoscope Weekly (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  20. ^ Всесоюзная перепись населения 1970 г. Численность городского населения союзных республик (кроме РСФСР), их территориальных единиц, городских поселений и городских районов по полу [1970 Soviet Union Population Census The size of the urban population of the union republics (except for the RSFSR), their territorial units, urban settlements and urban areas by sex]. Demoscope Weekly (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2011-03-09. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  21. ^ Всесоюзная перепись населения 1979 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краев, областей, районов, городских поселений, сел-райцентров и сельских поселений с населением свыше 5000 человек (кроме РСФСР) [1979 All-UnionPopulation Census The number of available population of union and autonomous republics, autonomous regions and districts, territories, regions, districts, urban settlements, village-district centers and rural settlements with a population of over 5000 people (except for the RSFSR)]. Demoscope Weekly (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2020-04-26. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  22. ^ "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность городского населения союзных республик, их территориальных единиц, городских поселений и городских районов по полу" [All-Union Population Census 1989 d. The size of the urban population of the Union republics, their territorial units, urban settlements and urban areas by sex]. Demoscope Weekly (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2006-10-21. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  23. ^ "Ethnic Groups by Major Administrative-territorial Units" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 7, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  24. ^ "2014 General Population Census Main Results" (PDF). National Statistics Office of Georgia (GEOSTAT). 28 April 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-08-08. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  25. ^ a b Free Zones in Georgia Archived 2020-10-19 at the Wayback Machine. Iven De Hoon. October 18, 2020
  26. ^ Egypt-based Company Plans Free Industrial Zone in Kutaisi Archived 2011-06-07 at the Wayback Machine. Civil Georgia. April 2, 2009
  27. ^ AE Solar, Our Story Archived 2020-10-19 at the Wayback Machine. AE Solar. October 18, 2020
  28. ^ New factory to produce electric cars in Georgia from 2020 Archived 2020-10-20 at the Wayback Machine. April 8, 2019
  29. ^ Kutaisi electric cars factory to produce first cars in August Archived 2020-10-19 at the Wayback Machine. January 24, 2020
  30. ^ "FC Martve". UEFA. Archived from the original on 2017-08-12. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  31. ^ a b "Interrelations". kutaisi.gov.ge. Kutaisi. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2020-02-13.

External links[edit]