Tbilisi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tbilisi
თბილისი
Historical center of Tbilisi
Historical center of Tbilisi
Flag of Tbilisi  თბილისი
Flag
Official seal of Tbilisi  თბილისი
Seal
Tbilisi  თბილისი is located in Georgia (country)
Tbilisi  თბილისი
Tbilisi
თბილისი
Location of Tbilisi in Georgia
Coordinates: 41°43′N 44°47′E / 41.717°N 44.783°E / 41.717; 44.783Coordinates: 41°43′N 44°47′E / 41.717°N 44.783°E / 41.717; 44.783
Country  Georgia
Established c. 479 A.D
Government
 • Mayor David Narmania[2]
Area
 • City 350 km2 (140 sq mi)
Highest elevation 770 m (2,530 ft)
Lowest elevation 380 m (1,250 ft)
Population (2014)
 • City 1,118,035[1]
 • Density 3,194.38/km2 (8,273.4/sq mi)
 • Metro 1,485,293
Demonym(s) Tbilisian
Tbilisite
Time zone Georgian Time (UTC+4)
Area code(s) +995 32
Website http://www.tbilisi.gov.ge/

Tbilisi (Georgian: თბილისი [tʰˈbiliˌsi]),[3] commonly known by its former name Tiflis,[4] and often mispronounced as Tiblisi, is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Kura River with a population of roughly 1.5 million inhabitants. It was founded in the 5th century on the site of natural hot springs, and has since served, with intermissions, as the capital of various Georgian kingdoms and republics. Located on the crossroads of Europe and Asia, due to its proximity to lucrative east-west trade routes Tbilisi has historically been an object of competition between countless rival empires. Later, under Russian rule, from 1801 to 1917 Tiflis was the seat of the Imperial Viceroy governing both sides of the entire Caucasus. Tbilisi's storied past is reflected in its architecture, which is an eclectic mix of Medieval, Neoclassical, Middle Eastern, Art Nouveau, Stalinist and Modernist structures.

Present-day Tbilisi is one of the safest cities in Europe,[5] and frequently ranks among the most popular emerging destinations thanks to Georgia's growing tourism industry.[6][7] Historically, Tbilisi has been home to people of diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, though it is overwhelmingly Eastern Orthodox Christian. Notable landmarks include cathedrals like Sameba and Sioni, the medieval Narikala Fortress, classical avenues Rustaveli and Agmashenebeli, as well as the exotically-designed Georgian National Opera Theater.

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

According to an old legend, the present-day territory of Tbilisi was covered by forests as late as 458. One widely accepted variant of the legend of Tbilisi's founding states that King Vakhtang I Gorgasali of Georgia 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 cut down the forest and build a city on the location. The name Tbilisi derives from Old Georgian T'pilisi (ტფილისი), and further from T'pili (ტფილი, "warm""). The name "T'pili" or "T'pilisi" (literally, "warm location") was therefore given to the city because of the area's numerous sulphuric hot springs that came out of the ground. Archaeological studies of the region have indicated human settlement in the territory of Tbilisi as early as the 4th millennium BC.

King Dachi I Ujarmeli, who was the successor of Vakhtang I Gorgasali, moved the capital from Mtskheta to Tbilisi according to the will left by his father. Tbilisi was not the capital of a unified Georgian state at that time and did not include the territory of Colchis. It was, however, the capital city of Eastern Georgia/Iberia. During his reign, King Dachi I oversaw the 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 favourable and strategic location which placed the city along important trade and travel routes between Europe and Asia.

Foreign domination[edit]

Detail from the Nautical chart by Angelino Dulcert, depicting Georgian Black Sea coast and Tiflis, 1339.

Tbilisi's favourable and strategic location did not necessarily bode well for its existence as Eastern Georgia's/Iberia's capital. Located strategically in the heart of the Caucasus between Europe and Asia, Tbilisi became an object of rivalry between the region's various powers such as the Roman Empire, Parthia, Sassanid Persia, Arabs, 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 (and Georgia in general) was able to maintain a considerable autonomy from its conquerors

From 570–580, the Persians took over Tbilisi and ruled it for about a decade. In the year 627, Tbilisi was sacked by the Byzantine/Khazar armies and later, in 736–738, Arab armies entered the town under Marwan II Ibn-Muhammad. After this point, the Arabs established an emirate centered in Tbilisi. In 764, Tbilisi, still under Arab control was once again sacked by the Khazars. In 853, the armies of Arab leader Bugha Al-Turki (Bugha the Turk) invaded Tbilisi in order to enforce its return to Abbasid allegiance. The Arab domination of Tbilisi continued until about 1050. In 1068, the city was once again sacked, only this time by the Seljuk Turks under Sultan Alp Arslan.

Capital of Georgia[edit]

In 1122, after heavy fighting with the Seljuks that involved at least 60,000 Georgians and up to 300,000 Turks, the troops of the King of Georgia David the Builder entered Tbilisi. After the battles for Tbilisi concluded, David moved his residence from Kutaisi (Western Georgia) 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 dominant regional power with a thriving economy (with well-developed trade and skilled labour) and a well-established social system/structure. By the end of the 12th century, the population of Tbilisi had reached 100,000. The city also became an important literary and a cultural center not only for Georgia but for the Eastern Orthodox world of the time. During Queen Tamar's reign, Shota Rustaveli worked in Tbilisi while writing his legendary epic poem, The Knight in the Panther's Skin. This period is often referred to as "Georgia's Golden Age"[8] or the Georgian Renaissance.[9]

Tbilisi according to French traveler Jean Chardin, 1671

Mongol domination and the following period of instability[edit]

Tbilisi's "Golden Age" did not last for more than a century. In 1226, Tbilisi was captured by the refugee Khwarezmian Empire Shah Mingburnu and its defences severely devastated and prone to Mongol armies. In 1236, 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 1320s, the Mongols were forcefully expelled from Georgia and Tbilisi became the capital of an independent Georgian state once again. An outbreak of the plague struck the city in 1366.

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 1386, Tbilisi was invaded by the armies of Tamerlane (Timur). In 1444, the city was invaded and destroyed by Jahan Shah (the Shah of the town of Tabriz in Persia). From 1477 to 1478 the city was held by the Ak Koyunlu tribesmen of Uzun Hassan.

Iranian control[edit]

A 1717 illustration of Teflis by Joseph Pitton de Tournefort

In 1503, Tbilisi came alongside wider Kartli and Kakheti under Safavid Iranian vassalship.[10] In 1522, Tbilisi came for the first time under nominal Iranian control but was later freed in 1524 by King David X of Georgia.[11] During this period, many parts of Tbilisi were reconstructed and rebuilt. Beginning with the 1555 Treaty of Amasya, and more firmly from 1614 to 1747, with brief intermissions, Tbilisi was garrisoned by the Iranian forces and functioned as a seat of the Iranian vassal kings of Kartli whom the shah conferred with the title of wali.[12] Under the later rules of Teimuraz II and Erekle II, Tbilisi became a vibrant political and cultural center free of foreign rule, but the city was captured and devastated in 1795 by the Iranian Qajar ruler Agha Mohammad Khan, who sought to reassert Iranian suzerainty over Georgia.[13][14] At this point, sensing that Georgia could not hold up against Iran alone, Erekle sought the help of Russia.

Russian control[edit]

The coat of arms of Tiflis under Russian rule

In 1801, after the Georgian kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti of which Tbilisi was the capital was annexed by the Russian Empire, and decisively with the Treaty of Gulistan of 1813,[15][16] signed with Iran, the latter officially lost control over the city and the wider Georgian lands it had been ruling for centuries.[17] Tbilisi became the center of the Tbilisi Governorate (Gubernia). During the 19th century, new buildings, mainly of Western European style, were erected throughout the town. New roads and railroads were built to connect Tbilisi to other important cities in Russia and other parts of the region, such as Batumi and Poti. By the 1850s Tbilisi once again emerged as a major trade and a cultural center. The likes of Ilia Chavchavadze, Akaki Tsereteli, Mirza Fatali Akhundzade, Iakob Gogebashvili, Alexander Griboedov and many other statesmen, poets, and artists all found their home in Tbilisi. 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.In the course of the 19th century, the largest ethnic group of Tbilisi were Armenians, who, at some point, formed 74.3% of the population.[18] From the beginning of the 19th century Tbilisi started to grow economically and politically. New buildings mainly of European style were erected throughout the town. New roads and railroads were built to connect Tbilisi to other important cities in Russia and other parts of the Transcaucasus (locally) such as Batumi, Poti, Baku, and Yerevan. By the 1850s, Tbilisi once again emerged as a major trade and a cultural center. The likes of Ilia Chavchavadze, Iakob Gogebashvili, Aleksandr Griboyedov, Mirza Fatali Akhundzade, Nar-Dos, Pertch Proshian, Raffi, Gabriel Sundukyan, Hovhannes Tumanyan, Akaki Tsereteli, Simon Zavarian and many other statesmen, poets, and artists all found their home in Tbilisi.

Tiflis by Mikhail Lermontov, 1837.

Tbilisi 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 Romanov Family established their residence (in Transcaucasia) on Golovin Street (Present-day Rustaveli Avenue). Throughout the century, the political, economic and cultural role of Tbilisi with its ethnic, confessional and cultural diversity was significant not only for Georgia but for the whole Caucasus. Hence, Tbilisi took on a different look. It acquired different architectural monuments and the attributes of an international city, as well as its own urban folklore and language, and the specific Tbilisuri (literally, belonging to Tbilisi) culture.

Independence[edit]

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the city served as a location of the Transcaucasus interim government which established, in the spring of 1918, 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.[19] It was here, in the former Caucasus Vice royal Palace, where the independence of three Transcaucasus nations – Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan – was declared on 26 to 28 May 1918. After this, Tbilisi functioned as the capital of the Democratic Republic of Georgia until 25 February 1921. From 1918 to 1919 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 1918, a long-time dream of the Georgians banned by the Imperial Russian authorities for several decades.[20] On 25 February 1921, the Bolshevist Russian 11th Red Army invaded [21][22] Tbilisi after bitter fighting at the outskirts of the city and declared Soviet rule.

Communist government[edit]

The Red Army entered Tbilisi on 25 February 1921.

In 1921, the Democratic Republic of Georgia was occupied by the Soviet Bolshevik forces from Russia, and until 1936 Tbilisi functioned first as the capital city of the Transcaucasian SFSR (which included Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia), and afterwards until 1991 as the capital of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. During the Soviet rule, Tbilisi's population grew significantly, the city became more industrialised and came to be an important political, social, and cultural centre of the Soviet Union. In 1980 the city housed the first state-sanctioned rock festival in the USSR. In the 1970s and the 1980s the old part of the city was considerably reconstructed.[23]

Tbilisi witnessed mass anti-Russian demonstrations during 1956 in the 9 March Massacre, in protest against the anti-Stalin policies of Nikita Khrushchev. Peaceful protests occurred in 1978, and in 1989 the April 9 tragedy was a peaceful protest that turned violent.

After the break-up of the Soviet Union[edit]

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 1991 to January 1992 (when pro-Gamsakhurdia and Opposition forces clashed with each other), Tbilisi became the scene of frequent armed confrontations between various mafia clans and illegal business entrepreneurs. Even during the Shevardnadze Era (1993–2003), 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 2003 after falsified parliamentary elections forced more than 100,000 people into the streets and concluded with the Rose Revolution. Since 2003, Tbilisi has experienced considerably more stability with decreasing crime rates, an improved economy, and a real estate boom.[24] During the 2008 South Ossetia war the Tbilisi area was hit by multiple Russian air attacks.

After the war, several large-scale projects were started, including a streetcar system,[25] a railway bypass and a relocation of the central station[26] and new urban highways.[27] In June 2015, a flood killed at least twelve people and caused animals from the city's zoo to be released into the streets.[28]

Politics and administration[edit]

City Council of Tbilisi

The status of Tbilisi, as the nation's capital, is defined by the Article 10 in the Constitution of Georgia (1995) and the Law on Georgia's Capital – Tbilisi (20 February 1998).[29]

Tbilisi is governed by the Tbilisi City Assembly (Sakrebulo) and the Tbilisi City Hall (Meria). The City Assembly is elected once every four years. The mayor is elected once every four years by direct elections. The Mayor of Tbilisi is David (Davit) Narmania and the Chairman of the Tbilisi city Assembly is Giorgi Alibegashvili.

A police station on Agmashenebeli Avenue

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 1930s, 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 respective historical neighbourhoods of the city. The citizens of Tbilisi widely recognise a system of the smaller non-formal historical 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:

In the north part of the town, on the left bank of the Kurá and to the south of the railway station, stretches the clean German Quarter, formerly occupied by German immigrants from Württemberg (1818). To the south is the Gruzinian or Georgian Quarter (Avlabár). On the right bank of the Kurá is the Russian Quarter, the seat of the officials and of the larger business firms. This is adjoined on the south by the Armenian and Persian Bazaars.

— Karl Baedeker, Russia: A Handbook for Travelers[30]

Avlabari is considered "the integral component of the so-called 'old Tbilisi'" and is currently the object of planning and cultural heritage preservation.[31]

Geography[edit]

The National Botanical Garden of Georgia in Tbilisi is concealed from view as it resides between the hills of the Sololaki Range

Location[edit]

Tbilisi is located in the South Caucasus at 41° 43' North Latitude and 44° 47' East Longitude. The city lies in Eastern Georgia on both banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The elevation of the city ranges from 380–770 metres above sea level (1,250–2,530 ft) and has the shape of an amphitheatre surrounded by mountains on three sides. 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 left bank of the Mt'k'vari (Kura) River extends for more than 30 km (19 mi) from the Avchala District to River Lochini. 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.

Climate[edit]

Tbilisi Sea is the largest body of water in Tbilisi.

Tbilisi has a humid subtropical (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with considerable continental (Dfa) influences. The city experiences very warm summers and cool winters. Like other regions of Georgia, Tbilisi receives significant rainfall throughout the year with no distinct dry period. The city's climate is influenced both by dry (Central Asian/Siberian) air masses from the east and oceanic (Atlantic/Black Sea) air masses from the west. 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 continental climate along the same latitudes.

The average annual temperature in Tbilisi is 12.7 °C (54.9 °F). January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 0.9 °C (33.6 °F). July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 24.4 °C (75.9 °F). The absolute minimum recorded temperature is −24 °C (−11 °F) and the absolute maximum is 40.3 °C (104.5 °F). Average annual precipitation is 568 mm (22.4 in). May and June are the wettest months (averaging 84 mm (3.3 in) of precipitation each) while January is the driest (averaging 20 mm (0.8 in) of precipitation). Snow falls on average 15–25 days per year. The surrounding mountains often trap the clouds within and around the city, mainly during the Spring and Autumn months, resulting in prolonged rainy and/or cloudy weather. Northwesterly winds dominate in most parts of Tbilisi throughout the year. Southeasterly winds are common as well.

Climate data for Tbilisi
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 19.5
(67.1)
22.4
(72.3)
28.7
(83.7)
31.6
(88.9)
34.9
(94.8)
38.7
(101.7)
40.0
(104)
40.3
(104.5)
37.9
(100.2)
33.3
(91.9)
27.2
(81)
22.8
(73)
40.3
(104.5)
Average high °C (°F) 5.9
(42.6)
7.1
(44.8)
12.2
(54)
19.3
(66.7)
23.1
(73.6)
27.5
(81.5)
31.0
(87.8)
30.2
(86.4)
26.1
(79)
19.4
(66.9)
12.7
(54.9)
7.8
(46)
18.6
(65.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) 1.5
(34.7)
2.4
(36.3)
6.8
(44.2)
13.0
(55.4)
17.0
(62.6)
21.1
(70)
24.5
(76.1)
23.7
(74.7)
19.8
(67.6)
13.6
(56.5)
7.8
(46)
3.4
(38.1)
12.9
(55.2)
Average low °C (°F) −1.5
(29.3)
−0.8
(30.6)
3.0
(37.4)
8.1
(46.6)
12.1
(53.8)
16.0
(60.8)
19.4
(66.9)
18.6
(65.5)
15.0
(59)
9.4
(48.9)
4.5
(40.1)
0.5
(32.9)
8.7
(47.7)
Record low °C (°F) −24.4
(−11.9)
−14.8
(5.4)
−12.8
(9)
−3.8
(25.2)
1.0
(33.8)
6.3
(43.3)
9.3
(48.7)
8.9
(48)
0.8
(33.4)
−6.4
(20.5)
−7.1
(19.2)
−20.5
(−4.9)
−24.4
(−11.9)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 20
(0.79)
29
(1.14)
31
(1.22)
51
(2.01)
84
(3.31)
84
(3.31)
41
(1.61)
43
(1.69)
35
(1.38)
41
(1.61)
35
(1.38)
23
(0.91)
517
(20.35)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 4.0 4.6 5.9 7.6 9.7 8.7 5.7 5.7 5.0 5.6 4.4 4.0 70.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 99.2 104.4 142.6 171.0 213.9 249.0 257.3 248.0 207.0 164.3 102.0 93.0 2,051.7
Source: Pogoda.ru.net,[32] Hong Kong Observatory[33] for data of avg. precipitation days and sunshine hours, Weatherbase (extremes only)[34]

People and culture[edit]

See also: Tbilisoba

Demographics[edit]

Main ethnic groups of Tbilisi
Year
Georgians
%
Armenians
%
Russians
%
TOTAL
1801-3[18] 4,300 21.5% 14,860 74.3%
20,000
1864/65 winter[35] 14,878 24.8% 28,404 47.3% 12,462 20.7% 60,085
1864/65 summer[35] 14,787 20.8% 31,180 43.9% 12,142 17.1% 71,051
1876[36] 22,156 21.3% 37,610 36.1% 30,813 29.6% 104,024
1897[37] 47,133 29.5% 41,151 36.4% 44,823 28.1% 159,590
1926[19] 112,014 38.1% 100,148 34.1% 45,937 15.6% 294,044
1939[19] 228,394 44% 137,331 26.4% 93,337 18% 519,220
1959[19] 336,257 48.4% 149,258 21.5% 125,674 18.1% 694,664
1970[19] 511,379 57.5% 150,205 16.9% 124,316 14% 889,020
1979[19] 653,242 62.1% 152,767 14.5% 129,122 12.3% 1,052,734
2002 [38] 910,712 84.2% 82,586 7.6% 32,580 3% 1,081,679
2014 [39] 996,804 89.9% 53,409 4.8% 13,350 1.2% 1,108,717

As a multicultural city, Tbilisi is home to more than 100 ethnic groups. Around 89% of the population consists of ethnic Georgians, with significant populations of other ethnic groups such as Armenians, Russians, and Azeris. Along with the above-mentioned groups, Tbilisi is home to other ethnic groups including Ossetians, Abkhazians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Germans, Jews, Estonians, Kurds, Assyrians & Yazidis, and others.[18] [19] [35] [35] [36] [40]

More than 95% of the residents of Tbilisi practise forms of Christianity (the most predominant of which is the Georgian Orthodox Church). The Russian Orthodox Church, which is in Full communion with the Georgian, and the Armenian Apostolic Church have significant following within the city as well. A large minority of the population (around 4%) practises Islam (mainly Shia Islam). About 2% of Tbilisi's population practises Judaism, there is also Roman Catholic church and Yezidism (Sultan Ezid Temple).[citation needed]

Tbilisi has been historically known for religious tolerance.[citation needed] This is especially evident in the city's Old Town, where a mosque, synagogue, and Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches can be found less than 500 metres (1,600 ft) from each other.

Sports[edit]

Up until the beginning of the 19th century, sports such as horse-riding (polo in particular), wrestling, boxing, and marksmanship were the most popular city sports. As Tbilisi started to develop socially and economically and integrate more with the West, new sports from Europe were introduced.

The Soviet period brought an increased popularization of sports that were common in Europe and to a certain extent, the United States. At the same time, Tbilisi developed the necessary sports infrastructure for professional sports. By 1978, the city had around 250 large and small sports facilities, including among others, four indoor and six outdoor Olympic sized pools, 185 basketball courts and halls, 192 volleyball facilities, 82 handball arenas, 19 tennis courts, 31 football fields, and five stadiums. The largest stadium in Tbilisi is the Dinamo Arena (55,000 seats) and the second largest is the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium (24,680 seats). The Sports Palace which usually hosts basketball games with high attendance and tennis tournaments can seat approximately 11,000 people.

Vere Basketball Hall is a smaller indoor sports arena with a 2,500 seating capacity.

The most popular sports in Tbilisi today are football, rugby union, basketball, and wrestling. Also, popular sports include tennis, swimming and water polo. There are several professional football and rugby teams as well as wrestling clubs. U.S. National Basketball Association players Zaza Pachulia and Nikoloz Tskitishvili are Tbilisi natives. Outside of professional sports, the city has a number of intercollegiate and amateur sports teams and clubs.

Tbilisi's signature football team, Dinamo Tbilisi, has not won a major European championship since the 1980-1981 season, when it won the European UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and became the easternmost team in Europe to achieve the feat. The basketball club Dinamo Tbilisi won the Euroleague in 1962 but also never repeated any such feat.

Preparations for the 2015 UEFA Super Cup at the Dinamo Arena in Tbilisi.
Club Sport Stadium
Lelo Saracens Rugby Union Lelo Sport Centre
Wissol Kochebi Rugby Union Wissol Sport Centre
Lokomotivi Rugby Union Lokomotivi Sport Centre
FC Dinamo Tbilisi Football Boris Paichadze Stadium
FC Lokomotivi Tbilisi Football Mikheil Meskhi Stadium
FC Saburtalo Tbilisi Football Bendela Stadium
BC Dinamo Tbilisi Basketball Vere Basketball Hall
Tbilisi State University Basketball Team Basketball Vere Basketball Hall
Georgian State Agrarian University Basketball Team Basketball Vere Basketball Hall
BC STD Tbilisi Basketball Vere Basketball Hall
BC Makabi Basketball Vere Basketball Hall

Media[edit]

The large majority of Georgia's media companies (including television, newspaper, and radio) are headquartered in Tbilisi. The city is home to the popular Rustavi 2 television channel which gained considerable fame after its coverage of the Rose Revolution. In addition to Rustavi 2, the remaining three out of the four major public television channels of Georgia (including Imedi TV Mze and the Public Broadcasting Channel) are based in the city. Tbilisi's television market has experienced notable changes since the second half of 2005 when Rustavi 2 successfully bought out the Mze TV company and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation became a shareholder of Imedi Media Holding at the beginning of 2006.

Tbilisi has a number of newspaper publishing houses. Some of the most noteworthy newspapers include the daily 24 Saati ("24 Hours"), Rezonansi ("Resonance"), Alia, the English-language daily The Messenger, weekly FINANCIAL, Georgia Today, and the English-language weekly The Georgian Times. Out of the city's radio stations Imedi Radio (105.9 FM), Fortuna, and Radio 105 are some of the most influential competitors with large national audiences.

Radio stations in Tbilisi include 5 Lines Radio (93.8 FM), Europe +Tbilisi (99.6 FM), and Georgian Patriarchy Radio (105.4 FM).[41]

Architecture[edit]

The architecture in the city is a mixture of local (Georgian) and Byzantine, Neoclassical, Art Nouveau, Beaux-Arts, Middle Eastern, and Soviet Stalinist architectural styles.[42] The oldest parts of town, including the Abanot-Ubani, Avlabari, and to a certain extent the Sololaki districts clearly have a traditional Georgian architectural look with Near Eastern influences. The areas of downtown Tbilisi which were built or expanded mainly in the 19th century (Rustaveli Avenue, Vera district, etc.) have a chiefly Western European look, but they nevertheless contain individual examples of European pseudo-Moorish architecture, such as the Tbilisi Opera.[3]

The start of the 20th century was marked by an architectural revival, notably, with an art nouveau style. With the establishment of the communist government, this style was decreed as bourgeois and largely neglected. An example of Stalinist architecture in Georgia was the 1938 Institute of Marx, Engels, Lenin (მარქს-ენგელს-ლენინის ინსტიტუტის შენობა) building, also referred to by the abbreviation IMELI (იმელი) in Georgian.[4]

Open air cafes in Old Tbilisi.

Following privatization, this building was supposed to be converted from 2006 to 2009 into a five-star luxury Kempinski hotel by the UAE-based Dhabi Group.[43] As of 2013, no refurbishment had been achieved.

The architecture of the later 20th century can mainly be identified with the building style that was common during the Soviet era throughout the Soviet Union and the countries under Soviet occupation.

This included building large, concrete apartment blocks as well as social, cultural, and office facilities, like for example the Tbilisi Roads Ministry Building. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, Tbilisi has been the site of uncontrolled/unsanctioned building projects. Since 2004, the city government has taken new initiatives to curb uncontrolled construction projects with mixed success. In the near future, Tbilisi will have three skyscraper complexes. The Axis Towers, Redix Chavchavadze 64, and the new Ajara Hotel/Business Complex, which is currently under construction will be the tallest buildings/skyscrapers in the Caucasus.[5]

Main sights[edit]

Tbilisi has important landmarks and sightseeing locations. The Parliament and the government (State Chancellery) buildings of Georgia, as well as the Supreme Court of Georgia, are in Tbilisi. The city has important cultural landmarks such as the Georgian National Museum, Tbilisi State Conservatoire, Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, Shota Rustaveli State Academic Theatre, Marjanishvili State Academic Theatre, the Sameba Cathedral, the Vorontsov's Palace (also known as the Children's Palace today), many state museums, the National Public Library of the Parliament of Georgia, the National Bank of Georgia, Tbilisi Circus, The Bridge of Peace and other important institutions. During the Soviet times, Tbilisi continuously ranked in the top four cities in the Soviet Union for the number of museums.

Out of the city's historic landmarks, the most notable are the Narikala fortress (4th–17th century), Anchiskhati Basilica (6th century, built up in the 16th century), Sioni Cathedral (8th century, later rebuilt), and Church of Metekhi.

Economy[edit]

With a GDP at basic prices of 12,147 Million Georgian lari in 2014, Tbilisi is the economic center of the country, generating almost 50 percent of Georgia's GDP. The service sector, including government services, is dominating and contributes 88 percent to GDP. Its GDP per capita of 10,336 Georgian Lari is exceeding the national average by more than 50 percent. The service sector itself is dominated by the wholesale and retail trade sector, reflecting the role of Tbilisi as transit and logistics hub for the country and the South Caucasus. The manufacturing sector contributes only 12 percent to Tbilisi's GDP, but is much larger, by employment and total value added, than the manufacturing sectors in any other region of Georgia. The unemployment rate in Tbilisi is - with 22.5 percent - significantly higher in Tbilisi than in the regions.[44]

Transport[edit]

Airport[edit]

Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi International Airport is Tbilisi's only airport, located about 17 kilometres (11 miles) south east of the city center. Handling 1.85 million passengers in 2015, it is the busiest airport in Georgia and the twenty-fifth-busiest airport in the former Soviet Union. The airport has experienced rapid growth, having more than doubled passenger numbers from roughly 822,000 in 2010 to approximately 1,847,000 in 2015.[45] The airport is the base of the Georgian flag carrier Georgian Airways.[46]

Metro[edit]

Tbilisi Metro, known for its underground depth, transports nearly 9 million commuters per month.

The Tbilisi Metro serves the city with rapid transit subway services. It was the Soviet Union's fourth metro system. Construction began in 1952 and was finished in 1966. The system operates two lines, the Akhmeteli-Varketili Line and the Saburtalo Line. It has 22 stations and 186 metro cars. Most stations, like those on other Soviet-built metro systems, are extravagantly decorated. Trains run from 6:00 am to midnight. Due to the uneven ground, the rail lines run above ground level in some areas. Two of the stations are above ground.

Tram[edit]

Tbilisi had a tram network, since 1883 starting from horse driven trams and from 25 December 1904 electric tramway. When the Soviet Union disintegrated, electric transport went to a degradation state within the years and finally the only tram line left was closed on 4 December 2006 together with two trolleybus lines which were left.[47][48] There are plans to construct a modern tram network.[49][50]

Aerial tramway connecting Europe Square to Narikala, the fortress that overlooks the city.

Minibus[edit]

The most dominant form of transportation is the marshrutka. An elaborate marshrutka system has grown in Tbilisi over the recent years. In addition to the city, several lines also serve the surrounding countryside of Tbilisi. Throughout the city, a fixed price is paid regardless of the distance (80 tetri in 2014). For longer trips outside the city, higher fares are common. There are no predefined stops for the marshrutka lines, they are hailed from the streets like taxis and each passenger can exit whenever he likes.

Aerial lift[edit]

Since 2012, Tbilisi has a modern, high capacity cable car[51] which operates between Europe Square and Narikala. Historically, the city had another aerial lift but, due to mismanagement at the hands of Soviet authorities[citation needed], it experienced a major malfunction, causing the 1990 Tbilisi Cable car accident and remaining closed ever since.[52]

Education[edit]

Public School Number 1 of Tbilisi, also known as the First Classical Gymnasium

Tbilisi is home to several major institutions of higher education including the Tbilisi State Medical University and the Petre Shotadze Tbilisi Medical Academy, famous for their internationally recognised medical education system. The biggest Georgian university is Tbilisi State University which was established on 8 February 1918. TSU is the oldest university in the whole Caucasus region. Over 35,000 students are enrolled and the number of faculty and staff (collaborators) is approximately 5,000. Tbilisi is also home to the largest medical university in Caucasus region — Tbilisi State Medical University, which was founded as Tbilisi Medical Institute in 1918 and became the Faculty of Medicine within the Tbilisi State University (TSU) in 1930. Tbilisi State Medical Institute was renamed to Medical University in 1992. Since that university operates as an independent educational institution, TSMU became one of the high-ranking state-supported institutions of higher education in the Caucasus region. Currently, there are almost 5000 undergraduate and 203 postgraduate students at the university of whom 10% come from foreign countries.

Georgia's main and largest technical university, Georgian Technical University, is in Tbilisi. Georgian Technical University was founded in 1922 as a polytechnic faculty of the Tbilisi State University. The first lecture was read by the world famous Georgian mathematician Professor Andria Razmadze. It achieved University status by 1990. The three most popular private higher educational institution in Georgia —The University of Georgia (Tbilisi), Caucasus University, and the Free University of Tbilisi — are in Tbilisi.

The University of Georgia (Tbilisi) is the largest private University in Georgia, with more than 3500 international and local students. It was established in 2005 and soon became a market leader within Georgian educational sector. In 2010, the UG received financing from OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation) for a development of the University's infrastructure and technical equipment. The University of Georgia has various undergraduate and graduate programs and it's the first company in Georgia which offers international certificate programs of the Oracle Corporation, Microsoft,Zend technologies and Cisco Academy. Caucasus University was established in 2004 as an expansion of the Caucasus School of Business (CSB) (established in 1998) by a consortium consisting of Tbilisi State University and Georgian Technical University in partnership with Georgia State University (Atlanta, USA). The Free University of Tbilisi was established in 2007 through the merger of two higher education schools: European School of Management (ESM-Tbilisi) and Tbilisi Institute of Asia and Africa (TIAA). Today Free University comprises three schools — Business School (ESM), Institute of Asia and Africa and Law School — delivering academic programs at the undergraduate, graduate and doctorate levels. In addition, Free University conducts a wide array of short-term courses and runs several research centers and summer school programs.

Higher educational institutions in Tbilisi:

International relations[edit]

Tbilisi Platz in Saarbrücken, Germany.

Twin towns and sister cities[edit]

Tbilisi is twinned with:[53]

Partnerships[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Preliminary Results of 2014 General Population Census of Georgia" (PDF). NATIONAL STATISTICS OFFICE OF GEORGIA. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Tbilisi’s new Mayor: David Narmania. agenda.ge. 14 July 2014
  3. ^ http://pt.forvo.com/word/tbilisi/
  4. ^ Tbilisi is known by its former name Tiflis in a number of languages, notably in Persian, German, Turkish and others. Pre-1936 Russian sources use "Tiflis" as well.
  5. ^ Anders Aslund, Simeon Djankov. The Great Rebirth: Lessons from the Victory of Capitalism over Communism. Peterson Institute for International Economics: 2014, page 152
  6. ^ The surprising destinations where tourism is booming, The Daily Telegraph, 21 April 2016
  7. ^ Where to go in 2016: Top 16 up-and-coming destinations, CNN, 22 December 2015
  8. ^ "The Golden Age Of Georgia". Dictionary of Georgian National Biography. Retrieved 2 February 2008. 
  9. ^ "Country Overview". Invest in Georgia. Archived from the original on 1 January 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2008. This early Georgian renaissance ... preceded its European analogue by several hundred years 
  10. ^ "Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia". Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia". Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "Soudavar-Farmanfarmian article Georgia and Iran Part 2". Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  13. ^ Suny, pp. 58–59
  14. ^ "Relations between Tehran and Moscow, 1797-2014". Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  15. ^ Timothy C. Dowling Russia at War: From the Mongol Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond pp 728-729 ABC-CLIO, 2 dec. 2014. ISBN 978-1598849486
  16. ^ Mikaberidze, Alexander. Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia 2 volumes: A Historical Encyclopedia ABC-CLIO, 22 jul. 2011 ISBN 978-1598843378 p 351
  17. ^ Kazemzadeh, Firuz (2013). Russia and Britain in Persia: Imperial Ambitions in Qajar Iran. I.B.Tauris. p. 5. ISBN 978-0857721730. 
  18. ^ a b c Ronald Grigor Suny (1994). The making of the Georgian nation. Indiana University Press. pp. 116–. ISBN 978-0-253-20915-3. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g (Russian) Ethno-Caucasus, население Кавказа, республика Грузия, население Грузии
  20. ^ Marshall, David (1962). History of Modern Georgia. p. 211. 
  21. ^ Jones, Stephen F. (2005). Socialism in Georgian Colors. London. 
  22. ^ Marshall, David (1962). History of Modern Georgia. 
  23. ^ Бабенко, Виталий (October 1983). ...внутри драгоценного круга. Vokrug Sveta (in Russian) 1983 (10 (2517)). Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  24. ^ Rukhadze, Vasili; Tobias Moerschen (2007). "Analysis of Tbilisi's Real Estate Boom" (PDF). Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  25. ^ "Rustavi 2". Rustavi 2. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  26. ^ Sergey Gevenov. "Tbilisi railway project to start : Story by Nino Edilashvili : Georgia Today on the Web". Georgiatoday.ge. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  27. ^ "Issue 1, 2010 – Tbilisi 2010". Investor.ge. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  28. ^ "Georgia flood: Tbilisi residents warned over zoo animals after devastating flood". BBC News. 14 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  29. ^ (Georgian) საქართველოს დედაქალაქის – თბილისის შესახებ. The Parliament of Georgia. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
  30. ^ Karl Baedeker, Russia: A Handbook for Travelers (Arno Press, 1971, reprint of 1914 ed.), p. 467.
  31. ^ JSC IBERIA Realty Architectural Competition.
  32. ^ "Погода и Климат". Pogoda.ru.net. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  33. ^ "Climatological Information for Tbilisi, Georgia" – Hong Kong Observatory
  34. ^ "Tbilisi, Georgia Travel Weather Averages". Weatherbase. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  35. ^ a b c d (Russian) Тифлис // Географическо-статистический словарь Российской империи.St. Petersburg, 1885, p. 133 (Note: this is a 'one-day census' of unknown scope and methodology).
  36. ^ a b Ronald Grigor Suny (1994). The making of the Georgian nation. Indiana University Press. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-253-20915-3. Retrieved 29 December 2011.  (one-day census of Tiflis)
  37. ^ (Russian) Первая всеобщая перепись населения Российской Империи 1897 г.. Изд. Центр. стат. комитета МВД: Тифлисская губерния. — St. Petersburg, 1905, pp. 74—75.(Note: The census did not contain a question on ethnicity, which was deduced from data on mother tongue, social estate and occupation)[1]
  38. ^ "Ethnic groups by major administrative-territorial units" (PDF). Web.archive.org. 14 November 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 November 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  39. ^ "Population Census 2014". www.geostat.ge. National Statistics Office of Georgia. November 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  40. ^ "Ethnic groups by major administrative-territorial units" (PDF). Web.archive.org. 14 November 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 November 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  41. ^ Tbilisi Municipal Portal – Radio
  42. ^ Suny, Ronald Grigor (1996). Curtis, Glen E., ed. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. DIANE Publishing. p. 184. ISBN 978-0788128134. (...) Persian occupation added a new element, and in the nineteenth century Russian domination created a hybrid architectural style visible in many buildings in Tbilisi. The so-called Stalinist architecture of the mid-twentieth century also left its mark on the capital." 
  43. ^ Kempinski to Manage Hotel in Tbilisi. Civil Georgia, Tbilisi, 9 December 2006
  44. ^ "Regional Statistics". Geostat. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  45. ^ "Flight Schedule, Statistics". Georgian Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  46. ^ "Company History". Air Zena. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  47. ^ "Subways and Trams In Georgia: Tbilisi". 24 December 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2010. 
  48. ^ "georgiandaily.com – Nostalgic Tbilisi residents want their tramway back". 24 December 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2010. - 
  49. ^ "Railway Gazette: Tbilisi tram design contract signed". 24 December 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2010. 
  50. ^ "Trams to return? : by Salome Kobalava : Georgia Today on the Web". 24 December 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2010. 
  51. ^ "Tbilisi Ropeways". Civil Georgia. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  52. ^ "Major worldwide cable car accidents since 1976". CNN. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  53. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Tbilisi Sister Cities". Tbilisi City Hall. Tbilisi Municipal Portal. Archived from the original on 24 July 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  54. ^ "Medmestno in mednarodno sodelovanje". Mestna občina Ljubljana (Ljubljana City) (in Slovenian). Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  55. ^ "Bristol City – Town twinning". 2009 Bristol City Council. Retrieved 17 July 2009.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  56. ^ "Yerevan – Twin Towns & Sister Cities". Yerevan Municipality Official Website. 2005—2013 www.yerevan.am. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  57. ^ ԵՐԵՎԱՆԻ ՔԱՂԱՔԱՊԵՏԱՐԱՆՊԱՇՏՈՆԱԿԱՆ ԿԱՅՔ [Yerevan expanding its international relations] (in Armenian). [2]. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  58. ^ "Oraşe înfrăţite (Twin cities of Minsk) [via WaybackMachine.com]" (in Romanian). Primăria Municipiului Chişinău. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  59. ^ "Tbilisi-Tehran direct flights will start next month". Agenda.ge. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  60. ^ "თბილისსა და სტამბოლს შორის დაძმობილების შესახებ მემორანდუმი გაფორმდა". Tbilisi City Hall. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  61. ^ "Kraków – Miasta Partnerskie" [Kraków -Partnership Cities]. Miejska Platforma Internetowa Magiczny Kraków (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2 July 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  62. ^ "Partnerská města HMP" [Prague – Twin Cities HMP]. Portál „Zahraniční vztahy“ [Portal "Foreign Affairs"] (in Czech). 18 July 2013. Archived from the original on 25 June 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 

Cite error: A list-defined reference named "FOOTNOTEMikaberidze2015628" is not used in the content (see the help page).

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]