Tbilisi (Georgian: თბილისი) commonly known by its former name Tiflis, 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. Founded in the 5th century by the monarch of Georgia's ancient precursor Kingdom of Iberia, Tbilisi has since served, with intermissions, as the capital of various Georgian kingdoms and republics. Under the Russian rule, from 1801 to 1917 Tiflis was the seat of the Imperial Viceroy governing both sides of the entire Caucasus.
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, and further from T'pili ("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 BCE.
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. See more...
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 (yazidi and Muslim), Assyrians, and others.
The architecture in the city is a mixture of local (Georgian) and Byzantine, Neoclassical, Art Nouveau, Beaux-Arts, and Soviet Stalinist architectural styles. 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 some 19th century pseudo-Moorish 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. See more...
Higher educational institutions in Tbilisi:
- Tbilisi State University
- Ilia State University
- Georgian Technical University
- Agricultural University of Georgia
- Tbilisi State Conservatory
- Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film University
- Tbilisi State Academy of Arts
- The University of Georgia (Tbilisi)
- Tbilisi State Medical University
- Caucasus University
- Tbilisi Medical Academy
- Free University of Tbilisi
- Grigol Robakidze University – Alma Mater
- Georgian American University
- International Black Sea University
- Georgian Institute of Public Affairs
- International School of Economics (ISET)
- The University of Geomedi