Tbilisi, commonly known by its former name Tiflis, and often mispronounced as Tiblisi, is the capital and largest city of Georgia. Lying on the banks of the Mtkvari River at the altitude of 400m above sea level with a population of roughly 1.5 million.
Tbilisi was founded by King Vakhtang Gorgasali in the fifth century and continues to be the most important political and cultural centre of the country.
Located on the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Tbilisi's proximity to lucrative east-west trade routes often made the city a point of contention between various rival empires throughout history. The city's location, to this day, ensures its position as an important transit route for global energy and trade projects. Tbilisi's varied history is reflected in its architecture, which is a mix of medieval, classical, Middle Eastern, Art Nouveau, Stalinist and Modernist structures.
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. 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. The word "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.
Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, is straight from the pages of a Gothic fairytale. A deep valley forms the backdrop to brightly coloured turrets, cobblestoned streets, and a burgeoning art scene, while warm Georgian hospitality permeates the mix of contemporary and traditional restaurants serving up local favourites.
While at first glance Tbilisi can seem both crowded and chaotic, many neighbourhoods retain a village-like feel with their narrow streets and small shops, while the Old Town is still redolent of an ancient Eurasian crossroads, with its winding lanes, balconied houses and leafy squares. All these aspects are overlooked by the 17-century-old Narikala Fortress. Whichever side of the city you're looking for, you'll discover both on any exploration of Georgia's capital.
Top 10 places to visit in Tbilisi:
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