Tiflis is ... History of the city, date of renaming, infrastructure, sights and photos


"Warm Spring" - this is how the name of the Georgian capital is translated. Tiflis is a modern Tbilisi, a city with a population of more than a million and a millennium and a half.


The ancient history of the city

A very interesting legend is connected with the foundation of old Tiflis. It is believed that in the V century, during the reign of King Vakhtang Gorgasali, the hills on the banks of the Kura covered impassable forests. In these forests, the Georgian king hunted, who shot a pheasant, who, being injured, fell into a thermal spring and cooked. After this incident, the king ordered to establish the city of Tiflis in Georgia, the name of which translates as "warm source".

This legend is certainly beautiful, but it is not confirmed by archaeologists, as the Byzantine baths of the l-lll centuries and foundations laid down in the V-lll centuries BC were discovered in different parts of the city.

In addition, the city Tbldu, which can be traced back to the name of modern Tbilisi, is found on the ancient Roman military maps. Thus, the story of the founding of the city by the Georgian ruler can be interpreted as a story about the expansion of an already existing settlement.


Crossroads of cultures

By the beginning of the VL century AD, the region where the city of Tiflis is located had become a battleground between the Persian and Byzantine empires. In the struggle, the Sassanian dynasty won, and for a long time the city was in the hands of the Persians, and the Georgian kingdom was abolished. In 627, Tbilisi was looted by the Allied Byzantine-Khazar army.

In the Vlll century, a new disaster in the face of the Arab conquerors struck the Caucasus. In 737, Marvan's forces entered the city, which installed a new court system and administration in the vast territories of the Caucasus. However, the majority of Georgians at the time adopted Islam, which made Tiflis a city where the population was predominantly Muslim.

However, peace in the region did not become long, since this time the competition developed between the Arab Caliphate and the Khazar Khaganate, which again invaded Georgian lands in 737. Such serious and prolonged conflicts outside the city were related to the fact that it is located at the crossroads of trade routes leading from the Transcaucasus to the Caspian region, Asia Minor and the Black Sea region.


Georgian Reconquista

At the beginning of the Xll century, the Arab Caliphate weakened enough so that the inhabitants of its national suburbs felt the ability to start the liberation struggle. Georgians were no exception.

In 1122, the long struggle of the local population against the Seljuks, in which more than 60, 000 Georgians participated, ended with the entrance of the Georgian King David to Tbilisi. After this victory, he decided to transfer the residence of the monarch from Kutaisi. Since then, Tiflis is the capital of the Georgian state.

After the lands of the Orthodox kingdom were liberated from foreign domination, a period began that went down in history as the Golden Age of Georgia, thanks to the flourishing of literature and architecture. By the end of the Xll century, the population of Tbilisi reached 100, 000, which made it not only the largest city of the Caucasus, but also one of the most important centers of the entire Orthodox world.


Mongol invasion and after

However, nothing lasts forever, and by the beginning of the Xlll century, the Georgian revival was interrupted by the beginning of the Mongol conquest. In 1236, Georgia suffered a final crushing defeat from the Mongolian troops and for a long time fell into a semi-dependent position from the great empire.

Despite the fact that in the 1320s the conquerors were driven out of the country, a long period of instability began, aggravated by the plague epidemic that broke out in Tbilisi in 1366. The population of the city was greatly reduced, and its importance for the culture of that time fell.

The retreat of the Mongols did not lead to the desired liberation, as the Persians tried to take their place, then the rulers of the Golden Horde and other competing states formed in the vastness of the Mongolian empire.

During the period from the end of the XlV to the XVlll century, the city was repeatedly under the rule of the interventionists and was completely destroyed twice.

Tbilisi under the rule of the Safavids

At the beginning of the XVl century, the land where the city of Tiflis is located, as well as the regions of Kartli and Kakheti, fell under the rule of the Iranian Shah dynasty of the Safavids. A very impressive military garrison was stationed in the capital of the region, and its architecture has undergone significant changes.

Despite the fact that the Georgian kings had some success in the struggle against the Iranians, they did not manage to achieve complete independence. For several centuries, the city of Tbilisi became the center of the vassal kingdom, but also received peace and opportunities for growth.

At the end of the eighteenth century, the Georgians decided to get out of Persian domination and made an important decision to unite with Russia.


Integration with Russia

The end of Iranian domination was laid in 1801, after the Kartli-Kakheti kingdom with its capital in Tiflis was annexed to the Russian Empire.

From this point on, Tiflis is the center of a vast region in the very center of Transcaucasia, an important transportation hub and stronghold of military power of a huge empire in the Caucasus. After the establishment of Russian authorities in Tbilisi, the city began to grow rapidly, increasing its weight both economically and politically.

Wishing to connect Tbilisi with Batumi, Baku, Poti and Yerevan, the imperial authorities began intensive construction of roads, including railways. By the middle of the nineteenth century, Tiflis is an indispensable item on any journey through the Caucasus. Griboyedov, Pushkin, Lermontov, Leo Tolstoy visited this city.

It was in tsarist time that the main transport artery of the city was Golovin Avenue, which today bears the name of Rustaveli. It housed the main administrative buildings and the residence of the deputies of the emperor in the Caucasus.

Short period of independence

After the 1917 revolution, Tiflis became the center of an independent Transcaucasian Federation. Thus, from May 28, 1918 to February 25, 1921, Tiflis is the capital of the independent Democratic Republic of Georgia, which ceased to exist after the 11th Bolshevik army as a result of lengthy battles occupied Tbilisi. From this moment begins the seventy-year period of Soviet power in Georgia and its capital, Tbilisi.


Soviet authority

After the abolition of the Transcaucasian Federation, Tiflis became the official capital of the Transcaucasian SFSR, after the dissolution of which the city became the center of the Georgian SSR until 1991.

It was during the USSR that the city began to actively develop, numerous industrial enterprises, universities, and cultural institutions appeared. Thanks to serious investments in the infrastructure of the city, Tiflis has become one of the most important scientific, industrial and cultural centers not only in the South Caucasus, but also in the entire USSR.

Often you can meet the question of what is the city now - Tiflis? This question arose as a result of the official change of the Russian name of the city in 1936 from Tiflis to Tbilisi. Such changes were needed in order to bring the Russian name closer to the Georgian one, which sounds like Tbiliso.

In the 1970s, the historic center of the city was significantly rebuilt, and new residential areas appeared on its outskirts, connected to the old part of the city by subway lines.


Post-Soviet Tbilisi

After Georgia gained independence, the city was plagued with numerous problems related to the general political instability in the region caused by the Georgian-Ossetian and Abkhaz-Georgian conflicts.

From 1993 to 2003, corruption and crime spread to all levels of Georgian society. The city faced significant disruptions in transportation, housing began to deteriorate, infrastructure, too.

In 2003, the city became the center of a nationwide protest against corrupt government and election fraud, which led to events that went down in history as the Rose Revolution. As a result, Eduard Shevardnadze resigned, and Mikhail Saakashvili took his place.

After the change of power in the city began a noticeable change. Numerous new buildings were built, the transport infrastructure was significantly reconstructed. After the reforms, the city became an important tourist center, attracting annually hundreds of thousands of tourists from America, Europe and Russia.


Modern Tbilisi

Despite the fact that about 89% of the city’s population are Georgians, about 100 different ethnic groups live in the Georgian capital, including Russians, Ukrainians, Ossetians, Azeris, Germans, Jews and Greeks. At the same time, 95% of the population consider themselves Christians of various churches.

As for the economy, Tbilisi produces more than half of the national product. The predominant industries are wholesale and retail trade, services and hospitality. An important place is occupied by transport.

The airport Shota Rustaveli serves annually 1, 850, 000 passengers arriving from several dozen countries. A significant part of the passenger traffic consists of Russian tourists, whose number is growing every year due to the visa-free regime for Russians and the relatively low cost of flights and accommodation in Georgia.

Thus, the answer to the question of what city it is - Tiflis, may consist in the fact that it is one of the oldest cities of the Caucasus, the capital of modern Georgia and an important economic and political center of Transcaucasia.

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