Antiqua Print Gallery Tbilisi
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Tbilisi

Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari (Kura) River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form Tpilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis in Russian, until 1936. The city covers an area of 726 km² (280.3 square miles) and has 1,093,000 inhabitants.

Founded in the 5th century AD by Vakhtang Gorgasali, the Georgian King of Kartli (Iberia), and made into a capital in the 6th century, Tbilisi is a significant industrial, social, and cultural center. The city is also emerging as an important transit route for global energy and trade projects. Located strategically at the crossroads between Europe and Asia and lying along the historic Silk Road routes, Tbilisi has often been the point of contention between various rivaling powers and empires. The history of the city can be seen by its architecture, where the Haussmannized Rustaveli Avenue and downtown are blended with the narrower streets of the medieval Narikala district.

The demographics of the city is diverse and historically it has been home to peoples from different cultures, religions and ethnicities. Despite being overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian, Tbilisi is one of the few places in the world (Sarajevo and Paramaribo being another) where a synagogue and a mosque are located next to each other, in the ancient Bath district several hundred meters from the Metekhi Church. In recent times, Tbilisi has become known for the peaceful Rose Revolution, which took place around Freedom Square and nearby locations after the contested parliamentary elections of 2003 led to the resignation of the Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.

Tbilisi has one international airport. Notable tourist destinations include Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral, Freedom Square, Sioni Cathedral, Metekhi, Narikala, Parliament of Georgia, Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, Anchiskhati Basilica, Mtatsminda (Holy Mountain), Kashveti Church along with the National and Historic Museums of Georgia and numbers of art galleries. Tbilisi is the home of famous artists. The city life was immortalized in their art by Niko Pirosmani and Lado Gudiashvili.

Tbilisi under Russian control

The coat of arms of Tiflis under Russian rule.

In 1801, after the Georgian kingdom of Kartl-Kakheti joined the Russian Empire, Tbilisi became the center of the Tbilisi Governorate (Gubernia). 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, Akaki Tsereteli, Iakob Gogebashvili, Aleksandr Griboyedov 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 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 (Armenians, Georgians and Russians comprised 38.1, 26.3 and 24.8 percent of the population respectively in 1897) 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.


(Source Wikipedia)