Tbilisi (English: /təbɪˈliːsi, təˈbɪlɪsi/ tə-bih-LEE-see, tə-BIL-ih-see; Georgian: თბილისი [tʰbilisi] (About this sound listen)), in some countries also still named by its pre-1936 international designation Tiflis (/ˈtɪflɪs/ TIF-lis), is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Kura River with a population of approximately 1.5 million people. Founded in the 5th century AD by Vakhtang I of Iberia, since then Tbilisi served as the capital of various Georgian kingdoms and republics. Between 1801 and 1917, then part of the Russian Empire, Tbilisi was the seat of the Imperial Viceroy, governing both Southern and Northern Caucasus.
Because of its location on the crossroads between Europe and Asia, and its proximity to the lucrative Silk Road, throughout history Tbilisi was a point of contention among various global powers. The city's location to this day ensures its position as an important transit route for various energy and trade projects. Tbilisi's diverse history is reflected in its architecture, which is a mix of medieval, neoclassical, Beaux Arts, Art Nouveau, Stalinist and the Modern structures.
Historically, Tbilisi has been home to people of multiple cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, though it is currently overwhelmingly Eastern Orthodox Christian. Its notable tourist destinations include cathedrals Sameba and Sioni, Freedom Square, Rustaveli Avenue and Agmashenebeli Avenue, medieval Narikala Fortress, the pseudo-Moorish Opera Theater, and the Georgian National Museum.
photo: Zeiss Loxia 21mm
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