Tbilisi, commonly known by its former name Tiflis, 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 Georgias ancient precursor the Kingdom of Iberia, Tbilisi has since served, with intermissions, as the capital of various Georgian kingdoms and republics. Under Russian rule, from 1801 to 1917 Tiflis was the seat of the Imperial Viceroy governing both sides of the entire Caucasus. Tbilisis varied history is reflected in its architecture, which is a mix of medieval, classical, Middle Eastern, Art Nouveau, historically, Tbilisi has been home to people of diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, though it is overwhelmingly Eastern Orthodox Christian. Archaeological studies of the region have indicated human settlement in the territory of Tbilisi as early as the 4th millennium BC, 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 Tbilisis founding states that King Vakhtang I Gorgasali of Georgia went hunting in the wooded region with a falcon. The Kings falcon allegedly caught or injured a pheasant during the hunt, 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 Tbilisi, and further from Tpili, the name Tbili or Tbilisi was therefore given to the city because of the areas numerous sulphuric hot springs that came out of the ground. King Dachi I Ujarmeli, who was the successor of Vakhtang I Gorgasali, 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 city of Eastern Georgia/Iberia. During his reign, King Dachi I oversaw the construction of the wall that lined the citys new boundaries. From the 6th century, Tbilisi grew at a steady pace due to the favourable and strategic location which placed the city along important trade. Tbilisis favourable and strategic location did not necessarily bode well for its existence as Eastern Georgias/Iberias capital, in the year 627, Tbilisi was sacked by the Byzantine/Khazar armies and later, in 736–738, Arab armies entered the town under Marwan II Ibn-Muhammad. After this point, the Arabs established an emirate centered in Tbilisi, in 764, Tbilisi, still under Arab control was once again sacked by the Khazars. In 853, the armies of Arab leader Bugha Al-Turki invaded Tbilisi in order to enforce its return to Abbasid allegiance, the Arab domination of Tbilisi continued until about 1050. In 1068, the city was again sacked, only this time by the Seljuk Turks under Sultan Alp Arslan. In 1122, after fighting with the Seljuks that involved at least 60,000 Georgians and up to 300,000 Turks. After the battles for Tbilisi concluded, David moved his residence from Kutaisi to Tbilisi, making it the capital of a unified Georgian State, from 12–13th centuries, Tbilisi became a dominant regional power with a thriving economy and a well-established social system/structure
Image: Tbilisi, Georgia — View of Tbilisi
Detail from the Nautical chart by Angelino Dulcert, depicting Georgian Black Sea coast and Tiflis, 1339.