Regarded as the hub city of the Caucasus, Tbilisi is national capital and home to a quarter of the Georgian population. The city is divided by the Mtkvari river, with the city centre located on the southern right bank. The name ‘tbili’ meaning ‘warm’ refers to the warm springs in and around the city.
There is evidence of settlements as early as Neolithic times and Roman records of the city date from the fourth century, when it was named ‘Tphilado’. In the mid-fifth century it was designated capital of the Georgian empire. The city was invaded by the Persians in the sixth century and by Arabs in the seventh century.
In 1121, King David the Builder took over the city, making it the seat of a united Georgia. As his name suggests, he was responsible for reconstructing a land devastated by war. Among his achievements were the monastery and academy of Gelati.
The Turkmen were the next to ravage Tbilisi, followed by Mongols, Turks, Persians and Russians. A Persian...