The Foundation of Tbilisi
Most people love travelling, but some are born with a sense of wanderlust and an eagerness to seek new and exciting places. If you haven’t been to Georgia yet, you really should consider coming here. In Georgia, it’s possible to see towering mountain peaks and beautiful beaches at the same time! The climate is very mild and it’s quite warm in spring and summer. So, you can be sure that you won’t lose time burning in the sun and you will be able to use every day and every moment to really enjoy your trip.
First of all, you should know that Tbilisi is the capital city of Georgia. It is the heart of the country, where old, traditional architecture meets new, modern buildings. Honestly, you will be truly impressed by the diversity and you won’t regret visiting this gorgeous city, which has a long and fascinating history. The history of the foundation of Tbilisi is fascinating and every Georgian knows the legend behind it. If don’t believe me you can ask any resident while you are walking the streets of Tbilisi. But, for now, let me tell you this incredible story in advance.
Archeological findings state that the territory of modern-day Tbilisi was already populated in the early 4th millennium BC. According to an old, widely accepted legend, the territory of Tbilisi was covered by a shadowy forest.
At that time there was a royal tradition of kings hunting animals for sport. Once, the Iberian king Vakhtang I Gorgasali decided to go hunting with his falcon in the area surrounding today’s Tbilisi. While the king was looking for prey, he suddenly saw a pheasant. Acting quickly, he shot and wounded the bird. However, when he sent his falcon to retrieve the pheasant it didn’t return. After a long search the king and his army of hunters discovered some natural hot springs and found both birds boiled to death! King Vakhtang was surprised, but incredibly pleased, with the discovery of the natural hot springs as nobody had known about them before. So, he decided to build a city on this site. The location also had many other advantages. It was located between high mountains and was easy to protect from enemies. This, according to the legend, is how Tbilisi was founded. I’m sure that you also want to know why he called the city ‘Tbilisi’. Well, the word “Tbili” in Georgian means “warm’’ and therefore reflects the warm nature of the natural hot springs the city was founded on. From ancient literature we know that during the reign of King Varazi-Bakuri a huge castle was built at a site that is now part of Tbilisi. However, the city didn’t remain in the hands of the Georgian kings for long and was seized by the Persians.
At the end of 4th century the Persians took control of Tbilisi and ruled it for about a decade. Tbilisi became a home to Persians but in the middle of the 5th century the city was recaptured by the kings of Kartli. Vakhtang Gorgasali restored and rebuilt the city, so he is considered as the founder of the city. Some historians claim that King Vakhtang, who reigned in the second half of the 5th century, is only responsible for the revival and reconstruction of the city and not for its foundation. However, Tbilisi was not the capital of a unified Georgian state at that time. King Dachi I Ujarmeli, who was the successor of Vakhtang I Gorgasali, moved the capital from Mtskheta to Tbilisi. During his reign, King Dachi I oversaw the construction of the fortress wall that lined the city’s new boundaries. From the 6th century, Tbilisi grew at a steady pace due to the regions favourable and strategic location which placed the city along important trade and travel routes between Europe and Asia, commonly known as ‘the silk road’. Therefore, traders were coming from East to West and West to East bringing with them a huge diversity of customs and cultural traditions. To this day, Tbilisi represents a collection of European and Asian cultures. This is a place where different nationalities and religions peacefully coexisted for hundreds of years.
Nowadays, the place where the hot springs where discovered is fully preserved and there are many bathhouses there which you should visit while you are in Tbilisi. I hope you enjoy your time in Tbilisi and hopefully you will get the chance to visit other beautiful parts of Georgia.