Tbilisi , commonly known by its former name Tiflis, and often mispronounced as Tiblisi, 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. It was founded in the 5th century on the site of natural hot springs, and has since served, with intermissions, as the capital of various Georgian kingdoms and republics. Located on the southeastern edge of Europe, due to its proximity to lucrative trade routes Tbilisi has historically been an object of competition between countless rival empires. Most recently, under the Russian rule, from 1801 to 1917 Tiflis was the seat of the Imperial Viceroy governing both sides of the entire Caucasus. Tbilisi's storied past is reflected in its architecture, which is an eclectic mix of Medieval, Neoclassical, Art Nouveau, Stalinist and Modernist structures.Present-day Tbilisi is one of the safest cities in Europe,and frequently ranks among the most popular emerging destinations thanks to Georgia's growing tourism industry.Notable landmarks include cathedrals like Sameba and Sioni, the medieval Narikala Fortress, classical avenues Rustaveli and Agmashenebeli, as well as the exotically-designed Georgian National Opera Theater.
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 Tbilisi's founding states that King Vakhtang I Gorgasali of Georgia went hunting in the heavily wooded region with a falcon (sometimes the falcon is replaced with either a hawk or other small birds of prey in the legend). The King's falcon allegedly caught or injured a pheasant during the hunt, after which both birds fell into a nearby hot spring and died from burns. 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 T'pilisi , and further from T'pili (warm). The name "T'pili" or "T'pilisi" was therefore given to the city because of the area's numerous sulphuric hot springs that came out of the ground. Archaeological studies of the region have indicated human settlement in the territory of Tbilisi as early as the 4th millennium BC.King Dachi I Ujarmeli, who was the successor of Vakhtang I Gorgasali, moved the capital from Mtskheta to Tbilisi according to the will left by his father. 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 capital city of Eastern Georgia/Iberia. 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 region's favourable and strategic location which placed the city along important trade and travel routes between Europe and Asia.
Capital of Georgia
In 1122, after heavy fighting with the Seljuks that involved at least 60,000 Georgians and up to 300,000 Turks, the troops of the King of Georgia David the Builder entered Tbilisi. After the battles for Tbilisi concluded, David moved his residence from Kutaisi (Western Georgia) to Tbilisi, making it the capital of a unified Georgian State and thus inaugurating the Georgian Golden Age. From 12–13th centuries, Tbilisi became a dominant regional power with a thriving economy (with well-developed trade and skilled labour) and a well-established social system/structure. By the end of the 12th century, the population of Tbilisi had reached 100,000. The city also became an important literary and a cultural center not only for Georgia but for the Eastern Orthodox world of the time. During Queen Tamar's reign, Shota Rustaveli worked in Tbilisi while writing his legendary epic poem, The Knight in the Panther's Skin. This period is often referred to as "Georgia's Golden Age" or the Georgian Renaissance.
Tbilisi is located in the South Caucasus at 41° 43' North Latitude and 44° 47' East Longitude. The city lies in Eastern Georgia on both banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The elevation of the city ranges from 380–770 metres above sea level (1,250–2,530 ft) and has the shape of an amphitheatre surrounded by mountains on three sides. To the north, Tbilisi is bounded by the Saguramo Range, to the east and south-east by the Iori Plain, to the south and west by various endings (sub-ranges) of the Trialeti Range.The relief of Tbilisi is complex. The part of the city which lies on the left bank of the Mt'k'vari (Kura) River extends for more than 30 km (19 mi) from the Avchala District to River Lochini. The part of the city which lies on the right side of the Mt'k'vari River, on the other hand, is built along the foothills of the Trialeti Range, the slopes of which in many cases descend all the way to the edges of the river Mt'k'vari. The mountains, therefore, are a significant barrier to urban development on the right bank of the Mt'k'vari River. This type of a geographic environment creates pockets of very densely developed areas while other parts of the city are left undeveloped due to the complex topographic relief.To the north of the city, there is a large reservoir (commonly known as the Tbilisi Sea) fed by irrigation canals.