A Cultural and Architectural Melting Pot | The Plan
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A Cultural and Architectural Melting Pot

Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, was founded in the 5th century. Stretching along the river Mtkvari and surrounded by mountains, it enjoys a uniquely picturesque landscape that has shaped the city’s development down through its 1,500 years, during which it witnessed a number of cataclysmic events. 

Tbilisi’s foundation is attributed to King Vakhtang Gorgasali who, the legend goes, was hunting pheasant in the area when his hawk fell into a hot sulfuric spring and was killed. In fact tbilisi means “warm” in Georgian. The city’s strategic location on the crossroads of the main trade routes from Europe to India and China, and from Asia Minor and the Middle East to the North, ensured its rapid growth. Its strategic location also meant continual invasion by Arabs, Mongols, Persians and Ottomans. Yet Tbilisi always threw off the foreigner and regained its independence, remaining one of the largest cities in the Caucasus and a hub of Christianity in the east. 

Georgia became part of the Russian Empire in 1801. This coincided with the city’s rapid Europeanization and the development of an urban fabric worthy of the administrative center of the south Caucasus. 

This was the period that saw the development of Tbilisi’s unique society - a mixture of the European lifestyles together with the rules and traditions of East - a characteristic still largely preserved today. Russian noblemen mingled with camel caravans. There were European and Eastern stores, Italian opera alaongside sheep fights. The architecture too was a cultural medley. 

In 1921 Soviet Russia overthrew the government of independent Georgia, annexing the country to the Soviet Union. The Soviet era lasted 70 years. It was a period of serious, albeit debatable, urban development for Tbilisi, largely in line with the changes and developments occurring throughout the Soviet Union. It was during this...

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