Tbilisi Mapping. Extending Along a River Bank, This Ancient City On The Old Silk Road | The Plan
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Tbilisi Mapping. Extending Along a River Bank, This Ancient City On The Old Silk Road

Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, is the subject of this issue’s TheCityPlan. Founded in the 5th Century, this extraordinary city at the eastern edge of the European continent was a natural stopover along the Silk Road leading to the Far East. Little wonder that Tbilisi is a great “melting pot” of the cultures that came and settled here over the course of history, a place where West and East meet.

As usual, our analysis avails itself of the five GIS-generated maps, which are subsequently graphically enhanced to highlight the structure, form and workings of the city in question.

Once again, the population density map is the blueprint against which to read the other four maps showing, respectively, the geographical features, services, public transport and availability of natural vegetation. The first map reveals the long narrow silhouette of the city structure - like a pearl necklace lying in a deep skin furrow. In fact Tbilisi grew up along the valley created by the river Mtkvari that courses down from the mountains of the Caucasus. At the centre of this long urban stretch lies the ancient town.

The map also shows how the main roads run parallel to the river. This has led to the urban fabric being cut off from its river, a feature seen in another extraordinary city we have considered - Medellin. In Tbilisi, however, the caesura appears even more pronounced.

Tbilisi’s singular configuration can be clearly seen by the contour map. The city is virtually enclosed on both sides by steep hills. Mountains rise very sharply to the west of the river Mtkvari while the slopes are gentler to the east. This is the area of the marvellous Lake Lisi, also known as the “Sea” of Tbilisi.

The city’s geography explains very clearly why Tbilisi is so densely compact, typical of all cities with little space to growth.

Population distribution in the valley and the consequent...

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