Georgia’s ancient and vibrant capital city spreads out on both banks of the Mtkvari River, and is surrounded on three sides by mountains. The most widely accepted variant of the legend of Tbilisi’s founding says that in the mid-5th century AD, King Vakhtang I Gorgasali was hunting in the heavily wooded region with a falcon. 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. The name Tbilisi derives from the Old Georgian word “tbili”, meaning warm. Archaeological studies of the region indicate human settlement in the area early as the 4th millennium BC.
Mtskheta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been inhabited since before 1,000 BC and was once the capital of the early Kingdom of Iberia (today’s Eastern Georgia). Just 20 km from Tbilisi, at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, the city is located on an ancient trade route. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of Mtskheta’s status as a major trading post. Glass perfume bottles, Greek and Aramaic writings, pottery, metalwork and jewelry have all been unearthed in abundance here, and many examples are on show in the town’s museum.
Kutaisi, the capital of Imereti, is Georgia’s second largest city after Tbilisi. Elegant, tree lined streets with 19th century houses stretching down to the banks of the Rioni River, along with several attractive parks, make Kutaisi a very beautiful place to stroll around and take in the many sights.
It’s also one of Europe’s oldest. Inhabited since the 6th century BC, Kutaisi served as the political centre of the Kingdom of Colchis in the Middle Ages.
Batumi is the second-largest city in Georgia. Located on the coast of the Black Sea, it is lined with palm trees and surrounded by mountains. Batumi is the region’s tourist and gambling capital. It presents an eclectic mix of architecture, ranging from charming 19th century classical edifices to ultra-modern skyscrapers housing hotels and casinos. A regional party hub, Batumi has a vibrant night life, hosting increasingly big name international DJs and pop concerts. The Black Sea city welcomes visitors from across different regions.
City of wine and love, as it is being called in recent years, is very much appealing to those who are tired of rush and hustle, and like everything lovely, cute and small. Walking through Sighnaghi, you might feel like in Italy – the architecture is pretty similar to small Italian towns.