(ქუთაისი; ancient names: Aea
) is Georgia
's second largest city and the capital of the western region of Imereti
. It is 221 km to the west of Tbilisi
Kutaisi is located along both banks of the Rioni River
. The city lies at an elevation of 125-300 meters (410-984 feet) above sea level. To the east and north-east, Kutaisi is bounded by the Northern Imereti
Foothills, to the north by the Samgurali Range
, and to the west and the south by the Colchis Plain
The climate in Kutaisi is humid subtropical with a well-defined on-shore/monsoonal flow (characteristic of the Colchis
Plain) during the Autumn and Winter months. The summers are generally hot and relatively dry while the winters are wet and cool. Average annual temperature in the city is 14.5 degrees Celsius. January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 5.2 degrees Celsius while July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 23.2 degrees Celsius. The absolute minimum recorded temperature is -17 degrees Celsius and the absolute maximum is 44 degrees Celsius. Average annual precipitation is around 1530mm (60.2 inches). Rain may fall in every season of the year. The city often experiences heavy, wet snowfall (snowfall of 30cm/12 inches or more per single snowstorm is not uncommon) in the winter, but the snow cover usually does not last for more than a week. Kutaisi experiences powerful easterly winds in the summer which descend from the nearby mountains.
Kutaisi is surrounded by deciduous forests to the northeast and the northwest. The low-lying outskirts of the city have a largely agricultural landscape. Because of the many gardens in the city centre and the high leafy trees alongside the sidewalks of its streets and boulevards, Kutaisi is painted in bright green in the spring and in yellow-red in the autumn. In the springtime, when the snow starts to melt in the nearby mountains, the storming Rioni River
in the middle of the city is heard far beyond its banks.
Kutaisi was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Colchis. Archeological evidence indicates that the city functioned as the capital of the kingdom of Colchis as early as the second millennium BC. It is widely believed by historians that when Apollonius Rhodius was writing about Jason and the Argonauts and their legendary journey to Colchis, Kutaisi/Aia was the final destination of the Argonauts and the residence of King Aeëtes. In 975-1122 Kutaisi was the capital of the united Kingdom of Georgia, and in the 15th century-1810 the capital of the Imeretian Kingdom. In 1810 the Imeretian Kingdom was occupied by Tsarist Russia. Before Georgia's independence in 1991, followed by the country's economic collapse, Kutaisi was a major industrial center. Today, many inhabitants of the city have had to leave and work abroad. Small-scale trade prevails among the rest of the population.
Education and Science
Kutaisi is one of the most important educational and scientific centers in Georgia, hosting the Gelati Academy of Sciences
, established in the 12th century
by King David IV
. Here is also one of the most important educational centers in modern Georgia, Ak'ak'i Ts'ereteli State University
, established in 1930. Besides these two, there are many other universities, institutes, colleges and schools in Kutaisi.
Kutaisi has an ancient cultural tradition. Here is a list of the cultural centers in Kutaisi.
Museums, Archive, Library, Gallery, Art Salon:
1. Kutaisi State Historical Museum
2. Kutaisi Museum of Sport
3. Kutaisi Museum of Martial Art
4. Museum of Zakaria Paliashvili
5. Kutaisi State Historical Archive
6. Kutaisi State Scientific-Universal Library
7. David Kakabadze Fine Art Gallery
8. Art Salon
Theatres, Cinema and Entertaining Center:
1. Kutaisi Lado Meskhishvili State Academic Theatre
2. Kutaisi Meliton Balanchivadze State Opera House
3. Kutaisi Iakob Gogebashvili State Puppet Theatre
4. Cinema and Entertaining Center “Suliko”
Professional Unions and Public Organizations:
1. Georgian Writers’ Union
2. Georgian Painters’ Union
3. Folk Palace
Local Newspapers: “Kutaisi”, “Imeretis Moabe”, “PS”, “Akhali Gazeti”, "Kutaisuri Versia", "Chveneburebi" (Journal); Scientific Journal “Gantiadi”.
TV: "Rioni"; Radio: "Dzveli Kalaki" (old City)
Also all the republican newspapers, journals and television stations have their representatives in Kutaisi.
Kutaisi has a great tradition in sports, with many famous sport clubs. FC Torpedo Kutaisi has participated on the highest level of the Soviet Union football league. After Georgia achieved independence, it won many domestic and international titles. RC AIA Kutaisi won the Soviet Championship several times in Rugby, and after independence, National Championships and Cups. Kutaisi also had an influential basketball club. Many famous Georgian athletes grew up here.
The landmark of the city is the ruined Bagrati Cathedral
, built by Bagrat III
, king of Georgia, in the early 11th century
. The Bagrati Cathedral, and the Gelati Monastery
a few km east of the city, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites
. One of the famous churches in Georgia is Motsameta Church
. It is named after two saints, brothers David and Constantine. They were the Dukes of Margveti, and were martyred by Arab invaders in the 8th century. Besides the churches, there are many interesesting places in Kutaisi, such as: Sataplia Cave
, where one can observe footprints of Dinosaurs; Geguti Palace
, which was one of the residences of Georgian monarchs; "Okros Chardakhi"
– Georgian Kings’ Palace; and the Pantheon
, where many notable citizens are buried.
Famous people born in Kutaisi