Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Kura River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tpilisi (in Georgian) or Tiflis (in Russian) until 1936. The city covers an area of 726 km2 and has 1,480,000 inhabitants.
Founded in the 5th century by Vakhtang Gorgasali, the monarch of Georgia's precursor Kingdom of Iberia, Tbilisi has served, with various intervals, as Georgia's capital for nearly 1500 years and represents a significant industrial, social, and cultural center of the country. Located on the southeastern edge of Europe, Tbilisi's proximity to lucrative east-west trade routes often made the city a point of contention between various rival empires throughout history and the city's location to this day ensures its position as an important transit route for global energy and trade projects. Tbilisi's varied history is reflected in its architecture, which is a mix of medieval, classical, and Soviet structures.