Kutaisi is the third largest city in Georgia after Tbilisi and Batumi and one of the most ancient continuously inhabited cities in the world; it was founded four millenniums ago. It’s located near the Rioni River, 221 km away from Tbilisi. Kutaisi city has always been one of the major cities of Georgia.
The Rioni river is mentioned in myths about the Golden Fleece; locals dig for gold in the river. They would put sheepskin in the river, leave it there for a few hours, and then comb out grains of gold. The symbol of sheep skin covered in gold was called the Golden Fleece. This rich and picturesque river valley with its springs, green forests became the center of ancient Colchis Kingdom in 8th century. In the end of 10th century, after Tiflis being freed from the Turks, Kutaisi became the capital of Georgian kingdom. It was also the capital of the Kingdom of Imereti. In 17th century, the city was invaded by the Turks’, but was freed by the Russians in 18th century. Finally, in 1810, the Kingdom of Imereti became a part of the Russian Empire.
The story of the city is full of raids, invasions, and forcible reconstructions of Soviet times. The architecture of Kutaisi makes the city one of the most contradictory places in Georgia. Although, there’re many preserved ancient buildings, temples, and monasteries, Kutaisi city is a large industrial city with modern buildings. In 2012, the Parliament of Georgia was moved to Kutaisi in order to decentralize the government of the country.
Some of the best tourist destinations locate in Kutaisi city; Bagrati Cathedral is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture; there’re also extremely beautiful Prometeus and Sataplia Caves; Kutaisi Botanical Garden is known for 400,000-year-old oak-tree; there’s Gelaty Monastery that is included in UNESCO World Heritage List.