Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari (Kura) River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936. The city covers an area of 280.3 square miles and has 1,480,000 inhabitants. Founded in the 5th century by Vakhtang Gorgasali, the Georgian King of Iberia, and made into a capital in the 6th century, Tbilisi is a significant industrial, social, and cultural centre. The city is also emerging as an important transit route for global energy and trade projects. Located strategically at the crossroads between Europe and Asia and lying along the historic Silk Road routes, Tbilisi has often been a point of contention between various rival powers and empires.
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