Kutaisi, ქუთაისი, Aea/Aia, Kutatisi, Kutaïssi, 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 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. From 978 to 1122 CE Kutaisi was the capital of the united Kingdom of Georgia, and from the 15th century until 1810 it was the capital of the Imeretian Kingdom. In 1508, the city was captured by Selim I, who was the son of the Sultan of the Ottomans at that time, Bayezid II.
During the seventeenth century, Imeretian kings made many appeals to Russia to help them in their struggle for independence from the Ottomans. All these appeals were ignored as Russia did not want to spoil relations with Turkey. Only in a reign of Ekaterina II in 1768 troops of general Gottlieb Heinrich Totleben were sent to join forces of King Heraclius II of Georgia who hoped to reconquer the Ottoman-held southern Georgian lands in conjunction with Russia. Totleben helped King Solomon I of Imereti recover his capital Kutaisi on August 6, 1770.
Finally Russian-Turkish wars ended with annexion in 1810 of the Imeretian Kingdom by Russian Empire. The city was the capital of the Gubernia of Kutaisi, which included much of west Georgia. In March 1879, the city was the site of a blood libel trial that attracted attention all over Russia; the ten accused Jews were acquitted.
Kutaisi was a major industrial center before Georgia's independence in 1991. Independence was followed economic collapse of the country and as a result, many inhabitants of Kutaisi have had to leave and work abroad. Small-scale trade prevails among the rest of the population.
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.
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.
In December 2009, the demolition (using explosives) of a major war memorial in the city killed two people due to insufficient security around the demolition site. Russia also criticised the decision to remove the war memorial.
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 5.3 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 1,530 mm (60.24 in). Rain may fall in every season of the year. The city often experiences heavy, wet snowfall (snowfall of 30 cm/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.
Kopitnari Airport (IATA: KUT, ICAO: UGKO) is an airport located 14 km (8.70 mi) west of Kutaisi. It is one of three international airports currently in operation in Georgia.
Kutaisi is the most important holiday in Qutaisi. It celebrates on 2 May. On this day the population of Kutaisi crowds into the central park, with their children and celebrate together. Some people make masks and the are many kinds of performances, so it is a lot of fun. Also little children sell chamomiles. It is an old tradition, in the past ladies collected money for poor people, so today children also collect money for them.
On this day you can see traditional Georgian dances and you can hear folk music. Also it is an old tradition to go in the forest, which is near Kutaisi. Families have a barbecue, play games and have a great time together. On this day people wear traditional clothes, choxa so you can imagine that you are in past times. Also there is a new tradition of writing lyrics which have been written by writers from Qutaisi and then airplanes throw them from the sky.
Kutaisoba is a most important holiday celebrated in mukhrans wood. There is a competition in different kinds of combative art, also semblance to sport.
Usually regions of imereti performing traditions representative for them and folksongs, tablecloth. Everyone felicites each other kutaisoba, sprind and may. in this holiday observe rules blessing chokha. At the end of the blessing they sing "mravaljamieri". Participants are elated to hear this song.