Georgian two cities have been named among Europe’s 16 oldest cities by UK newspaper The Telegraph.
The Telegraph ranked Kutaisi – the largest city in western Georgia – 8th and Mtskheta – in eastern Georgia – 14th on the list. The newspaper said both of the cities were “very much open to visitors”.
The newspaper wrote that the earliest inhabitants settled in Kutaisi in the 2nd millennium BC.
Kutaisi, a city in western Georgia, was the capital of the Kingdom of Colchis, an ancient region of the southern Caucasus, from as early as the second millennium BC. The city has been the centre of multiple conflicts between Georgian kings and Russians and Ottoman rulers, and was an industrial centre when Georgia formed part of the Soviet Union, the newspaper wrote.
The Telegraph also said Kutaisi’s state historical museum contained 16,000 artefacts relating to Georgian history and culture.
“More interestingly, perhaps, Kutaisi is also home to a martial arts museum,” said the article.
The Bagrati Cathedral in Kutaisi. Photo by AP.
“The Bagrati Cathedral was restored in 2012, against the wishes of UNESCO, which then placed it on its list of World Heritage Sites in danger, saying the project would “undermine the integrity and authenticity of the site,” The Telegraph wrote.
The earliest inhabitants settled in Mtskheta in 1,000 BC.
“The placement of Georgia in Europe is perhaps contentious, but given the widely-accepted definition of the continent’s border beyond the whole Caucasus region, it is fair to consider the country as European,” the Telegraph said.
Mtskheta, north of the capital Tbilisi, is thought to have been founded around 3,000 years ago, and is notable as the place Georgians accepted Christianity – the country’s main religion today – in 317.
Mtskheta, Georgia. Photo by AP.
Collectively, its historical monuments including the Holy Cross Monastery of Jvari, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and Samtavro Monastery, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are described as “outstanding examples of medieval religious architecture in the Caucasus”, and archaeological findings inside them prove a high level of skill in masonry and pottery.
Named on the list were cities from all over the continent, but was heavily dominated by Greece with eight cities named on the list. Argos in Greece was named the oldest city in Europe.
The list was published in the travel section of The Telegraph online and featured other cities from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, Croatia and Armenia.