Kutaisi is located along both banks of the Rioni River. The city lies at an elevation of 125–300 metres (410–984 feet) above sea level. To the east and northeast, Kutaisi is bounded by the Northern Imereti Foothills, to the north by the Samgurali Range, and to the west and the south by the Colchis Plain.
Kutaisi is surrounded by deciduous forests to the northeast and the northwest. The low-lying outskirts of the city have a largely agricultural landscape. The city centre has many gardens and its streets are lined with high, leafy trees. 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.
Kutaisi has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) 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 was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Colchis. Archaeological evidence indicates that the city functioned as the capital of the kingdom of Colchis in the sixth to fifth centuries BC. Several historians believe that, in Argonautica, a Greek epic poem about Jason and the Argonauts and their journey to Colchis, author Apollonius Rhodius considered Kutaisi their final destination as well as 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 conquered by Selim I, who was the son of Bayezid II, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
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 the reign of Catherine the Great, in 1768, were troops of general Gottlieb Heinrich Totleben sent to join the forces of King Heraclius II of Georgia, who hoped to reconquer the Ottoman-held southern Georgian lands, with Russian help. Totleben helped King Solomon I of Imereti to recover his capital, Kutaisi, on August 6, 1770.
Finally, the Russian-Turkish wars ended in 1810 with the annexation of the Imeretian Kingdom by the Russian Empire. The city was the capital of the Kutais Governorate, 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 by the economic collapse of the country, and, as a result, many inhabitants of Kutaisi have had to work abroad. Small-scale trade prevails among the rest of the population.
In 2011 Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of Georgia, signed a constitutional amendment relocating the parliament to Kutaisi. On 26 May 2012, Saakashvili inaugurated the new Parliament building in Kutaisi. This was done in an effort to decentralise power and shift some political control closer to Abkhazia, although it has been criticised as marginalising the legislature, and also for the demolition of a Soviet War Memorial formerly at the new building's location.
Kutaisi has an ancient cultural tradition. Here is a list of the cultural centers in Kutaisi.
1. Kutaisi State Historical Museum
2. Kutaisi Museum of Sport
3. Kutaisi Museum of Martial Art
4. Museum of Zakaria Paliashvili
5. Kutaisi State Historical Archive
6. Kutaisi State Scientific-Universal Library
7. David Kakabadze Fine Art Gallery
8. Art Salon
9. Akaki Tsereteli State University
1. Kutaisi Lado Meskhishvili State Academic TheatreGeorgian Writers’ UnionGeorgian Painters’ UnionFolk Palace
2. Kutaisi Meliton Balanchivadze State Opera House
3. Kutaisi Iakob Gogebashvili State Puppet Theatre
4. Cinema and Entertaining Center “Suliko”
Local newspapers include: Kutaisi, Imeretis Moabe, PS, Akhali Gazeti, and Kutaisuri Versia. Other publications include Chveneburebi, a journal published by the Ministry of Diaspora Issues, and Gantiadi, a scientific journal.
TV: "Rioni"; Radio: "Dzveli Kalaki" (old City)
Also all the republican newspapers, journals and television stations have their representatives in Kutaisi.
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. The women's football club FC Martve takes part at the 2017–18 UEFA Women's Champions League qualifying round after becoming champion in the Georgia women's football championship in 2016. Kutaisi also has an influential basketball club BC Kutaisi 2010, 2016 Champion of the Georgian Superliga, which plays its home games at the Kutaisi Sport Palas.
The landmark of the city is the ruined Bagrati Cathedral, built by Bagrat III, king of Georgia, in the early 11th century. The Gelati Monastery a few km east of the city, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 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 interesting 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. The Kutaisi Synagogue which was build in 1885 is also an interesting sight.
On April 2, 2009, the Georgian economy minister, Lasha Zhvania, announced that an Egypt-based home appliances producer company, Fresh Electric, intends to create a free industrial zone in Kutaisi.
David the Builder Kutaisi International 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 Rail Terminal has direct connection with Tbilisi (Central). Line is served by Georgian Railways.Hotel Old Town – 3/4, Grishashvili Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaAeetes Palace Hotel – 34, Galaktion Tabidze Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaHotel Kolkha – 38, Axalgazrdoba Avenue, Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaLux Palace Hotel – 20, Gugunava Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaHark Hotel Imeri – 25, Nikea Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaHotel Aksai – 96, Lado Asatiani Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaHotel Kutaisi Globus – Solomon Pirveli Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaDiscovery – Newport Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaHotel California - 32, Jacob Gogebashvili Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaHotel Imperator Palace – 31, Tsminda Nino Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaHostel Kutaisi by Kote – 18, Gorki Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaTirifi Holiday – 45, Z. Gamsaxurdia Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaHostel Lion – Tamar Mefe Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaBagrati 1003 – Blind alley 2-a, Tsereteli Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaHotel Continental – 63a, II Lane, Bukhaidze Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaHotel Gora – 22, Debi Ishkhneli Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaGreen Flower Hotel – 101, Gelati Str., Kutaisi, 4600, GeorgiaVilla Remember – 15, Tsereteli Str. Kutaisi 4600, Georgia
"Kutaisoba" is the most important holiday in Kutaisi. It is celebrated on the second of May. On this day the population of Kutaisi crowds into the central park, with their children and celebrate together. Some people make masks and there 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 one 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 barbecue and play games. 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 Kutaisi and then airplanes throw them from the sky. There is also a competition in different kinds of martial arts.Aeëtes – King of Kingdom of ColchisBagrat III – King of united Kingdom of Georgia in 975–1014George I – King of united Kingdom of Georgia in 1014–1027Bagrat IV – King of united Kingdom of Georgia in 1027–1072George II – King of united Kingdom of Georgia in 1072–1089David IV – King of united Kingdom of Georgia in 1089–1125Veriko Anjaparidze – Georgian actressRevaz Gabriadze – cinematographer, writer, director, production designerNiko Nikoladze (1843–1928) – Georgian public figureMeliton Balanchivadze (1862–1937) – Georgian composerZakaria Paliashvili (1871–1933) – Georgian composerIakob Nikoladze (1876–1951) – Georgian sculptor, designer of the previous state flag of Georgia.Władysław Raczkiewicz (1885–1947) – first president of the Polish government-in-exile, 1939–1947Joseph Orbeli (1887–1961) – orientalistDavid Kakabadze (1889–1952) – Georgian painterVictor Dolidze (1890–1933) – Georgian composerOtar Korkiya (1923–2005) – Georgian basketball player and coach (Olympic silver medalist as a player and European Champions' Cup winner as a coach)Dodo Chichinadze (1924–2009) – Georgian actressRevaz Dzodzuashvili (b. 1945) – Georgian football player, World Cup 1966 bronze medalistZurab Sakandelidze (b. 1945) – Georgian basketball player, Olympic championMikheil Korkiya (b. 1948) – Georgian basketball player, Olympic championMeir Pichhadze (1955–2010) – Israeli painter, Kutaisi nativeTengiz Sulakvelidze (b. 1956) – Georgian football player, played in 1982 FIFA World Cup, Euro 1988 silver medalistRamaz Shengelia (1957–2012) – Georgian football player, played in 1982 FIFA World CupMaia Chiburdanidze (b. 1961) – the seventh Women's World Chess ChampionBesik Khamashuridze (b. 1977) – Georgian rugby player, won 53 caps, RC Aia Kutaisi player-coachDavid Khakhaleishvili (b. 1971) – Olympic champion in WrestlingProfessor Giorgi Pkhakadze, MD, MPH, PhD (b. 1976) – Appointed by the United Nations Secretary General as a member of the Independent Accountability Panel for Every Woman Every Child and the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016–2030). He is also a member of the Technical Review Panel for GFATM, and a Professor in Epidemiology and Public Health at the David Tvildiani Medical University, Tbilisi, Georgia and published several books and articles internationally in the field of Public Health and Anthropology.Katie Melua (b. 1984) – singer
Kutaisi is twinned with: