Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mtkvari River with a population of roughly 1.5 million inhabitants.
Located on the southeastern edge of Europe, Tbilisi's proximity to lucrative east-west trade routes often made the city a point of contention between various rival empires throughout history and the city's location to this day ensures its position as an important transit route for global energy and trade projects.
The architecture in the city is a mixture of local (Georgian), with strong influences of Byzantine, European/Russian (neo-classical), and Middle Eastern architectural styles. The oldest parts of town, including the Abanot-Ubani, Avlabari, and to a certain extent the Sololaki districts clearly have a traditional Georgian architectural look with Middle Eastern influences. The areas of Tbilisi which were built up mainly in the 19th century (Rustaveli Avenue, Vera district, etc.) have a contrasting European/Russian (neoclassical) look.
Tbilisi has a number of important landmarks and sightseeing locations. The Parliament and the government (State Chancellery) buildings of Georgia, as well as the Supreme Court of Georgia, are all located in Tbilisi. The city also has important cultural landmarks such as the Georgian National Museum, Tbilisi State Conservatoire, Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, Shota Rustaveli State Academic Theatre, Marjanishvili State Academic Theatre, the Sameba Cathedral, the Vorontsov's Palace (also known as the Children's Palace today), many state museums, the National Public Library of the Parliament of Georgia, the National Bank of Georgia and other important institutions. During the Soviet times, Tbilisi continuously ranked in the top 4 cities in the Soviet Union for the number of museums.
Out of the city's historic landmarks, the most notable locations are the Narikala fortress (4th–17th century), Anchiskhati Church (6th century, built up in the 16th century), Sioni Cathedral (8th century, later rebuilt), Church of Metekhi (13th century), etc.