Emirate of Tbilisi

Emirate Of Tbilisi

Emirate of Tbilisi

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The Emirs of Tbilisi () ruled over the parts of today’s eastern Georgia from their base in the city of Tbilisi, from 736 to 1080 (nominally to 1122). Established by the Arabs during their invasions of Georgian lands, the emirate was an important outpost of the Muslim rule in the Caucasus until recaptured by the Georgians under King David IV in 1122. Since then, the city has been the capital of Georgia to this day.


The Arabs first appeared in Georgia, namely in Kartli (Caucasian Iberia of the Classic authors), in 645. It was not, however, until 735, when they succeeded in establishing their firm control over a large portion of the country. In that year, Marwan II took hold of Tbilisi and much of the neighbouring lands and installed there an Arab emir, who was to be confirmed by the Caliph of Baghdad or, occasionally, by the ostikan of Armīniya.

During the Arab period, Tbilisi (al-Tefelis) grew into a center of trade between the Islamic world and northern Europe. Beyond that, it functioned as a key Arab outpost and a buffer province facing the Byzantine and Khazar dominions. Over time, Tbilisi became largely Muslim, but the Islamic influences were strictly confined to the city itself, while the environs remained largely Christian.

Tbilisi was a large city with a strong double wall pierced by three gates. It lay on both banks of the Kura River, and the two parts were connected by a bridge of boats. The contemporary geographers especially mention its thermal...
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