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Battle of Krtsanisi

Battle of Krtsanisi Part of Persian invasions of Georgia

The Battle of Krtsanisi by Severian Maisashvili Date Location Result September 8-September 11, 1795 Krtsanisi, Tbilisi Qajars victory Tbilisi sacked Belligerents

The battle resulted in the defeat of Georgians and complete destruction of their capital Tbilisi. Heraclius placed his kingdom under the protection of the Russian Empire in the Treaty of Georgievsk.000 35. in 1787. However. In 1783.000 2. A limited Russian contingent of two infantry battalions with four artillery pieces arrived in Tbilisi in 1784. with the death of Nader Shah in 1747. a strong and united monarchy. Despite being left on his devices. Heraclius still cherished a dream of establishing. despite the frantic protests of the Georgians. Georgia.Kartli-Kakheti Imereti Persian Empire * Ganja Khanate * Erivan Khanate Commanders and leaders Heraclius II Solomon II Agha Mohammad Khan Strength 3. as part of Qajar Emperor Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar's war in response to King Heraclius II of Georgia’s alliance with the Russian Empire.000 captives (civilians) about 15000 The Battle of Krtsanisi was fought between Qajars and Georgian armies at the place of Krtsanisi near Tbilisi. composed of the kingdoms of Kartli and Kakheti. with Russian protection.000 dead 15.000 Casualties and losses 4. 1795. from September 8 to September 11. both kingdoms broke free of Iranian control and were reunited in personal union under the rule of the energetic king Heraclius II (Erekle) in 1762. into . had been under intermittent Iranian suzerainty since 1555. Background Eastern Georgia. but was withdrawn.

Heraclius II still rejected the Khan’s ultimatum. Agha Mohammad Khan. emerged victorious in the protracted power struggle in Persia. the Qajars.which the western Georgian Kingdom of Imereti and the lost provinces under Ottoman rule would all eventually be drawn. The consequences of these events came a few years later. Nevertheless. resolved to bring the Caucasus once more under the Persian orbit. Finding an interval of peace amid their own quarrels. Heraclius appealed then to his theoretical protector. leaving Georgia to fend off the Persian threat alone. the Persians demanded Heraclius II to renounce the treaty with Russia in return for peace and the security of his kingdom. Empress Catherine II of Russia. Persian Invasion . but he was not listened. Their head. when a new dynasty.

000 auxiliaries from neighbouring Imereti under its King Solomon II. The Georgians offered a desperate resistance and succeeded in rolling back a series of Persian attacks on September 9 and 10. a member of the Georgian Bagrationi Dynasty and thus distantly related to Heraclius II. Agha Mohammad Khan led his 35.Persian cavalryman In August 1795.000-strong army into the Caucasus.000 troops. Agha Mohammad Khan marched directly on Tbilisi. and attacked the heavily fortified Georgian positions on the southwestern limits of the city. After . including some 2. forcing the Khans of Ganja and Erivan into alliance. Heraclius II managed to mobilize around 5. Having abandoned the siege of Shusha in the Karabakh Khanate. Abandoned by several of his nobles.

which they previously had. Early on September 11. the Persians managed to cross the Kura River and outflanked the decimated Georgian army. was easily absorbed by Russia in 1801. The next three years were a time of muddle and confusion. dates back to at least the 5th century AD. The Persian army marched back laden with spoil and carrying off some 15. Agha Mohammad Khan personally led an all-out offensive against the Georgians. shortly recalled it. Heraclius II attempted to mount a counterattack. Aftermath On his return. but the new Tsar Paul I. Agha Mohammad Khan was in full control of the Georgian capital which was completely sacked and its population massacred. political and economic center of the Caucasus region for most of its history. In a few hours. with its capital half in ruins. The last surviving Georgian artillery briefly held the advancing Persians to allow Heraclius II and his retinue of some 150 men to escape through the city to the mountains. By nightfall. Early history . Catherine II declared war on Persia and sent an army under Valerian Zubov to the Qajar possessions on April of that year. Located on a crossroad of major trade routes. but the destruction of his capital was a death blow to his hopes and projects. but he had to retreat to the last available positions in the outskirts of Tbilisi.that. who succeeded Catherine in November. History of Tbilisi The history of Tbilisi. often served as the seat of foreign domination over the region.000 captives. Agha Mohammad was crowned Shah in 1796. the Georgian forces had been exhausted and almost completely destroyed. but also as the capital of various independent local states. Tbilisi has been an important cultural. the capital of Georgia. and the weakened and devastated Georgian kingdom. the city has suffered many invasions. Amid an artillery duel and a fierce cavalry charge. Heraclius II returned to Tbilisi to rebuild the city. it is said that some traitors informed the Persians that the Georgians had no more strength to fight and the Qajars army cancelled their plan of going back to Persia. Agha Mohammad Shah was later assassinated while preparing a second expedition against Georgia in 1797 and the seasoned king Heraclius died early in 1798. To restore Russian prestige. The fighting continued in the streets of Tbilisi and at the fortress of Narikala.

The name Tbilisi derives from the Old Georgian word "Tpili". The king's falcon caught a pheasant. The earliest written accounts of settlement of the location come from the second half of the 4th century AD. meaning warm. present-day eastern Georgia). when a fortress was built during King Varaz-Bakur's reign (ca. Archaeological studies of the region have however revealed that the territory of Tbilisi was settled by humans as early as the 4th millennium BC. According to one account King Vakhtang Gorgasali (r. which are still heavily exploited.Legend has it that the present-day territory of Tbilisi was uninhabited and covered by forest as late as 458 AD. or the Metekhi palace. Capital of Iberia . or rebuilt parts of the city (such as Abanotubani. This mythical foundation account is still popular. but both birds fell into a nearby hot spring and died. the date medieval Georgian chronicles assign to the founding of the city by King Vakhtang I Gorgasali of Iberia (or Kartli. notably for public baths. 364). The name Tbili or Tbilisi ("warm location") therefore was given to the city because of the area's numerous sulfuric hot springs. 447-502) went hunting in the heavily wooded region with a falcon. King Vakhtang was so impressed with the discovery that he decided to build a city on this location. but was recaptured by the kings of Kartli by the middle of the 5th century. but archaeological evidence show that Vakhtang revived. Towards the end of the 4th century the fortress fell into the hands of the Persians. where his statue now stands) but did not found it. in the Abanotubani district.

During his reign. and the kingdom of Iberia was abolished around 580. which placed the city along important trade and travel routes between Europe and Asia. Beginning from the 6th century. Dachi also finished the construction of the fortress wall that lined the city's new boundaries. Persia and the Byzantine Empire were the main contenders for such hegemony over the Caucasus. . Tbilisi's oldest surviving church. However. is said to have moved the capital of Iberia from Mtskheta to Tbilisi to obey the will left by his father. Tbilisi started to grow at a steady pace due to the region's favorable location. the son and successor of Vakhtang Gorgasali. In 627. Tbilisi mostly remained under Sassanid (Persian) control. this location was also strategic from the political point of view. In the 6th century. and most major regional powers would struggle during the next centuries for its control. from the 6th century King Dachi (beginning of the 6th century). In the second half of the 6th century. Tbilisi was sacked by the allied Byzantine and Khazar armies.The Anchiskhati Basilica.

view ca. In 853. Arab armies entered the town under Marwan II Ibn-Muhammad. The Arab rule heavily influenced the cultural development of the city. Tbilisi was once again sacked by the Khazars. 1890-1900 Around 737. and repeatedly tried to gain independence from the caliphate. while still under Arab control. In 764.Emirate of Tbilisi The old city of Tbilisi and the ancient Narikala fortress. Arab rule brought a certain order to the region and introduced a more formal and modernized judicial system into Georgia. The emirate became an influential local state. the armies of Arab leader Bugha al-Kabir ("Bugha the Turk" in Georgian sources) invaded Tbilisi in order to bring the emirate . Few Georgians converted to Islam during this time. but Tbilisi became a mainly Muslim city. while Tbilisi prospered from the trade with the whole Middle East. The Arab conquerors established the Emirate of Tbilisi.

David moved his residence from Kutaisi (Western Georgia) to Tbilisi. The city. However.000 Turks. In 1068. The city also became an important literary and a cultural center not only for Georgia but for the larger civilized world as well. From the 12th-13th centuries. whose population was then predominantly Muslim. however. was burnt. Arab rule in Tbilisi continued until the second half of the 11th century. making it the capital of a unified Georgian State. This period is widely known as "Georgia's Golden Age" or the Georgian Renaissance. the emirs held less and less power. after heavy fighting with the Seljuks that involved at least 60. Shota Rustaveli worked in Tbilisi while writing his legendary epic poem. Mongol domination and the following period of instability . Tbilisi became a dominant regional power with a thriving economy (with well-developed trade and skilled labor) and a well-established social system/structure. After the battles for Tbilisi concluded. and the "council of elders" (a local merchant oligarchy) often assumed power in the city. military attempts by the new Kingdom of Georgia to capture the city were long unsuccessful.000 Georgians and up to 300.back under the control of the Abbasid Caliphate. The emirate.000. shrank in size. the population of Tbilisi had reached 120. and 500 citizens tortured to death. By the end of the 12th century. the troops of the King of Georgia David the Builder entered Tbilisi. The Knight in the Panther's Skin. Georgian reconquest and Renaissance In 1122. only this time by the Seljuk Turks under Sultan Alp Arslan. the survivors were allowed to retain their faith and keep living in the city. During Queen Tamar's reign. the city was once again sacked.

During this period.. believing that Georgia could not hold up against Persia alone. 1671 Tbilisi's Golden Age did not last for more than a century. From the 17th-18th centuries. many parts of Tbilisi were reconstructed and rebuilt. which led to a more complete loss of independence than had been the case in the past centuries. but Tbilisi was burnt to the ground in 1795 by Shah AghaMohammad Khan during a punitive Persian expedition. after suffering crushing defeats to the Mongols. Tbilisi was invaded by the armies of Tamerlane (Timur). In 1444.View of Tbilisi as per French traveller Jean Chardin. the Mongols were forcefully expelled from Georgia and Tbilisi became the capital of an independent Georgian state once again. Tbilisi once again became the object of rivalry only this time between the Ottoman Turks and Persia. In 1236. Georgia came under Mongol domination. Tbilisi came under Persian control but was later freed in 1524 by King David X of Georgia. From the late 14th until the end of the 18th century. The nation itself maintained a form of semi-independence and did not lose its statehood. The Kings of Kartli held court in Tbilisi under Persian patronage. but Tbilisi was strongly influenced by the Mongols for the next century both politically and culturally. Tbilisi under Russian control . Erekle sought the help of Russia. An outbreak of the plague struck the city in 1366. In 1522. but also to the progressive transformation of Tbilisi into a European city. Tbilisi came under the rule of various foreign invaders once again and on several occasions was completely burnt to the ground. At this point. as witnessed by Jean Chardin during his travels in 1672. From 1477 to 1478 the city was held by the Ak Koyunlu tribesmen of Uzun Hassan. In 1386. King Erekle of Georgia tried on several occasions to free Tbilisi from Persian rule. the city was invaded and destroyed by Jahan Shah (the Shah of the town of Tabriz in Persia). In the 1320s.

and artists all found their home in Tbilisi. and Yerevan. Mikhail Lermontov. mainly of European style. The city was visited on numerous occasions by and was the object of affection of Alexander Pushkin. poets.The coat of arms of Tiflis under Russian rule Metekhi cliff and the surroundings as depicted by Nikolay Chernetsov. Akaki Tsereteli. Iakob Gogebashvili. Poti. 1839 In 1801. The likes of Ilia Chavchavadze. By the 1850s Tbilisi once again emerged as a major trade and a cultural center. Alexander Griboedov and many other statesmen. Tbilisi became the center of the Tiflis Governorate. after the Georgian kingdom of Kartl-Kakheti was incorporated into the Russian Empire. The main new artery . Leo Tolstoy. New roads and railroads were built to connect Tbilisi to other important cities in Russia and other parts of Transcaucasia such as Batumi. the Romanov Family and others. were erected throughout the town. Baku. From the beginning of the 19th century Tbilisi started to grow economically and politically. New buildings.

It acquired different architectural monuments and the attributes of an international city. belonging to Tbilisi) culture. as well as its own urban folklore and language. and the specific Tbilisuri (literally.  Military Cathedral (site of the Parliament building) . Tbilisi took on a different look. Hence. confessional and cultural diversity was significant not only for Georgia but for the whole Caucasus.built under Russian administration was Golovin Avenue (present-day Rustaveli Avenue). on which the Viceroys of the Caucasus established their residence. economic and cultural role of Tbilisi with its ethnic. Throughout the century. the political.

 Tatar bazaar and Metekhi palace .

Metekhi cliff .

Kura River  .

the shortlived independent Transcaucasian Federation with the capital in Tbilisi. in the former Caucasus Vice royal Palace. the city served as a location of the Transcaucasus interim government which established. where the independence of three Transcaucasian nations – Georgia. On 25 . a long-time dream of the Georgians banned by the Imperial Russian authorities for several decades. Under the national government. From 1918 to 1919 the city was also a home to the German and British military headquarters consecutively. Tbilisi turned into the first Caucasian University City after the Tbilisi State University was founded in 1918. in the spring of 1918. 25 February 1921 After the Russian Revolution of 1917.Golovin Avenue Independence: 1918–1921 The 11th Red Army of the Russian SFSR occupies Tbilisi. Tbilisi functioned as the capital of the Democratic Republic of Georgia until 25 February 1921. Since then. It was here. Armenia and Azerbaijan – was declared on May 26 to 28 1918.

which led to a progressive change of name for the city in most foreign languages. Petersburg. the official Russian name of the city was changed from Tiflis to Tbilisi. Stalinist buildings such as the current Parliament of Georgia were built on the main avenues. With the expansion of the city came new places for culture and entertainment. wanted to make the center look like in the 19th century. etc. To link them all with the old city center. which regrouped the three Caucasian republics. Tbilisi's population grew significantly. such as the Vank Cathedral.[6] Tbilisi witnessed mass anti-Soviet demonstrations in 1956 (in protest against the antiStalin policies of Nikita Khrushchev). After its dissolution. where some residential buildings were demolished to uncover the 18th century city wall. The reconstruction started from the side of Baratashvili Avenue. on the model of other Soviet metropolises: Vake Park was inaugurated in 1946. Many religious buildings were destroyed during anti-religious campaigns. a Metro system was developed. Between 1922 and 1936. 1978 (in defense of the Georgian language) and 1989 (the April 9 tragedy). Tbilisi was the seat of the Transcaucasian SFSR. the architect who planned the reconstruction. During Soviet rule. Varketili. which opened in phases from 1966. Tbilisi has experienced periods of significant instability and turmoil. but most ancient neighborhoods retained their character. and cultural centers of the Soviet Union along with Moscow. Shota Kavlashvili. the Sports Palace in 1961. and a Bolshevik regime was installed in Tbilisi.February 1921. the Red Army invaded the Democratic Republic of Georgia from Russia. leading to dozens of deaths. New standardized residential areas (typical microdistricts) were built from the 1960s: Gldani. In the 1970s and the 1980s the old part of the city was considerably reconstructed. Tbilisi during the Soviet period In 1921. Kiev. Both 1956 and 1989 demonstrations were repressed in a bloody way by the authorities. and St. After the break-up of the Soviet Union Since the break-up of the Soviet Union. the Bolshevist Russian 11th Red Army entered Tbilisi after bitter fighting at the outskirts of the city and declared Soviet rule. In 1936. Tbilisi remained the capital city of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic until 1991. social. the city became more industrialized and came to be one of the most important political. After a brief Civil War which the city endured for two weeks .

Even during the Edvard Shevardnadze era (1993–2003). Since 2003. crime and corruption became rampant at most levels of society. . Tbilisi became the scene of frequent armed confrontations between various mafia clans and illegal business entrepreneurs. and a booming tourist industry similar to (if not more than) what the city experienced during the Soviet times. Tbilisi has experienced considerably more stability.000 people into the streets and concluded with the Rose Revolution. Many segments of society became impoverished due to a lack of employment which was caused by the crumbling economy.from December 1991 – January 1992 (when pro-Gamsakhurdia and Opposition forces clashed with each other). Average citizens of Tbilisi started to become increasingly disillusioned with the existing quality of life in the city (and in the nation in general). decreasing crime rates. improving economy. Mass protests took place in November 2003 after falsified parliamentary elections forced more than 100.