Founded in the 5th century AD by Vakhtang Gorgasali, the Georgian King of Kartli (Iberia), and made into a capital in the 6th century, Tbilisi is a significant industrial, social, and cultural center. The city is also emerging as an important transit route for global energy and trade projects. Located strategically at the crossroads between Europe and Asia and lying along the historic Silk Road routes, Tbilisi has often been the point of contention between various rivaling powers and empires. The history of the city can be seen by its architecture, where the Haussmannized Rustaveli Avenue and downtown are blended with the narrower streets of the medieval Narikala district.
The demographics of the city is diverse and historically it has been home to peoples from different cultures, religions and ethnicities. Despite being overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian, Tbilisi is one of the few places in the world (Sarajevo and Paramaribo being another) where a synagogue and a mosque are located next to each other, in the ancient Bath district several hundred meters from the Metekhi Church. In recent times, Tbilisi has become known for the peaceful Rose Revolution, which took place around Freedom Square and nearby locations after the contested parliamentary elections of 2003 led to the resignation of the Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.
Tbilisi has one international airport. Notable tourist destinations include Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral, Freedom Square, Sioni Cathedral, Metekhi, Narikala, Parliament of Georgia, Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, Anchiskhati Basilica, Mtatsminda (Holy Mountain), Kashveti Church along with the National and Historic Museums of Georgia and numbers of art galleries. Tbilisi is the home of famous artists. The city life was immortalized in their art by Niko Pirosmani and Lado Gudiashvili.