Rustavi is the administrative center of the Kvemo Kartli Region. The city is located on both sides of the Mtkvari River and is located twenty-seven kilometers to the southeast of Tbilisi.
Rustavi’s history dates back to the middle Bronze Age. In the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age, the settlements in the region became more densely populated, while agriculture, animal husbandry, and winemaking began to develop. According to historical sources, Rustavi had already attained the status of a city by the 4th century BCE.
In Antiquity, caravan trade routes passed through the city, inspiring various branches of crafts to develop.
The city has not survived through the centuries unscathed, sadly, as it was destroyed during the Mongol campaigns of the 13th century.
After this destruction, the restoration of Rustavi only truly began in the 1940s, with the construction of a metallurgical factory. This turned Rustavi into one of the most important industrial centers, not only in Georgia but in the whole of the south Caucasus.
Up until that time, only the ruins of Rustavi Fortress had endured through the centuries. It can still be seen to this day and is the only fortress in Georgia to have been decorated with frescoes.
Besides the ruins of the fortress, one of Rustavi’s sights is its park, where you’ll find many places for rest, relaxation, and fun, including fields for football, basketball and volleyball courts, a skatepark, picnic areas, bike paths and fountains. Rustavi Forest is a part of the Culture and Relaxation Park, but there is also an artificial lake in the park itself.
The Rustavi Historical Museum is definitely among the places to see, as it holds historical objects from many centuries. You can also visit the Drama Theatre, which is currently active.
In the middle of September, Rustavkalakoba - a folk festival celebrating the city’s history - is held in Rustavi.