Kutaisi, Royal district

Kutaisi, Royal district

Among the oldest cities of Georgia, Kutaisi stands out with its unique history and centuries-old adventure. Its uniqueness is strengthened by the legend - that it is the land of the mythical Golden Fleece, and the fact that at different times it was the capital of the kingdoms of Egrisi-Lazika Kingdom, Abkhazia, Imereti, and finally the Kingdom of United Georgia.

During the expansion of Russia, at the beginning of the 19th century, it had lost its former glory. However, despite the difficulties of the new political situation, Kutaisi soon again became an important trade and industrial city. Orthodox and Catholic Georgians always made up the majority of the peoples who resided there, amongst whom were also Jews, Greeks, Armenians, Poles and Russians.

From the 1870s, the architecture of the city, as well as the lifestyle of the locals, gradually took on a more European look. Thereafter, the Soviet and independent Georgian authorities made serious urban changes that altered the city significantly, although the Royal District was the least affected.


The territory of the Royal District includes the area surrounding Tsisperqantselebii, St. Nino, Akaki Tsereteli, and Alexander Pushkin streets and the nearby area of the White Bridge.

District History

The historical part of Kutaisi is spread over a wide perimeter and includes many old districts of different periods. Among them, the Royal District, which is an important part of the city center today, stands out with its diverse architectural heritage.

The emergence of a modern center in the historical district of the city has destroyed many old, interesting buildings; however, the authentic urban fabric has remained in the Royal District - both the historical street network and the artistically and historically valuable architecture of various functions and periods are located there.

The name "Royal District" was determined by the royal residence there - the Okros Chardakhi, which is located on the left side of the River Rioni, between the White Bridge and the Shota Rustaveli Bridge. 

According to a report by Ambrogio Contarini, the Ambassador of Venice to Persia, in 1474, the Palace of Bagrat II, King of Imereti, was located in Kutaisi, which already took the form of a royal complex in the 17th century.

What can you see there?

The main building of the Royal District, the residence of the kings, was almost completely destroyed over time. Today, only a small house remains from the former complex, the interior of which was remodeled in the 19th century, and received its final appearance in the 1960s.

The Royal District is connected to the other side of the Rioni River by the White Bridge. It was built in 1872 on the piers of the bridge under the co-authorship of engineer Eduard Zesemann (1836-1902). The metal trusses of the three-span bridge were made in London, and the bridge expanded during the Soviet period, in 1949.

An important historical and architectural monument of the district is the former Boys' Classical Gymnasium, which is located at the crossroad of Shota Rustaveli and Tsisperqantselebi streets. The building consists of architecture from different periods since the 1850s. The current building has changed its facade, the last reconstruction of which was carried out in the 1960s, and now the first public school of Kutaisi is located there.

Another important educational center was St. Nino's Women's Gymnasium, which was founded in 1847. After changing its location several times, the gymnasium was reestablished in a 1900s building (St. Nino Streeet 2) and designed by engineer von Schultz, which has survived until this day with some changes.

A pharmacy built in 1893 is located near the White Bridge, on Ioseb Grishashvili St. 4 - a basic, one-story building, which has not changed its function to this day.

Another historical pharmacy in the Royal District was on the first floor of the house of the prosecutor Viktor Vitushinsky, on Alexander Pushkin St. 14. The eclectic style of the building is characterized by an artistic facade clad in white and pink stone and a pompous parapet.

The former "France" hotel of Mikheil Gokieli, on Shota Rustaveli Avenue 8, built in the 1900s, was popular in the area and was also a hotel during the Soviet Union. Since 1976, it has been transferred to the Fine Arts Gallery.

In the 1910s, Palace Hotel built by the architect Frick, is still standing on Shota Rustaveli Avenue 4. 

Between these two hotels, the former residence of the Italian citizen Niccolo Brocchi, on Shota Rustaveli Avenue 6, is still standing, which had minor changes carried out to the 1882 project by the architect Treyer.

There were three more well-known hotels in the area: London by Eligulashvili and Gvelesiani, built in the 1880s, at the corner of Tsisperqantselebi and Zakaria Paliashvili streets, the second floor of which has survived its original form; Rafiel Kakitelashvili's 1900s hotel "Orient" - at the corner of Tsiperqantselebi and Alexander Pushkin, where the third floor was later built, and Dimitri Chhikkishvili's hotel "Grand Hotel" - Pushkin St. 18.

There were two cinemas in the Royal District of Kutaisi - "Radium" (1911, architect E. Frick) and "Montplaisir". In the 2010s, the facades of both buildings were completely restored, although "Radium" is now a shopping center and "Montplaisir" facade functions as an arch passage connecting the two streets.

Among the residential houses of the Royal District include buildings with eclectic architecture – on Akaki Tsereteli Street 2, 6, 8, and 10 and the modernist style house on Alexander Pushkin 3, whose basic decor facade dynamically follows the curved line of the street, and stand out for their artistic value.

Large-scale rehabilitation works of the Royal District were carried out in 2011-2012, as a result of which it is one of the most popular places for both locals and city visitors and tourists today.

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