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Akhalkalaki (Georgian: ახალქალაქი [ɑxɑlkʰɑlɑkʰi]; Armenian: Ախալքալաք; Turkish: Ahılkelek) is a town in Georgia's southern region of Samtskhe–Javakheti and the administrative centre of the Akhalkalaki Municipality. Akhalkalaki lies on the edge of the Javakheti Plateau. The city is located about 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the border with Turkey. The town's recorded history goes back to the 11th century. As of the 2014 Georgian census the town had a population of 8,295, with the overwhelming Armenian majority.[1]

Akhalkalaki

ახალქალაქი
Akhalkalaki, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Georgia.jpg
Akhalkalaki is located in Georgia
Akhalkalaki
Akhalkalaki
Location of Akhalkalaki in Georgia
Akhalkalaki is located in Samtskhe-Javakheti
Akhalkalaki
Akhalkalaki
Akhalkalaki (Samtskhe-Javakheti)
Coordinates: 41°24′20″N 43°29′10″E / 41.40556°N 43.48611°E / 41.40556; 43.48611
Country Georgia (country)
MkhareSamtskhe-Javakheti
Elevation
1,707 m (5,600 ft)
Population
 (2014)[1]
 • Total8,295
Time zoneUTC+4 (Georgian Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+5
WebsiteOfficial

EtymologyEdit

The name Akhalkalaki, first recorded in the 11th-century Georgian chronicle, means "a new town", from Georgian [ɑxɑli], "new", and [kʰɑlɑkʰi], "city" or "town". Its Armenian and Turkish names, Akhalakak and Ahılkelek, respectively, are transcribed from the Georgian. The 19th-century ethnographic accounts have another Armenian name for the town, Nor-Kaghak, also meaning "a new town".[2]

HistoryEdit

Akhalkalaki was founded by Bagrat IV of Georgia in 1064. In 1066, the city was destroyed during the Seljuq invasions of the Kingdom of Georgia.[3] In the 11th century Akhalkalaki became one of the political and economical centres of Javakheti. In the 16th century the city came under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and became a sanjak centre in Çıldır Eyaleti. Under the Ottoman rule, the town was known as "Ahılkelek". The city was passed from the Ottomans to the Russians after the Russo-Turkish War in 1828–1829. On January 4, 1900, an earthquake destroyed much of the town and killed 1,000 people in the area.[4]

PopulationEdit

In XIX century the population was mainly Georgian but had been converted to Islam by 1829.[5] After Russian takeover most of the native Muslims left the area for the Ottoman Empire and in their place Christian Armenian refugees from Erzurum and Bayazid settled here.[5] Since then the city and the region of Javakheti has been largely again populated by Armenians.

Population and ethnic composition of Akhalkalaki from the late 19th century[6]
Year Armenians Georgians Russians Total
1886 4,083 94.9% 51 1.2% 57 1.3% 4,303
1897[7] 4,136 76% 129 2.4% 479 8.8% 5,440
1926[8] 3,185 90.9% 197 5.7% 61 1.8% 3,475
1959[9] 6,522 74.1% 433 4.9% 1,424 16.2% 8,804
1989[10] - - - - - - 15,572
2014[11] - - - - - - 8,295

ClimateEdit

The climate of Akhalkalaki is moderately humid with relative cold dry winters and long cool summers. (Köppen: Dfb)

Climate data for Akhalkalaki
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −1.9
(28.6)
−0.9
(30.4)
3.3
(37.9)
9.9
(49.8)
15
(59)
18.6
(65.5)
21.8
(71.2)
22.3
(72.1)
18.8
(65.8)
13.4
(56.1)
6.2
(43.2)
0.4
(32.7)
10.6
(51.0)
Daily mean °C (°F) −7.3
(18.9)
−6.3
(20.7)
−1.8
(28.8)
4.1
(39.4)
9
(48)
12.1
(53.8)
15.1
(59.2)
15.3
(59.5)
11.4
(52.5)
6.8
(44.2)
1
(34)
−4.3
(24.3)
4.6
(40.3)
Average low °C (°F) −12.6
(9.3)
−11.7
(10.9)
−6.9
(19.6)
−1.6
(29.1)
3
(37)
5.6
(42.1)
8.5
(47.3)
8.4
(47.1)
4.1
(39.4)
0.2
(32.4)
−4.2
(24.4)
−8.9
(16.0)
−1.3
(29.6)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 24
(0.9)
31
(1.2)
32
(1.3)
57
(2.2)
92
(3.6)
97
(3.8)
59
(2.3)
56
(2.2)
41
(1.6)
44
(1.7)
40
(1.6)
27
(1.1)
600
(23.5)
Source: Climate-Data.org[12]

TransportEdit

 
The fragment from the map By Antonio Zatta, published in Venice in 1784. The map shows Akhalkalaki, Georgia

The crossroads village meets from south the streets from the border to Armenia and Turkey, from north to BorjomiGori and east-west from Batumi to Tiflis south of the Lesser Caucasus.

A 160 km long railway line was constructed between 1982 and 1986 in three parts. The junction from the line Tiflis–Jerewan is in Marabda.

In April 2005, an agreement was signed to build a new railway connecting Turkey with Georgia and Azerbaijan, passing nearby Akhalkalaki. This would bypass an existing line through Gyumri in Armenia which has been closed by Turkey, blockading Armenia, for political reasons since the 1990s.[13] The railway became operational on October 30, 2017.[14] It is here where the break-of-gauge is.[15]

In compound with the military base was constructed an airport.[1] With military dismantling it was closed.

BasesEdit

The city was a home to the Soviet-era 147th Motor Rifle Division (part of the 9th Army of the Transcaucasian Military District) up until the early 1990s. After the fall of the Soviet Union the Division became the Russian 62nd Military Base. It was officially transferred, according to the Sochi agreement, to Georgia on June 27, 2007.[16]

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Population Census 2014". www.geostat.ge. National Statistics Office of Georgia. November 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  2. ^ "181 Царь Картли Вахтанг VI. Комментарии". Восточная литература.
  3. ^ Suny, Ronald Grigor (1994), The Making of the Georgian Nation: 2nd edition. Indiana University Press, p. 34
  4. ^ The Annual Register of World Events, 1900 (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1901) p461
  5. ^ a b Richard G. Hovannisian (1971). The Republic of Armenia: The first year, 1918-1919. University of California Press. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-520-01805-1.
  6. ^ "население грузии". Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  7. ^ "АХАЛКАЛАКСКИЙ УЕЗД (1897 г.)". Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  8. ^ "Ахалкалакский уезд 1926". www.ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Ахалкалакский район 1959". www.ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-10-21. Retrieved 2013-05-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ http://census.ge/files/results/english/1_Number%20of%20population%20by%20administrative-territorial%20units%20and%20sex.xls
  12. ^ "Akhalkalaki climate". Climate-Data.org.
  13. ^ Railway Gazette International February 2009, p54
  14. ^ "Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway track becomes operational to carry Chinese goods to Europe". dnd.com.pk. 30 October 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  15. ^ Ltd, DVV Media International. "Stadler signs Baku – Tbilisi – Kars sleeping car contract". railwaygazette.com. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  16. ^ Russia Transfers Akhalkalaki Military Base to Georgia. Archived 2012-02-06 at the Wayback Machine Civil Georgia. June 27, 2007. Accessed on June 29, 2007.

External linksEdit