About History – Camels in 19th Century Tiflis

Situated at the juncture of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Tiflis (Tbilisi) was an important trade and transit route that provided the shortest and most convenient way of bridging the two continents. For centuries, long colorful caravans of camels, donkeys and horses brought silk and other exotic merchandise to the bazaars of Tiflis.

Camel caravan from Persia. Photo by Dimitri Ermakov.

Camel caravan from Persia. Photo by Dimitri Ermakov.

Merchants stabled their animals, stored their wares, and found accommodation at caravanserai that had been built especially to service the caravans. By the mid-19th century, Tiflis had 17 caravanserais.

Camels in Tiflis in the 19th century

Camels in Tiflis in the 19th century

A Camel in 19th Century Tiflis

A Camel in 19th Century Tiflis

A camel caravan in Tiflis

A camel caravan in Tiflis

Camels in Tiflis

Camels in Tiflis

Camel pulling a cart in a Tiflis street.

Camel pulling a cart in a Tiflis street.

By the end of the 19th century, large caravans were becoming rare.

Hundreds of camels resting by the Mtkvari River in Tiflis.

Hundreds of camels resting by the Mtkvari River in Tiflis.

The author Jules Verne visited Tiflis in the early 1890’s and noted in his book  ‘The Adventures Of A Special Correspondent’ that, “Since the establishment of the Trans-Asiatic railways, it is not often that you can meet with those interminable and picturesque lines of horsemen, pedestrians, horses, camels, asses, carts.”

Painting of a camel by the Georgian artist Niko Pirosmani

Painting of a camel by the Georgian artist Niko Pirosmani

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