|— Commune —|
|• Prefect||Bidzina Saakashvili|
Klow is the largest commune of Varkana and the economic, political and cultural capital of the country. It is located in Northern Varkana on the southern shore of the Iremian Sea. The commune is close to the border of Aetolia, along the Sinora River. The Greater Klow Area has a population of 6,730,652 according to the 2016 census, in an area of 6,667.37 km² comprising most of Northern Varkana.
One of the oldest city in the country, founded under the name of Χλωδόβα (Chlo̱dova) around 2500 BC by Aetolian sailors, Klow has since ancient times been an important trading port. An important city of the Kingdom of Tavros, Klow and the rest of what is now northern Varkana was conquered in 999 AD by Queen Elene VIII. After merging with the Kingdom of Varkana, Klow continued to be an important city in the Mesogean Sea. The city experienced a considerable commercial development after the Varkan Restoration War. Taking advantage of the expansion of the First Varkan Republic, it became a thriving industrial city. It remains today the first Varkan port, the second Mesogean port and the fourth Illypnian port. Suffering from economic difficulties of the 1970s due to de-industrialization and the coup d'état led by Ioseb Jugashvili that destabilized the country, as well as a bad image linked to its increased banditry, the city now knows an urban, economic and cultural revival since the early 2000s.
The opening of Klow on the Iremian Sea helped to create a cosmopolitan city with cultural and economic exchanges with the rest of Illypnia, Kaftia and Fosia. Its population, built on successive waves of immigration from various Mesogean countries since the mid-nineteenth century, today remains heavily marked by multiculturalism. The leading Varkan companies and international corporations doing business there have their headquarters and main industrial facilities in Klow. Recent industrial statistics show the Varkan capital retains its historical position as the main industrial zone of the country. Klow is a Alpha- city.
Klow comes from the Aetolian name of the city, Χλωδόβα (Chlo̱dova). It was first permanent Aetolian settlement in Varkana, and the oldest city, established at modern-day Klow in about 6,000 BC.
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Klow is the largest commune in Varkana by population, and has the largest metropolitan area. To the west, starting in the small fishing village of Jvari on the outskirts of Klow and stretching as far as Kassis, are the Shesasvlelis, a rugged coastal area interspersed with small fjord-like inlets. Further west still are the Gombori (a 1,147 m mountain ridge rising from a forest of deciduous trees), the commune of Oni. To the south of Klow, beyond the low Trialeti and Saguramo mountain ranges, is the 1,011 m (3,317 ft) Mount Mariamjvari. To the southeast of Klow is the former artists' commune of Vale; further east is the Sinora River delta. The airport lies to the south east of the city in Vale on the shore of Lake Bazaleti.
The commune's main thoroughfare (the wide boulevard called the Alazani) stretches westward from the Old Port (ძველი პორტი, dzveli porti) to the Reformed quarter. Two large forts flank the entrance to the Old Port — Fort Amirani on the north side and Falasi Fortress on the south. Further out in the Bay of Klow is the Trialeti archipelago which comprises four islands, one of which, Dalila, is the location of Dalila Castle, made famous by the novel Revenge. The main commercial center of the city intersects with the Alazani at Rustaveli street, close to the Klow Central station. The center of Klow has several pedestrianized zones, most notably Rustaveli street, Square Sololaki near the Music Conservatory, the Square Redix Chavchavadze off the Old Port and the area around City Hall. To the north west of central Klow in the 6th district are the communal police headquarters and the monumental fountain of Marjanishvili Plaza, an important bus and metro interchange. To the north east are the hills of the 7th district, dominated by the Temenos of Hera.
Klow has a Mediterranean climate with mild, humid winters and warm to hot, mostly dry summers. December, January, and February are the coldest months, averaging temperatures of around 12 °C (54 °F) during the day and 4 °C (39 °F) at night. July and August are the hottest months, averaging temperatures of around 28–30 °C (82–86 °F) during the day and 19 °C (66 °F) at night in the President Inga Korsantia International Airport (35 km (22 mi) from Klow) but in the city near the sea the average temperature is 27 °C (81 °F) in July. Klow is officially the sunniest major city in Varkana with over 2,900 hours of sunshine while the average sunshine in Varkana is around 1,950 hours and is also the driest major city with only 512 mm (20 in) of precipitation annually, especially due to the Saburtalo which is a cold, dry wind originating in the "Aetolian name" Valley that occurs mostly in winter and spring and which generally brings clear skies and sunny weather to the region.
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The commune is composed of 17 large districts, subdivided into neighborhoods.
The Periakti (ფერიაქთი), from the Aetolian περι (around) and ακτή (coast), a boulevard running along the Iremian Sea from the Ofelidze beach to the Giorgi beaches, was conceived in the 19th century and enlarged from 1954 to 1968. The Periakti is bordered to the west by 19th century villas, hotels, restaurants, bars and beaches.
The northernmost neighborhood along the coast in the 8th District, Kudebi, consists of small fishermen houses spared from coastal urbanization. To the south in the 17th District, Gogcha is a working-class neighborhood, a former industrial site that has become famous by the paintings of Lado Gudiashvili.
The Old Port is located at the end of the Kanabigza (ქანაბიგზა), the historic high street in the old quarter of the city. It has been the natural harbor of Klow since antiquity and is now the main popular place in the commune, mainly pedestrian since 2013. The great Temenos of Poseidon was gradually built between the third and ninth centuries on the hills to the south of the Old Port, on the site of an Armazist burial ground.
Between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, quays were constructed under Dinaric monarchs and an important shipyard for galleons put in place. Following a revolt against their governor by the citizens of Klow, Williem of Aetolia's predecessor ordered the erection of the Amirani Fort and the Falasi Fortress at the entrance to the harbor and established an arsenal and fleet in the Old Port itself.
According to Aetolian estimates, in 1854 the Old Port had a capacity of between 1,000 and 1,200 ships. Roughly 18,000 merchant ships passed through the port each year, carrying about 20 million barrels worth of freight; this represented a quarter of the trade in Palaiochori at the time. The 6 meter depth of the harbor, however, proved problematic for steamships later in the century; much deeper docks had to be constructed at further south in the Akhmeteli quarter. During the Great Adonian War, the Old Port was left in complete ruins. According to eye-witness accounts, in January 1943, Breislandic occupying forces, dynamited much of the historic old town. In 1948, reconstruction of the devastated old quarter began.
When, beginning in the 1840s, new harbor moles, quays and the docks were built along the coast of the Akhmeteli quarter to the southeast, many port activities were moved out of the Old Port. Over time, new harbor installations were built further southeast, resulting in what is today the Port of Klow: continuous harbor installations as far as the commune of Vale, where it becomes the Port of Vale. The Old Port is used today as a marina, as a terminal for local boat trips, and hosts a local fish market. In 2013, the Old Port was largely pedestrianized. It has been renovated as a large public square following an international competition. The project is also to have a second phase with parks to be built around the port in 2020 for a sum of 60 million lari.
Kalata (კალათა) is a neighborhood in the 2nd District. Kalata is the most ancient portion of the historical settlement of the Aetolian colony of Chlodova. Its narrow streets are a constant reminder of that it is the most ancient quarter of the city. Located near the Old Port, Kalata has been mainly over the years a poor district, populated by newly arrived immigrants, fishermen and in later centuries working-class families. Nowadays, Kalata remains a worker district and harbors Klow's largest Christian community, located in the Akhmeteli quarter, around the Cathedral of Klow, founded in the 4th century, enlarged in the 11th century and completely rebuilt in the second half of the 19th century, a gigantic Christian church in Mesogean style, and the only Catholic place of worship remaining in Varkana. After the Varkan revolution, under rehabilitation policies and architectural embellishment, Kalata has become an important touristic sector of the commune. Major landmarks such as the City Hall (დიმარჩი; dimarchi) and the Ritz Klow are located in the neighborhood.
International and intercommunal transport
The commune of Klow is a hub for the Varkan motorway system, the ავტომაგისტრალი (avtomagistrali), and is served by the A-10, A-15, A-20, A-220, A-210, and A-410. Many of these motorways are frequently congested at rush hour. However, in recent years, the government has acknowledged this problem and is working on long-term solutions to alleviate the congestion, including massive expansions of the Capital Metro and other railway services.
The Klow Central station is Varkana's main railway station. It operates direct high speed rail services to neighboring countries. It is also one of the main terminal stations for high speed rail in Northern Illypnia making Klow reachable in an hour from Larissos (a distance of 250 km) and one and a half hours from Palaiochori. There are also direct lines to Capua, Theodosia, Lefki, Salona and Tufo.
Klow has a large ferry terminal, the Maritime Station, with services to Aetolia, Echia, Rutuli, Meleto, and Faencia. It is located in the western part of the Port of Klow, near the Cathedral of Klow. The Port of Klow has a 5,000 year old history and a great contemporary commercial importance. In 2015 the port had an overall traffic of 88 million tons, it is located in two main sites, in southern Klow from the 2nd District to the 16th District. The port generates 38,000 jobs and 4 billion lari of value added. The port is the second biggest Varkan port after the Port of Vale, the tenth biggest Mesogean Sea port and the 8th Illypnian port, making it the 48th port in Adonia in 2015, with 76,997 thousand tons of goods transported.
Klow is connected by the Capital Metro train system operated by the Capital Region Transit Authority. It consists of 8 lines serving 273 stations, with an overall route length of 305.3 kilometers as of 2019, stretching throughout the communes of Klow, Oni, Vale, and Zestafoni. The metro system operates on a turnstile system, with tickets purchased at the nearby adjacent automated booths.
An extensive bus network serves the city and surrounding communes, with 112 lines and 623 buses.
A free ferry service operates between the two opposite quays of the Old Port. From 2011 ferry shuttle services operate between the Old Port and the 8th District; from spring 2013 it also runs to the 16th District. There are also ferry services and boat trips available from the Old Port to ფრიოლ (Priol), the Fjords and Oni.
The culture of Klow is reflected by its size and variety. Most Varkan cultural movements first emerged in the city. Klow is an important center for music, film, theater, dance and visual art. Artists have been drawn into the city by opportunity, as the city government funds the arts with adequate financial resources.
Klow is a prominent location for the Varkan entertainment industry, with many films, television series, books, and other media set there. Klow is the largest center for film and television production in Varkana. In 2015, it employed more than 32,000 people and generated 43.9% of revenues of the media industry in the country. Klow is the second largest media center of Varkana, after Kaspi.
Food specialties in Klow are numerous, including klov kvabi, Varkan tapenade (based preparation capers, anchovies and crushed olives), kvemot (rock fish-based dish, sauces and vegetables), the navi (hard biscuit and flavored orange blossom boat-shaped), pogassi, pekhebi da paketebi prepared with mutton tripe, feet, sheep and bacon. Limomeli is an iconic drink of the city: it is an alcoholic lemon drink. Local wines are also common, as well as microbreweries found across the commune.
Klow restaurants reflect diversity, with menus carrying traditional regional cuisine, fusions of various culinary influences, or innovating in the leading edge of new techniques. Klow's food shops also have a solid reputation for supplying quality specialized culinary products and supplies, reputations that are often built up over generations.
During the all of its history, Klow became well known as one of Illypnia's "sin cities" with unparalleled nightlife, a reputation it still holds today. In part, its bustling nightlife is attributed to its relatively late "last call" (3 a.m.), a large university population, the drinking and sexual intercourse age of 16, the Armazist libertine acceptance, and the excellent public transportation system combines with other aspects of the Klow culture to make the city's night life unique. The diversity of the clubs in Klow attests to the popularity of its night life, with night clubs, pubs, bars and singing bars (karaokes), Mesogean clubs, Kaftian clubs, jazz clubs, lounges, after-hours houses, and strip clubs all attracting different types of customers. With prostitution and cannabis legal and regulated throughout the country, Klow has also been known to attract sex tourists and drug tourists. The most active parts of Klow's night life are the 1st and 6th Districts.
Dinamo Klow S.K. is a football club representing the commune in the Pirveli Divizionis. It has 13 league titles, making it the second most prolific top-flight club in the country. The Klow Qvari rugby club competes in the Liga 1, and is the third most prolific club in the league, with 15 titles. Both clubs share the same home ground: the Kapitalis Stadionze, located in the north of the commune, a 67,394 capacity stadium.