Georgia, one of the oldest countries in the world, located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, in the central and western parts of the South Caucasus. This land is impregnated with ancient legends and significant historical facts that for centuries has been generating great culture and forming a unique lifestyle. There are about a hundred museums and hundreds of ancient monuments in this small country, some of which are included in UNESCO World Heritage List.
The first state formations on the territory of country is Diauehi and Colchis - appeared in XII-VIII century BC. In antiquity and the Middle Ages Eastern Georgia was known as Iberia. While a well-known Greek myth of the Argonauts tells about Western Georgia - Colchis. In the beginning of the IV century, Christianity becomes the state religion of the Kingdom of Eastern Georgia and later spreads to western regions. At the beginning of the XI century Georgian feudal formations merge into a single state. In the XII-XIII centuries, Georgia country is experiencing the Golden Age, greatly expanding the borders and controlling the entire region between the Black and Caspian Seas.
Favorable geographical location at the crossroads of trade routes and natural resources of Georgia has always attracted invading armies. Throughout history, the Georgians had to wage continuous wars with surrounding empires. The constantstruggle for independence and preservation of identity has deeply influencedculture, character and traditions of the Georgian people. This is best demonstrated by an universal word Gamarjoba that Georgians use when meeting someone or pronouncing a toast - translated it means the wish of victory. Other typical features of the Georgian mentality aregood-natured character and famous hospitality.
In the north of country Georgia has borders with the Russian Federation, in the south - Turkey and Armenia, in the east - Azerbaijan, in the west – the Black Sea.The territory of Georgia combines high mountains,midland, lowland plains, plateau and plateau-like terrain, that result in a unique variety of natural conditions and climates, as well as a wealth of flora and fauna. There are 14 nature reserves, 8 national parks, 12 protected areas, 14 natural monuments and 2 protected landscape in the country that effectively constitutes 7 % of the entire territory of country Georgia.
Historical and Architectural Monuments
Dmanisi: In 2004, during the excavations in Dmanisi, a human scull was discovered there which proved to be the oldest human remains ever found on the territory of Europe. This fact shifted the period of the first human inhabitants on the continent to the “date” of 1.8 million years ago, rendering Dmanisi as the “birthplace of the first Europeans”.
Vardzia is the largest historic and architectural complex in Georgia, hewed, carved and cut in the solid rock. Created in 1156-1204, during the rule of King George III and Queen Tamar, Vardzia is a cave-city that occupies 13 storeys cut in the rock; its remaining part is 900 m. wide and reaches 70 m. in height. The church of the Holy Virgin, preserved in the complex, has beautiful frescoes, among which one of the three portraits of Queen Tamar retains the freshness of image and colour.
Gonio Fortress – adorned by its 18 towers, the fortress is noted for its fancy brickwork. It is located to the south of the city of Batumi. The excavations revealed an archaeological layer, which dates back to the 17th c. BC. the burial places found there, are of later origin (5 c. AD). Gonio Fortress is proclaimed a museum-preserve of particular importance.
David Garedji Monastic complex – includes 16 smaller complexes among which the oldest is called David’s Lavra (6th c.). In the Middle Ages a famed art school flourished here influencing the development of graphic art.
Alaverdi – historic and architectural complex situated on the banks of the Alazani River, covered with woods. An immense cathedral was built in the XI c. that still retains the frescoes of the later period. The interior of the cathedral is amazing, especially its dimensions and the vertical streaming lines that convey the feeling of elation.
Academy of Ikalto – was famed in the medieval period as the centre of culture and enlightenment. It was founded in 1120, on the grounds of the complex of monastery that existed there since the VI c. The territory is still important because of the old churches of Trinity, Ghvtaeba, and Kvelatsminda. The legend says that Shota Rustaveli studied at the Ikalto academy.
Uplistsikhe is the oldest historic and architectural complex in Georgia, built in the 7th c. BC. Like Vardzia, it is also cut out of the rock. Situated in the vicinity of the town of Gori, the complex boasts a number of stone halls, antique theatre and pagan shrines. Some parts of interior are decorated with ornaments.
Bolnisi Sioni is the most prominent architectural masterpiece of the 5th c. in Georgia. This exemplary basilica with three naves preserves the samples of the oldest inscriptions in written Georgian language.
Gergeti Trinity – situated in the region of Stephantsminda (former Kazbegi), at the foot of the peak Mkinvartsveri (5047 m. above sea level). Compared to all the churches in Europe built in the alpine zone, Gergeti Trinity occupies the highest point and place (2400m).
Nikortsminda - domed cathedral was built in 1010-1014 by King Bagrat III in the hilly region of Racha. Nikortsminda is remarkable for its exterior stone carvings. Each part of the design is related to the theme of divine greatness of Christ. The monument is a masterpiece of its period.
Major cities: Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi
Tbilisi International Airport
Kutaisi International Airport
Batumi International Airport
Local Time: +4 GMT
Calling code: +995
Currency: Lari (₾), check for official exchange rates
Standard voltage: 220 V / 50 Hz
Power plugs: type C and F
Surface Area: 69 700 km²
Coastline: 308 km
Population: about 3.8 million
Official language: Georgian
Religion: Orthodox 84%, Muslim 9%, Grigorian - 5 %, Roman Catholic - 1.5%, other - 0.5%
Some Georgian words:
Gamarjoba (გამარჯობა) / Hello.
Madloba (მადლობა) / Thank You.
Arapris (არაფრის) / You are Welcome.
Diah / Ara (დიახ / არა) — Yes / No.
Ukatsravad (უკაცრავად) / Excuse Me.
Tu Sheidzleba (თუ შეიძლება) / Please.
Ver Gavige (ვერ გავიგე) / I Don't Understand.
Nakhvamdis (ნახვამდის) / Goodbye.
Guide to local Food & Wine: the ingredients are usually fresh; many dishes include walnuts, garlic and spices. The favourite Georgian dishes are Khachapuri or cheese pie, Khinkali (meat in boiled paste), Mtsvadi (“Shashlik” roast meat), Satsivi or Walnut sauce with turkey or chicken, Elarji (maize porridge hominy with Georgian cheese Sulguni). Other tasty sauces include the wild plum Tkemali and the hot Chili Ajika. For a breakfast with a difference, try the “Khashi”, a soup of tripe, cow hoof and lots of garlic. There are a lot of variations of these dishes and each region in Georgia has its own recipe. Georgians, also prepare very good bread and delicious sweets like Churchkela (nuts in boiled grape juice), Pelamushi (boiled grape juice) tastes of which are unforgettable. We suggest to try also Georgian wine, made in “Qvevri” (clay vessels) according the ancient traditions. The history and life style in Georgia have always been so closely connected with viticulture, there are over 500 different types of grapes, the most famous being Khvanchkara, Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane and Saperavi.
National and Religious Holidays:
New Year: January 1;
Orthodox Christmas: January 7;
Mother Day: March 3;
Independence Day: May 26;
Mariamoba (Assumption of the Holy Virgin): August 28;
Mtskheta - Svetitskhovloba: October 14;
Tbilisoba (Tbilisi-city festivities): Last week of October;
Nikolozoba: December 19
Giorgoba (St. George Day): November 23
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