Georgia

Georgia is a country on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. (If you are looking for information of the state of Georgia, please visit by Georgia Travel Guide in Exploring America.) Covering 69,700 sq km (26,911 sq mi), the moderate-size country is bordered by Russia to the north, Azerbaijan to the southeast, Armenia to the south, Turkey to the southwest, and the Black Sea to the west.

Metekhi Church, Tbilisi, Georgia
Author: Abu Zarr (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

Georgia has a population of 4.7 million. Its capital and largest city is Tbilisi. The country is a semi-presidential republic. In 2010, it has a nominal GDP of $22 billion, a per capita nominal GDP of $2,559 and a per capital purchasing power parity GDP of $5,075.

Evidence of human habitation in Georgia goes back to Paleolithic times. Its documented history is traced to the classic period of antiquity, when the states of Diaokhi was established in the 13th century BC. The early Georgian kingdoms of Iberia and Colchis embraced Christianity in AD 319 or AD 337, being one of the oldest Christian nations after Armenia. Colchis was the location of the Golden Fleece sought by Jason, as mentioned in Greek Mythology.

Ananuri Fortress, Georgia
Author: © Smerus

Georgian kingdoms became client states of the Roman Empire from 66 BC. When King Mirian III made Christianity the state religion in AD 337, he effectively aligned Georgia with neighboring states in the Eastern Roman Empire. Over the centuries, the kingdom decline to form small feudal states. Southeastern Georgia was conquered by the Arabs in the 7th century, only to be reunited by David IV into the Georgian Kingdom in the 11th century.

Georgia fell under Mongol attacks led by Mingburnu in 1236. By the 16th century, when the Mongol withdrew, a weakened Georgia was divided between the Persian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. They were brought together again under King Heraclius II in 1762. The independence was shortlived, for the state was attacked by Turks and Persians in 1785 and 1795, and was annexed into Russia on 8 January, 1801.

Sighnaghi, Georgia, in winter
Author: Paata Vardanashvili (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Georgia declared independence from Russia on 26 May, 1918, in the wake of the Russian Civil War. Again the independence was not long lasting. In February 1921 Georgia was attacked by the Red Army, and this led to the establishment of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936.

On 9 April, 1991, Georgia declared independence just shortly before the Soviet Union was dissolved. The country plunged into civil war which last until 1995. Inter-ethnic violence continued to simmer, occasionally boiling over. Political turbulence continued into the new millennium, with the Rose Revolution of 2003 deposing of Eduard Shevardnadze, who was reelected in 2000. As recently as 2008 the country was embroiled in a military conflict with Russia. Today the political climate of Georgia remains volatile.

Gelati Monastery, Georgia
Author: Paata Vardanashvili (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Visiting Georgia

Citizens of

Andorra, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Iceland, Iran, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and CIS countries (except Russia) can visit Georgia visa-free for up to 360 days.

By Plane

The Tbilisi International Airport (TBS) is the main gateway into Georgia. The national flag carrier is Georgian Airways. Other airlines flying there include Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines.

By Bus
There are regular bus services between Tbilisi and Istanbul, Turkey. There are also bus services with Baku in Azerbaijan.

Major Towns in Georgia

  1. Tbilisi – capital
  2. Akhaltsikhe
  3. Batumi
  4. Borjomi
  5. Gori
  6. Kutaisi
  7. Mtskheta
  8. Sukhumi
  9. Telavi

Places of Interest in Georgia

  1. Bakuriani ski slopes
  2. Davit Gareja
  3. Kakheti wineries
  4. Mount Kazbeg
  5. Pasanauri ski slopes
  6. Uplistsikhe
  7. Vardzia

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Georgia

  1. Historical Monuments of Mtskheta List of World Heritage in Danger
  2. Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery
  3. Upper Svaneti

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