Georgia

Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. Situated at the strategically important crossroads where Europe meets Asia, Georgia has a unique and ancient cultural heritage and is famed for its traditions of hospitality and cuisine. Georgia is a unitary semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.

Population: 4.3 million

Area 69,700 sq km

Languages:  Georgian, Russian widely spoken

Religion: Christianity

Georgia has a distinctive culture and a rich history that can be traced to classical antiquity and beyond. Archaeologists have found the oldest known traces of wine production, dated 8000 years BC, in Georgia. Due to this long history of viticulture, the grapevine is one of Georgia’s national symbols, adorning medieval decorations, carvings and paintings. Even the current Georgian alphabet, with its characteristic curvy shapes, looks like the loops and twists of grapevines.

A people of distinct culture, Georgians are not related to the Russians, Turks or Greeks, nor do they have any ethnic or linguistic ties to other nations that surround them. There are academic theories which link Georgians to Basque and Corsican people in South-western Europe, but there is no definitive evidence of this. For centuries, Georgians have been embroiled in power struggles against the world’s biggest empires (Roman, Mongol, Byzantine, Persian, Ottoman and Russian), but they nevertheless managed to preserve their identity. In a testament to this long history, Georgia’s countryside is covered with ancient towered fortifications, monasteries and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which have survived through great adversities.

From its green valleys spread with vineyards to its old churches and watchtowers perched in fantastic mountain scenery, Georgia is one of the most beautiful countries on earth and a marvellous canvas for walkers, horse riders, cyclists, skiers, rafters and travellers of every kind. Equally special are its proud, high-spirited, cultured people:

Nature of Georgia is under the protection of national parks and wildlife 44,626 sanctuaries – about 20% of the territory of Georgia are declared as areas to be protected. Due to their favourable routes and safe situation right in the heart of Georgia, the national parks have become an ideal place for fans of ecotourism, trekking, for walkers, as well as a beloved research destination for botanists, ornithologists and photographers.

The diverse landscape of the country provides a unique opportunity to observe the different bird species in the semi-desert conditions, in the savannas, riparian forests, alpine meadows, glaciers and swamps. 330 bird species are represented in the country, among them, there are critically endangered species, such as the Caucasian black grouse (Tetrao mlokosiewiczi) or Caucasian snowcock (Tetraogallus caucasicus).

The mountain villages of Georgia are impossible to imagine without a horse. The Caucasus Mountains are home to such breeds of horses of great endurance and beauty as Kabarda, Tusheti. Horseback riding on the mountain slopes of Georgia is an experience and impression that you will never forget.

In small villages, you can also enjoy the food grown in environmentally friendly conditions: delicate cheeses, juicy fruits, and vegetables as well as delicious homemade wines.

The green and sustainable development of the Tbilisi is connected to all of its economic activity – especially to the development of the hospitality and tourism business. All of the economic activity can be done sustainably, which is why they have developed a document called ‘The green strategy for the city of Tbilisi’. There are several projects to develop the city that come from this strategy. The local government is developing the historical part of the city – preserving the cultural heritage, which is one of the main attractions for tourists.

Georgian cuisine is considered one of the main attractions for tourists in Georgia, and it is particularly popular throughout the former Soviet Union. The Georgian cuisine is very specific to the country, but also contains some influences from the Middle Eastern and European culinary traditions. The cuisine offers a variety of dishes, rich in various herbs and spices. Each historical province of Georgia has its own distinct culinary tradition, with variations such as Megrelian, Kakhetian, and Imeretian cuisines. The food, in addition to various meat dishes, also offers a variety of vegetarian-based dishes. The cuisine is very varied with different dishes cooked daily.

The importance of both food and drink to Georgian culture is best observed during a feast, or supra, when a huge assortment of dishes are prepared, always accompanied by large amounts of wine, and dinner can last for hours. In a Georgian feast, the role of the tamada (toastmaster) is an important and honoured position.