Georgia, Land of Contrasts
Located at the gateway to Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and Asia, at the confluence of these great empires, Georgia has shaped over 3 millennia an atypical culture and a very original identity. Surrounded by mountains and the Black Sea, the Pearl of the Caucasus, also called “The Mountain of the Peoples”, Georgia is an extraordinary country that conceals natural treasures of incredible beauty and rich and fascinating history.
Georgia is a beautiful blend of Eastern and Western influences with an authentically European lifestyle. The mythical Colchis’s landscapes are fantastic, its sense of hospitality legendary as its wines and famous gastronomy. Over the last decade, this almost unknown jewel has become one of the world’s most dynamic tourist destinations, to the delight of its visitors seduced by its most pleasant way of life.
Population: 3.724 million (+1 million diaspora)
Area: 69,700 sq. km
Borders – Southeast : Azerbaijan / Southwest : Turkey and the Black Sea / North : Russia / South : Armenia.
Geography: Mountain ranges and hills comprise 80% of Georgian territory.
The country is situated between 40 – 47 degrees E and 41 – 44 degrees N
Capital: Tbilisi (population: 1 200.000)
Other cities: Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi, Gori, Poti, Zugdidi, Telavi
Ethnic groups : Georgians – 83.8%, Azeris – 6.5%, Armenians – 5.7%, Russians – 1.5%
State language: Georgian
English widely spoken
National currency: Georgian Lari GEL
1Gel ~ 0.25€ (0.30 US$)
In Georgia, you feel safe. According to the Numbeo 2020 report, Georgia is the safest country in Europe and the sixth safest after South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. You will feel safe when you travel in the country.
Georgians say that “the Guest is a gift,” and they will do their best to treat you with the utmost hospitality. For centuries, Georgians have developed traditions of hospitality. Georgians are very proud of it. The love and respect for guests is boundless, and the devotion to host’s duties is passed on from generation to generation. So relax and enjoy the best this country has to offer.
An Ancient Country
The first Europeans came from Georgia. Numerous archaeological expeditions have proven without a doubt that Georgia is the homeland of the first Europeans, suggesting that a man from Africa traveled to Europe via Georgia 1.8 million years ago. Without going back to time immemorial, Georgia is one of the oldest civilizations. Traces of massive colonization and human settlement date back to the fifth millennium BC. Throughout its long and eventful history, Georgia has become the theater of a spectacular and continuous juxtaposition of many different peoples and cultures.
Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Mongols, Arabs, and Turks have invaded Georgia over the centuries. The Georgian people have always been able to preserve the community from danger while showing resilience. All these “forced” influences have forged a very original culture. Among the many cultural legacies, Georgians have their own alphabet. This unique writing system is one of the fourteen alphabets of the world. Its beautiful cursive forms have been influenced by Greek and Persian scripts.
The Black Sea Riviera
The Pontic Greeks and the Soviet intelligentsia enjoyed the mild climate and the beautiful black sand beaches of the Georgian coast. There are several seaside resorts in Georgia. These places are ideal for spending time from April to early autumn. Batumi, the beautiful and wild areas of the Green Cape, the endless beaches of Kobuleti, or the magnetic black sand beaches of Ureki. It is one of the two magnetic beaches in the world. These sands have healing properties that are known to be beneficial for the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. What could be better than sun, sea, fresh sea air, and a warm velvet bath? Adding the nearby Caucasus mountains’ views in the background and the sight of dolphins playing not far from the shore, it is a magical, dramatic and incomparable spectacle.
Among the cultural sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, such as Mtskheta, the Gelati Monastery Cathedral’s imposing complex, and the mountainous region of Upper-Svaneti, there are two other wonders in Georgia: polyphonic folk music and fantastic traditional dances.
Just as Georgia has cultivated the world’s longest uninterrupted wine-growing tradition, its musical tradition is also remarkable. Georgia has given birth to various rich and dynamic traditional music and song styles, considered to be the oldest polyphonic song tradition in the world.
Combined with song and music, traditional dances celebrate Georgia’s history and culture’s richness and diversity. Practiced at school as a sport, dance is a “language” in its own right. When you watch a Georgian dance performance, you feel its history, customs, traditions, energy and originality. Georgian dances are a breathtaking show, served by a precise choreography. The graceful movements, rhythm, music, stylized acrobatic elements, elegant and colorful costumes of the troupe represent the traditional values and mores of Georgian society and perfectly capture the grace, beauty and courage of women, the honor and respect of Georgian men.