Georgia is one of the most fascinating and mysterious Eastern countries, the history of which keeps a lot of ancient myths and legends. Ancient temples and monasteries, castles and cave cities dating two thousand years back remind us of the great historical events that have once taken place on the territory of Georgia. Along with the great cultural heritage, this country is famous for beautiful scenery of the Caucasus mountain range and shingle beaches of the Black Sea.
The Colchis and Iberia kingdoms had once flourished on the territory of present-day Georgia; its lands had been conquered by armies of Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and Iranian Shah Abbas. For eastern nations, it was a kind of “the Georgian cherry on the Eurasian pie”, as it connected Asia with Europe and its access to the sea afforded great ground for successful trading. However, since the 18th century, the Georgian Kingdom has been amassing strength and independence. Now this beautiful country welcomes guests from around the world and introduces traditions of the Caucasian people.
Georgia is located in the eastern part of Europe, among Russia, Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan. In the north, the Caucasus Mountains rise up, stretching from the western shore of the Black Sea. The highest mountain in the Caucasus is Shkhara of 5068 meters high. Gorges, springs, waterfalls, river valleys, soft-wood and evergreen forests create excellent conditions for a healing rest.
Quiet cosy coves, shingle beaches, picturesque landscapes, blue waters of the endless sea, and subtropical climate can be noted by you in resort areas of Georgia. The best time for a beach holiday runs from May to September.
Batumi is considered to be the pearl of the Black Sea coast. It resembles a tropical city with palm trees, cypresses, and fragrant orange trees and also everywhere you can catch the scent of pine needles. In Greek mythology, the Argonauts sought for the Golden Fleece on the territory of present-day Batumi. In the centre of the city you can notice the Monument to Princess Medea from Colchis holding the Golden Fleece in her hands. The monument has been built in the square to remind us of this beautiful myth. The most popular place in the city is considered to be the embankment, where you can observe dolphins often coming into the bay. Another popular seaside resort is Sukhumi. They say that it was founded near the Greek city of Dioscuri long ago gone under water. The warmest Black Sea resort in Georgia is the town of Gagra, located in the cosy cove. On the shore of the Black Sea, you can visit one more beautiful resort town known as New Athos. It has got such name thanks to St Simon the Canaanite, an apostle who preached Christianity here.
Georgia is mostly covered by the mountains, thus favouring winter sport recreation. Winters are mild and wet with lots of sunny days here. In the Greater Caucasus, there are two well-known ski resorts – Bakuriani and Gudauri. The first resort mentioned above is located near Tbilisi at 1800 meters above sea level. All tracks are totally about 5 kilometres long, and the highest point of the resort rises up to 2850 meters. Tracks with different levels of difficulty are prepared according to different skiing ability levels. The resort’s distinctive feature is the opportunity to go freeriding, an off-piste descent. In addition, extreme styles are considered to be backcountry and heli-skiing. These tracks are intended for experienced skiers.
The Caucasus Mountains are known not only for ski resorts, but also for mountain mineral springs, which possess miraculous powers of healing, people say. In Georgia, there are world-renowned mountain and spa resorts such as Borjomi, Java and Avadhara. Clean mountain air, plenty of sunshine and water treatment have a healing effect on the entire body.
The neighbouring nations have influenced the Georgia's culture that later was reflected in the architecture of ancient structures. Today, one can count about ten thousand such sites, some of which included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Unique buildings in Georgia are impressive. Religious temples, cave cities in the Caucasus Mountains and fortifications have been built in this area. The ancient city of Mtskheta is home to unique places of interest, such as Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, an orthodox one, and Jvari Monastery, built on the high hill in honour of St Nino, a female evangelist. The city of Kutaisi has gained its fame tanks to medieval architectural masterpieces – Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery. The capital of Georgia – Tbilisi – has also got what to show you. Its real gem is Narikala, an ancient impregnable fortress. Cave cities have mainly served as homes for the clergy and have been built next to monasteries, for example, Vardzia in Javakheti.
The modern architecture of Georgia also surprises with its unusual shapes and interesting ideas. In contrast to Western sharp angles, straight lines and geometric shapes, the Georgian architecture uses streamlined shape and curves. For example, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Batumi resembles huge pebble stones, and the House of Justice in Tbilisi looks like giant mushrooms, and the Sarpi Customs Terminal is associated with a cloud.
The Georgian hospitality is expressed in keeping traditions of the national feast. That’s why the Georgian cuisine is one of reasons to visit this country. Its cuisine is notable among others for flavourful and spicy dishes, as well as various ways of their cooking. The Georgians can’t imagine a table served without meat, which is used to cook shashlyk (kebab), their main dish. And all sorts of sauces, spices and seasonings can make this dish tasting different. Georgian dishes such as satsivi, chakhokhbili, chikhirtma and chicken tabaka have long become international. Soup kharcho is well known throughout Europe. Mchadi, corn tortillas, is a part of national baked goods and their famous sweets are churchkhela and kozinaki.
One of the most delicious drinks produced in Georgia is wine. The secrets of wine-making have been coming down from father to son. The first archaeological finds of tools for making wine date back to the 10th-9th centuries BC. Kakheti, Kindzmarauli, Tsinandali are major regions with vineyards. Coming here, you will be able to get to know the ancient traditions of winemaking. The main grape varieties grown in Georgia are Saperavi and Rkatsiteli, literally "red horn". Rkatsiteli has been named to honour the Georgian tradition of drinking wine from the horn of a slaughtered animal. This tradition has been changed over time, but some of its elements have been preserved.
The enchanting landscapes of the Caucasus Mountains, the picturesque Black Sea coast, the ancient architecture, the famous Georgian hospitality, the rich cuisine, as well as unique customs and traditions, fascinating legends await you in Georgia.
Administrative division — Georgia
Tbilisi Population: 1172699
- Guria Population: 141827
- Imereti Population: 703485
- Kakheti Population: 395456
- Kvemo Kartli Population: 511300
- Mtskheta-Mtianeti Population: 122576
- Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti Population: 48571
- Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Population: 466100
- Samtskhe-Javakheti Population: 207443
- Shida Kartli Population: 320657