Today Georgia is a small nation of approximately 4.5 million people, located between the Black and Caspian Seas, at the strategically important crossroads where Europe meets Asia. The territory of the country is 69,700 sq. km.
The recorded history of Georgia dates back more than 4,000 years. Georgia is also one of the first world countries that adopted Christianity as the state religion in the first half of the 4th century. Its culture is unusually rich for its size, with the Georgian language possessing not only its own script introduced in 5th century BC but also language group.
A key to Georgia’s turbulent history is its geographical position – in the heart of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus mountains. This dramatic natural barrier stretching between the Black and Caspian Seas, provides only a handful of passes through to the large land masses to the North and South. Georgia has a rich scenic variety: it lies mostly in the Caucasus Mountains, and its northern boundary to Russia is partly defined by the Greater Caucasus range. The Lesser Caucasus range, which runs parallel to the Turkish and Armenian borders, and the Surami and Imereti ranges, which connect the Greater Caucasus and the Lesser Caucasus, create natural barriers that are partly responsible for cultural and linguistic differences among regions. The largest river is the Mtkvari. The Rioni River, the largest river in western Georgia, has its origin in the Greater Caucasus and empties into the Black Sea at the port of Poti. Georgia’s climate is warm and pleasant. It is determined in big part by the mountains of the Greater Caucasus, which keep cold northern winds away from Georgia and the Black Sea. Winters are short and mild. The climate of Georgia is extremely diverse, considering the country’s small size. There are two main climatic zones, roughly separating Eastern and Western parts of the country. The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range plays an important role in moderating Georgia’s climate and protects the country from the penetration of colder air masses from the north. The Lesser Caucasus Mountains partially protect the region from the influence of dry and hot air masses from the south as well. Much of western Georgia lies within the northern periphery of the humid subtropical zone with annual precipitation ranging from 1000–4000 mm. (39–157 inches). The climate of the region varies significantly with elevation and while much of the lowland areas of western Georgia are relatively warm throughout the year, the foothills and mountainous areas experience cool, wet summers and snowy winters (snow cover often exceeds 2 meters in many regions). Adjara is the wettest region of the Caucasus, where the geo clima 4 small Mt. geo clima 5 small Mtirala rainforest, east of Kobuleti receives around 4500 mm (177 inches) of precipitation per year. Midwinter average temperature in West Georgia is 5 C and the midsummer average is 22C. Eastern Georgia has a transitional climate from humid subtropical to continental. The region’s weather patterns are influenced both by dry, Central Asian/Caspian air masses from the east and humid, Black Sea air masses from the west. The penetration of humid air masses from the Black Sea is often blocked by several mountain ranges (Likhi and Meskheti). Annual precipitation is considerably less than that of western Georgia and ranges from 400–1600 mm (16–63 inches). The wettest periods generally occur during Spring and Autumn while Winter and the Summer months tend to be the driest. Much of eastern Georgia experiences hot summers (especially in the low-lying areas) and relatively cold winters. As in the western parts of the country, elevation plays an important role in eastern Georgia where climatic conditions above 1500 meters are considerably colder than in the low-lying areas. The regions that lie above 2000 meters frequently experience frost even during the summer months. The average temperature in summer is 20-24 degrees of Celsius, in winter 2-4 degrees of Celsius. Humidity is lower.
The Georgian language belongs to the Kartvelian group of Iberian-Caucasian languages. It is one of the oldest of the living languages. The Assyrian manuscript “A book of peoples and countries”, written in the fifth century, contains a note that of 73 peoples then known only 14 had a written language. Among these Georgians are mentioned (Latin, Slavic-Cyrillic, Arabian, Indian, Chines, Japanese, Korean, Ethiopian, Greek, Georgian, Armenian, Jewish, Mongolian and Syrian). The Georgians have their alphabet, the number of letters being the same of sounds, thus spelling and pronunciation are identical. Handwriting and printing are similar. This makes Georgian orthography one of the simplest and most perfect in the world. The Georgian written language was created under the king Parnavaz (III century AD).
Hardly any other country except for Georgia has experienced such a great number of assaults and still been able to preserve so many of its characteristic features and its unspoilt naturalness. Numerous churches and fortifications bear witness to the country’s restless and sorrowful historic past. Georgia’s recorded history dates back more than 2000 years. The recently discovered Dmanisi hominid in the foothills of the lesser Caucasus, provides a remarkable 1.8 million year old link with first European humankind’s earliest transitions. After the Stone Age, humans started settling on Georgian territory even more intensively. Since those ancient times, humans have always inhabited Georgian land. Georgian language is one of the oldest living languages in the world. It is over 2,000 years old with own distinctive alphabet. Georgian writing was first seen in the 5th century. The first examples include inscriptions in the Georgian monastery of the Holy Cross in Palestine, in the Bethlehem desert (Bir-ell-Katt), as well as those in the Sioni Church of Bolnisi, south of Tbilisi. Georgia has historically found itself on the margins of great empires – its territory a desirable land for the great Asian empires, from the Arabs to Tamerlane, from the Mongols to the Ottomans from at least the 1st century B.C. through the 18th century. Despite numerous invasions and wars Georgia managed to unite during X-XII I centuries. David Aghmashenebeli (the Builder, 1089-1125), Georgia’s greatest and most prominent king, unified Georgia in the 12th century. This period of Georgia’s golden age – also the rule of Queen Tamar (1184-1213) – was a time of cultural renaissance, monastery building, fresco and ornament design. Richly decorated churches sprang up across the newly unified nation – some even high up in the mountains. The last conqueror, Russia, started annexation of Georgia in 1801 and finished it in 1917. Georgia spent almost 200 years of its recent history being part of the Russian empire: first as Russia’s province (guberniya), then as a Soviet republic. Also during this time, it retained its language, culture, and distinctive qualities. 1991, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia declared independence from the U.S.S.R. 1992 Georgia became the 179th member of the UN various international and regional organizations.
Capital – Tbilisi
Population – 4.497 million
Area (in sq. km) – 69,700
Population – 4,497.6 [Ethnic Georgians – 83.8%, Azeri 6.5%, Armenians 5.7%, Russians 1.5%, and the other national minorities – 2.5%, according to the 2002 Census].
Language(s) – Georgian, Abkhaz