Official name: Democratic Republic of Georgia
Capital: Tbilisi (about 1.11 million inhabitants)
Population: around 10.5 mln inhabitants
Climate: West: subtropical-humid climate; East: dry and temperate continental climate
Area: 69.700 sqm
Religion: Georgian Orthodox
Official language: Georgian
Currency: Lari (GEL)
Time zone: GMT + 4
Georgia, the land bridge between Europe and Asia, occupies a tiny space on the world map, so that very few people notice it. But Georgia is one of the oldest countries and has one of the oldest cultures in the world. Over 4000 historical monuments are piled up on this small area of the earth. Besides, the country is characterized by the diversity of the landscape, flora and fauna, peoples and languages. The lifestyle, culture, traditions as well as customs and manners have unique peculiarities. Visitors to Georgia are the first to notice the extraordinarily high culture of hospitality. A saying like “the guest is from God” is one of the highest laws of life for Georgians. So Georgia has ideal conditions for cultural, study, wine, gourmet and hiking trips. Georgia is open and generous, so that you can quickly feel at home here. Georgia is a country you can easily fall in love with.
Georgia is a country with an ancient culture, the origins of which go back thousands of years. In Georgia you can find traces of the past at every turn. The monuments emerged between the 5th century B.C. and in the middle of the last century, testify to the rich traditions and the high building culture. Like the rock buildings from late antiquity, the sacral buildings, the beginnings of which go back to the 4th century when Georgia raised Christianity to the state religion, and the numerous church monuments preserved from the 5th to 13th centuries.
To this day, wonderful frescoes have been preserved in the churches and monasteries, which were already developed in early Christian times and flourished somewhat later. An independent national style was developed in the different painting schools in the country, which was adapted to the Georgian architecture. A trip to the churches and monasteries reveals the national independence to visitors.
Georgian culture can hardly be imagined without national folklore. The Georgian folk song conquers everyone with its polyphony. Nobody knows when this particular form of singing, polyphony, was born. Xenophon wrote in the 4th century BC. on the military deployment of a Georgian tribe: “After the lineup, one started to sing, all the others joined in and they moved on singing.” The Georgians believe that polyphonic chant exists as long as the Georgian people exist, that it is originally Georgian chant.
Geography and nature
Georgia is about 70,000 square kilometers while it is characterized by a variety of climatic conditions. The mountain ranges of the large and small Caucasus and the Black Sea have a major impact on the climate of Georgia. The Greater Caucasus protects the country from the cold air masses from the north, but it is protected from the dry and hot summer winds from Iraq and Iran by the Little Caucasus. The western border of Georgia, the Black Sea, warms the country inland. That is why the climate in western Georgia is humid and subtropical. The climate of eastern Georgia is rather dry and continental. However, the alpine climate prevails in mountain regions.
The diverse climatic conditions and astonishing diversity of landscape forms require a varied flora. 13,000 plant species grow here, of which around 4,000 are endemic and are only native to this area. Georgia has 11 nature reserves, which cover a total of about 7% of the country’s area.
For centuries, the charming landscape of Georgia has attracted not only travelers and researchers, but also enemies. The country lying between Europe and Asia – called “crossroads on the way of the peoples” – was repeatedly subjugated by foreign powers. The conquerors – Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Persians, Mongols, Turks, Russians – took turns and devastated Georgia in their raids. Nevertheless, the Georgians were able to preserve their culture, religion and national identity.
Georgia has a delicious and varied cuisine. The secret of the tasty food are the fresh ingredients, herbs, vegetables, fruits and of course the traditional recipes. The traditional dishes are prepared all over the country, but each region offers its specialties.
The important part of Georgian culture is wine. The scientists claim that 6,000-8,000 years ago people cultivated the first vines and also produced the wine. Around 500 grape varieties grow in Georgia, many of which are autochthonous. The wine culture is said to have spread all over the world from here. Very few people know that there are only two methods of wine production in the world: Georgian and European. According to the Georgian method, the crushed grapes, together with their skin, seeds and stems, are placed in large ceramic vessels that are embedded in the earth.
The alcoholic fermentation takes place with the entire amount of the mash. After fermentation, the traditional Georgian jar, called Qvevri, is filled and closed with the lid. This fermentation period lasts up to six months for white wine, which gives Qvevri wine its special taste. The Georgian wine making method has been added to the list of World Heritage Sites.