Georgia Destinations Travel Guide

Flag of Georgia

Language: Georgian

Currency: Lari (GEL)

Calling Code: 995


Georgia (in Georgian: საქართველო, transliterated: Sakartvelo) is a sovereign country of Eastern Europe, located on the coast of the Black Sea. Until 1991, it was part of the Russian Empire and later Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). It shares borders with Russia to the north and northeast, with Turkey and Armenia to the south, and with Azerbaijan to the southeast.The capital is Tbilisi (in Georgian: თბილისი, Tbilisi), although since 2012 the Parliament is based in the city of Kutaisi.

The Constitution of Georgia is that of a representative democracy, organized as a unitary State, semi-presidential Republic. Georgia is currently a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol), the World Trade Organization, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Democratic Option Community, and GUAM. The country aspires to join the European Union and NATO; the European Union incorporated Georgia as an associated state.

The history of Georgia goes back to the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia. Georgia reached the peak of its political and economic strength during the reign of David IV and Queen Tamar, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. At the beginning of the 19th century, Georgia was annexed by the Russian Empire. After a brief period of independence after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Georgia was annexed by Soviet Russia in 1921. From 1922 to 1991 the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic was one of the fifteen federal republics of the Soviet Union. On April 9, 1991, shortly after the collapse of the USSR, Georgia declared its independence. Like many post-communist countries, Georgia suffered civil unrest and the economic crisis of most of the 1990s, but through the Revolution of the Roses of 2003 the new government introduced democratic and economic reforms.


Travel Destination in Georgia

Zarzma Monastery  of Transfiguration is a medieval Orthodox Christian monastery located in Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia.



The endonym of Georgia (საქართველო, Sakartvelo - “country of the Kartvelians”) goes back to the name of Kartli (Georgian ქართლი) - one of the main historical and geographical regions of Georgia and the cradle of Kartvelian statehood. Both the name of Georgia in English - Georgia - and the name "Georgia", which is established in Russian and a number of other languages, most likely come from Gurjan or Gurzan from Arab-Persian sources. It is believed that these names come from the Arab-Persian Gurj (Gurjistan - "country of wolves"), which goes back to the Persian word gorg "wolf" and is associated with the ancient Persian vrkan.

The name of Georgia in Armenian is “Վրաստան” (Vrastan), in ancient times it was Վիրք (Virk), meaning “Upper Country” in translation. The name is also reflected in Old Armenian as virk (վիրք); it is believed that the ancient Greek name comes from it - "Iberia" (ιβηρία), which entered Latin as hiberia.


State symbols

The modern flag, repeating the historical banner of the Kingdom of Georgia, was approved on January 14, 2004 by a special "Law on the Flag", which, in particular, gives a diagram of the flag indicating its proportions. The ratio of length to width is 3:2. The width of the cross is equal to 1/5 of the width of the cloth. The flag of Georgia is one of the oldest flags in the world and has been used since the 13th century.

Coat of arms
The modern coat of arms was adopted on October 1, 2004. It is a red shield depicting a silver figure of the patron saint of Georgia - St. George on horseback slaying a dragon with a spear. The shield is crowned with a golden crown and is held by 2 golden lions. Under the shield is a ribbon with the motto "Strength in Unity". The coat of arms is partly based on the medieval coat of arms of the Georgian royal house of Bagrations (Bagrationi).

The modern anthem of Georgia - "Tavisupleba" - was approved in May 2004, its music is taken from two operas by Z. Paliashvili (1871-1933) - "Daisi" ("Twilight") and "Abesalom and Eteri", the author of the text is a modern Georgian poet David Magradze, who used quotes from the poems of Georgian classical poets - A. Tsereteli, V. Pshavela, G. Orbeliani and G. Tabidze.



ancient period
Human presence on the territory of Georgia began in ancient times and has one of the longest and continuous histories in the world. Some experts are inclined to believe that the country was also among the territories on which the evolution of the first anthropoid creatures took place. Approximately 1.8-1.6 million years BC. The Dmanisi hominid, or Homo erectus georgicus ("Georgian Man"), lived on the territory of present-day Georgia - one of the subspecies of the extinct species Homo erectus. The study of the remains of Homo erectus georgicus found in Georgia showed that the once possible predecessors of modern humans moved from northeast Africa to the Caucasus, to Georgia. Most likely, it was a dead end branch of development.

Pre-state period and ethnogenesis
The main role in the history of Georgia was played by the ancient Kartvelian tribes. The ancient Kartvelians inhabited vast territories covering both the whole of Georgia and some regions of northeastern Turkey (Tao, Lazistan, Klarjeti), northern Armenia (Lori), Black Sea Russia (Sochi region), and also partially western Azerbaijan (Hereti). Most of the largest kartvelologists believe that the original (in the period from the 6th to the 4th millennium BC) area of ​​​​the ancient Kartvelians and their ancestral home was the territory from northern Mesopotamia up to the ridges of the North Caucasus, which is used to designate the Janashia proposed by Academician Simon Nikolozovich the term "Khatta-Subareti". Nevertheless, already by the 4th millennium BC, in connection with the invasion of the Hurrian, Semitic and Sumerian tribes, only the South Caucasus became the only center for the preservation of the Kartvelian civilization.

According to the prominent Kartvelologist Arnold Chikobava, after a sharp reduction in the range in the III millennium BC. e. the unified Kartvelian community lost its consolidation. First of all, this is reflected in the change in the Proto-Kartvelian language spoken by the ancient Kartvelians: due to the deterioration or lack of communication between the Kartvelian tribes, the dialect differences between them intensified, and it broke up into several branches.

After the ethno-linguistic divergence of the ancient Kartvelians, the Svan (northern and western Georgia) and Karto-Zan (southern, central and eastern Georgia) groups of tribes arose, which subsequently began to form the first state associations on the territory of the country (Diaokha, Colchis, Zabakha), becoming the main elements in the process of the formation of the Georgian nation.

First states and ancient period
By the end of the III millennium BC refers to the collapse of the tribal system among the Kartvelian tribes and their transition from military democracy to developed tribal unions, and by the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. the ancient Kartvelians are moving to the stage of early statehood.

One of the first and largest state formations in the immediate territory of modern Georgia of this period are: Diaokha (Diaeni, Diaukhi) in southwestern Georgia, Kolkha (Kolkhida, Kilkhi, Kulkha) in western Georgia (Megrelia, Abkhazia, Adjara, Guria, Imereti , Svaneti) and Zabakha in southeastern Georgia (Samtskhe-Javakheti). These associations played an important role in the development of Georgian statehood, becoming its founders. It is interesting that the modern historical and administrative division of Georgia actually coincides with the borders of Diaokha, Kolkhi and Zabakha, which indicates a pronounced continuity.

In the 7th century BC the invasion of the Cimmerians significantly weakens Colchis and forever destroys Urartu and Assyria.

In the VI century BC. the conquest of southern Colchis by the Achaemenedian Empire takes place and Greek colonization begins. In the 5th century BC a new Colchis state (Egrisi) is formed on the territory of present-day western Georgia, which lasted until the 4th century BC.

In IV-III centuries BC. e. the Iberian kingdom (Kartli) is formed on the territory of present-day eastern Georgia (which existed until the 6th century AD). From 229 B.C. the reign of the royal dynasties of Iberia begins, ruling from 299 BC. to 580 AD In 65 BC. The Roman general Pompey invaded the Iberian kingdom with an army.

In the 1st century AD, according to local tradition, the Apostle Andrew the First-Called brought Christianity to Georgia and founded the GOC.

In the year 35, the army of Kartli invades Armenia; Mithridates, the brother of King Farsman of Kartli, reigned on the Armenian throne. In 63, Colchis became part of the Roman Empire.

In 331, through the work of St. Nina, Christianity was declared the state religion of Iberia.

Middle Ages

In the 4th-6th centuries, the Kingdom of Lazes was strengthened on the territory of the former Colchis. In 482-484, King Vakhtang I Gorgasal (canonized as a saint) rebelled against the Sassanids.

Between 526-532, a conflict begins between the Sassanids and Byzantium for control of Iberia (Kartli). In 542, the "Great War" between the Sassanid state and Byzantium begins, which ends in 562.

In 580, Hormizd IV abolished the Iberian monarchy after the death of King Bakur III and Iberia became a Persian province ruled by a marzpan (ruler). The Georgian nobility called on the Byzantine emperor Mauritius to revive the Iberian kingdom in 582. With the support of the Byzantines, in 588 the Kartli Erismtavar was formed. Guaram I was appointed as the first Curopalate. In 591, Byzantium and Persia agreed to divide Iberia between themselves, with Tbilisi passing into the hands of Persia, and Mtskheta under Byzantine control.

In 608, a church schism took place between the Georgian and Armenian churches.

In 627, the Byzantine emperor Heraclius I began the siege of Tbilisi, and the next year the city was taken by the Khazars.

In 654, an agreement was signed with the Arab Caliphate, which was called the "Guarantee".

In 735, the Arab commander Marwan II ibn Muhammad (Marwan the Deaf) attacked Georgia; he wanted to go through Lazika (Egrisi) to Khazaria and destroy it, a number of territories were under the control of the Arabs. In 736, the Tbilisi Emirate was formed - an Islamic state entity under the auspices of the Arab Caliphate.

In 786, the Laz kingdom merges with Abazgia and forms the Abkhaz kingdom. At the end of the 8th century, the Arabs abolished erismtavarism in Kartli.

In 813, Ashot I Kuropalat founded the principality of Tao-Klarjeti.

In 853, Tbilisi was captured by Arab troops led by Bug-Turk.

In 888, Adarnase IV Bagrationi restored the Georgian monarchy.

In 914, Emir Abul-Kasim invades southern and eastern Georgia. In 979, with the help of David Kuropalat, the uprising of Barda Sklir against Basil II was suppressed.

In 1008-1010, King Bagrat III created a single Georgian state, annexing Kakheti and Hereti in 1010.

In 1023 a peace treaty was signed between Georgia and Byzantium, but in 1028 the Byzantines again attacked Georgia.

In 1064 and 1068, two Seljuk campaigns against Georgia took place. In 1073, the feudal lords rebelled against George II.

In 1083 George II began to pay tribute to the Seljuks, in 1099 David IV the Builder stopped paying tribute.

In 1104, David IV the Builder convenes the Ruiz-Urbnis Cathedral; in 1106 the construction of the Gelati monastery began.

Samshvilde was liberated from the Seljuk Turks in 1110, Rustavi in ​​1115, Gishi in 1117, and Lore in 1118. On August 12, 1121, the Seljuk army was defeated by the Georgians in the Battle of Didgori, later Tbilisi was liberated from the Seljuk Turks in 1122, and Dmanisi in 1123.

In 1210, Georgia undertakes a military campaign in Northern Iran. In 1220, the first invasion of the Mongols into Georgia takes place. In 1226 Tbilisi was taken by Khorezmshah Jalal ad-Din.

In 1266, the principality of Samtskhe separated from united Georgia.

From 1386 to 1403, Tamerlane launched a series of destructive campaigns against Georgia. In 1403, Tamerlane and George VII signed a peace agreement.

XV-XVIII centuries
In the 15th century, Georgia was surrounded by the Muslim world and, being actually isolated, fell into decay. The last king of united Georgia was George VIII; later on, Georgia disintegrated into the kingdom of Kartli, the kingdom of Kakheti, the kingdom of Imereti and Samtskhe-Saatabago.

In the 16th century, the territory of modern Georgia becomes an arena of confrontation between the Ottoman Empire and the Safavid Empire; from 1578 to 1590 there is a Turkish-Persian war for control over the Transcaucasus, as a result of which Persia loses the Transcaucasus. However, later, in 1597, Shah Abbas expelled the Turks from Georgia and the Caucasus, and in 1599 the Gori fortress was liberated from the Ottomans.

As part of the Russian Empire
In the 18th century, the rulers of Georgia tried to fight for the revival of the country and its liberation from the rule of hostile Islamic powers. Major administrative, legislative, military and economic reforms were carried out in Kartli under Vakhtang VI. By this time, very close political, cultural and ecclesiastical ties with Russia are activated. Georgian rulers have repeatedly appealed to the Russian government with a request for joint action against the Ottoman Empire and Iran. By the end of the 17th century, a Georgian colony had formed in Moscow, which played a significant role in strengthening Russian-Georgian contacts. After the capture of Tbilisi by the Ottoman troops in 1723, Vakhtang VI and his supporters emigrated to Russia.

According to the 1780 census, the Georgian population in Georgia amounted to 675 thousand people.


In 1783, the Treaty of St. George was signed.

In 1795, the Battle of Krtsanisi took place, in which the troops of Heraclius II and the King of Imereti Solomon II fought against the Persian army of Agha Muhammad Khan, the reason for which was the refusal of Erekle II to fulfill the demand of Agha Muhammad Khan to break the union treaty between the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti and the Russian Empire . The forces were unequal, as a result of the battle, almost all Georgian soldiers died, and shortly after that, Tiflis was almost completely captured and destroyed.

In 1801, Alexander I issued a manifesto, according to which the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti was abolished. In 1809, the Russian army occupied Poti and Kutaisi, in 1811 - Akhalkalaki, in the same year the autocephaly of the Georgian Church was abolished.

The 19th century was characterized by mass peasant uprisings and national liberation aspirations among the Georgian nobility and intelligentsia; I. Chavchavadze became the most important figure of this time.

In the 1860s-1890s, the construction of the Transcaucasian railway (Poti-Tbilisi, Batumi-Tbilisi-Baku) took place.

Georgian Democratic Republic
After the collapse of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic on May 26, 1918 in Tiflis (Tbilisi) in the Vorontsov Palace, the independence of Georgia was proclaimed.

The Georgian government concludes an agreement with Germany, on the basis of which the Kaiser's troops are stationed in Georgia, and Germany begins to export raw materials from Georgia through the port of Batumi.

In June 1918, the Georgian army under the command of General Mazniashvili captured Abkhazia.

Then Georgia annexes Russian lands: July 2 - Adler, July 5 - Sochi, July 27 - Tuapse, a little later - Khadyzhensk.

In 1918-1920, uprisings broke out in South Ossetia, suppressed by the Georgian army.

As part of the USSR
Since March 12, 1922, Georgia (together with Abkhazia) has been part of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (TSFSR); from December 30, 1922, as part of the ZSFSR, it was part of the USSR. From December 5, 1936, it was directly part of the USSR as a union republic. At the same time, according to the constitution of the Abkhaz SSR, this republic was also part of the TSFSR and was a subject through the Georgian SSR, since Abkhazia was in federal relations with Georgia.

Since December 30, 1922, Georgia has been part of the USSR as part of the TSFSR.

In August-September 1924, the August uprising against the Soviet regime took place.

In 1936, according to the new constitution of the USSR, the Georgian SSR, the Armenian SSR and the Azerbaijan SSR became part of the USSR as independent union republics. The Transcaucasian Federation was abolished.

In March 1956, mass rallies and demonstrations took place in Tbilisi, caused by the speech of the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU N. Khrushchev with a report "On the cult of personality and its consequences" at the XX Congress of the CPSU and led to human casualties.

During the years of Soviet power in Georgia, industrialization and the collectivization of agriculture were carried out. Whole new industries were created.

In the mid-1970s, a dissident movement emerged in Georgia, led by Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Merab Kostava. On April 14, 1978, mass demonstrations of protest took place in Tbilisi, the cause of which was the draft of the new Constitution of the GSSR, in which the Georgian language was deprived of state status.

On April 9, 1989, as a result of the dispersal of an opposition rally of many thousands near the Government House on Rustaveli Avenue, 21 people were killed and 290 were injured.

Independent Georgia
On October 28, 1990, the first multi-party parliamentary elections in the USSR were held in Georgia, in which national-political organizations belonging to the Mrgvali Magida-Tavisupali Sakartvelo bloc (Round Table - Free Georgia; leader - former dissident Z. Gamsakhurdia). As a result of the elections, the Supreme Soviet of the Georgian SSR was formed, headed by Gamsakhurdia. The Parliament announced a transitional period until the restoration of Georgia's independence, changed all the state attributes of the Georgian SSR (anthem, state flag and coat of arms) to the attributes of the Georgian Democratic Republic.

On March 31, 1991, a referendum was held in Georgia on the issue of restoring the state independence of Georgia on the basis of the Act of Independence of May 26, 1918, which in fact was a decision to withdraw from the USSR. 90.5% of voters took part in the referendum, of which 98.93% voted for state independence. Two regions of the republic - Abkhazia and South Ossetia - declared their special position, declaring their desire to secede from Georgia.


On April 9, 1991, the Supreme Council adopted an act on the restoration of the independence of Georgia, which declared the legal force of the Constitution of the Georgian Democratic Republic of 1921. On the same day, the US Congress recognized the legitimacy of the March 31 referendum by an Emergency Resolution, which is de facto recognition of independence from the USSR.

After the collapse of the USSR and the transformation of the Georgian SSR into modern Georgia, as a result of a series of armed conflicts (the South Ossetian war (1991-1992), the War in Abkhazia (1992-1993)) formed 2 unrecognized states not controlled by the Tbilisi government - Abkhazia and South Ossetia, claiming the territory former Abkhaz ASSR and South Ossetian Autonomous Okrug, respectively. Georgia received international legal recognition of most countries of the world in 1992, while Abkhazia and South Ossetia remained unrecognized for a long time.

On May 26, 1991, the first presidential elections were held, in which Z. Gamsakhurdia won. On December 22, 1991, units of the Georgian National Guard led by Tengiz Kitovani rebelled, which was subsequently supported by D. Ioseliani's Mkhedrioni armed formations and marked the beginning of a civil war. On January 6, 1992, Gamsakhurdia and members of the government were forced to leave Georgia. The Military Council that came to power announced the restoration of the constitution of the Georgian Democratic Republic of 1921.

On September 24, 1993, Z. Gamsakhurdia returned to the country (from the capital of actually independent Ichkeria, the city of Grozny, he arrived in the western Georgian city of Zugdidi) and tried to regain power, initiating a short but fierce civil war. Shevardnadze was forced to call for help from Russian troops, in exchange for Russian military assistance, Georgia agreed to join the CIS. At the end of December 1993, Gamsakhurdia died under unclear circumstances.

High corruption, low living standards, and accusations of falsifying the results of the 2003 parliamentary elections led to a revolution and the resignation of Eduard Shevardnadze on November 23, 2003.

In August 2008, an armed conflict broke out between Georgia and South Ossetia, which was also supported by Abkhazia and Russia; after him, Russia and a still limited number of countries recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as sovereign independent states (at the same time, the vast majority of UN member states do not recognize the independence of these territories).


Foreign policy of Georgia

Georgia maintains diplomatic relations with 180 countries of the world, the most recent being relations with North Macedonia in February 2019. Previously, Georgia maintained diplomatic relations with Russia, which were interrupted after the five-day war in South Ossetia in August 2008 and the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by the Russian Federation.

Georgia's foreign policy is focused on the country's accession to NATO and the EU.


State structure

Fundamentals of the state system
Georgia is a unitary republic of a parliamentary type. The basic law of the state is the constitution adopted on August 24, 1995. It is based on the thousand-year-old statehood of Georgia and the main principles of the country's constitution, adopted in 1921. In mid-October 2010, the country's parliament adopted a draft law "On Amendments and Additions to the Constitution of Georgia", approved by the head of state in early November of the same year. In March 2018, amendments were adopted that approved Georgia's transition to a parliamentary form of a republic after the 2018 presidential election.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the country was classified as a hybrid regime in 2018 on the Democracy Index.

executive branch
The executive power is concentrated in the hands of the president, who, in accordance with the constitution, is the head of state, the executive power, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Georgia, the highest representative of Georgia in foreign relations; ensures its unity and integrity, the work of state and all other bodies. The President of Georgia is elected for a term of 5 years by an Electoral Commission consisting of 300 members, whose composition is approved by the Central Electoral Commission of Georgia. The current head of state since December 16, 2018 is S. Zurabishvili, who was elected during the 2018 presidential elections.

The supreme body of executive power, which implements the domestic and foreign policy of the country, is the Government of Georgia, headed by the Prime Minister. Members of the government are appointed and dismissed by the prime minister. The prime minister is nominated by the political party with the best results in parliamentary elections and is confirmed by the parliament. The current Prime Minister since September 8, 2019 is Irakli Garibashvili.

The legislative power of the country is represented by the unicameral Parliament of Georgia. Parliament is the highest legislative body and consists of 150 deputies. 77 deputies are elected from lists, 73 from single-member constituencies. All deputies are elected for a term of 4 years on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot.

The legislative power of the parliament, according to the constitution of Georgia, is limited by the legislative power of the parliaments of the autonomous republics - Abkhazia and Adzharia.

The first multi-party elections were held on October 28, 1990, and Z. Gamsakhurdia, later President of Georgia, was elected chairman. In 1991-1992, there was a conflict between Gamsakhurdia and the parliament, which escalated into an armed clash. The state was headed by E. Shevardnadze, and until the 1992 elections, the State Council of Georgia performed the functions of the parliament; then popular elections were held.

Currently, the Parliament of Georgia is convened for two sessions: spring (February-June) and autumn (September-December). Weeks of plenary sessions and work in committees alternate.

At present, the chairman of the parliament is A. Talakvadze.

Judicial branch
Georgia has a three-tier judicial system. The lower level of the judicial system are the city and district courts, which are the courts of first instance. Above them are the courts of appeal located in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, which, consisting of 3 judges, consider appeals against decisions of district (city) courts. The court of the third, highest level is the Supreme Court of Georgia, located in Tbilisi. The judges of the Supreme Court of Georgia are elected by the Parliament on the recommendation of the High Council of Justice, and the Chairman is elected from among the judges by the Parliament on the recommendation of the High Council of Justice. At present, M. Todua is the Acting Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia.

Georgia is a member of the International Criminal Court.

Armed forces
The armed forces of Georgia consist of ground forces, special forces, air force, national guard and military police.

The strength of the Georgian Armed Forces in 2009 is 36,553 people, including 21 generals, 6,166 officers and sub-officers, 28,477 privates, 125 cadets and 388 civil servants.

The budget of the Ministry of Defense for 2016 amounted to 600 million lari (2010 - 750 million; 2009 - 897 million; 2008 - 1.545 billion lari).


Administrative-territorial division

In administrative terms, the territory of Georgia de jure includes 2 autonomous republics (Georgian ავტონომიური რესპუბლიკა avtonomiuri resp’ublik’akia): Abkhazia and Adjara, 9 regions (Georgian მხაა), 9 regions (Georgian მხაა). The territory of the Abkhaz Autonomous Republic, as well as part of the territory of the territories of Shida Kartli, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Imeretia, Racha-Lechkhumi and Lower Svanetia, are controlled by the de facto independent republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, respectively. The krais and the autonomous republic are subdivided into municipalities (Georgian მუნიციპალიტეტი munitsip'alit'et'i) and equivalent cities of regional (republican) significance.


Physical and geographical characteristics

Geographical position
Georgia is located in the central and western part of Transcaucasia, between 41°07' and 43°05' N and 40°05' and 46°44' E, at the junction of the semi-humid Mediterranean, the arid Aral-Caspian depression and continental highlands, which variety of natural conditions and richness of flora and fauna. Georgia covers an area of ​​69,700 km², borders Russia to the east and north, Armenia and Turkey to the south, and Azerbaijan to the southeast. The Black Sea coast of the country has a length of 308 km.

The coastline is slightly indented. The north of Georgia is occupied by the Greater Caucasus Range. On its southern slope are the Kodori, Svaneti, Kharul, Lamis, Gudis, Kartli and Kakheti ranges; in the north - Khokhsky, Shavana, Kidegansky, Khevsuretsky and Pirikitsky ridges. Glaciers played the main role in the creation of nival landforms in the high-mountainous north of Georgia. In the east of the Greater Caucasus there are volcanic formations that belong to the historical era. In the south, in the intermountain depression, there are the Iberian and Colchis lowlands, separated by the Dzirul massif. Most of them are occupied by alluvial plains. The Inner Kartli, Lower Kartli and Alazani plains are also composed of alluvium. To the south of the Colchis region, at an altitude of 2850 m above sea level, the Meskheti, Shavsheti, Trialeti and Lok ridges rise. The South Georgian Volcanic Highlands, whose peak is Mount Didi Abuli, occupies the southern zone of Georgia.

The natural conditions of Georgia are very diverse. Over the course of historical time, they did not undergo drastic changes and did not cause decisive changes in the social and economic life of the population, however, the natural disasters of the Ice Age significantly affected the life of the Stone Age people who lived on the territory of modern Georgia. The diversity of landscapes, hydrological conditions, soil cover, flora and fauna is ultimately the result of neotectonic uplifts and subsidences. The geographical position and climatic features of Georgia, apparently, also played a certain role in the formation of the state. The low prevalence of navigation and seafaring in ancient and medieval Georgia is explained by the absence of any significant bays, as well as islands and peninsulas along the entire Black Sea coast of Georgia.

The territory of Georgia combines high-mountain, mid-mountain, hilly, low-plain, plateau and plateau-like relief. The highest geographic point of the country, Shkhara Peak (5193.2 m), is located in the Greater Caucasus zone. In the north of Georgia is the southern slope of the Greater Caucasus Range. Ranges of the southern slope of the Caucasus Range - Kodori, Svaneti, Kharul, Lamis, Gudis, Kartli, Kakheti; northern - Khokhsky, Shavana, Kidegansky, Khevsuretsky and Pirikitsky. Mountain-erosion, mountain-glacial and nival landforms are clearly pronounced in the high-mountainous zone of the country, in the creation of which glaciers played the main role.

Soils and natural complexes
In Georgia, various types of soils are represented: from gray-brown and saline semi-desert soils of dry steppes to brown forest soils of moderately humid forests, red soils and podzolic soils of the humid subtropical zone and mountain-meadow high-mountain ones. On the territory of Georgia there are also semi-deserts, which are located mainly in the east of the country. It is characterized by altitudinal zonality.

Georgia has a wide range of minerals. The mineral resource potential of the country is represented by 450 mineral deposits of 27 types, the main of which are: high-quality manganese ores (Chiatura, reserves - 200 million tons, annual production - up to 6 million tons), hard coal (Tkibuli; reserves - 400 million tons) , copper ores (Marneuli, reserves - 250 thousand tons), oil (Samgori, Patardzeuli, Ninotsminda, industrial reserves - 30 million tons).

Georgia has significant reserves of building materials: bentonite clay (17 million tons), dolomites, limestone (200 million tons), clay for the production of cement (75 million tons) and bricks (47 million m³), ​​gypsum, talc, foundry sand.

About 2 thousand fresh water sources with a total annual debit of 250 billion liters are registered on the territory of Georgia, 22 deposits of mineral waters, including medicinal ones - Borjomi, Sairme, Nabeglavi, Zvare and others, with a total debit about 40 billion l/year. Currently, fresh and mineral waters are exported to 24 countries of the world.

The total forest area is 3 million hectares. Timber reserves are estimated at 434 million m³. The territory of the country is a rich raw material base for the pharmaceutical industry.

Unique in their characteristics are the country's recreational resources - mountain and sea resorts.

The west of Georgia is under the influence of a humid subtropical climate, and the east is under the influence of the Mediterranean. The border between them is the Likhsky (Suramsky) ridge. The Greater Caucasus Range serves as a barrier to cold northern winds. Along the Black Sea coast, as well as in the area known as the Colchis Lowland, a subtropical climate dominates with high humidity and heavy rainfall (from 1000 to 2000 mm per year, and even 2500 mm per year in the Black Sea port of Batumi). Several varieties of palm trees grow in this region. In January-February, the average temperature is 5°C, and in July-August - +24°C.

Water resources
The river network of Georgia is unevenly developed. It is most dense in Western Georgia. More than 25,000 rivers flow through the country.

The rivers of Georgia belong to two basins - the Black Sea (75% of the flow) and the Caspian. Almost the entire runoff of the Caspian basin is carried out by the Kura River, on which the Mingachevir reservoir is located. The rivers of the Black Sea basin (Western Georgia) do not form a single system, flowing into the sea on their own. The main one is the Rioni, which flows in the lower section along the Colchis lowland. Inguri and others are also significant.

Most of the rivers originating in the mountains have a maximum flow in the spring, when the snow melts (flood). Rivers, fed mainly from glaciers, carry most of the water in summer and at this time have a pronounced daily flow rate with a maximum in the evening hours and a minimum before dawn. With a fast current, mountain rivers rarely freeze. They flow in deep gorges, having a significant number of rapids. In the limestone zone of the Greater Caucasus and the volcanic rocks of the Javakheti Highlands, the underground runoff exceeds the surface one. Georgia is rich in hydropower resources. On many mountain rivers, cascades of hydroelectric power stations have been built, reservoirs have been built. The total length of irrigation systems exceeds 1000 km.

There are few lakes in Georgia - mainly in the Javakheti Highlands. The largest of them is Lake Paravani.


Flora and fauna

The flora of the country is very rich. According to botanists' estimates, the number of species of flowering plants is over 4,500. The relative stability of the climate in the past contributed to the preservation of ancient flora elements, relict and endemic plants (rhododendrons, boxwood, cherry laurel, persimmon, etc.).

The fauna of Georgia is also quite diverse. More than 11 thousand species of invertebrates live on the territory of Georgia, including almost 9150 arthropods (of which over 8230 species are insects). 84 species of freshwater fish were recorded, as well as 6 introduced species. Amphibians are represented by 12 species. The 52 species belonging to the class of reptiles include 3 species of turtles, 27 species of lizards and 23 species of snakes (of which 3 species of snakes and 12 lizards are endemic to the Caucasus). There are 109 species of mammals on the territory of Georgia.

For the ecosystems of Georgia, such large mammals as bear, wolf, fox, red deer, roe deer, wild boar are common. On the verge of extinction is the leopard, which was considered an extinct species in the Caucasus and was rediscovered by Georgian zoologists in 2001. The striped hyena and goitered gazelle are also critically endangered. In the 20th century, the Black Sea monk seal and the Turanian tiger finally disappeared, but new species appeared (were introduced), such as the North American striped raccoon and the Far Eastern raccoon dog, as well as a subspecies of the common squirrel, the teleut squirrel.

The alpine and subalpine zones are characterized by two types of turs: Dagestan and Caucasian, which are found in the highlands of the Greater Caucasus and are endemic to the Caucasus Mountains.

Near the Black Sea coast of Georgia, among mammals, there are 3 species of dolphins - common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin and porpoise. In addition, in 1939, a white-bellied seal was observed near Batumi. Of the marine fish, there are, among others, sharks, rays, beluga, Russian and Atlantic sturgeon, Black Sea salmon, anchovy, herring, blennies, flounders, needle fish, seahorses and others.

Protected areas
In 1912, the first nature reserve in Georgia, Lagodekhi, was created. Today, there are 14 state reserves, 8 national parks, 12 protected areas, 14 natural monuments and 2 protected landscapes in the country. They make up 7% of the area of ​​Georgia (384,684 ha). About 75% of specially protected natural areas are occupied by forests.



common data
The estimate of the total population of Georgia, according to the National Statistical Service as of January 1, 2021, was 3,728,573 people, according to the 2014 Georgian census -  3,713,804, according to the estimate as of January 1, 2014 - 4,490,500 people.

In terms of population density (53 people/km²), Georgia ranked 123rd in the world in 2017.

According to the State Minister for Diaspora Affairs Mirza Davitaya, more than 1.6 million Georgians (25.7%) live outside of Georgia. Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II called the sad fact that many compatriots went abroad: “I did not expect that Georgians in such numbers would go abroad so easily. I know that they were forced to live in need, but it is better to live in need, but in their homeland, ”said the patriarch, calling on the emigrants to return to their homeland.

Religious composition
83.42% of the population of Georgia profess Orthodoxy (Georgian Orthodox Church), 10.74% are Muslims, 2.94% are adherents of the Armenian Apostolic Church, 0.52% are Catholics, 0.33% are Jehovah's Witnesses, 0.23% - Yezidis, 0.07% - Protestants, 0.04% - Jews; other religions - 0.04%. Georgia is the second state in the world after Armenia that adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century. The Georgian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Christian churches.

Orthodox make up the overwhelming majority of the population in almost all regions of Georgia, with the exception of Adzharia, where 40% of the population are Muslim Adjarians; Kvemo Kartli, where 43% are Muslim Azerbaijanis, as well as Samtskhe-Javakhetia, where the Orthodox are in a minority (45%), which is associated with a high proportion of Armenians who belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church (40% of the population of the region) and the Catholic Church ( 9% of the population of the region).

About 55% of Georgia's population lives in cities (more than 2.0 million people according to the 2014 census); 4 cities have a population of over 100 thousand people, including Tbilisi with a population of about 1.1 million people.

In 2018, spending on education was 3.5% of Georgia's GDP. The main regulatory documents in the field of education are the Law on General Education, the Law on Vocational Education and the Law on Higher Education, adopted in 2005, 2007 and 2004, respectively.

Secondary education has three levels: elementary school (6 years), basic school (3 years), high school (3 years). At the end of basic school, students receive a certificate of basic education, and at the end of the twelfth grade - a certificate of complete secondary education. A ten-point grading system has been adopted.

The science
From the Soviet past, the country inherited a whole network of scientific institutions and universities, but over the years of independence, the scientific sphere has experienced a crisis: the number of patent applications decreased in 1994-2011 from 545 to 398. However, as of 2011, Georgia, in terms of the number of patent applications per year noticeably ahead of other countries of the Caucasus.



In 2012, according to the World Bank, Georgia's GDP per capita (purchasing power parity) was $ 5,902. In 2007, according to the IMF, the GDP growth rate was 12.4%, in 2008 - 2.4%. External financing has played a significant role in ensuring economic growth in recent years, as well as in shaping the state economic policy and sectoral structure of the economy. In 2009, according to the CIA, GDP fell by 7%. The unemployment rate in 2010 was 16.9%; the proportion of the population living below the poverty line is 31% (2006). According to the data for the II quarter of 2011, Georgia's total external debt was $10.5 billion, which is $1.8 billion more than the same indicator of the previous year.

Currently, most industrial enterprises in Georgia are either idle or partially loaded. In recent years, the main growth of industry has been provided by the food industry, the extraction of metal ores (mainly manganese), as well as the production of metal and non-metal products. The total share of these industries in the structure of industrial production (excluding energy) in 2005 was 76%.

The leading industries of Georgia are: food industry (production of tea, wines and cognacs, tobacco products, essential oil crops, canned vegetables and fruits, mineral waters, hazelnuts), light industry (silk, woolen, cotton, shoe, knitwear, clothing production), mechanical engineering (production of electric locomotives, cars, machine tools in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi), ferrous metallurgy (metallurgical plant in Rustavi, Zestafon ferroalloy plant, Chiaturmarganets plant), non-ferrous metallurgy (Madneuli plant), chemical (production of nitrogen fertilizers, chemical fiber, paints, household chemicals - in Rustavi). In 2007, cement exports amounted to $64 million compared to $28.8 million in 2006.

According to the World Bank's "Doing Business" report, under the Minister of Economy K. Bendukidze in 2004-2007, Georgia became the most reformed country in the world. In particular, Georgia has risen from 137th to 15th place in the 2015 Ease of Doing Business ranking. An important role in improving the conditions for business was played by the Act of Economic Freedom of Georgia, developed by a group of authors led by Bendukidze. According to the World Bank's Doing Business report published on October 31, 2018, Georgia was ranked 6th in the global survey ranking, thus receiving the highest ranking among the countries of Europe and Central Asia.

Most of the agricultural products in Georgia are produced on household plots and farms. Most agricultural holdings are small and rely mainly on manual labor. The productivity of Georgian agriculture is extremely low: concentrating more than 50% of the employed population, it provides only 12% of GDP.

Areas suitable for agriculture make up 16% of the total territory of the country. The area of ​​land suitable for efficient agricultural rotation is shrinking due to a chronic lack of fertilizers, a decline in tillage, etc. In 2003, the sown area of ​​agricultural crops in Georgia was 562 thousand hectares, in 2008 - 329 thousand hectares.

Wheat, barley, corn, beans, tobacco, sunflower, soybeans, potatoes, vegetables, melons, fodder crops, tea, grapes, fruits, citrus fruits are grown in Georgia.

Georgian agrarians are able to produce no more than a third of the volume of bread consumed in Georgia, which results in the need for significant grain imports into the country.

From 2003 to 2008, the index of the physical volume of agricultural production in Georgia decreased by 26%, crop production - by 24%, livestock - by 28%. In 2008, Georgia's agricultural output amounted to 2.42 billion lari, of which 998 million lari fell to crop production, 1.35 billion lari to animal husbandry, and 65 million lari to agricultural services.

In Georgia, in 2006, a World Bank project was launched, the main purpose of which was the reconstruction and construction of processing industry enterprises in the country.

The main tasks that were set within the framework of the concept are the full development of the agricultural potential of Georgia, improving the quality of products and its competitiveness, reconstructing the agricultural infrastructure, updating equipment, and developing the processing industry. The concept also provides for ensuring the country's food security, increasing the export potential of Georgian agricultural products, strengthening positions in traditional and new markets. In addition, much attention is paid to the reconstruction of the melioration system.

Main agricultural crops: grapes, cereals, sugar beets, sunflowers, potatoes. Meat and dairy and meat and wool animal husbandry, poultry farming.


Transport and communications

The length of railways is more than 1600 km. Rail transportation is dominated by transportation of petroleum products.

The largest seaports of Georgia: Batumi, Poti, Supsa. Basically, they are engaged in transshipment of oil and oil products.

The main oil and gas pipelines Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Supsa, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and Vladikavkaz-Kazbegi-Red Bridge pass through Georgia.

The Rustavi race track is located 20 km in a straight line from the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, and is named after the nearest settlement - Rustavi. In 2011-2012, it was completely reconstructed according to the FIA ​​Category 2 standards and became the first professional circuit built in the Transcaucasus region. President of Georgia M. Saakashvili took part in the opening ceremony of the renovated track, which took place on April 29, 2012, driving a Formula 3 car.



In 2007, electricity generation was 8.34 billion kWh and consumption was 8.15 billion kWh. In 2008, Georgia exported 680 million kWh of electricity (including 216 million kWh to Turkey), imported 758 million kWh (including 669 million kWh from Russia).

Hydroelectric power plants generate over 80% of electricity in Georgia. The largest power plants are the Tbilisi State District Power Plant, hydroelectric power plants on the rivers Inguri, Rioni, Khrami, Abash and others.

The Vartsikhe cascade of four HPPs (178 MW) was built on the Rioni River: the Lajanur HPP (112 MW), the Gumat HPPs (66.5 MW) and the Rioni HPP (48 MW), the Namakhvani HPP project (480 MW) has existed since Soviet times. Zhinvali HPP (130 MW) was built on the Aragvi River, Khramskaya-1 (113 MW) and Khramskaya-2 HPP (110 MW) on the Khrami River, Tkibuli HPP (80 MW) on the Tkibuli River.

Currently, Georgia's energy sector is fully privatized. The only exception is the Enguri HPP, which is operated jointly with Abkhazia (at the same time, there are no signed legal documents regulating this cooperation: according to an unspoken agreement, 60% of the generated electricity is transferred to Georgia, 40% to Abkhazia). The dam of this station is located in Georgia, and the main units are in Abkhazia. In December 2008, the Ministry of Energy of Georgia and the Russian company Inter RAO UES signed a memorandum on the joint management of the Inguri HPP.



The official currency in Georgia is the lari. The currency code according to ISO 4217 is GEL. The currency was introduced in 1995 during the reign of E. Shevardnadze. 1 lari = 100 tetri (white). Currently in circulation are coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 tetri, 1 lari, 2 lari, and banknotes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 lari. The National Bank of Georgia also issues collectible (dedicated to memorable dates) and investment coins of various denominations.

From April 5, 1993 to October 2, 1995, the currency of Georgia was the lari coupon, which became the only legal tender on the territory of Georgia from August 20, 1993. The exchange rate was originally equal to the Russian ruble, which this currency came to replace. Only banknotes were issued, in denominations from 1 to 1,000,000 coupons (including rather non-standard ones: 3, 3,000, 30,000 and 150,000 coupons). The lari coupon was subject to hyperinflation (678.4% in 1995) and was replaced by a new national currency, the Georgian lari, with a ratio of 1,000,000:1.

Foreign economic relations
Georgia's foreign trade is characterized by a negative trade balance, imports are several times higher than exports.

In 2017, exports from Georgia amounted to $ 3.21 billion, imports - $ 8.08 billion. Main export items: ores, metals and alloys (up to 38% of the value), food and beverages (including wines) - 16.3% , chemical goods - 10.7%, textiles - 6.35%. The main import items: machinery and equipment - 17.8%, chemicals - 10.2%, vehicles - 9%, oil products - 8.7%, rolled metal and metal raw materials - 7.2%.

The main foreign trade partner (for 2013) is Turkey, with which Georgia has had a free trade agreement since 2007. At the same time, Georgia is a market for Turkish goods. In 2013, Turkish exports to Georgia amounted to $ 1.34 billion, and Georgian exports to Turkey only $ 182.8 million. The second trading partner of Georgia ($ 1.34 billion in 2013) is Azerbaijan, trade with which is more balanced character. In 2013, exports from Georgia to Azerbaijan amounted to $710.3 million, and imports - $638.1 million. China is an important partner, with which trade turnover in 2011 amounted to $553 million.

In astronomy
The asteroid (781) Kartvelia, discovered in 1914 by the Russian (Soviet) astronomer Grigory Neuimin and named after his hometown, is named after Georgia.