Name of Country: Republic of Georgia (Sak'art'velo);
Area: 69700 sq km
(26 911 sq miles)
Population: 4 452 100
Population density: 75.6 per 1 sq. km.
Capital: Tbilisi, Population: 1,225,000
Largest cities: Kutaisi, Batumi, Zugdidi, Rustavi
Geography: Georgia is a mountainous country bordered by the Russia in the north, Turkey in the south-west, Armenia in the south, Azerbaijan in the south-east and by the Black Sea in the west, which forms a 330 km (206 mile) long coastline. Enclosed high valleys, wide basins, health spas with famous mineral waters, caves and waterfalls combine in this land of varies landscapes and striking beauty.
Climate: Almost all climatic zones, existing in the world, from the humid subtropical to the eternal snow and icy peaks are represented in the comparatively small territory of Georgia. Georgia's location between moderately humid Mediterranean and dry continental Arab-Caspian areas influences its climate. A humid subtropical climate dominates in Western Georgia.
Language: The official language is Georgian. It belongs to the Kartvelian group of Iberia-Caucasian languages and is the only language in this family that has maintained an ancient script.
One of the existing 14 alphabets on the world is Georgian. Mkhedruli, the script for modern Georgian consists of 33 letters (5 vowels and 28 consonants) and is written from left to right.
Religion: Christian majority, mainly Georgian Orthodox church. Also Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and other.
Time: UTC/GMT +4 hours. No daylight saving time.
Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-type, two-pin plugs are used.
Mobile telephone: GSM 900 and 1800. Main operators include Geocell www.geocell.com.ge,
Magti www.magtigsm.com and Beeline www.beeline.ge
International country code: + 995 (Georgia);
Area code: 32 (Tbilisi)
Public holidays 2010: January 1 - The New Year, January 7 - Orthodox Christmas, January 19 - Theophany (Epiphany), March 3 - Mother's Day, April 4 - Orthodox Easter, May 26 - Independence Day, August 28 - Marioamoba (Dormition (falling-asleep) of the Theotokos (Mother of God) and Ever-Virgin Mary)., October 14 - Svetitskhovloba, Last Sunday of October - Tbilisoba, November
23 - St. George's Day.
Currency: Georgian national currency is Lari; It is divided into 100 tetri.
"Lari"- the name chosen for the basic monetary unit of Georgian national currency is an old Georgian word denoting a hoard, property. And "tetri"- the name of 1/100 part of Lari - is an old Georgian monetary term used from the 13th c.
Georgian banknotes are denominated in units of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 lari, and coins are issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 tetri.
All payments are made in Lari on the territory of Georgia.
Currency exchange: US Dollars, Euros or Roubles can be exchanged at banks and special exchange shops, while other currencies must be exchanged in banks.
Some consider Georgia to be a part of Europe, others - Asia; however, it should be noted that this country has been a hot spot of cultural and geographic controversies from times immemorial. Local weather and landscape personifies encounter of the East and the West. The country's history is erratic with ups and downs, incursion of external enemies, violence and battles. Alongside with this, the country has immense cultural heritage. Georgia keeps the door wide open for the rest of the world and is welcoming the guests.
Georgia is on the juncture of Europe and Asia, which facilitated development of multilateral and tolerant culture. According to the ancient folk legend, when the Lord was distributing lands to the peoples of the world, Georgians were delayed by the traditional tablefull. On their arrival, the Lord told them there were no vacant lands left. Georgians vindicated themselves by announcing that they were late as they were drinking to the health of the Lord and invited him over to their tablefull. The Lord enjoyed his time so much that decided to grant Georgia the land he had kept for himself. Indeed, Georgia is a heavenlike country. Thanks to its diverse landscape varying from moist seaside subtropics to mountain snows, Georgia gives you an incredible opportunity to observe all four seasons of the year at the same time; one can indulge in heavy snow on the summits, mist and sleet in the mountains, young grass and spring flowers at the foothill and finally, hot summer on the seacoast. Georgia is a country of contrasts with its palm trees, liana, and eucalyptus trees in Kolkheti and snow-covered mountains in Khevsureti; pine and beech forests of major and minor Caucasus and dried plains of Iori highland: fruit orchards of Kartli and vineyards of Alazani valley; alpine meadows of highland and tea plantations… this is consummated by the affectionate warm sea, the sun, crystal clear mountain rivers and mineral and thermal sources.
The peoples of the Caucasian Isthmus, thought to be the inventors of metallurgy, entered the Bronze Age around 2000 BC. The ancestors of modern Georgians are thought to have formed the first tribes in that region about this time. The kingdom of Kolkhida-which dates back to the 6th century BC-is mentioned in Homer's poems and in traditional Greek mythology.
Two centuries later, legendary chieftain Farnavaz created the kingdom of Iberia, in what is now eastern Georgia. These two kingdoms were the first Georgian States, the result of a fusion of ancient agricultural and iron-smelting tribes of the region.
Kolkhida and Iberia were subdued by Greece and then by Rome, as the result of Pompey's campaigns, in the 1st century BC. In the year 337 AD, King Mirian of Iberia adopted Christianity, making it the country's official religion. Like the Armenian church, the Georgian church separated from Rome in 506, to form the national Church of St George, with its headquarters at Tiflis(today Tbilisi).
From a minor city, Tiflis became first the capital of Iberia, and later of all Georgia, after the unification of the 8th and 9th centuries. Both kingdoms fell under Iranian(Sasanid), then Byzantine and finally Arab control, between the 6th and 10th centuries. Feudal Georgia prospered under King David "the Builder", 1089-1125 and Queen Tamara, 1184-1213.
In the 13th and 14th centuries Georgia was invaded by the Tatars and Tamerlane. In the 15th century it dissolved into small fiefdoms, becoming the object of territorial disputes between Turkey and Iran from the 16th to the 18th centuries and there were a number of anti-Turkish and anti-Iranian revolts.
In 1783 Erekle II made an agreement (Georgievski treaty) with Russian Empress Katherine II, according to which Russia established protectorate over Kartl-Kakheti kingdom. In 1801 Russia terminated the agreement and included East Georgia into the territory of Russia.
In 1783 King Erekle II had come to agreement with Katherine II the Emperor of Russia according to which Russia began protecting big parts of Georgia - Kartli and Kakheti.
In 1801 Russia nullified the agreement and conquered West Georgia too. Since the Georgian people began fighting for independence. In 1917 after Russian Great October Socialist Revolution "Menshceviks" came to power in Georgia. They ruled till 1921. Then the Soviet Army occupied Georgia again and "Mensheviks" had to escape abroad.
In 1922 Georgia was included into the Soviet Union. It became one of the 15 Republics of the powerful country.
Such situation continued till 1985 when "Perestroika" was declared by the head of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev.
In 1991 Zviad Gamsakhurdia became the elected president and new constitution of Georgia was adopted. But such situation didn't last for a long time and the first president of Georgia was withdrawn from the Country by the forces of opposition.
In 1992 Shevardnadze became elected president of Georgia. In 2000 he was elected for the second term.
But in November 2003 the parliamentary elections were rigged and street riots and civil disobedience began. In November 23, 2003 Shevardnadze retired. The event of November was called "Rose Revolution."
A new date of new presidential elections was January 4. The most part of the population voted for Mikheil Saakashvili, who is the president of Georgia now.