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Map of Georgia
Location of Georgia
Georgia, situated at the dividing line of Asia and Europe, bordered by the Russian Federation (in the North), Turkey (in the South), Armenia (in the South), Azerbaijan (in the East) and the Black Sea (in the West).
Area: 69,700 sq km; Population: 4,677,401 (July 2005 est.)
Satellite images of Georgia
Georgia is a country of contrast, on it's territory of only 26,911 sq miles (69,700 sq km) there are great ranges of Caucasus mountains with regular snowline above 2,800-3,600 meters (on the North), swamps (west), deserts (east) and numerous lowlands and uplands. As a whole Georgia has moderate Subtropical climate.
Physical Map of Georgia
Road Map of Georgia
The highway that connects Georgia and Russia along the Abkhazian coast via the Caucasian Range tunnel is closed. Other road entry points include the route via the Georgian Military Highway, which runs through the Dariali gorge and through to Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the south.
Georgia, one of the most ancient countries in the world, is situated at the cross-roads of Europe and Asia. About the size of Switzerland, it occupies 69,700 sq. km between the Black and Caspian Seas, with a population of about 4.5 million people. The national language, Georgian, is over 2,000 years old with its own alphabet.
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. Its western coast is defined by the Black Sea coast.
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.Brief History
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 3000 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, and it has its 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.
In November 2003 the non-violent, democratic Rose Revolution took place and launched the 3rd wave of Eastern Europe liberation.� Today Georgia is a presidential democracy led by the president Mikheil Saakashvili.
Flora and Fauna
Georgia's unusually rich geographical diversity is well reflected in its flora and fauna - a paradise for nature lovers, botanists and for tracing wildlife.
The country has between 4000 and 4500 species of vascular plants, of which around 15% are endemic to the Caucasus. Of these, around 300 are endemic to Georgia alone. Ten species of Peonies and five of the eleven species of Snowdrop in the world can be found.
Georgia is, without any doubt, a bird-watching paradise. It is the habitat for 360 species of birds, four vultures and eleven types of eagles. In addition, four endemic species can be seen only here.
The southern region of Georgia is especially rich in birdlife, including most of the highland raptors as well as the many wetland varieties.
The forests still cover 40% of Georgia's territory - home to wolves, bears, jackals, lynx and other predators. The mountain regions encounter many hoofed animals: roe deer, red deer, chamois, wild boar, wild or bezoar goat - and the endemic Caucasian tour, still found in herds high in the Greater Caucasus.
It's often overlooked that the common pheasant, found across Europe and North America originates from the Caucasian Phasianus Colchicus, named after the Phasis River - today's Rioni River in western Georgia. Later, Greeks and Romans brought it to Europe and beyond.
In 2003, a spectacular discovery was made: remote sensing cameras captured an adult male Anatolian Leopard in the Vashlovani National Park. This beautiful but critically endangered animal had been considered long extinct in Georgia.
Culinary & Wine
Nobody forgets Georgia's unique cuisine. Born of a landscape rich in alluvial minerals washed down from the mountains, the vegetables, fruits, meats and cheeses have spawned a very individual culture of food. Much is still organic, and the ingredients of Georgia's varied cuisine profit from the mild climate that provides fresh vegetables for three quarters of the year. Numerous aromatic wild herbs give the dishes their special and unique aroma.
Visitors always remark on the amazing abundance of different dishes.
Among these are Khachapuri, the traditional cheese-bread of Georgia, Tkemali, the several kinds of delicious sour plum sauces born of Georgia's popular Tkemali tree, Bashe, a rich garlic and creamed walnut sauce, Pkhali, the generic term for numerous vegetable pates made with ground walnuts, Khinkali, the famous dough pockets filled with meat, Satsivi, chicken in walnut sauce, Mtsvadi, meat grilled to perfection over a vine-wood fire, Ajika, the devil's own spicy, hot sauce and Churchkhela, hazel and walnuts stung together in a thickened wine sauce.
All these have their tastes refined and heightened by Georgia's unique selection of white and red wines.
Archaeological research provides evidence of viniculture as far back as 7000 years in the Caucasus region. Many say that the generic word 'wine' stems from the Georgian word 'gvino.' Certainly Georgia has many more original varieties of grape than any other country - over 500. Georgia's moderate climate and moist air, influenced by the Black Sea, provide the best conditions for wine culturing. Saperavi, Tsinandali, Mukuzani, are names now extending beyond the former Soviet empire, into the super-markets of western Europe and America.
Rkatsiteli (pronounced "Katsitelli") creates a robust white wine, which is full of character. Mtsvane is popular as a blending partner for Rkatsiteli; the red variety Saperavi provides wines, which are powerful and fiery, with an aroma consisting of plums, spices and almonds. In the Kachetien regions of Kindzmaraulli, Khvanchkara and Akhasheni it also acquires a naturally cultivated sweetness. Central European varieties such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon occasionally crop up in the assortments.
Amongst the red wines, the Barrique cultivation method is now virtually standard practice. The old Caucasian method is still practised in the East. For thousands of years grapes have been placed in large, earthenware vessels called Qvevri. Buried in the ground up to their necks and kept in wine vaults called 'merani', these are then sealed and left for three to four months. This technique has a long tradition and is still being used today. Thus, a wine rich in tannine and vitamins matures.
The Georgian table is conducted in a wise manner in accordance with the ancient ritual. The head of the table “tamada” is elected as proposed by the host. The tamada must be a man of humour with an ability for improvisation and a philosopher’s wisdom. If there are many guests at the table he appoints assistants who in Georgian are called “tolumbashis”. The tamada’s toasts follow one another in a strict never violated order. The guest is obliged to listen attentively to each toast and appreciate the beauty of style and the purpot of the worlds said. If is not allowed to interrupt the tamada when he is saying the toats. The tamada’s assistants and other guests may only add something to the toast or develop its ideas. If you wish to say a toast, you must by all means have the tamada’s consent or else you will find yourself in an awkward position. This table ritual does not put restraints on the guests but maintains discipline at the table. The feast proceeds among jokes and is accompanied by a dance competition, table songs and music, quotations and aphorisms from the works of poets and writers.
Georgian cuisine uses well familiar products but due to varying proportions of its obligatory ingredients such as walnut, aromatic herbs, garlic, vinegar, red pepper, pomegranate grains, barberries and other spices combined with the traditional secrets of the chef ‘s art the common products do acquire a special taste and aroma, which make Georgian cuisine very popular and unique.
Georgian national cuisine is notable for an abundance of all possible kinds of meat, fish and vegetable hors d’oeuvres, various sorts of cheese, pickles and pungent seasonings, the only ones of their kind.
Gaumarjos! - Taste it yourself!
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