Georgia on my mind!
Georgia is a small country situated on the crossroad of Europe and Asia. From the south-east it has a border with Azerbaijan, from the south – with Armenia and Turkey, from the north – with Russia. The western part of Georgia is washed by the Black Sea. Tbilisi is a capital of Georgia founded in the fifth century.
Population of the country with total area of 69 700 square kilometers is 3 720 000 people. It is amazing but on this small land there are 26060 rivers and over 40 protected areas. That is why the vast part of the country is occupied by untouched nature.
Amazing nature and the diversity of this country was the source of inspiration for a lot of writers and poets. Here we have everything that the traveler can only dream about: mountains of eternal snow, mountain lakes, alpine meadows, canyon rivers full of flowers and fruit, palm coasts, natural canyons, ancient caves, mineral waters and sulfur water pools – thus this place is indeed a heaven on Earth!
In Georgia we have diverse climate zones, that is why it is all year round destination. Here, subtropical and mild climate zones replace each other. Summer is sunny, temperature fluctuates from 29 ° C to 33 ° C., and in winter – from -2 ° C to 4 ° C. It does not matter who you are and what type of vacation you like, this country will satisfy your every wish and caprice!
Facts About Georgia
Good holiday, first and foremost, means a safe holiday. If you intend to travel to Georgia, relax about safety issues. According to Numbeo 2016 report, Georgia is the safest country in Europe and 6th in the world following South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
You will feel complete safety while traveling around the country. Here we say that the guest is the gift from God, so Georgians will do their best to treat you with great hospitality. Friendly Georgians are always willing to assist you. You won’t need to take extra care of your pocket and handbag. Relax, and enjoy your precious time in this beautiful country.
No one will disturb you here, though, just in case, Georgian policemen are at your service 24/7. According to the recent research, police is one of the most trusted institutions in the country and about 74% of the population trust it. Georgia is ahead of European countries by this indicator. So be calm, relax and enjoy all the best things that country has to offer. We are waiting for you!
Nothing tells you more about the spirit and culture of a country than its cuisine. Georgian national dishes are amongst the best in the world for their diversity and taste. Each historical province of the country has its own distinct culinary tradition that was refining for centuries. Especially distinguished and unique are Imeretian, Megrelian and Kakhetian cuisines.
While meat plays an important part in Georgian cuisine, very close attention is also paid to the locally produced vegetables, fruit and greens. Traditional dishes made of their accurate combination first attract you, then astonish you and eventually it all ends with gastronomic shock.
The secret of this taste is Georgian soil: natural extension of a fertile, mineral-rich landscape fed by the pure waters of the Caucasus Mountains. It seems that the nature harmoniously lives in products, that are being used to create unique, delicious, and organic Georgian dishes.
Traditional Georgian feast is called “Supra”. The list of dishes that will charm you at the “Supra” is endless, yet some of them should be distingished:
Khachapuri – Georgian cheese bread, also known abroad as a Georgian pizza. You can try different sorts of khachapuri in various regions of Georgia to experience unique taste – it is just wow!
Pkhaleuli – vegetarian dishes from a variety of spiced plants and vegetables usually with a walnut paste base, similar to spinach, but each having a unique taste and seasoning.
Satsivi – chicken or turkey in a walnut sauce with garlic and spices. It is so much appetizing that no diet will resist!
Khinkali – Georgian national dish. Juicy meat dumplings are made to be eaten by hand using a special technique that can be learned only here. It is so delicious that you have to visit Georgia just to try khinkali!
Mtsvadi – Georgian barbeque, meat grilled to perfection over a grape vinewood fire with bay leaf and fresh pomegranate juice squeezed over it.
Churchkhela – walnuts on a thread repeatedly dipped into a hot grape mixture, then hung to dry and harden in natural conditions. Churchkhela is Georgian national dessert.
Hectares of vineyards, Rtveli (Georgian harvesting) accompanied with polyphonic singing and clay vessels (Kvevri) full of wine – this is Georgia. Wine is everything here – everyone loves it. Every family will treat you with their own wine with great pleasure and pride. Vineyard is a sacred place for Georgians and winemaking – our beloved tradition. Country with population around 3.5 million, yearly produces approximately 150 million liters of wine.
Georgia has 8000 years of unbroken tradition of winemaking, which is proved by multiple archeological excavations and historical facts. The modern world recognized Georgia as the homeland of wine. According to one version, English word – wine derived from Georgian “ghvino”.
It is worth mentioning that Qvevri wine making method was included in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list in 2013. In Georgia, there are more than 500 different endemic species of grape, from which the best quality wine is made. Special and unique Georgian wines are: Saperavi, Rkatsiteli, Kindzmarauli, Tsitska-Tsolikauri, Khvanchkara, Tvishi, Usakhelauri, Ojaleshi, etc.
As one of the first countries in the world to convert to Christianity in just the 4th century AD today Georgia is distinguished for full religious freedom and tolerance. Here for centuries people of different faith and religion have coexisted peacefully.
Majority of the population is Christian orthodox. Georgia is one of the few countries where orthodox and catholic churches, synagogoues and mosques are built side by side.
In all regions of Georgia you will see ancient Christian churches stretched high in the sky that count thousands of years and some of that are in a list of UNESCO world heritage sites. Below are the most significant cultural monuments:
Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is Georgian architechtoral monument of XI century, located in 20 km from Tbilisi in a historical town Mtskheta. This place is especially mystical and holy, as according to the legend the Shroud of Christ is buried under the cathedral.
Jvari Monastery is both the church and the monastery of VI century that is situated on the East of Mtskheta. View of Mtkvari and Aragvi confluence stretched from here is one of the most beautiful and astonishing views in Georgia.
Bagrati Cathedral was built in XI century and resisted many invasions since then thanks to its special solid construction. Being located on the Ukimerioni Hill in Kutaisi Bagrati Cathedral is still proudly standing on the guard of the whole city.
Gelati monastery is the jewel of Georgian architecture, built near Kutaisi in XII century by the legendary King of Georgia – David the Builder. In Middle Ages Gelati monastery was the main center of religion and education.
History of Georgia is the history of struggling for freedom. Nearly all the largest empires in the world attempted to possess this land. But after all, we amazingly managed to survive and preserve our independence. There were times when several huge invaders at the same time struggled for having influence over Georgia. The reason of all these wars was strategic location of Georgia between Europe and Asia on the major trade artery – Silk Road.
Dmanisi archaeological excavations prove the fact of ancient humans (hominids) living on the territory of Georgia. Human skull recently discovered here is 1.8 million years old and the most ancient on the territory of Europe. It means that Georgia is the homeland of the first European.
The first signs of the state of Georgia emerged in II BC at the Black Sea coast. Wealthy Kingdom of Kolkheti ruled by legendary king Aieti was situated here. Heroes of the famous Greek myth “Argonauts” visited Georgia in this very period to grab the Golden Fleece. This story is connected to the method of gold mining in Georgia. In Mountain Rivers Georgians used sheep fleece to clean water from sludge and obtain gold.
After the Romans pushed into Persia, they set their eyes on Georgia sending their famed general Pompey in 66 BC to conquer the country. Remains of the stone bridge built by Pompey still exist in Georgia. Soon all of Caucasia fell under Roman rule, but it did not last long, and by the I century BC Georgia was considered as an ally not a subject state.
The Adoption of Christianity
Georgia was the second country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion. Saint Nino of Cappadocia introduced Christianity to the Georgian people in 337 AD. Georgia’s early adoption of Christianity had huge implications on how the future would have developed for Georgians, as it permanently oriented the country to the West, to Rome, and later to Europe as a whole.
In 645 Arab armies swept northwards through Iran and captured Tbilisi forcing country to pay tribute. By the X century Arab rule in Western Georgia had weakened and the Byzantine Empire was rapidly expanding. Byzantine Emperor Basil II was able to retake most of Georgia and unite east and west as one nation.
David the Builder
Despite its turbulent history Georgia managed to become the strong kingdom by the XII century. This period is linked to the name of David the Builder (1089-1125), legendary king who initiated the country’s Golden Age. After implementation of political, economic and educational reforms, in 1096 he was able to stop paying tribute to the Turks and defeated them completely in August 12, 1121 with the 50 000 army against 300 000. Human treatment of Muslims during this period set a standard for tolerance that was unique in those times and was a hallmark of his enlightened rule.
Georgia reached its zenith during the rule of Queen Tamar (she was referred as King because of her incredible power). She was the grand-daughter of David the Builder, and during her reign Georgians enjoyed a cultural renaissance, evidenced by building churches and monasteries as well as developing art of frescos and ornamental design. In this period also arose literary tradition. Genius Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli dedicated his epic poem “The Knight in the Panther Skin” to the Queen Tamar.
Georgia was the first European country to be conquered by Mongols. Under the leadership of great warlord Tamerlane, Mongol army invaded Georgia eight times during 1386-1403 years. Mongol invasion seriously damaged the Georgian state and the further development of the nation.
Persian and Ottoman Invasions
In XVI century Georgia found itself trapped between two expanding empires, the Ottoman Turks from the West and the Persians from the East. Both of them struggled to invade Georgia. The fall of Constantinople and the corresponding change in trade routes greatly weakened Georgia and endangered its future. The Shah of Persia invaded Georgia four times, conquered Tbilisi and captured numerous people. Eventually the kingdom was divided into two spheres of influence of both empires.
The Russian Empire
It took Georgia a lot of time to recover and only in the XVIII century country was able to become independent again. Though shortly afterwards due to the new threat coming from Iran and Ottoman empires in 1783 Georgia had to sign a treaty with Russia making Georgia a protectorate of the Russian Empire.
Existence as a part of Russia ended up in a declaration of independency of Georgia in 1918. Georgia existed for 3 years as an independent state before in 1921 it was annexed by the Red Army of the Soviet Union. Despite numerous historical obstacles and wars, exhausted country managed to survive and in May 26th, 1991 eventually gained its independence. This day is the major national holiday of the country.
This small country managed to stand through all the difficulties that befell on it for thousands of years. Unanimity, faith and struggle brought results and today Georgia is an independent sovereign state. We are proud of our history, of every day, spent on this blessed land since we are one of the most ancient nations – the nation who loved, loves and will always love freedom!
You are about to discover a country of diverse culture, rich history and unique artifacts. Georgia is home to the first human outside of Africa who settled down here about 2 million years ago. Georgia is an ancient country at the crossroads of the Eastern and Western civilizations, where the European and Asian way of life and traditions merge for thousands of years. Indeed this country has a lot of amazing things to show you and tell you!
It is impossible to visit Georgia and not get charmed by its traditional architecture, that counts more than 1300 years. On the streets of the city, river canyons and mountain peaks you will see ancient unique domed temples painted with frescoes created based on Bible.
If you are looking for something very special and mystical, you should definitely visit the monastery complexes carved into the rocks:
Vardzia is a monastery complex built in the 12th century, which consists of churches carved into the rock, cells, secret tunnels and halls. This is one of the most eye-catching tourist attractions of the country.
Davit Gareja is a complex of monastery caves of the feudal era carved into the rock. Its walls are painted with ancient frescoes.
Uplistsikhe is a cave town. Yes, exactly the cave town and one of the most ancient settlements of the Caucasus. Caves, carved into a massive rock are firmly standing for thousands of years and even today keep their old appearance.
Georgian polyphonic music is globally prominent for its special harmonious sonority. Since 2001, Georgian polyphonic music is among UNESCO’s world intangible cultural heritage list. The polyphonic structure of this music has not changed over the centuries and still can be heard across the country – in the city and in rural areas, in the churches and monasteries and during various cultural events. Georgian traditional “Sufra” (table, feast) is unimaginable without this music. This sonority is the part of Georgians’ genetic code and most accurately expresses the character of this nation.
Rhythm, dynamics, geometric order, discipline, destructive energy, simultaneous teamwork and individualism – This is Georgian folk dance. Georgian dance embodies the history of Georgia – fighting, development, peace, love, amazing synthesis of feast and sadness. Fast and precise solo roles are shifted by calm, but dynamic group choreography, sword dance – by light and earnest women dance roles. For a foreign eye, Georgian dances remind action scenes from Hollywood, saturated by special effects. In reality, all this is incredibly realistic. Georgian folk dances are highly appreciated all around the world, therefore, Georgian ensembles with their show programs and concerts, visit numerous countries throughout the year.
Reasons To Visit Georgia
There is a distinctive winemaking technology: grape juice together with the seeds and skin is buried under the ground in clay vessels called “Qvevri”
Unique alphabet – one of 14 independent alphabets in the world.
The First Human Civilization
The first human civilization outside of Africa has been discovered in Georgia (the remains of that settlement are 1, 75 million years old)
When it comes to the height of its mountains and variety of available treks, Georgia’s High Caucasus offers a lot of options to the mountaineers.
The Highest Permanent Settlements In Europe
Tushetian village Bochorna and Svanetian commune Ushguli are Europe’s highest permanently inhabited settlements
It is one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world, with climatic zones ranging from subtropical and high alpine to semi-desert.
Three cultural monuments which are included into UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Georgia is a paradise for freeriders and heli-skiers
Cradle Of Wine
Winemaking has been practiced in Georgia for over 8,000 years.
Nightlife And Entertainment
Georgia becomes more and more popular among tourists not because you can try delicious food there or visit ancient sightseeing but also for numerous entertainment options which are available there, such as Iconic clubs, archetypal pubs and bars, traditional wine cellars, delicious restaurants, You can try your luck at casinos as well.
Electronic music became popular in Tbilisi decade ago and now the city is among world’s top destinations for clubbing. A new generation of Georgians successfully transformed old soviet buildings into the mind-blowing venues for partying. World media often compares Tbilisi to Berlin. Each weekend you will find top rated artists from mainly from Europe and also from other countries in local clubs. The most iconic clubs and venues for electronic music lovers of Tbilisi are Bassiani, Mtkvarze, Cafe Gallery, Khidi, Tivi, Elektrowerk and etc. Each of these places are unique with their individual spirit, own back-story and all of them are very impressive. You get the updates from them on their Facebook pages and you can easily buy tickets online.
Pop and rock music, karaoke and a lot of cover concerts are taking place in Shardeni and Perovskaya areas of Tbilisi. There are a lot of bars that tourists like to visit. The locals prefer to hang out in places like Fabrika.
Autumn and spring bring festive gastronomic experiences at New Wine Festival, Cheese Festival, Tbilisoba and many other events, where you can get closer to the culture and taste local cuisine. Visiting indoor water parks, playing board games or quests, going to cinema and doing shopping are good options for rainy days.
Theatre and movie festivals, as well as international Tbilisi Jazz Festival are traditionally held in November. Check out the website with tickets: tkt.ge, biletebi.ge, eventer.ge.
Winter in Georgia reduces the temperature, but not fun. You can visit local restaurants for authentic Georgian food that you will never forget. Bars and clubs of Tbilisi become crowded even more. Of course, after active nightlife you need to recover.
There are places where you get high class spa care based on natural Georgian wines and well known curative waters (spa resorts around Kvareli and Borjomi are famous for that). Beside this, you can try bathing in thermal water, balneotherapy, classic spa treatment, and last but not least don’t miss a chance to visit the famous sulfur baths of Tbilisi and balneologic center next to them.
Events & Festivals
Incentives to visit Georgia become more and more various and all of them are impressive. World rugby u20 championship has just been held in Tbilisi and Kutaisi. While, Georgia, which were selected by UEFA on 26 January 2015, will soon host the 2017 UEFA European Under-19 Championship. All European eyes on Tbilisi in November, cause its Eurovision Junior 2017 song contest here. Those who enjoy food, wine, folk dances and songs should consider coming to Art Gene in July, Cheese festival and “Tbilisoba” in October. New Wine festival should also be noted as one of the most attended event during the year.
Georgia has strengthened its position on the world map of entertainment. There’s always something cool happening here. Any weekend of the year you will definitely find some top international artists live on some stage of Tbilisi. People here hang out pretty well. Electronic music being super popular in Georgia has developed a festival culture, thus, within a short period of time, encouraged top-level music festivals such as: Gem fest in Anaklia, Sou festival in Tbilisi, 4GB festival in Tbilisi, Black Sea Jazz festival in Batumi, Tbilisi Open Air and etc. This year, Georgia will be hosting: Jamiroquai, Paul Kalkbrenner, Elton John, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Boris Brejcha, Solomun, and Worakls along with other 500 popular artists from around the globe.
Looking for something special? Not a problem – enjoy different cultural events like: Theatre festival, Tbilisi international film festival, Color Fest, Photo festival “Kolga” , Ice cream festival, Street food festival, Tbilisi Fashion Week, Mercedes-Benz Fashion week and etc.
Wedding & Honeymoon
Fall is the most bright and colourful season. Traditionally it is considered to be the best for weddings and honeymoons, or just for a romantic trip together. Why not to choose Georgia as a destination for such a special trip? Everything here is radiating with love and energy; beautiful nature and ancient monuments are yearning to be captured as a background at your photo with your loved one. Natural diversity and wide range of activities can guarantee any kind of vacation: from relaxing romantic tete-a-tete up to more active holidays together. We prepared several inspiring ideas for an unforgettable honeymoon too – you can find them here. It all depends on your wish, and we are sure that Georgia will amuse and surprise you, so that you will never forget that fantastic time here!