About Georgia Background
The region of present day Georgia contained the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Kartli-Iberia. The area came under Roman influence in the first centuries A.D. and Christianity became the state religion in the 330s. Domination by Persians, Arabs, and Turks was followed by a Georgian golden age (11th-13th centuries) that was cut short by the Mongol invasion of 1236. Subsequently, the Ottoman and Persian empires competed for influence in the region. Georgia was absorbed into the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Independent for three years (1918-1921) following the Russian revolution, it was forcibly incorporated into the USSR until the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. From 1991 to 1994 Georgia was in condition of civil war, during which was lost control over Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia. An attempt by the incumbent Georgian government to manipulate national legislative elections in November 2003 touched off widespread protests that led to the resignation of Eduard Shevardnadze, president since 1995. New elections in early 2004 swept Mikheil Saakashvili into power along with his United National Movement party. Progress on market reforms and democratization has been made in the years since independence, but this progress has been complicated by Russian assistance and support to the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. After a series of Russian and separatist provocations in summer 2008, Georgian military action in South Ossetia in early August led to a Russian military response that not only occupied the breakaway areas, but large portions of Georgia proper as well. Russian troops pulled back from most occupied Georgian territory, but in late August 2008 Russia unilaterally recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This action was strongly condemned by most of the world’s nations and international organizations.
Location: East Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia, with a sliver of land north of the Caucasus extending into Europe.
Area: 69,700 sq km.
Border countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Turkey
Climate: warm and pleasant; Mediterranean-like on Black Sea coast
Terrain: largely mountainous with Great Caucasus Mountains in the north and Lesser Caucasus Mountains in the south; Kolkhida Lowland opens to the Black Sea in the west; Mtkvari River Basin in the east; good soils in river valley flood plains, foothills of Kolkhida Lowland.
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Black Sea 0 m, highest point: Mt’a Shkhara 5,201 m
Major cities – population: TBILISI (capital) 1.115 million
Ethnic groups: Georgian 83.8%, Azeri 6.5%, Armenian 5.7%, Russian 1.5%, other 2.5%
Religions: Orthodox Christian (official) 83.9%, Muslim 9.9%, Armenian-Gregorian 3.9%, Catholic 0.8%, other 0.8%, none 0.7%
Languages: Georgian (official) 71%, Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%. note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia.
Official name: Georgia
Offiacial name in Georgian: Sak’art’velo
Government type: republic
Independence: 9 April 1991 (from the Soviet Union); 26 may 1918 (from Russian Empire);
Currency: Georgian lari. At this moment 1$=2.45 GEL, 1 EUR=2.7 Ge
Beside landline telephones, widely are used GSM 900/1800 and CDMA fixed phones. Landline phones are mostly used in big cities, like Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi. In little towns and villages as fixed phones are mostly used fixed CDMA phones. GSM coverage is about 80% of entire territory of Georgia.
There are 3 GSM operators in Georgia: Magti, Geocell and Beeline. Best coverage has Magti. If you are planing to travel in mountain regions don’t use Beeline.
International diling code of Georgia is +995
Internet TLD: ge
Major civil airports: Tbilisi international airport, Batumi international airport, Kutaisi airport, Mestia airport.
Ports: Poti and Batumi
Railways: total – 1,612 km.
Roadways: total: 20,329 km, paved: 7,854 km, unpaved: 12,475 km