About Georgia

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


Population: 4,585,874
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
Capital: Tbilisi
Administrative division
Independence: 9 April 1991 (from the Soviet Union); 26 may 1918 (from Russian Empire);


Georgia’s economy sustained GDP growth of more than 10% in 2006-07, based on strong inflows of foreign investment and robust government spending. However, GDP growth slowed in 2008 following the August 2008 conflict with Russia, and turned negative in 2009 as foreign direct investment and workers’ remittances declined in the wake of the global financial crisis, but rebounded in 2010. Georgia’s main economic activities include the cultivation of agricultural products such as grapes, citrus fruits, and hazelnuts; mining of manganese and copper; and output of a small industrial sector producing alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, metals, machinery, aircraft and chemicals. Areas of recent improvement include growth in the construction, banking services, and mining sectors, but reduced availability of external investment and the slowing regional economy are emerging risks. The country imports nearly all its needed supplies of natural gas and oil products. It has sizeable hydropower capacity, a growing component of its energy supplies. Georgia has overcome the chronic energy shortages and gas supply interruptions of the past by renovating hydropower plants and by increasingly relying on natural gas imports from Azerbaijan instead of from Russia. The construction on the Baku-T’bilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-T’bilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline, and the Kars-Akhalkalaki Railroad are part of a strategy to capitalize on Georgia’s strategic location between Europe and Asia and develop its role as a transit point for gas, oil and other goods. Georgia has historically suffered from a chronic failure to collect tax revenues; however, the government, since coming to power in 2004, has simplified the tax code, improved tax administration, increased tax enforcement, and cracked down on petty corruption. However, the economic downturn of 2008-09 eroded the tax base and led to a decline in the budget surplus and an increase in public borrowing needs. The country is pinning its hopes for renewed growth on a determined effort to continue to liberalize the economy by reducing regulation, taxes, and corruption in order to attract foreign investment, but the economy faces a more difficult investment climate both domestically and internationally.

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