Once this page was very boring, introducing the brief history of Georgia. I thought and thought, about how to introduce my country in a fun and interesting way, to encourage people to travel to Georgia.
Finally, I decided to write fun key facts about Georgia, which you might have heard but might don’t know.
Why travel to Georgia?
If you have never been here, you will discover a lot! Our country has attractions for almost everyone.
Are you kind of trekking in the mountains? Georgia is the best trekking destination in Europe!
Do you love delicious food and wine? Georgian cuisine is famous, and here is the cradle of wine.
So let’s have closer look at our small but very diverse country.
- Original name: Saqartvelo
- Currency: Georgian Lari
- Capital: Tbilisi
- Population: 3,728,573
- Major religion: Christian Orthodoxy
- Official language: Georgian
- Area: 69,700 km2
- Time zone: UTC+4
- Climate: Diverse: Humidity – little amount, air – dry
1. It is the birthplace of wine!
It’s hard to imagine a world without wine and we have Georgia to thank for its creation! Georgians have been making and perfecting this wonderful beverage for at least 8,000 years. The technique used for the winemaking which involves a clay jar called a Qvevri has even been listed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.
2. Georgians love to host a guest!
In Georgia, it is believed that a guest is a gift from God. When holding a ‘supra’ (a traditional Georgian feast) guests are welcomed with open arms and the ‘tamada’ (a toastmaster) will make sure you are well fed and entertained. Just make sure you raise a glass and say “Gaumarjos” which means “cheers” in Georgian. But be careful, don’t drink more than you can handle
3. The name of the capital Tbilisi derives from the Georgian word for warm
While the climate of Tbilisi is subtropical, it can still get quite cool in the winter so that’s not what gave it this warm name. It is actually due to the natural hot springs that were discovered in the 4th century Tbilisi got its name.
4. Georgia is Sakartvelo in Georgian
We call it Sakartvelo and we are Kartveli, which derives from a central region in Georgia – Kartli. There is also some debate as to where the name Georgia comes from; is it from St George, the patron saint of this country; or Georgi, the Greek name for agricultural tribes; or the Persian-Arabic word Gurg, meaning land of wolves? We may never know for sure!
5. We speak our own unique language
The Georgian language is isolated but has a unique influence from Greek and Iranian languages which has resulted in its very own alphabet. There have been three different iterations of the language throughout its history, but the language that is used today is made up of 33 letters.
6. It’s known for its polyphonic music
Polyphonic music is choral folk music sung by 2 or more people, and the traditions pre-date the introduction of Christianity in Georgia (early 4th century AD).
7. There are 12 different climate zones
With climates ranging from subtropical to semi-desert and even alpine, Georgia is one of the most ecologically diverse countries on the planet.
8. The Caucasus is Europe’s highest mountain range
Most people just assume that the Alps are the highest mountain range in Europe but that’s not actually true! The Caucasus Mountains which stretch along the border between Georgia and Russia are actually higher. The highest peak Elbrus is in Russia, but Georgia’s highest mountain, Shkhara which stands at 5,193 metres, is still roughly 400 metres higher than Mont Blanc.
9. It’s home to 3 UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites
The impressive monastery complex Gelati, the ancient city and former capital of Mtskheta, and the mountainous region of Upper Svaneti have all made it on the list, and there are many more on the tentative list.
10. You can live in Europe’s highest settlement here
Situated in the mountainous region of Svaneti, the ancient villages which make up Ushguli are the highest altitude settlements of Europe, at a staggering 2,100 metres above sea level. The stunning landscapes make it easy to see why they chose to settle here! In Tusheti village Borotma also pretends to be the highest one and it is 2200m. But it was not inhabitant in winter. Several years ago one man desided to stay there in winter too. But anyway only Ushguli is really inhabitant, it is permanent home for 60 families.
11. The world’s deepest cave is found in Georgia
If you’re interested in caves, you’ll love the Veryovkina Cave which is hidden amidst the Gagra Mountain range of the western Caucasus region. This cave reaches a depth of 2,212 metres and is the deepest cave on earth! Currently this territory is occupied by Russia.
12. Georgia’s Jewish community is one of the oldest in the world
Georgian Jews have lived in the country for approximately 2,600 years and left significant trace in Georgian history.
13. Georgia was home to the first Europeans
The oldest homo georgicus skulls in the Caucasus, belonging to a 1.8 million-year-old couple called by scientists Zezva and Mzia, were found during an archaeological expedition in Dmanisi. They are seen as an important link between African and European ancestors.
14. Joseph Stalin was born in Georgia
He was born in the city of Gori back in 1878 which at the time was part of the Russian Empire. And we are not proud of him.
15. Georgia is a very safe country to visit
It was rated the 7th safest country to visit in the world in 2017, just make sure to stay away from certain areas along the Russian border.
Regions of Georgia
Administrative division of
Administrative division of Georgia – Country is divided into 9 regions, 2 autonomous republics, and the capital Tbilisi. Regions themselves are divided into municipalities and districts. There are 71 districts in Georgia. The modern division is more or less based on the historical province division.
Regions and districts of Georgia:
- Tbilisi – Capital of Georgia
- Kakheti – consists of the historical Kakheti province, Kiziki, and Tusheti. Capital of Kakheti is city Telavi.
- Signagi – historical Kiziki
- Dedoplistskaro – historical Kiziki
- Akhmeta – north part of the district is the historical province Tusheti
- Shida Kartli – Historical Kartli region, the north part is occupied by Russians, so-called South Osetia. The capital of the region is the city Gori.
- Gori – north part of the district is occupied
- Kareli – north part of the district is occupied
- Java – occupied
- Kvemo Kartli – Historical provinces Kartli and Trialeti. Capital city Rustavi.
- Rustavi city
- Mtskheta-Mtianeti – consists of Aragvi gorge, Ksani gorge, and provinces Gudamakari, Khevi, Mtiuleti, and Khevsureti. Ksani gorge is occupied by Russians, so-called South Osetia. Capital – Mtskheta.
- Mtskheta – the ancient capital of Georgia
- Akhalgori – occupied
- Samtskhe-Javakheti – consists of the historical provinces Meskheti, Javakheti, and Tori. Capital Akhaltsikhe.
- Borjomi – former Tori province
- Akhaltsikhe – Former Meskheti province
- Adigeni – Former Meskheti province
- Aspindza – Former Meskheti province
- Akhalkalaki – Former Javakheti province
- Ninotsminda – Former Javakheti province
- Imereti – based on historical province Imereti. Capital city Kutaisi.
- Kutaisi city
- Sachkhere – partly occupied
- Racha Lechkhumi Kvemo Svaneti – Consists of historical provinces Racha, Lechkhumi, and Kvemo Svaneti. Capital Ambrolauri.
- Ambrolauri – Lower Racha
- Oni – Upper Racha
- Tsageri – Lechkhumi
- Lentekhi – Kvemo (lower) Svaneti
- Guria – former province Guria. Capital – Ozurgeti
- Samegrelo – Zemo Svaneti – consists of provinces Samegrelo and upper Svaneti. Capital Zugdidi.
- Poti city
- Mestia – upper Svaneti
- Achara autonomous republic – capital Batumi.
- Batumi city
- Abkhazia autonomous republic – occupied, Capital Sokhumi.
It is strongly recommended before visiting partly occupied districts to check out where is possible to go without risk. If you travel on your own, ask local authorities where is possible to go and where not. It is NOT recommended to visit fully occupied regions. Visiting those regions from the Russian side is prohibited.