Georgia (country)

Georgia (country)

Overview
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 region of Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

, to the north by Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, to the southwest by Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, to the south by Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

. The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 km² and its population is almost 4.7 million. Georgia is a unitary
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

, semi-presidential
Semi-presidential system
The semi-presidential system is a system of government in which a president and a prime minister are both active participants in the day-to-day administration of the state...

 republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

.

During the classical era independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Georgia (country)'
Start a new discussion about 'Georgia (country)'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Timeline

1121   Battle of Didgori: the Georgian army under King David the Builder wins a decisive victory over the famous Seljuk commander Ilghazi.

1907   The first issue of the Georgian Bolshevik newspaper ''Dro'' is published.

1924   The Georgian opposition stages the August Uprising against the Soviet Union.

1978   1978 Tbilisi Demonstrations: Thousands of Georgians demonstrate against Soviet attempts to change the constitutional status of the Georgian language.

1989   The April 9 tragedy in Tbilisi, Georgian SSR an anti-Soviet peaceful demonstration and hunger strikes, demanding restoration of Georgian independence is dispersed by the Soviet army, resulting in 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

1990   South Ossetia declares its independence from Georgia.

1991   Zviad Gamsakhurdia becomes the first democratically elected President of the Republic of Georgia in the post-Soviet era.

1991   South Ossetia declares independence from Georgia.

1992   The Socialist Labour Party is founded in the nation of Georgia.

1992   Abkhazia declares independence from Georgia.

 
Encyclopedia
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 region of Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

, to the north by Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, to the southwest by Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, to the south by Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

. The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 km² and its population is almost 4.7 million. Georgia is a unitary
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

, semi-presidential
Semi-presidential system
The semi-presidential system is a system of government in which a president and a prime minister are both active participants in the day-to-day administration of the state...

 republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

.

During the classical era independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia. The kingdoms of Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

 and Iberia
Caucasian Iberia
Iberia , also known as Iveria , was a name given by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli , corresponding roughly to the eastern and southern parts of the present day Georgia...

 adopted Christianity in the early 4th century. A unified Georgia reached the peak of its political and economic strength during the reign of King David IV
David IV of Georgia
David IV "the Builder", also known as David II , of the Bagrationi dynasty, was a king of Georgia from 1089 until his death in 1125....

 and Queen Tamar in the 11th–12th centuries. At the beginning of the 19th century, Georgia was annexed by the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

. After a brief period of independence
Democratic Republic of Georgia
The Democratic Republic of Georgia , 1918–1921, was the first modern establishment of a Republic of Georgia.The DRG was created after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 following the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

, Georgia was annexed
Red Army invasion of Georgia
The Red Army invasion of Georgia also known as the Soviet–Georgian War or the Soviet invasion of Georgia was a military campaign by the Soviet Russian Red Army against the Democratic Republic of Georgia aimed at overthrowing the Social-Democratic government and installing the Bolshevik regime...

 by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in 1921, becoming the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. After independence in 1991, post-communist
Post-Communism
Post-communism is a name sometimes given to the period of political and economic transformation or "transition" in former Communist states located in parts of Europe and Asia, in which new governments aimed to create free market-oriented capitalist economies with some form of parliamentary...

 Georgia suffered from civil unrest
Georgian Civil War
The Georgian Civil War consisted of inter-ethnic and intranational conflicts in the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia , as well as the violent military coup d'etat of December 21, 1991 - January 6, 1992 against the first democratically elected President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia and his...

 and economic crisis for most of the 1990s. This lasted until the Rose Revolution
Rose Revolution
The "Revolution of Roses" was a change of power in Georgia in November 2003, which took place after having widespread protests over the disputed parliamentary elections...

 of 2003, after which the new government introduced democratic and economic reforms.

Georgia is a member of the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

 and the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development
GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development
The GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development is a regional organization of four post-Soviet states: Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova....

. It contains two de facto independent regions, Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

 and South Ossetia
South Ossetia
South Ossetia or Tskhinvali Region is a disputed region and partly recognized state in the South Caucasus, located in the territory of the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast within the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic....

, which gained limited international recognition
International recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Abkhazia and South Ossetia are two breakaway republics in the Caucasus with disputed status over whether they are a part of Georgia or sovereign states. The Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia were recognised following the 2008 South Ossetia War between Russia and Georgia, by six...

 after the 2008 South Ossetia war
2008 South Ossetia war
The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other....

 between Georgia and Russia. Georgia still considers the regions to be part of its sovereign territory.

Etymology




Ethnic Georgians
Georgians
The Georgians are an ethnic group that have originated in Georgia, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, European Union, United States, and South America....

 call themselves Kartvelebi (ქართველები), their land Sakartvelo (საქართველო – meaning "a place for Kartvelians"), and their language Kartuli (ქართული). According to the ancient Georgian Chronicles
The Georgian Chronicles
The Georgian Chronicles is a conventional English name for the principal compendium of medieval Georgian historical texts Kartlis Tskhovreba , literally "life of Kartli", Kartli being a core region of ancient and medieval Georgia, known to the Classical and Byzantine authors as Iberia...

, the ancestor of the Kartvelian people was Kartlos
Kartlos
Kartlos or K'art'los was the legendary establisher and eponymous father of Georgia, and the mythic ancestor of Georgians, namely its nucleus Kartli...

, the great grandson of the Biblical Japheth
Japheth
Japheth is one of the sons of Noah in the Abrahamic tradition...

. The name Sakartvelo (საქართველო) consists of two parts. Its root, kartvel-i (ქართველ-ი), specifies an inhabitant of the core central-eastern Georgian region of Kartli
Kartli
Kartli is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari , on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical authors as Iberia, Kartli played a crucial role in ethnic and political consolidation of the Georgians in the Middle Ages...

, or Iberia
Caucasian Iberia
Iberia , also known as Iveria , was a name given by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli , corresponding roughly to the eastern and southern parts of the present day Georgia...

 as it is known in sources of Eastern Roman Empire. Ancient Greeks (Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

, Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

, Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

, Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

, etc.) and Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 (Titus Livius, Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

, etc.) referred to early eastern Georgians as Iberians
Caucasian Iberians
Caucasian Iberians was a Greco-Roman designation for ancient Georgians, Ibero-Caucasian people who inhabited the east and southeast of the Transcaucasus region in prehistoric and historic times...

 (Iberoi in some Greek sources) and western Georgians as Colchians.

The terms "Georgia" and "Georgian" appeared in Western Europe in numerous early medieval annals. At the time, the name was folk etymologizedfor instance, by the French chronicler Jacques de Vitry
Jacques de Vitry
Jacques de Vitry was a theologian chronicler and cardinal from 1229 – 40.He was born in central France and studied at the University of Paris, becoming a regular canon in 1210 at the church of Saint-Nicolas d'Oignies in the Diocese of Liège, a post he maintained until 1216...

 and the compiler John Mandeville
John Mandeville
"Jehan de Mandeville", translated as "Sir John Mandeville", is the name claimed by the compiler of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, a book account of his supposed travels, written in Anglo-Norman French, and first circulated between 1357 and 1371.By aid of translations into many other languages...

from a supposed especial reverence of the Syrian
Syria Palaestina
Syria Palæstina was a Roman province between 135CE and 390CE. It had been established by the merge of Roman Syria and Roman Judaea, following the defeat of the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 CE. In 193 Syria-Coele was split to form a separate provincial locality...

 Saint George
Saint George
Saint George was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic , Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox...

. According to several modern scholars, "Georgia" seems to have been borrowed in the 11th or 12th century from the Syriac
Syriac language
Syriac is a dialect of Middle Aramaic that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. Having first appeared as a script in the 1st century AD after being spoken as an unwritten language for five centuries, Classical Syriac became a major literary language throughout the Middle East from...

 gurz-ān or -iyān and Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 ĵurĵan or ĵurzan, derived from the New Persian gurğ or gurğān, itself stemming from the Ancient Iranian and Middle Persian
Middle Persian
Middle Persian , indigenously known as "Pârsig" sometimes referred to as Pahlavi or Pehlevi, is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions as well. Middle Persian is classified as a...

 vrkān or waručān of uncertain origin, but resembling the eastern trans-Caspian toponym Gorgan, from the Middle Persian varkâna ("land of the wolves"). This might have been of the same etymology as the Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

 Virk' (Վիրք) and a source of the classical Iberi (Greek: Ἴβηρες).

History


Prehistory



The territory of modern-day Georgia has been inhabited by Homo erectus
Homo erectus
Homo erectus is an extinct species of hominid that lived from the end of the Pliocene epoch to the later Pleistocene, about . The species originated in Africa and spread as far as India, China and Java. There is still disagreement on the subject of the classification, ancestry, and progeny of H...

 since the Paleolithic
Paleolithic
The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

.
The proto-Georgian tribes first appear in written history in the 12th century BC. Archaeological finds and references in ancient sources reveal elements of early political and state formations characterized by advanced metallurgy and goldsmith techniques that date back to the 7th century BC and beyond.

Antiquity


The classic period
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 saw the rise of the early Georgian states Diaokhi (XIII BC) of Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

 (VIII BC), of Sper (VII BC) and of Iberia
Caucasian Iberia
Iberia , also known as Iveria , was a name given by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli , corresponding roughly to the eastern and southern parts of the present day Georgia...

 (VI BC).
In the 4th century BC a unified kingdom of Georgia—an early example of advanced state organization under one king and an aristocratic hierarchy—was established.

The two early Georgian kingdoms of late antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

, known to Greco-Roman historiography as Iberia
Caucasian Iberia
Iberia , also known as Iveria , was a name given by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli , corresponding roughly to the eastern and southern parts of the present day Georgia...

  (in the east of the country) and Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

  (in the west), were among the first nations in the region to adopt Christianity (in AD 337, or in AD 319 as recent research suggests).
In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Colchis was the location of the Golden Fleece
Golden Fleece
In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece is the fleece of the gold-haired winged ram, which can be procured in Colchis. It figures in the tale of Jason and his band of Argonauts, who set out on a quest by order of King Pelias for the fleece in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus...

 sought by Jason
Jason
Jason was a late ancient Greek mythological hero from the late 10th Century BC, famous as the leader of the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcus...

 and the Argonauts
Argonauts
The Argonauts ) were a band of heroes in Greek mythology who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, the Argo, which was named after its builder, Argus. "Argonauts", therefore, literally means...

 in Apollonius Rhodius' epic tale Argonautica. The incorporation of the Golden Fleece into the myth may have derived from the local practice of using fleeces to sift gold dust from rivers. Known to its natives as Egrisi
Egrisi
Lazica or Egrisi in Georgian |Georgia]], named after the Laz tribe, which at some time dominated the local ruling élite.The kingdom flourished between the 6th century BC and the 7th century AD. It covered part of the territory of the former kingdom Colchis and subjugated the territory of modern...

 or Lazica, Colchis was also the battlefield of the Lazic War
Lazic War
The Lazic War or Colchic War, also known as the Great War of Egrisi in Georgian historiography, was fought between the Byzantine Empire and Sassanid Persia for control of the region of Lazica, in what is now western Georgia...

 fought between Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and Persia.
After the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 completed its conquest of the Caucasus region in 66 BC, the Georgian kingdoms were Roman client states and allies for nearly 400 years. In 337 AD King Mirian III
Mirian III of Iberia
Mirian III was a king of Iberia , contemporaneous to the Roman emperor Constantine I .According to the early medieval Georgian annals and hagiography, Mirian was the first Christian king of Iberia, converted through the ministry of Nino, a Cappadocian female missionary...

 declared Christianity as the state religion, giving a great stimulus to the development of literature, arts, and ultimately playing a key role in the formation of the unified Georgian nation. King Mirian III
Mirian III of Iberia
Mirian III was a king of Iberia , contemporaneous to the Roman emperor Constantine I .According to the early medieval Georgian annals and hagiography, Mirian was the first Christian king of Iberia, converted through the ministry of Nino, a Cappadocian female missionary...

's acceptance of Christianity effectively tied the kingdom to the neighboring Eastern Roman Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 which exerted a strong influence on Georgia for nearly a millennium, determining much of its present cultural identity.

Middle Ages


The early kingdoms disintegrated into various feudal regions by the early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. This made it easy for Arabs to conquer parts of southeastern Georgia in the 7th century. The rebellious regions were liberated and united into a unified Georgian Kingdom at the beginning of the 11th century. Starting in the 12th century, the rule of Georgia extended over a significant part of the Southern Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

, including the northeastern parts and almost the entire northern coast of present-day Turkey.

Although Arabs captured the capital city of Tbilisi in AD 645, Kartli-Iberia retained considerable independence under local Arab rulers. In AD 813 the prince Ashot I – also known as Ashot Kurapalat – became the first of the Bagrationi family
Bagrationi Dynasty
The Bagrationi dynasty was the ruling family of Georgia. Their ascendency lasted from the early Middle Ages until the early 19th century. In modern usage, this royal line is frequently referred to as the Georgian Bagratids, a Hellenized form of their dynastic name.The origin of the Bagrationi...

 to rule the kingdom. Ashot's reign began a period of nearly 1,000 years during which the Bagrationi, as the house was known, ruled at least part of what is now the republic.
Bagrat III (r. 1027–72) united western and eastern Georgia. In the next century, David IV
David IV of Georgia
David IV "the Builder", also known as David II , of the Bagrationi dynasty, was a king of Georgia from 1089 until his death in 1125....

 (called the Builder, r. 1089–1125) initiated the Georgian golden age by driving the Seljuk Turks from the country and expanding Georgian cultural and political influence southward into Armenia and eastward to the Caspian Sea.

The Georgian Kingdom reached its zenith in the 12th to early 13th centuries. This period has been widely termed as Georgia's Golden Age or Georgian Renaissance during the reigns of David the Builder and Queen Tamar
Tamar of Georgia
Tamar , of the Bagrationi dynasty, was Queen Regnant of Georgia from 1184 to 1213. Tamar presided over the "Golden age" of the medieval Georgian monarchy...

. This early Georgian renaissance, which preceded its West European analogue, was characterized by the flourishing of romantic-chivalric tradition, breakthroughs in philosophy, and an array of political innovations in society and state organization, including religious and ethnic tolerance.]

The Golden age of Georgia left a legacy of great cathedrals, romantic poetry and literature, and the epic poem "The Knight in the Panther's Skin
The Knight in the Panther's Skin
The Knight in the Panther's Skin is an epic poem, consisting of over 1600 shairi quatrains, was written in the 12th century by the Georgian epic-poet Shota Rustaveli, who was a Prince and Treasurer at the royal court of Queen Tamar of Georgia. The Knight in the Panther's Skin is often seen as...

". David the Builder
David IV of Georgia
David IV "the Builder", also known as David II , of the Bagrationi dynasty, was a king of Georgia from 1089 until his death in 1125....

 is popularly considered to be the greatest and most successful Georgian ruler in history. He succeeded in driving the Seljuks out of the country, winning the major Battle of Didgori
Battle of Didgori
The Battle of Didgori was fought between the armies of the Kingdom of Georgia and the crumbling Great Seljuq Empire at the place of Didgori, 40 km west of Tbilisi, the modern-day capital of Georgia, on August 12, 1121...

 in 1121. His reforms of the army and administration enabled him to reunite the country and bring most lands of the Caucasus under Georgia's control.


David the Builder's
David IV of Georgia
David IV "the Builder", also known as David II , of the Bagrationi dynasty, was a king of Georgia from 1089 until his death in 1125....

 granddaughter Tamar
Tamar of Georgia
Tamar , of the Bagrationi dynasty, was Queen Regnant of Georgia from 1184 to 1213. Tamar presided over the "Golden age" of the medieval Georgian monarchy...

 succeeded in neutralizing opposition and embarked on an energetic foreign policy aided by the downfall of the rival powers of the Seljuks and Byzantium. Supported by a powerful military élite, Tamar was able to build on the successes of her predecessors to consolidate an empire which dominated the Caucasus until its collapse under the Mongol attacks within two decades after Tamar's death.

The revival of the Georgian Kingdom was set back after Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

 was captured and destoyed by the Khwarezmian
Khwarezmian Empire
The Khwarazmian dynasty or Khwarezmian dynasty, also known as Khwarezmids, dynasty of Khwarazm Shahs or Khwarezm-Shah dynasty was a Persianate Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turkic mamluk origin.They ruled Greater Iran in the High Middle Ages, in the period of about 1077 to 1231, first as vassals of...

 leader Mingburnu in 1236. The Mongols were expelled by George V of Georgia
George V of Georgia
George V, the "Brilliant" was King of Georgia from 1299 to 1302 and again from 1314 until his death. A flexible and far-sighted politician, he recovered Georgia from a century-long Mongol domination, restoring the country’s previous strength and Christian culture.-Reign:George was born to King...

, son of Demetrius II of Georgia, who was named "Brilliant" for his role in restoring the country's previous strength and Christian culture. George V was the last great king of the unified Georgian state. After his death, different local rulers fought for their independence from central Georgian rule, until the total disintegration of the Kingdom in the 15th century. Georgia was further weakened by several disastrous invasions by Tamerlane
Timur's invasions of Georgia
Georgia, a Christian kingdom in the Caucasus, was subjected, between 1386 and 1404, to several disastrous invasions by the Islamic armies of Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur, whose vast empire stretched, at its greatest extent, from Central Asia into Anatolia.These conflicts were intimately linked with...

. Neighbouring kingdoms exploited the internal division of the weakened country, and beginning in the 16th century, the Persian Empire
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 subjugated the eastern and western regions of Georgia, respectively.

The rulers of regions which remained partly autonomous organized rebellions on various occasions. However, subsequent Persian and Ottoman invasions further weakened local kingdoms and regions. As a result of wars the population of Georgia dwindled to 250,000 inhabitants at one point. Eastern Georgia
Eastern Georgia
Eastern Georgia commonly refers to the eastern part of the nation of Georgia, which in historic times included the kingdom of Iberia in the Caucasus. The present-day term refers to the territory of Georgia which lies to the east and south of the Likhi and Meskheti Ranges, but excludes the region...

, composed of the regions of Kartli
Kartli
Kartli is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari , on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical authors as Iberia, Kartli played a crucial role in ethnic and political consolidation of the Georgians in the Middle Ages...

 and Kakheti
Kakheti
Kakheti is a historical province in Eastern Georgia inhabited by Kakhetians who speak a local dialect of Georgian. It is bordered by the small mountainous province of Tusheti and the Greater Caucasus mountain range to the north, Russian Federation to the Northeast, Azerbaijan to the Southeast, and...

, had been under Persian suzerainty since 1555. With the death of Nader Shah
Nader Shah
Nāder Shāh Afshār ruled as Shah of Iran and was the founder of the Afsharid dynasty. Because of his military genius, some historians have described him as the Napoleon of Persia or the Second Alexander...

in 1747, both kingdoms broke free of Persian control and were reunified through a personal union under the energetic king Heraclius II
Erekle II
Erekle II was a Georgian monarch of the Bagrationi Dynasty, reigning as the king of Kakheti from 1744 to 1762, and of Kartli and Kakheti from 1762 until 1798. In the contemporary Persian sources he is referred to as Erekli Khan, while Russians knew him as Irakli...

 in 1762.

Georgia in the Russian Empire





In 1783, Russia and the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti signed the Treaty of Georgievsk
Treaty of Georgievsk
The Treaty of Georgievsk was a bilateral treaty concluded between the Russian Empire and the east Georgian kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti on July 24, 1783. The treaty established Georgia as a protectorate of Russia, which guaranteed Georgia's territorial integrity and the continuation of its reigning...

, which recognized the bond of Orthodox Christianity
Orthodox Christianity
The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:* the Eastern Orthodox Church and its various geographical subdivisions...

 between Russian and Georgian people and promised eastern Georgia protection. However, despite this commitment to defend Georgia Russia rendered no assistance when the Turks and Persians invaded in 1785 and in 1795, completely devastating Tbilisi and massacring its inhabitants. This period culminated in the 1801 Russian violation of the Treaty of Georgievsk and annexation of eastern Georgia, followed by the abolishment of the royal Bagrationi dynasty
Bagrationi Dynasty
The Bagrationi dynasty was the ruling family of Georgia. Their ascendency lasted from the early Middle Ages until the early 19th century. In modern usage, this royal line is frequently referred to as the Georgian Bagratids, a Hellenized form of their dynastic name.The origin of the Bagrationi...

, as well as the autocephaly
Autocephaly
Autocephaly , in hierarchical Christian churches and especially Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, is the status of a hierarchical church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop...

 of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Pyotr Bagration
Pyotr Bagration
Prince Pyotr Ivanovich Bagration was a general of the Russian army. He was a descendant of the Georgian royal family of the Bagrations.- Life :...

, one of the descendants of the abolished house of Bagrationi would later join the Russian army and rise to be a general by the Napoleonic wars.

On December 22, 1800, Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Paul I of Russia
Paul I of Russia
Paul I was the Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. He also was the 72nd Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta .-Childhood:...

, at the alleged request of the Georgian King George XII, signed the proclamation on the incorporation of Georgia (Kartli-Kakheti) within the Russian Empire, which was finalized by a decree on January 8, 1801, and confirmed by Tsar Alexander I
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

 on September 12, 1801. The Georgian envoy in Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 reacted with a note of protest that was presented to the Russian vice-chancellor Prince Kurakin. In May 1801, under the oversight of General Carl Heinrich Knorring Imperial Russia transferred power in eastern Georgia to the government headed by General Ivan Petrovich Lasarev. The Georgian nobility did not accept the decree until April 1802 when General Knorring compassed the nobility in Tbilisi's Sioni Cathedral
Tbilisi Sioni Cathedral
The "Sioni" Cathedral of the Dormition is a Georgian Orthodox cathedral in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Following a medieval Georgian tradition of naming churches after particular places in the Holy Land, the Sioni Cathedral bears the name of Mount Zion at Jerusalem...

 and forced them to take an oath on the Imperial Crown of Russia
Imperial Crown of Russia
The Imperial Crown of Russia, also known as the Great Imperial Crown, is the crown that was used by the Emperors of Russia until the abolition of the monarchy in 1917. The Great Imperial Crown was first used in a coronation by Catherine II, and was last used at the coronation of Nicholas II...

. Those who disagreed were temporarily arrested.

In the summer of 1805, Russian troops on the Askerani River near Zagam defeated the Persian army and saved Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

 from conquest now that it was officially part of the Imperial territories.

Following the annexation of eastern Georgia, the western Georgian kingdom of Imereti
Kingdom of Imereti
The Kingdom of Imereti was established in 1455 by a member of the house of Bagration when the Kingdom of Georgia was dissolved into rival kingdoms. Before that time, Imereti was considered a separate kingdom within the Kingdom of Georgia, to which a cadet branch of the Bagration royal family held...

 was annexed by Tsar Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

. The last Imeretian king and the last Georgian Bagrationi ruler Solomon II
Solomon II of Imereti
Solomon II , of the Bagrationi Dynasty, was the last King of Imereti from 1789 to 1790 and from 1792 until his deposition by the Imperial Russian government in 1810....

 died in exile in 1815. From 1803 to 1878, as a result of numerous Russian wars against the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, several of Georgia's previously lost territories – such as Adjara
Adjara
Adjara , officially the Autonomous Republic of Adjara , is an autonomous republic of Georgia.Adjara is located in the southwestern corner of Georgia, bordered by Turkey to the south and the eastern end of the Black Sea...

 – were recovered. The principality of Guria
Guria
Guria is a region in Georgia, in the western part of the country, bordered by the eastern end of the Black Sea. The region has a population of 143,357 and Ozurgeti is a regional capital.-Geography:...

 was abolished and incorporated into the Empire in 1828, and that of Megrelia
Samegrelo
Samegrelo/Samargalo or Megrelia, Mingrelia is a historic province in the western part of Georgia, formerly also known as Odishi.It is inhabited by the Megrelians, an ethnic subgroup of the Georgians.-Geography and Climate:...

 in 1857. The region of Svaneti
Svaneti
Svaneti is a historic province in Georgia, in the northwestern part of the country. It is inhabited by the Svans, a geographic subgroup of the Georgians.- Geography :...

 was gradually annexed in 1857–59.

Declaration of independence




After the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

, Georgia declared independence on May 26, 1918 in the midst of the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

. The parliamentary election was won by the Georgian Social-Democratic Party, considered to be pro-Menshevik
Menshevik
The Mensheviks were a faction of the Russian revolutionary movement that emerged in 1904 after a dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov, both members of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. The dispute originated at the Second Congress of that party, ostensibly over minor issues...

s, and its leader, Noe Zhordania
Noe Zhordania
Noe Zhordania was a Georgian journalist and Menshevik politician. He played an eminent role in the Social Democratic revolutionary movement in Imperial Russia, and later chaired the government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia from July 24, 1918 until March 18, 1921, when the Bolshevik Soviet...

, became prime minister.

In 1918 the Georgian–Armenian War erupted over parts of Georgian provinces populated mostly by Armenians which ended because of British intervention. In 1918–19 Georgian general Giorgi Mazniashvili
Giorgi Mazniashvili
Giorgi Mazniashvili was a Georgian general and one of the most prominent military figures in the Democratic Republic of Georgia...

 led a Georgian attack against the White Army led by Moiseev and Denikin in order to claim the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 coastline from Tuapse
Tuapse
Tuapse is a town in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated on the northeast shore of the Black Sea, south of Gelendzhik and north of Sochi. It serves as the administrative center of Tuapsinsky District, although administratively it is separate from it...

 to Sochi
Sochi
Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated just north of Russia's border with the de facto independent republic of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea coast. Greater Sochi sprawls for along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains...

 and Adler
Adlersky City District
Adlersky City District is the southernmost of four city districts of the city of Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia, lying along the Black Sea coast near the southern Russian border with Abkhazia, Georgia...

 for independent Georgia. The country's independence did not last long. Georgia was under British protection from 1918–1920.

Georgia in the Soviet Union




In February 1921 Georgia was attacked
Red Army invasion of Georgia
The Red Army invasion of Georgia also known as the Soviet–Georgian War or the Soviet invasion of Georgia was a military campaign by the Soviet Russian Red Army against the Democratic Republic of Georgia aimed at overthrowing the Social-Democratic government and installing the Bolshevik regime...

 by the Red Army. The Georgian army was defeated and the Social-Democrat government fled the country. On February 25, 1921
Soviet Occupation Day, Georgia
Soviet Occupation Day is observed on February 25. The holiday is observed to recall the Red Army invasion of Georgia in 1921.-Overview:In February 1921 Georgia was attacked by the Red Army. The Georgian army was defeated and the government fled the country...

 the Red Army entered the capital Tbilisi and installed a Moscow directed communist government, led by Georgian Bolshevik Filipp Makharadze
Filipp Makharadze
Filipp Makaradze was a Bolshevik revolutionary and government official.-Life:...

.
Nevertheless the Soviet rule was firmly established only after a 1924 revolt was brutally suppressed. Georgia was incorporated into the Transcaucasian SFSR
Transcaucasian SFSR
The Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic , also known as the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, the Transcaucasian SFSR and the TSFSR for short, was a short-lived republic of the Soviet Union, lasting from 1922 to 1936...

 uniting Georgia, Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

. The TSFSR was disaggregated into its component elements in 1936 and Georgia became the Georgian SSR.

Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, an ethnic Georgian, was prominent among the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

s, who came to power in the Russian Empire after the October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 in 1917. Stalin was to rise to the highest position of the Soviet state.

From 1941 to 1945, during World War II, almost 700,000 Georgians fought in the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 against Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. (A number also fought on the German side.) About 350,000 Georgians died in the battlefields of the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

.

The Dissidential movement for restoration of Georgian statehood started to gain popularity in the 1960s. Among the Georgian dissidents, two of the most prominent activists were Merab Kostava
Merab Kostava
250px|thumb|Merab Kostava, 1988Merab Kostava was a Georgian dissident, musician and poet; one of the leaders of the National-Liberation movement in Georgia...

 and Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Zviad Gamsakhurdia was a dissident, scientist and writer, who became the first democratically elected President of the Republic of Georgia in the post-Soviet era...

. Dissidents were heavily persecuted by Soviet government, and their activities were harshly suppressed.

On April 9, 1989, a peaceful demonstration in the Georgian capital Tbilisi ended up with several people being killed by Soviet troops. Before the October 1990 elections to the national assembly, the Umaghlesi Sabcho (Supreme Council) – the first polls in the USSR held on a formal multi-party basis – the political landscape was reshaped again. While the more radical groups boycotted the elections and convened an alternative forum with alleged support of Moscow. (National Congress), another part of the anticommunist opposition united into the Round Table—Free Georgia (RT-FG) around the former dissidents like Merab Kostava
Merab Kostava
250px|thumb|Merab Kostava, 1988Merab Kostava was a Georgian dissident, musician and poet; one of the leaders of the National-Liberation movement in Georgia...

 and Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Zviad Gamsakhurdia was a dissident, scientist and writer, who became the first democratically elected President of the Republic of Georgia in the post-Soviet era...

.

The latter won the elections by a clear margin, with 155 out of 250 parliamentary seats, whereas the ruling Communist Party (CP) received only 64 seats. All other parties failed to get over the 5%-threshold and were thus allotted only some single-member constituency seats.

Georgia after restoration of independence



On April 9, 1991, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia declared independence. On May 26, 1991, Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Zviad Gamsakhurdia was a dissident, scientist and writer, who became the first democratically elected President of the Republic of Georgia in the post-Soviet era...

 was elected as a first President of independent Georgia. Gamsakhurdia stoked Georgian nationalism and vowed to assert Tbilisi's authority over regions such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia that had been classified as autonomous oblast
Oblast
Oblast is a type of administrative division in Slavic countries, including some countries of the former Soviet Union. The word "oblast" is a loanword in English, but it is nevertheless often translated as "area", "zone", "province", or "region"...

s under the Soviet Union.

He was soon deposed in a bloody coup d'état, from December 22, 1991 to January 6, 1992. The coup was instigated by part of the National Guards and a paramilitary organization called "Mkhedrioni
Mkhedrioni
The Mkhedrioni was a paramilitary group and political organisation in the Republic of Georgia, outlawed since 1995 but subsequently reconstituted as the Union of Patriots political party....

" or "horsemen". The country became embroiled in a bitter civil war
Georgian Civil War
The Georgian Civil War consisted of inter-ethnic and intranational conflicts in the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia , as well as the violent military coup d'etat of December 21, 1991 - January 6, 1992 against the first democratically elected President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia and his...

 which lasted almost until 1995. Eduard Shevardnadze
Eduard Shevardnadze
Eduard Shevardnadze is a former Soviet, and later, Georgian statesman from the height to the end of the Cold War. He served as President of Georgia from 1995 to 2003, and as First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party , from 1972 to 1985. Shevardnadze was responsible for many top decisions on...

 returned to Georgia in 1992 and joined the leaders of the coup – Kitovani and Ioseliani – to head a triumvirate called the "State Council".

In 1995, Shevardnadze was officially elected as president of Georgia. At the same time, simmering disputes within two regions of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia
South Ossetia
South Ossetia or Tskhinvali Region is a disputed region and partly recognized state in the South Caucasus, located in the territory of the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast within the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic....

, between local separatists and the majority Georgian populations, erupted into widespread inter-ethnic violence and wars. Supported by Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, with the exception of some "pockets" of territory, achieved de facto independence from Georgia.

Roughly 230,000 to 250,000 Georgians were expelled
Ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia
The Ethnic Cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia, also known as the Massacres of Georgians in Abkhazia and Genocide of Georgians in Abkhazia — refers to ethnic cleansing, massacres and forced mass expulsion of thousands of ethnic Georgians living in Abkhazia during the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict...

 from Abkhazia by Abkhaz separatists and North Caucasians volunteers (including Chechens) in 1992–1993. Around 23,000 Georgians fled South Ossetia as well, and many Ossetian families were forced to abandon their homes in the Borjomi
Borjomi
Borjomi is a resort town in south-central Georgia with a population estimated at 14,445. It is one of the districts of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region and is situated in the northwestern part of the region in the picturesque Borjomi Gorge on the eastern edge of the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park...

 region and moved to Russia.

In 2003, Shevardnadze (who won reelection in 2000) was deposed by the Rose Revolution
Rose Revolution
The "Revolution of Roses" was a change of power in Georgia in November 2003, which took place after having widespread protests over the disputed parliamentary elections...

, after Georgian opposition and international monitors asserted that the November 2 parliamentary elections were marred by fraud. The revolution was led by Mikheil Saakashvili
Mikheil Saakashvili
Mikheil Saakashvili is a Georgian politician, the third and current President of Georgia and leader of the United National Movement Party.Involved in the national politics since 1995, Saakashvili became president on 25 January 2004 after President Eduard Shevardnadze resigned in a November 2003...

, Zurab Zhvania
Zurab Zhvania
Zurab Zhvania was a prominent Georgian politician, having served as Prime Minister of Georgia and Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia as well as Minister without Portfolio. Zhvania assumed premiership on 18 February 2004 and remained on the position until his death on 3 February 2005...

 and Nino Burjanadze
Nino Burjanadze
Nino Burjanadze is a Georgian politician and lawyer who served as Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia from November 2001 to June 2008...

, former members and leaders of Shevardnadze's ruling party. Mikheil Saakashvili was elected as President of Georgia in 2004.

Following the Rose Revolution, a series of reforms were launched to strengthen the country's military and economic capabilities. The new government's efforts to reassert Georgian authority in the southwestern autonomous republic of Ajaria led to a major crisis early in 2004. Success in Ajaria encouraged Saakashvili to intensify his efforts, but without success, in the breakaway South Ossetia.

These events along with accusations of Georgian involvement in the Second Chechen War
Second Chechen War
The Second Chechen War, in a later phase better known as the War in the North Caucasus, was launched by the Russian Federation starting 26 August 1999, in response to the Invasion of Dagestan by the Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade ....

, resulted in a severe deterioration of relations with Russia, fuelled also by Russia's open assistance and support to the two secessionists areas. Despite these increasingly difficult relations, in May 2005 Georgia and Russia reached a bilateral agreement by which Russian military bases (dating back to the Soviet era) in Batumi
Batumi
Batumi is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. Sometimes considered Georgia's second capital, with a population of 121,806 , Batumi serves as an important port and a commercial center. It is situated in a subtropical zone, rich in...

 and Akhalkalaki
Akhalkalaki
Akhalkalaki is a small city in Georgia's southern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti with a population of 60,975. Akhalkalaki lies on the edge of the Javakheti Volcanic Plateau. The city is located about 30 km from the border with Turkey. 90 percent of the city's population are ethnic Armenians...

 were withdrawn. Russia withdrew all personnel and equipment from these sites by December 2007 while failing to withdraw from the Gudauta
Gudauta
Gudauta is a town in Abkhazia and a centre of the eponymous district. It is situated on the Black Sea, 37 km northwest to Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia....

 base in Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

 which it was required to vacate after the adoption of Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty
Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty
The Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty is a post–Cold War adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe , signed on November 19, 1999 during the OSCE's 1999 Istanbul summit. The main difference with the earlier treaty is that the troop ceilings on a bloc-to-bloc...

 during the 1999 Istanbul summit
1999 Istanbul Summit
The 1999 Istanbul Summit was the 6th OSCE summit and was held in Istanbul, Turkey from November 18 until November 19, resulting in the adoption of the Istanbul Summit Declaration and the signing of the Charter for European Security...

.

2008 military conflict with Russia


2008 saw a military conflict between Georgia on one side, with Russia and the separatist republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

 on the other. In response to the shelling of Georgian towns around South Ossetia, supposedly by South Ossetian militias well equipped with Russian military supplies, Georgia massed military forces near the region. Russia also massed larger military forces near the border with South Ossetia. On August 7, Georgian forces began a massive artillery attack on the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali
Tskhinvali
Tskhinvali , is the capital of South Ossetia, a disputed region which has been recognised as an independent Republic by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru, and is regarded by Georgia and the rest of the world as part of the Shida Kartli region within Georgian sovereign territory.It is located...

, which started after months-long clashes between Georgian police and peacekeepers, and Ossetian militia and Russian peacekeepers. On early August 8, Georgian Army infantry and tanks, supported by Interior Ministry commandos, began pushing into South Ossetia, supported by artillery and multiple rocket launcher
Multiple rocket launcher
A multiple rocket launcher is a type of unguided rocket artillery system. Like other rocket artillery, multiple rocket launchers are less accurate and have a much lower rate of fire than batteries of traditional artillery guns...

 fire and Su-25
Sukhoi Su-25
The Sukhoi Su-25 is a single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft developed in the Soviet Union by the Sukhoi Design Bureau. It was designed to provide close air support for the Soviet Ground Forces. The first prototype made its maiden flight on 22 February 1975...

 strike aircraft. After several hours of fierce fighting, Georgia had captured numerous villages throughout South Ossetia, and had captured almost all of Tskhinvali from Ossetian militia and Russian peacekeepers. A Russian peacekeepers' base stationed in South Ossetia was shelled, and personnel were killed. Units of the Russian 58th Army
58th Army (Russia)
The 58th Army is a field army; first of the Soviet Union's Red Army and subsequently of the Russian Ground Forces....

, supported by irregular forces, subsequently entered South Ossetia through the Russian-controlled Roki Tunnel
Roki Tunnel
The Roki Tunnel is a mountain tunnel of the Transkam road through the Greater Caucasus Mountains, north of the village Upper Roka. It is the only road joining North Ossetia-Alania in the Russian Federation into South Ossetia, a breakaway republic of Georgia...

, and a three-day battle
Battle of Tskhinvali
The Battle of Tskhinvali was a fight for the city of Tskhinvali, capital of South Ossetia. It was the only major battle in the 2008 South Ossetia War. Georgian ground troops entered the city on early 8 August 2008, after an extensive artillery barrage. Their advance was stopped by South Ossetian...

 left the city of Tskhinvali heavily devastated. Georgian forces were driven out of South Ossetia, and Georgian villages were burned by Ossetian militia to prevent refugees from returning. The Russian Air Force
Russian Air Force
The Russian Air Force is the air force of Russian Military. It is currently under the command of Colonel General Aleksandr Zelin. The Russian Navy has its own air arm, the Russian Naval Aviation, which is the former Soviet Aviatsiya Voyenno Morskogo Flota , or AV-MF).The Air Force was formed from...

 launched a series of coordinated airstrikes against Georgian forces in South Ossetia, and multiple targets inside Georgia proper, but met heavy resistance from Georgian air defenses. The Georgian Air Force
Georgian Air Force
The Georgian Air Force is the air arm of the Georgian Armed Forces. Currently, it has 2,971 military and civilian personnel, fixed wing aircraft , helicopters of different types and air defense missiles of the "surface-to-air" class. The Air Force was founded in 1991 in the wake of the break-up...

 also managed to carry out air attacks on Russian troops throughout most of the battle. At the same time, the separatist Republic of Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

 launched an offensive
Battle of the Kodori Valley
The Battle of Kodori Valley was a military operation in the Upper Kodori Valley, during the 2008 South Ossetia war, the only part of Abkhazia, which remained under Georgian control after the War in Abkhazia from 1992 to 1993. Hostilities started, during the 2008 South Ossetia war, the Abkhazian...

 against Georgian troops in the Kodori Valley
Kodori Valley
The Kodori Valley is a river valley in Abkhazia, Georgia's breakaway autonomous republic. The valley's upper part, populated by Svans, was the only corner of the post-1993 Abkhazia, directly controlled by the central Georgian government, which officially styles the area as Upper Abkhazia...

 with the support of Russian paratroopers, marines, and naval forces. Georgian troops offered minimal resistance and withdrew Russian paratroopers launched raids against military bases in Senaki
Senaki
Senaki is a town in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, western Georgia. It is located at around .From 1935 to 1976 it was called Tskhakaya in honor of the Georgian Bolshevik revolutionary leader Mikhail Tskhakaya....

, Georgia, from Abkhazia. The Russian Navy stationed a task force of sixteen ships off the coast of Abkhazia, and in a brief naval skirmish
Battle off the coast of Abkhazia
The Battle off the coast of Abkhazia was a naval engagement between vessels of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and patrol boats of the Coast Guard of Georgia.- The Engagement :...

 with Georgian missile boats and gunboats, sank a Georgian Coast Guard cutter.

Following their defeat in South Ossetia, Georgian forces regrouped at Gori
Gori, Georgia
Gori is a city in eastern Georgia, which serves as the regional capital of Shida Kartli and the centre of the homonymous administrative district. The name is from Georgian gora , that is, "heap", or "hill"...

 with heavy artillery. Russian forces crossed into Georgia proper, and all Georgian forces retreated to Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

, leaving some military equipment behind. Russian forces entered the city and occupied numerous villages completely unopposed. Irregulars such as Ossetians, Chechens and Cossacks followed and were reported looting, killing and burning. Russian troops removed military equipment abandoned by retreating Georgian troops in Gori, and also occupied the port city of Poti
Poti
Poti is a port city in Georgia, located on the eastern Black Sea coast in the region of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti in the west of the country. Built near the site of the ancient Greek colony of Phasis, the city has become a major port city and industrial center since the early 20th century. It is also...

, where they sank several naval and coast guard vessesls moored in the harbor, and removed captured military equipment, including four Humvees. Georgia lost a total of 150 pieces of military equipment (including 65 tanks), 1,728 small arms, and 4 naval vessels during the war.

On August 12, President Medvedev
Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev is the third President of the Russian Federation.Born to a family of academics, Medvedev graduated from the Law Department of Leningrad State University in 1987. He defended his dissertation in 1990 and worked as a docent at his alma mater, now renamed to Saint...

 announced an intent to halt further Russian military operations in Georgia. Russian troops withdrew from Gori and Poti, but remained in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which it recognized as independent countries
International recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Abkhazia and South Ossetia are two breakaway republics in the Caucasus with disputed status over whether they are a part of Georgia or sovereign states. The Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia were recognised following the 2008 South Ossetia War between Russia and Georgia, by six...

. Georgia, on the contrary, considers those territories to be under Russian occupation. Russia also created temporary checkpoints in several locations inside Georgia, but gradually withdrew from them.

Because of the intensive fighting in South Ossetia there were many disputed reports about the number of casualties on both sides, which targets had fallen under aerial attacks, the status of troop movements, and the most current location of the front line between the Georgian and Russian-Ossetian combat units. South Ossetian and Russian officials claimed the Georgian Army was responsible for killing 2,000, and later 1,400 South Ossetian civilians. These allegations have not been substantiated, and Human Rights Watch and European Union investigators in South Ossetia accused Russia of exaggerating the scale of such casualties. The actual death toll, according to the Russian Prosecutor's Office, is 162. Another 150 South Ossetian militiamen were also killed. Russian casualties totalled 67 dead or missing, and 323 wounded. Abkhaz forces lost 1 dead and 2 wounded. Georgian military casualties totaled 170 dead or missing, 1,964 wounded, and 42 taken prisoner. Georgian civilian casualties stand at 228, with a total of 12 police officers killed or missing. A Dutch journalist Stan Storimans
Stan Storimans
Stanislaus N.I.M. Storimans was a Dutch RTL TV veteran cameraman. He had planned to publish a book describing his 20 years of reporting from hotspots like Afghanistan, Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Iraq, Sri Lanka, the former Zaire and the former Yugoslavia, among others...

 was also killed.

Geography and climate


Georgia is situated in the South Caucasus
South Caucasus
The South Caucasus is a geopolitical region located on the border of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia also referred to as Transcaucasia, or The Trans-Caucasus...

, between latitudes 41°
41st parallel north
The 41st parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 41 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 44° N
44th parallel north
The 44th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 44 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes 40°
40th meridian east
The meridian 40° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 47° E
47th meridian east
The meridian 47° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

, with an area of 67900 km² (26,216 sq mi). It is a very mountainous country. The Likhi Range
Likhi Range
Likhi Range or Surami Range is a mountain range in Georgia, a part of the Caucasus mountains. It connects the Greater Caucasus and Lesser Caucasus ranges....

 divides the country into eastern and western halves. Historically, the western portion of Georgia was known as Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

 while the eastern plateau was called Iberia
Caucasian Iberia
Iberia , also known as Iveria , was a name given by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli , corresponding roughly to the eastern and southern parts of the present day Georgia...

. Because of a complex geographic setting, mountains also isolate the northern region of Svaneti from the rest of Georgia.

The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range forms the northern border of Georgia. The main roads through the mountain range into Russian territory lead through the Roki Tunnel between South and North Ossetia and the Darial Gorge
Darial Gorge
The Darial Gorge is the gorge on the border between Russia and Georgia. It is at the east base of Mount Kazbek, pierced by the river Terek for a distance of 8 metres between vertical walls of rock and is located South of present-day...

 (in the Georgian region of Khevi
Khevi
Khevi is a small historical-geographic area in northeastern Georgia. It is included in the modern-day Kazbegi district, Mtskheta-Mtianeti region...

). The Roki Tunnel was vital for the Russian military in the 2008 South Ossetia war
2008 South Ossetia war
The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other....

 because it is the only direct route through the Caucasus Mountains. The southern portion of the country is bounded by the Lesser Caucasus Mountains
Lesser Caucasus
Lesser Caucasus is one of the two main mountain ranges of Caucasus mountains, of length about 600 km....

. The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range
Greater Caucasus
Greater Caucasus , sometimes translated as "Caucasus Major", "Big Caucasus" or "Large Caucasus") is the major mountain range of the Caucasus Mountains....

 is much higher in elevation than the Lesser Caucasus Mountains
Lesser Caucasus
Lesser Caucasus is one of the two main mountain ranges of Caucasus mountains, of length about 600 km....

, with the highest peaks rising more than 5000 metres (16,404 ft) above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

.

The highest mountain in Georgia is Mount Shkhara
Shkhara
Shkhara , is the highest point in the nation of Georgia. Located in the Svaneti region along the Russian frontier, Shkhara lies north of the city of Kutaisi, Georgia's second largest city. The summit lies in the central part of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range, to the south-east of Mount...

 at 5068 metres (16,627 ft), and the second highest is Mount Janga (Dzhangi-Tau) at 5059 m (16,598 ft) above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

. Other prominent peaks include Mount Kazbek) at 5047 m (16,558 ft), Shota Rustaveli (4860 m (15,945 ft)), Tetnuldi (4858 m (15,938 ft)), Mt. Ushba
Ushba
Ushba is one of the most notable peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. It is located in the Svaneti region of Georgia, just south of the border with the Kabardino-Balkaria region of Russia. Although it does not rank in the 10 highest peaks of the range, Ushba is known as the "Matterhorn of the...

 (4700 m (15,420 ft)), and Ailama
Ailama
Ailama or Ahlama is a peak in the central part of the Svaneti section of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range, located in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region of Georgia, at the source of the river Koruldashi. The lower slopes are covered with alpine and sub alpine meadows, while the upper slopes have...

 (4547 m (14,918 ft)). Out of the abovementioned peaks, only Kazbek is of volcanic origin. The region between Kazbek and Shkhara
Shkhara
Shkhara , is the highest point in the nation of Georgia. Located in the Svaneti region along the Russian frontier, Shkhara lies north of the city of Kutaisi, Georgia's second largest city. The summit lies in the central part of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range, to the south-east of Mount...

 (a distance of about 200 km (124 mi) along the Main Caucasus Range) is dominated by numerous glaciers. Out of the 2,100 glaciers that exist in the Caucasus today, approximately 30% are located within Georgia
Glaciers of Georgia
The glaciers of Georgia are mainly located along the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range, covering a total surface area of 506 km² . A number of smaller glaciers may also be found on the adjacent ranges of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range...

.

The term, Lesser Caucasus Mountains
Lesser Caucasus
Lesser Caucasus is one of the two main mountain ranges of Caucasus mountains, of length about 600 km....

 is often used to describe the mountainous (highland) areas of southern Georgia that are connected to the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range by the Likhi Range. The area can be split into two separate sub-regions; the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, which run parallel to the Greater Caucasus Range, and the Southern Georgia Volcanic Highland, which lies immediately to the south of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains.

The overall region can be characterized as being made up of various, interconnected mountain ranges (largely of volcanic origin) and plateaus that do not exceed 3400 metres (11,155 ft) in elevation. Prominent features of the area include the Javakheti Volcanic Plateau, lakes, including Tabatskuri and Paravani, as well as mineral water and hot springs. Two major rivers in Georgia are the Rioni
Rioni River
The Rioni or Rion River is the main river of western Georgia. It originates in the Caucasus Mountains, in the region of Racha and flows west to the Black Sea, entering it north of the city of Poti...

 and the Mtkvari. The Southern Georgia Volcanic Highland is a young and unstable geologic region with high seismic activity and has experienced some of the most significant earthquakes that have been recorded in Georgia.

The Krubera Cave is the deepest known cave in the world. It is located in the Arabika Massif
Arabika Massif
Arabika Massif is a glacially eroded karst outcropping of the Gagra Range, Abkhazia in the West Caucasus, by the city of Gagra. Highest elevation: .The world's deepest cave, Voronya Cave, is located in the massif....

 of the Gagra Range
Gagra Range
Gagra Range is a mountain range of the Caucasus Major in Abkhazia. The range runs between the valleys of the Bzyb and Psou rivers to the south of the Caucasus Major, in a general North-South direction...

, in Abkhazia. In 2001, a Russian–Ukrainian team had set the world depth record for a cave at 1710 metres (5,610 ft). In 2004, the penetrated depth was increased on each of three expeditions, when a Ukrainian
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 team crossed the 2000 metres (6,562 ft) mark for the first time in the history of speleology
Speleology
Speleology is the scientific study of caves and other karst features, their make-up, structure, physical properties, history, life forms, and the processes by which they form and change over time...

. In October 2005, an unexplored part was found by the CAVEX team, further increasing the known depth of the cave. This expedition confirmed the known depth of the cave at 2140 metres (7,021 ft) (±9 m (29.5 ft)).

Topography



The landscape within the nation's boundaries is quite varied. Western Georgia's landscape ranges from low-land marsh-forests, swamps, and temperate rainforests to eternal snows and glaciers, while the eastern part of the country even contains a small segment of semi-arid plains. Forests cover around 40% of Georgia's territory while the alpine
Alpine tundra
Alpine tundra is a natural region that does not contain trees because it is at high altitude. Alpine tundra is distinguished from arctic tundra, because alpine soils are generally better drained than arctic soils...

/subalpine zone accounts for roughly around 10% of the land.

Much of the natural habitat in the low-lying areas of Western Georgia has disappeared over the last 100 years because of the agricultural development of the land and urbanization. The large majority of the forests that covered the Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

 plain are now virtually non-existent with the exception of the regions that are included in the national parks and reserves (e.g. Lake Paliastomi
Lake Paliastomi
Lake Paliastomi is a small lake near the city of Poti, Georgia, connected to the Black Sea by a narrow channel. Its surface area is 17.3 km² and the mean depth is 2.6 m. Some ancient pieces of Colchis have been found near and in the lake by archaeologists. It is also an important fishery site.The...

 area). At present, the forest cover generally remains outside of the low-lying areas and is mainly located along the foothills and the mountains. Western Georgia's forests consist mainly of deciduous trees below 600 metres (1,969 ft) above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

 and comprise of species such as oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

, hornbeam
Hornbeam
Hornbeams are relatively small hardwood trees in the genus Carpinus . Though some botanists grouped them with the hazels and hop-hornbeams in a segregate family, Corylaceae, modern botanists place the hornbeams in the birch subfamily Coryloideae...

, beech
Oriental Beech
Fagus orientalis, the Oriental Beech, is a deciduous tree in the beech family Fagaceae. The natural range extends from southeast Bulgaria's Strandja mountain through northwest Turkey east to the Caucasus and Alborz Mountains of Iran. It is restricted to mountain forests, at 500-2,100 m altitude...

, elm
Elm
Elms are deciduous and semi-deciduous trees comprising the genus Ulmus in the plant family Ulmaceae. The dozens of species are found in temperate and tropical-montane regions of North America and Eurasia, ranging southward into Indonesia. Elms are components of many kinds of natural forests...

, ash
Ash tree
Fraxinus is a genus flowering plants in the olive and lilac family, Oleaceae. It contains 45-65 species of usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous though a few subtropical species are evergreen. The tree's common English name, ash, goes back to the Old English æsc, while the generic name...

, and chestnut
Sweet Chestnut
Castanea sativa is a species of the flowering plant family Fagaceae, the tree and its edible seeds are referred to by several common names such Sweet Chestnut or Marron. Originally native to southeastern Europe and Asia Minor, it is now widely dispersed throughout Europe and parts of Asia, such as...

. Evergreen species such as box
Buxus
Buxus is a genus of about 70 species in the family Buxaceae. Common names include box or boxwood ....

 may also be found in many areas. Ca. 1000 of all 4000 higher plants of Georgia are endemic in this country.

The west-central slopes of the Meskheti Range
Meskheti Range
Meskheti Range is a part of the Lesser Caucasus mountain range in Meskheti region, in southwestern Georgia....

 in Ajaria as well as several locations in Samegrelo and Abkhazia are covered by temperate rain forests. Between 600–1000 m (1,968.5–3,280.8 ft) above sea level, the deciduous forest becomes mixed with both broad-leaf and coniferous species making up the plant life. The zone is made up mainly of beech, spruce
Caucasian Spruce
Picea orientalis, commonly known as the Caucasian Spruce or Oriental Spruce, is a spruce native to the Caucasus and adjacent northeast Turkey. It is a large evergreen tree growing to 30–45 m tall , and with a trunk diameter of up to 1.5 m .The shoots are buff-brown, and moderately pubescent...

, and fir
Nordmann Fir
Nordmann Fir is a fir native to the mountains south and east of the Black Sea, in Turkey, Georgia, Russian Caucasus and northern parts of Armenia. It occurs at altitudes of 900-2,200 m on mountains with a rainfall of over 1,000 mm.It is a large evergreen coniferous tree growing to 60 m tall...

 forests. From 1500–1800 m (4,921.3–5,905.5 ft), the forest becomes largely coniferous. The tree line generally ends at around 1800 metres (5,906 ft) and the alpine zone takes over, which in most areas, extends up to an elevation of 3000 metres (9,843 ft) above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

. The eternal snow and glacier
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

 zone lies above the 3,000 metre line.

Eastern Georgia's landscape (referring to the territory east of the Likhi Range
Likhi Range
Likhi Range or Surami Range is a mountain range in Georgia, a part of the Caucasus mountains. It connects the Greater Caucasus and Lesser Caucasus ranges....

) is considerably different from that of the west, although, much like the Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

 plain in the west, nearly all of the low-lying areas of eastern Georgia including the Mtkvari and Alazani
Alazani
The Alazani is a river that flows through the Caucasus.It is the main tributary of the Kura in eastern Georgia, and flows for 351 km...

 River plains have been deforested for agricultural purposes. In addition, because of the region's relatively drier climate, some of the low-lying plains (especially in Kartli
Kartli
Kartli is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari , on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical authors as Iberia, Kartli played a crucial role in ethnic and political consolidation of the Georgians in the Middle Ages...

 and south-eastern Kakheti) were never covered by forests in the first place.

The general landscape of eastern Georgia comprises numerous valleys and gorges that are separated by mountains. In contrast with western Georgia, nearly 85% of the forests of the region are deciduous. Coniferous forests only dominate in the Borjomi Gorge
Borjomi Gorge
Borjomi Gorge is a picturuesque canyon of the Mtkvari River in central Georgia. The Gorge was formed as a result of the Mtkvari River cutting its path through the Lesser Caucasus Mountains where the Trialeti and Meskheti Ranges meet. A significant portion of the Borjomi Gorge is covered by mixed...

 and in the extreme western areas. Out of the deciduous species of trees, beech
Beech
Beech is a genus of ten species of deciduous trees in the family Fagaceae, native to temperate Europe, Asia and North America.-Habit:...

, oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

, and hornbeam
Hornbeam
Hornbeams are relatively small hardwood trees in the genus Carpinus . Though some botanists grouped them with the hazels and hop-hornbeams in a segregate family, Corylaceae, modern botanists place the hornbeams in the birch subfamily Coryloideae...

 dominate. Other deciduous species include several varieties of maple
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

, aspen
Aspen
Populus section Populus, of the Populus genus, includes the aspen trees and the white poplar Populus alba. The five typical aspens are all native to cold regions with cool summers, in the north of the Northern Hemisphere, extending south at high altitudes in the mountains. The White Poplar, by...

, ash, and hazelnut
Hazelnut
A hazelnut is the nut of the hazel and is also known as a cob nut or filbert nut according to species. A cob is roughly spherical to oval, about 15–25 mm long and 10–15 mm in diameter, with an outer fibrous husk surrounding a smooth shell. A filbert is more elongated, being about twice...

. The Upper Alazani
Alazani
The Alazani is a river that flows through the Caucasus.It is the main tributary of the Kura in eastern Georgia, and flows for 351 km...

 River Valley contains yew
Taxus baccata
Taxus baccata is a conifer native to western, central and southern Europe, northwest Africa, northern Iran and southwest Asia. It is the tree originally known as yew, though with other related trees becoming known, it may be now known as the English yew, or European yew.-Description:It is a small-...

 forests.

At higher elevations above 1000 metres (3,281 ft) above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

 (particularly in the Tusheti
Tusheti
Tusheti is a historic region in northeast Georgia.-Geography:Located on the northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, Tusheti is bordered by the Russian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan to the north and east, respectively; and by the Georgian historic provinces Kakheti and...

, Khevsureti
Khevsureti
Khevsureti/Khevsuria is a historical-ethnographic region in eastern Georgia. They are the branch of Kartvelian people located along both the northern and southern slopes of the Great Caucasus...

, and Khevi
Khevi
Khevi is a small historical-geographic area in northeastern Georgia. It is included in the modern-day Kazbegi district, Mtskheta-Mtianeti region...

 regions), pine
Scots Pine
Pinus sylvestris, commonly known as the Scots Pine, is a species of pine native to Europe and Asia, ranging from Scotland, Ireland and Portugal in the west, east to eastern Siberia, south to the Caucasus Mountains, and as far north as well inside the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia...

 and birch
Birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

 forests dominate. In general, the forests in eastern Georgia occur between 500–2000 m (1,640.4–6,561.7 ft) above sea level, with the alpine zone extending from 2000–2300 m (6,561.7–7,545.9 ft) to 3000–3500 m (9,842.5–11,482.9 ft). The only remaining large, low-land forests remain in the Alazani
Alazani
The Alazani is a river that flows through the Caucasus.It is the main tributary of the Kura in eastern Georgia, and flows for 351 km...

 Valley of Kakheti. The eternal snow and glacier
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

 zone lies above the 3500 metres (11,483 ft) line in most areas of eastern Georgia.

Climate


The climate of Georgia is extremely diverse, considering the nation's small size. There are two main climatic zones, roughly separating Eastern and Western parts of the country. The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range plays an important role in moderating Georgia's climate and protects the nation from the penetration of colder air masses from the north. The Lesser Caucasus Mountains partially protect the region from the influence of dry and hot air masses from the south as well.

Much of western Georgia lies within the northern periphery of the humid subtropical zone with annual precipitation ranging from 1000 –. The precipitation tends to be uniformly distributed throughout the year, although the rainfall can be particularly heavy during the Autumn months. The climate of the region varies significantly with elevation and while much of the lowland areas of western Georgia are relatively warm throughout the year, the foothills and mountainous areas (including both the Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains) experience cool, wet summers and snowy winters (snow cover often exceeds 2 meters in many regions). Ajaria is the wettest region of the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

, where the Mt. Mtirala rainforest
Temperate rain forest
Temperate rainforests are coniferous or broadleaf forests that occur in the temperate zone and receive high rainfall.-Definition:For temperate rain forests of North America, Alaback's definition is widely recognized:-Global distribution:...

, east of Kobuleti
Kobuleti
Kobuleti is a town in Georgia's southwestern region of Ajaria. It is situated on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. Kobuleti is a sea resort, visited annually by Georgians and many former Soviet Union residents. From the 17th century into the 19th, Kobuleti was a fiefdom of the Tavdgiridze...

 receives around 4500 mm (177.2 in) of precipitation per year.

Eastern Georgia has a transitional climate from humid subtropical to continental. The region's weather patterns are influenced both by dry, Caspian air masses from the east and humid, Black Sea air masses from the west. The penetration of humid air masses from the Black Sea is often blocked by several mountain ranges (Likhi and Meskheti
Meskheti
Meskheti is in a mountainous area of Moschia and is a former province in southwestern Georgia. The ancient Georgian tribes of Meskhi and Mosiniks were the indigenous population of this region. A majority of the modern Georgian population of Meskheti are descendants of these ancient tribes...

) that separate the eastern and western parts of the nation. Annual precipitation is considerably less than that of western Georgia and ranges from 400 –.
The wettest periods generally occur during Spring and Autumn while Winter and the Summer months tend to be the driest. Much of eastern Georgia experiences hot summers (especially in the low-lying areas) and relatively cold winters. As in the western parts of the nation, elevation plays an important role in eastern Georgia where climatic conditions above 1500 metres (4,921 ft) are considerably colder than in the low-lying areas. The regions that lie above 2000 metres (6,562 ft) frequently experience frost even during the summer months.

Biodiversity



Because of its high landscape diversity and low latitude Georgia is home to about 1000 species of vertebrates, (330 birds, 160 fish, 48 reptiles, and 11 amphibians). A number of large carnivores live in the forests, namely Brown bear
Brown Bear
The brown bear is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It can weigh from and its largest subspecies, the Kodiak Bear, rivals the polar bear as the largest member of the bear family and as the largest land-based predator.There are several recognized...

s, wolves, and lynx
Lynx
A lynx is any of the four Lynx genus species of medium-sized wildcats. The name "lynx" originated in Middle English via Latin from Greek word "λύγξ", derived from the Indo-European root "*leuk-", meaning "light, brightness", in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes...

es. The species number of invertebrates is considered to be very high but data is distributed across a high number of publications. The spider checklist of Georgia, for example, includes 501 species.

Just over 6500 species of fungi, including lichen-forming species, have been recorded from Georgia, but this number is far from complete. The true total number of fungal species occurring in Georgia, including species not yet recorded, is likely to be far higher, given the generally accepted estimate that only about 7% of all fungi worldwide have so far been discovered. Although the amount of available information is still very small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of fungal species endemic to Georgia, and 2595 species have been tentatively identified as possible endemics of the country. 1729 species of plants have been recorded from Georgia in association with fungi. The true number of plant species occurring in Georgia is likely to be substantially higher.

Regions



Georgia is divided into 9 regions, 1 city, and 2 autonomous republics. These in turn are subdivided into 69 districts
Districts of Georgia (country)
The Districts of Georgia refer to the second-level administrative regions of Georgia in western Asia. The 1-st level divisions of Georgia are divided into 72 districts and cities....

.

  • Guria
    Guria
    Guria is a region in Georgia, in the western part of the country, bordered by the eastern end of the Black Sea. The region has a population of 143,357 and Ozurgeti is a regional capital.-Geography:...

  • Imereti
    Imereti
    Imereti is a province in Georgia situated along the middle and upper reaches of the Rioni river. It consists of the following Georgian administrative-territorial units:#Kutaisi #Baghdati region#Vani region#Zestafoni region...

  • Kakheti
    Kakheti
    Kakheti is a historical province in Eastern Georgia inhabited by Kakhetians who speak a local dialect of Georgian. It is bordered by the small mountainous province of Tusheti and the Greater Caucasus mountain range to the north, Russian Federation to the Northeast, Azerbaijan to the Southeast, and...

  • Kvemo Kartli
    Kvemo Kartli
    Kvemo Kartli is a historic province and current administrative region in southeastern Georgia. The city of Rustavi is a regional capital. The population is mixed between Azeris and Georgians .The current governor is Davit Kirkitadze.- External links :* *...

  • Mtskheta-Mtianeti
    Mtskheta-Mtianeti
    Mtskheta-Mtianeti is a region in eastern Georgia comprising the town of Mtskheta, which serves as a regional capital, together with its district and the adjoining mountainous areas.- External links :...

  • Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti
    Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti
    Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti is a region in northwestern Georgia which includes the historical provinces of Racha, Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti . It covers an area of 4,954 km² and has a population of 50,969 . It is the most sparsely populated region in the country...

  • Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti
    Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti
    Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti is a region in western Georgia which includes the historical Georgian provinces of Samegrelo and Zemo Svaneti and has Zugdidi as its capital.-Geography:...

  • Samtskhe-Javakheti
  • Shida Kartli
    Shida Kartli
    Shida Kartli is a region in Georgia. It consists of the following districts: Gori, Kaspi, Kareli, Java, Khashuri.The northern part of the region, namely Java, and northern territories of Kareli and Gori, is controlled by the authorities of the self-proclaimed republic of South Ossetia since...


Autonomous republics




Georgia contains two official autonomous regions, of which one has declared independence. In addition, another territory not officially autonomous has also declared independence. Officially autonomous within Georgia, the de facto independent region of Abkhazia declared independence in 1999. The de facto independent South Ossetia is officially known within Georgia as the Tskinvali region to separate it from the Russian North Ossetia. It was autonomous under the Soviet Union, and when it was renamed to Tskinvali in 1995 its autonomy was removed. De facto separate since Georgian independence, offers were made to give South Ossetia autonomy again, but in 2006 an unrecognised referendum in the area resulted in a vote for independence.

In both territories large numbers of people had been given Russian passports, some through a process of forced passportization by Russian authorities. This was used as a justification for Russian invasion of Georgia during the 2008 South Ossetia war after which Russia recognised the regions independence. Independence is denied by Georgia, which considers the regions as occupied by Russia. Both republics have received minimal international recognition
International recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Abkhazia and South Ossetia are two breakaway republics in the Caucasus with disputed status over whether they are a part of Georgia or sovereign states. The Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia were recognised following the 2008 South Ossetia War between Russia and Georgia, by six...

.

Adjara
Adjara
Adjara , officially the Autonomous Republic of Adjara , is an autonomous republic of Georgia.Adjara is located in the southwestern corner of Georgia, bordered by Turkey to the south and the eastern end of the Black Sea...

 gained autonomy unilaterally under local strongman Aslan Abashidze
Aslan Abashidze
Aslan Abashidze was the leader of the Ajarian Autonomous Republic in western Georgia from 1991 to May 5, 2004. He resigned under the pressure of the central Georgian government and mass opposition rallies during the 2004 Adjara crisis, and has since lived in Moscow, Russia...

, who maintained close ties with Russia and allowed a Russian military base to be built in Batumi
Batumi
Batumi is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. Sometimes considered Georgia's second capital, with a population of 121,806 , Batumi serves as an important port and a commercial center. It is situated in a subtropical zone, rich in...

. Upon the election of Mikheil Saakashvili in 2004 tensions rose between Adjara and the Georgian government, leading to demonstrations in Adjara and the resignation and fleeing of Absahidze. The region retains autonomy.

Government and politics


Georgia is a democratic semi-presidential republic, with the President
President of Georgia
The President of Georgia is the head of state, supreme commander-in-chief and holder of the highest office within the Government of Georgia. Executive power is split between the President and the Prime Minister, who is the head of government...

 as the head of state, and Prime Minister as the head of government.

The executive branch of power is made up of the President and the Cabinet of Georgia
Cabinet of Georgia
The Cabinet of Georgia is an executive council of government ministers in Georgia. It is headed by the Prime Minister of Georgia. In the cases of utmost importance, the meetings may be led by the President of Georgia . The first Cabinet of Georgia was formed by Noe Zhordania in the Democratic...

. The Cabinet is composed of ministers, headed by the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Georgia
The Prime Minister of Georgia is the most senior minister within the Cabinet of Georgia, appointed by the President of Georgia. The official title of the Head of the Government of Georgia has varied throughout history, however, the duties and functions of the leader have changed only marginally....

, and appointed by the President. Notably, the ministers of defense and interior are not members of the Cabinet and are subordinated directly to the President of Georgia. Mikheil Saakashvili is the current President of Georgia after winning 53.47% of the vote in the 2008 election
Georgian presidential election, 2008
A presidential election was held in Georgia on January 5, 2008, having been brought forward by President Mikheil Saakashvili after the 2007 Georgian demonstrations from the original date in autumn 2008....

. Since February 6, 2009 Nikoloz Gilauri
Nikoloz Gilauri
Nika Gilauri is a Georgian politician who has been serving as Prime Minister of Georgia since February 6, 2009. He had served as Minister for Energy and later as Minister for Finance and First Vice Prime Minister in the Cabinet of Georgia....

 has been the prime minister of Georgia.

Legislative
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

 authority is vested in the Parliament of Georgia
Parliament of Georgia
Parliament of Georgia is the supreme legislature of Georgia. It is unicameral and has 150 members, known as deputies, from which 75 members are proportional representatives and 75 are elected through single-member district plurality system, representing their constituencies...

. It is unicameral and has 150 members, known as deputies, from which 75 members are proportional representatives and 75 are elected through single-member district plurality system, representing their constituencies. Members of parliament are elected for 4 four-year term. Five parties and electoral blocs had representatives elected to the parliament in the 2008 elections
Georgian legislative election, 2008
Parliamentary elections were held in Georgia on May 21, 2008. President Mikheil Saakashvili proposed a referendum on bringing them forward from October to April after the 2007 Georgian demonstrations...

: the United National Movement (governing party), The Joint Opposition, the Christian-Democrats
Christian-Democratic Movement (Georgia)
The Christian-Democratic Movement is a political party in Georgia, founded in February 2008 and led by Giorgi Targamadze, formerly a Imedi TV anchor who had once been a Member of the Parliament of Georgia and a close ally of Aslan Abashidze, then a regional leader of Adjara...

, the Labour Party
Georgian Labour Party
The Georgian Labour Party is a political party in Georgia. The party is led by its founder Shalva Natelashvili.Its main goal is to make Georgia a democratic country and eventually to become a member of the European Union...

 and Republican Party
Republican Party of Georgia
The Republican Party of Georgia , commonly known as the Republicans , is a political party in Georgia active since 1978. It is currently in opposition to Mikheil Saakashvili’s government...

.

Although considerable progress was made since the Rose revolution
Rose Revolution
The "Revolution of Roses" was a change of power in Georgia in November 2003, which took place after having widespread protests over the disputed parliamentary elections...

, Saakashvili states that Georgia is still not a "full-fledged, very well-formed, crystalized society." The political system remains in the process of transition, with frequent adjustments to the balance of power between the President and Parliament, and opposition proposals ranging from transforming the country into parliamentary republic to re-establishing the monarchy. Observers note the deficit of trust in relations between the Government and the opposition.

Different opinions exist regarding the degree of political freedom in Georgia. President Saakashvili believes that the country is "on the road to becoming a European democracy." Freedom House
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

 puts Georgia in the group of partly free countries, along with countries like Turkey, Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 and Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

.

Human rights


Human rights in Georgia are guaranteed by the country's constitution
Constitution of Georgia (country)
The Constitution of Georgia is the supreme law of Georgia. It was approved by the Parliament of Georgia on August 24 1995. It entered into force on October 17...

. There is an independent human rights public defender elected by the Parliament of Georgia
Parliament of Georgia
Parliament of Georgia is the supreme legislature of Georgia. It is unicameral and has 150 members, known as deputies, from which 75 members are proportional representatives and 75 are elected through single-member district plurality system, representing their constituencies...

 to ensure such rights are enforced. Georgia has ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities was signed on February 1995 by 22 member States of the Council of Europe ....

 in 2005. NGO "Tolerance" in its alternative report about its implementation speaks of rapid decreasing of the amount of Azerbaijani schools and cases of appointing headmasters to Azerbaijani schools who don't speak the Azerbaijani language
Azerbaijani language
Azerbaijani or Azeri or Torki is a language belonging to the Turkic language family, spoken in southwestern Asia by the Azerbaijani people, primarily in Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran...

.

The government came under criticism for its alleged use of excessive force on May 26, 2011 when it dispersed protesters organized Nino Burjanadze
Nino Burjanadze
Nino Burjanadze is a Georgian politician and lawyer who served as Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia from November 2001 to June 2008...

 with tear gas and rubber bullets after they refused to clear the Rustaveli avenue
Rustaveli Avenue
Rustaveli Avenue - is an avenue in central Tbilisi named after the medieval Georgian poet, Shota Rustaveli. The Avenue starts at Freedom Square and extends for about 1.5 km in length, before it turns into an extension of Kostavas Kucha...

 for an independence day parade despite the expiration of their demonstration permit and despite being offered to choose an alternative venue. While human rights activists maintained that the protests were peaceful, the government pointed out that many protesters were masked and armed with heavy sticks and molotov cocktails. Georgian opposition leader Nino Burjanadze said the accusations of planning a coup were baseless, and that the protesters' actions were legitimate.

Foreign relations


Georgia maintains good relations with its direct neighbours Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Azerbaijan, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, and is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

, the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
On 25 June 1992, the Heads of State and Government of eleven countries signed in Istanbul the Summit Declaration and the Bosporus Statement giving birth to the Black Sea Economic Cooperation ...

, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Community of Democratic Choice
Community of Democratic Choice
The Community of Democratic Choice is an intergovernmental organization established on December 2, 2005 by nine states of Northern and Eastern Europe in Kiev. It was mainly signed by countries from the region between the Baltic, Black Sea and Caspian Sea...

, the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development
GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development
The GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development is a regional organization of four post-Soviet states: Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova....

, and the Asian Development Bank
Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia...

. Georgia also maintains political, economic and military relations with Japan, Uruguay, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 and many other countries.

The growing U.S. and European Union influence in Georgia, notably through proposed EU and NATO membership, the U.S. Train and Equip
Georgia Train and Equip Program
The Georgia Train and Equip Program was an American-sponsored 18-month, $64-million program aimed at increasing the capabilities of the Georgian armed forces by training and equipping four 600-man battalions with light weapons, vehicles and communications...

 military assistance program and the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline
The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline is a long crude oil pipeline from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field in the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. It connects Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan; Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia; and Ceyhan, a port on the south-eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey,...

, have frequently strained Tbilisi's relations with Moscow. Georgia's decision to boost its presence in the coalition forces in Iraq was an important initiative.

Georgia is currently working to become a full member of NATO. In August 2004, the Individual Partnership Action Plan of Georgia was submitted officially to NATO. On October 29, 2004, the North Atlantic Council
North Atlantic Council
North Atlantic Council is the most senior political governing body of NATO established by Article 9 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The NAC can be held at the Permanent Representative Level , or can be composed of member states' Ministers of State, Defense, or Heads of Government. The NAC has the...

 of NATO approved the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) of Georgia and Georgia moved on to the second stage of Euro-Atlantic Integration. In 2005, by the decision of the President of Georgia, a state commission was set up to implement the Individual Partnership Action Plan, which presents an interdepartmental group headed by the Prime Minister. The Commission was tasked with coordinating and controlling the implementation of the Individual Partnership Action Plan.

On February 14, 2005, the agreement on the appointment of Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation program aimed at creating trust between NATO and other states in Europe and the former Soviet Union; 22 States are members...

 (PfP) liaison officer between Georgia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization came into force, whereby a liaison officer for the South Caucasus was assigned to Georgia. On March 2, 2005, the agreement was signed on the provision of the host nation support to and transit of NATO forces and NATO personnel. On March 6–9, 2006, the IPAP implementation interim assessment team arrived in Tbilisi. On April 13, 2006, the discussion of the assessment report on implementation of the Individual Partnership Action Plan was held at NATO Headquarters, within 26+1 format. In 2006, the Georgian parliament voted unanimously for the bill which calls for integration of Georgia into NATO. The majority of Georgians and politicians in Georgia support the push for NATO membership.

From the European commission website: President Saakashvili views membership of the EU and NATO as a long term priority. As he does not want Georgia to become an arena of Russia-U.S. confrontation he seeks to maintain close relations with the United States and European Union, at the same time underlining his ambitions to advance co-operation with Russia. George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the country. The street leading to Tbilisi International Airport
Tbilisi International Airport
Tbilisi International Airport is the main international airport in Georgia, located southeast of the capital Tbilisi.-Overview:In February 2007, the reconstruction project was finished...

 has since been dubbed George W. Bush Avenue. On October 2, 2006, Georgian and the European Union signed a joint statement on the agreed text of the Georgia-European Union Action Plan within the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP). The Action Plan was formally approved at the EU-Georgia Cooperation Council session on November 14, 2006 in Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

.

Military




Georgia's military is organized into land and air
Georgian Air Force
The Georgian Air Force is the air arm of the Georgian Armed Forces. Currently, it has 2,971 military and civilian personnel, fixed wing aircraft , helicopters of different types and air defense missiles of the "surface-to-air" class. The Air Force was founded in 1991 in the wake of the break-up...

 forces. They are collectively known as the Georgian Armed Forces (GAF). The mission and functions of the GAF are based on the Constitution of Georgia
Constitution of Georgia (country)
The Constitution of Georgia is the supreme law of Georgia. It was approved by the Parliament of Georgia on August 24 1995. It entered into force on October 17...

, Georgia’s Law on Defense and National Military Strategy, and international agreements to which Georgia is signatory. They are performed under the guidance and authority of the Ministry of Defense.

Since coming to power in 2004, Saakashvili has boosted spending on the country's armed forces and increased its overall size to around 45,000. Of that figure, 12,000 have been trained in advanced techniques by U.S. military instructors, under the Georgia Train and Equip Program
Georgia Train and Equip Program
The Georgia Train and Equip Program was an American-sponsored 18-month, $64-million program aimed at increasing the capabilities of the Georgian armed forces by training and equipping four 600-man battalions with light weapons, vehicles and communications...

. Some of these troops have been stationed in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 as part of the international coalition in the region, serving in Baqubah
Baqubah
Baqubah is the capital of Iraq's Diyala Governorate.The city is located some to the northeast of Baghdad, on the Diyala River. In 2003 it had an estimated population of some 467,900 people....

 and the Green Zone
Green Zone
The Green Zone is the most common name for the International Zone of Baghdad. It is a area of central Baghdad, Iraq, that was the governmental center of the Coalition Provisional Authority and remains the center of the international presence in the city...

 of Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

.

In May 2005, the 13th "Shavnabada" Light Infantry Battalion became the first full battalion to serve outside of Georgia. This unit was responsible for two checkpoints to the Green Zone, and provided security for the Iraqi Parliament. In October 2005, the unit was replaced by the 21st Infantry Battalion. Soldiers of the 13th "Shavnabada" Light Infantry Battalion wear the "combat patches" of the American unit they served under, the Third Infantry Division
U.S. 3d Infantry Division
The 3rd Infantry Division is a United States Army infantry division based at Fort Stewart, Georgia. It is a direct subordinate unit of the XVIII Airborne Corps and U.S. Army Forces Command...

.

Since 2009, Georgia contributes nearly 1000 soldiers to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

 in Afghanistan, making it the highest per-capita troop contributor to the mission. As of September 2011, Georgia has suffered 10 deaths and 38 injuries.

Economy




Archaeological research demonstrates that Georgia has been involved in commerce with many lands and empires since the ancient times, largely due its location on the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 and later on the historical Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

. Gold, silver, copper and iron have been mined in the Caucasus Mountains
Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains is a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region .The Caucasus Mountains includes:* the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and* the Lesser Caucasus Mountains....

. Wine making is a very old tradition. The country has sizable hydropower
Hydropower
Hydropower, hydraulic power, hydrokinetic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of falling water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as...

 resources. Throughout Georgia's modern history agriculture and tourism have been principal economic sectors, because of the country's climate and topography.

For much of the 20th century, Georgia's economy was within the Soviet model of command economy. Since the fall of the USSR in 1991, Georgia embarked on a major structural reform designed to transition to a free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 economy. As with all other post-Soviet states
Post-Soviet states
The post-Soviet states, also commonly known as the Former Soviet Union or former Soviet republics, are the 15 independent states that split off from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in its dissolution in December 1991...

, Georgia faced a severe economic collapse. The civil war and military conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia aggravated the crisis. The agriculture and industry output diminished. By 1994 the gross domestic product had shrunk to a quarter of that of 1989. The first financial help from the West came in 1995, when the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 and International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 granted Georgia a credit of USD 206 million and Germany granted DM
German mark
The Deutsche Mark |mark]], abbreviated "DM") was the official currency of West Germany and Germany until the adoption of the euro in 2002. It is commonly called the "Deutschmark" in English but not in German. Germans often say "Mark" or "D-Mark"...

 50 million.

Since early 21st century visible positive developments have been observed in the economy of Georgia. In 2007 Georgia's real GDP
Real GDP
Real Gross Domestic Product is a macroeconomic measure of the value of output economy adjusted for price changes . The adjustment transforms the money-value measure, called nominal GDP, into an index for quantity of total output...

 growth rate reached 12%, making Georgia one of the fastest growing economies
Economic growth
In economics, economic growth is defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of goods and services of the members of society. Economic growth is enabled by increases in productivity, which lowers the inputs for a given amount of output. Lowered costs increase demand...

 in Eastern Europe. The World Bank dubbed Georgia "the number one economic reformer in the world" because it has in one year improved from rank 112th to 18th in terms of ease of doing business
Ease of Doing Business Index
The Ease of Doing Business Index is an index created by the World Bank. Higher rankings indicate better, usually simpler, regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property rights...

., The country has a high unemployment rate of 12.6% and has fairly low median income
Median household income
The median household income is commonly used to generate data about geographic areas and divides households into two equal segments with the first half of households earning less than the median household income and the other half earning more...

 compared to European countries.

The 2006 ban on imports
2006 Russian ban of Moldovan and Georgian wines
The 2006 Russian import ban of Moldovan and Georgian wines began in late March 2006 and created a diplomatic conflict between the Republic of Moldova and Georgia on the one hand and Russia on the other...

 of Georgian wine
Georgian wine
Georgia is one of the oldest wine producing regions of the world. The fertile valleys of the South Caucasus, which Georgia straddles, are believed by many archaeologists to be the source of the world's first cultivated grapevines and neolithic wine production, over 8,000 years ago...

 to Russia, one of Georgia's biggest trading partners, and break of financial links was described by the IMF Mission as an "external shock", In addition, Russia increased the price of gas for Georgia. This was followed by the spike in the Georgian lari
Georgian lari
The lari is the currency of Georgia. It is divided into 100 tetri. The name lari is an old Georgian word denoting a hoard, property, while tetri is an old Georgian monetary term used from the 13th century....

's rate of inflation. The National Bank of Georgia stated that the inflation was mainly triggered by external reasons, including Russia’s economic embargo. The Georgian authorities expected that the current account deficit due to the embargo in 2007 would be financed by "higher foreign exchange proceeds generated by the large inflow of foreign direct investment" and an increase in tourist revenues. The country has also maintained a solid credit in international market securities. Georgia is becoming more integrated
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 into the global trading network: its 2006 imports and exports account for 10% and 18% of GDP respectively. Georgia's main imports are natural gas, oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 products, machinery and parts, and transport equipment.


Since coming to power Saakashvili administration accomplished a series of reforms aimed at improving tax collection. Among other things a flat income tax was introduced in 2004 As a result budget revenues have increased fourfold and a once large budget deficit has turned into surplus.

Georgia is developing into an international transport corridor through Batumi
Batumi
Batumi is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. Sometimes considered Georgia's second capital, with a population of 121,806 , Batumi serves as an important port and a commercial center. It is situated in a subtropical zone, rich in...

 and Poti
Poti
Poti is a port city in Georgia, located on the eastern Black Sea coast in the region of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti in the west of the country. Built near the site of the ancient Greek colony of Phasis, the city has become a major port city and industrial center since the early 20th century. It is also...

 ports, an oil pipeline from Baku
Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

 through Tbilisi to Ceyhan
Ceyhan
Ceyhan is a city in southeast Turkey and with 105,000 inhabitants it is the second largest city of Adana Province after the capital Adana. Ceyhan is the transportation hub for Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Russian oil and natural gas. It is situated on the Ceyhan River, from which it takes...

, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline
The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline is a long crude oil pipeline from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field in the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. It connects Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan; Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia; and Ceyhan, a port on the south-eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey,...

 (BTC) and a parallel gas pipeline, the South Caucasus Pipeline
South Caucasus Pipeline
South Caucasus Pipeline is a natural gas pipeline to transport natural gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to Turkey...

.

Tourism is an increasingly significant part of the Georgian economy. About a million tourists brought US$313 million to the country in 2006. According to the government, there are 103 resorts in different climatic zones
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 in Georgia. Tourist attractions include more than 2000 mineral springs
Spring (hydrosphere)
A spring—also known as a rising or resurgence—is a component of the hydrosphere. Specifically, it is any natural situation where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground...

, over 12,000 historical and cultural monuments, four of which are recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

s (Bagrati Cathedral
Bagrati Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Dormition, or the Kutaisi Cathedral, more commonly known as Bagrati Cathedral , is the 11th-century cathedral church in the city of Kutaisi, the region of Imereti, Georgia...

 in Kutaisi and Gelati Monastery
Gelati Monastery
The Monastery of Gelati is a monastic complex near Kutaisi, Imereti, western Georgia. It contains the Church of the Virgin founded by the King of Georgia David the Builder in 1106, and the 13th-century churches of St George and St Nicholas....

, historical monuments of Mtskheta
Mtskheta
Mtskheta , one of the oldest cities of the country of Georgia , is located approximately 20 kilometers north of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Aragvi and Kura rivers. The city is now the administrative centre of the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region...

, and Upper Svaneti).

As of 2001 54% of the population lived below the national poverty line but by 2006 poverty decreased to 34%. In 2005 average monthly income of a household was GEL 347 (about 200 USD). IMF 2007 estimates place Georgia's nominal GDP at US$10.3 billion. Georgia's economy is becoming more devoted to services
Service economy
Service economy can refer to one or both of two recent economic developments. One is the increased importance of the service sector in industrialized economies. Services account for a higher percentage of US GDP than 20 years ago...

 (now representing 65% of GDP), moving away from agricultural sector ( 10.9%).

Demographics




Like most native Caucasian peoples
Caucasian peoples
This article deals with the various ethnic groups inhabiting the Caucasus region. There are more than50 ethnic groups living in the region.-Peoples speaking Caucasian languages:...

, the Georgians do not fit into any of the main ethnic categories of Europe or Asia. The Georgian language
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

, the most pervasive of the South Caucasian languages
South Caucasian languages
The Kartvelian languages are spoken primarily in Georgia, with a large group of ethnic Georgian speakers in Russia, the United States, the European Union, and northeastern parts of Turkey. There are approximately 5.2 million speakers of this language family worldwide.It is not known to be related...

, is neither Indo-European, Turkic
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 nor Semitic
Semitic languages
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 270 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa...

. The present day Georgian or Kartvelian nation is thought to have resulted from the fusion of aboriginal, autochthonous
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

-inhabitants with immigrants who infiltrated into South Caucasus
South Caucasus
The South Caucasus is a geopolitical region located on the border of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia also referred to as Transcaucasia, or The Trans-Caucasus...

 from the direction of Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 in remote antiquity. The ancient Jewish chronicle by Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 mentions Georgians as Iberes who were also called Thobel Tubal
Tubal
Tubal, תובל or תבל , in Genesis 10 , was the name of a son of Japheth, son of Noah.Many authors, following the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus , related the name to Iber- Caucasian Iberia...

.

Ethnic Georgians
Georgians
The Georgians are an ethnic group that have originated in Georgia, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, European Union, United States, and South America....

 form about 84% of Georgia's current population of 4,661,473 (July 2006 est.). Other ethnic groups include Abkhazians, Armenians
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

, Azeris, Belorussians, Bulgarians
Bulgarians
The Bulgarians are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group native to Bulgaria and neighbouring regions. Emigration has resulted in immigrant communities in a number of other countries.-History and ethnogenesis:...

, Estonians
Estonians
Estonians are a Finnic people closely related to the Finns and inhabiting, primarily, the country of Estonia. They speak a Finnic language known as Estonian...

, Germans
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

, Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

, Jews
Georgian Jews
The Georgian Jews are from the nation of Georgia, in the Caucasus...

, Moldovans
Moldovans
Moldovans or Moldavians are the largest population group of Moldova...

, Ossetians
Ossetians
The Ossetians are an Iranic ethnic group of the Caucasus Mountains, eponymous of the region known as Ossetia.They speak Ossetic, an Iranian language of the Eastern branch, with most also fluent in Russian as a second language....

, Poles, Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

, Turks
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

 and Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

. Notably, Georgia's Jewish community
Georgian Jews
The Georgian Jews are from the nation of Georgia, in the Caucasus...

 is one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world.
Georgia also exhibits significant linguistic diversity. Within the Kartvelian family, Georgian
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

, Laz
Laz language
The Laz language is a South Caucasian language spoken by the Laz people on the Southeast shore of the Black Sea...

, Megrelian
Megrelian language
Mingrelian, or Megrelian , is a Kartvelian language spoken in Western Georgia , primarily by Georgians of Mingrelian origin. The language was also called Iverian in the early 20th century...

, and Svan
Svan language
The Svan language is a Kartvelian language spoken in the Western Georgian region of Svaneti primarily by the Georgians of Svan origin...

 are spoken. The official languages of Georgia are Georgian and also Abkhaz within the autonomous region of Abkhazia. Georgian, the country's official language, is a primary language of approximately 71% of the population, with 9% speaking Russian, 7% Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

, 6% Azeri, and 7% other languages.

In the early 1990s, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, violent separatist
Separatism
Separatism is the advocacy of a state of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental or gender separation from the larger group. While it often refers to full political secession, separatist groups may seek nothing more than greater autonomy...

 conflicts broke out in the autonomous regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Many Ossetians
Ossetians
The Ossetians are an Iranic ethnic group of the Caucasus Mountains, eponymous of the region known as Ossetia.They speak Ossetic, an Iranian language of the Eastern branch, with most also fluent in Russian as a second language....

 living in Georgia left the country, mainly to Russia's North Ossetia. On the other hand, more than 150,000 Georgians left Abkhazia after the breakout of hostilities in 1993. Of the Meskhetian Turks who were forcibly relocated
Population transfer in the Soviet Union
Population transfer in the Soviet Union may be classified into the following broad categories: deportations of "anti-Soviet" categories of population, often classified as "enemies of workers," deportations of entire nationalities, labor force transfer, and organized migrations in opposite...

 in 1944 only a tiny fraction returned to Georgia as of 2008.

The 1989 census recorded 341,000 ethnic Russians
Russians in Georgia
There is a substantial Russian population in Georgia. For many years, Georgia was a part of the Russian Empire, and later the Soviet Union with Russia, and as the two countries share a border, many Russians emigrated to live in the Northern regions of Georgia.However, the population has decreased...

, or 6.3% of the population, 52,000 Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 and 100,000 Greeks in Georgia
Greeks in Georgia
The Greek diaspora in Georgia is estimated at between 15,000 and 20,000 people down from about 100,000 in 1989. The community has dwindled due to the large wave of repatriation to Greece , as well as emigration to Russia...

. Since 1990, 1.5 million Georgian nationals have left. At least one million immigrants from Georgia legally or illegally reside in Russia. Georgia's net migration rate is −4.54, excluding Georgian nationals who live abroad. Georgia has nonetheless been inhabited by immigrants from all over the world throughout its independence. According to 2006 statistics, Georgia gets most of its immigrants from Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and People's Republic of China.

Today most of the population practices Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 with 83.9% of the population adhering to the national Georgian Orthodox Church. Religious minorities include Muslims (9.9%); Armenian Apostolic (3.9%); Roman Catholic (0.8%). 0.8% of those recorded in the 2002 census declared themselves to be adherents of other religions and 0.7% declared no religion at all.

Education


The education system of Georgia has undergone sweeping modernizing, although controversial, reforms since 2004. Education in Georgia is mandatory for all children aged 6–14. The school system is divided into elementary (6 years; age level 6–12), basic (3 years; age level 12–15), and secondary (3 years; age level 15–18), or alternatively vocational studies (2 years). Students with a secondary school certificate have access to higher education. Only the students who have passed the Unified National Examinations may enroll in a state-accredited higher education institution, based on ranking of scores he/she received at the exams.

Most of these institutions offer three level studies: a Bachelor's Programme (3–4 years); a Master's Programme (2 years), and a Doctoral Programme (3 years). There is also a Certified Specialist's Programme that represents a single-level higher education programme lasting for 3–6 years. As of 2008, 20 higher education institutions are accredited by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. Gross primary enrollment ratio
Gross enrolment ratio
- Definition :The Gross Enrollment Ratio or Gross Enrollment Index is a statistical measure used in the education sector and by the UN in its Education Index to determine the number of students enrolled in school at several different grade levels , and examine it to analyze the ratio of the...

 was 94% for the period of 2001–2006.

Culture


Georgian culture evolved over thousands of years with its foundations in Iberian
Caucasian Iberia
Iberia , also known as Iveria , was a name given by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli , corresponding roughly to the eastern and southern parts of the present day Georgia...

 and Colchian
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

 civilizations, continuing into the rise of the unified Georgian Kingdom under the single monarchy of the Bagrationi. Georgian culture enjoyed a golden age and renaissance of classical literature, arts, philosophy, architecture and science in the 11th century.

The Georgian language
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

, and the Classical Georgian literature of the poet Shota Rustaveli
Shota Rustaveli
Shota Rustaveli was a Georgian poet of the 12th century, and one of the greatest contributors to Georgian literature. He is author of "The Knight in the Panther's Skin" , the Georgian national epic poem....

, were revived in the 19th century after a long period of turmoil, laying the foundations of the romantics
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 and novelists of the modern era such as Grigol Orbeliani
Grigol Orbeliani
Grigol Orbeliani was a Georgian Romanticist poet and soldier in the Imperial Russian service. One of the most colorful figures in the 19th-century Georgian culture, Orbeliani is noted for his patriotic poetry, lamenting Georgia's lost past and independent monarchy...

, Nikoloz Baratashvili
Nikoloz Baratashvili
Nik'oloz Baratashvili was a Georgian poet, one of the first Georgians to marry a modern nationalism with European Romanticism and to introduce "Europeanism" into Georgian literature...

, Ilia Chavchavadze, Akaki Tsereteli
Akaki Tsereteli
Prince Ak'ak'i Tsereteli was a prominent Georgian poet and national liberation movement figure.He was born in the village of Skhvitori on June 9, 1840 to the prominent Georgian aristocratic family. His father was Prince Rostom Tsereteli...

, Vazha Pshavela, and many others. Georgian culture was influenced by Classical Greece
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

, the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, and later by the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

.

Georgia is well known for its rich folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

, unique traditional music, theatre, cinema, and art. Georgians are renowned for their love of music, dance, theatre and cinema. In the 20th century there have been notable Georgian painters such as Niko Pirosmani, Lado Gudiashvili
Lado Gudiashvili
Lado Gudiashvili was a 20th century Georgian painter. Gudiashvili was born in Tiflis on March 18 , 1896 into a family of a railroad employee. He studied in the Tiflis school of sculpture and fine art , and later in Ronson's private academy in Paris...

, Elene Akhvlediani
Elene Akhvlediani
Elene Akhvlediani was a 20th century Georgian female painter, graphic artist, and theater decorator. Akhvlediani is famous for her depictions of Georgian towns, for her illustrations for the works of Ilia Chavchavadze and Vazha-Pshavela, and for designing plays in the Marjanishvili Theater in...

; ballet choreographers such as George Balanchine
George Balanchine
George Balanchine , born Giorgi Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother, was one of the 20th century's most famous choreographers, a developer of ballet in the United States, co-founder and balletmaster of New York City Ballet...

, Vakhtang Chabukiani
Vakhtang Chabukiani
Vakhtang Chabukiani was a Georgian ballet dancer, choreographer and teacher highly regarded in his native country as well as abroad. He is considered to be one of the most influential male ballet dancers in history, and is noted for creating the majority of the choreography of the male variations...

, and Nino Ananiashvili; poets such as Galaktion Tabidze
Galaktion Tabidze
Galaktion Tabidze was a leading Georgian poet of the twentieth century whose writings profoundly influenced all subsequent generations of Georgian poets. He survived Stalin's Great Purge of the 1930s, which claimed lives of many of his fellow writers, friends and relatives, but came under heavy...

, Lado Asatiani
Lado Asatiani
Vladimir Asatiani was a Georgian poet. His poetic career, lasting only for seven years, made him one of the best-loved Georgian poets of the 20th century....

, and Mukhran Machavariani
Mukhran Machavariani
Mukhran Machavariani was a Georgian poet, a member of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia from 1990 until 1992, and a recipient of the Shota Rustaveli State Prize of Georgia. From 1988 until 1990 he was the Chairman of the Union of Georgian Writers....

; and theatre and film directors such as Robert Sturua
Robert Sturua
Robert Sturua is a Georgian theater director, who gained international acclaim for his original interpretation of the works of Brecht, Shakespeare, Chekhov. He was based at the Shota Rustaveli Dramatic Theater in Tbilisi, and has staged productions throghout the world.- Biography :Robert Sturua...

, Tengiz Abuladze
Tengiz Abuladze
Tengiz Abuladze was a Georgian film director.Abuladze studied theatre direction at the Shota Rustaveli Theatre Institute, Tbilisi, Georgia, and filmmaking at the VGIK in Moscow. He graduated VGIK in 1952 and in 1953 he joined Gruziya-film as a director...

, Giorgi Danelia
Georgi Daneliya
Georgi Daneliya is a Soviet/Georgian/Russian film director, who became known throughout the Soviet Union for his "sad comedies" .Daneliya graduated from the Moscow Architecture Institute and worked as an architect...

 and Otar Ioseliani.

Architecture and arts



Georgian architecture has been influenced by many civilizations. There are several different architectural styles for castles, tower
Tower
A tower is a tall structure, usually taller than it is wide, often by a significant margin. Towers are distinguished from masts by their lack of guy-wires....

s, fortifications and churches. The Upper Svaneti fortifications, and the castle town of Shatili
Shatili
Shatili is a historic highland village in Georgia, near the border with Chechnya. It is located on the northern slope of the Greater Caucasus mountains, in the historical Georgian province of Upper Khevsureti, which is now part of the modern-day region of Mtskheta-Mtianeti.-Geography:Located in...

 in Khevsureti
Khevsureti
Khevsureti/Khevsuria is a historical-ethnographic region in eastern Georgia. They are the branch of Kartvelian people located along both the northern and southern slopes of the Great Caucasus...

, are some of the finest examples of medieval Georgian castle architecture. Other architectural aspects of Georgia include Rustaveli avenue in Tbilisi in the Hausmann style, and the Old Town District.

Georgian ecclesiastic art is one of the most fascinating aspects of Georgian Christian architecture, which combines classical dome
Dome
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory....

 style with original basilica
Basilica
The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

 style forming what is known as the Georgian cross-dome style. Cross-dome architecture developed in Georgia during the 9th century; before that, most Georgian churches were basilicas. Other examples of Georgian ecclesiastic architecture can be found outside Georgia: Bachkovo Monastery
Bachkovo Monastery
The Bachkovo Monastery , archaically the Petritsoni Monastery or Monastery of the Mother of God Petritzonitissa in Bulgaria is an important monument of Christian architecture and one of the largest and oldest Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Europe...

 in Bulgaria (built in 1083 by the Georgian military commander Grigorii Bakuriani), Iviron monastery
Iviron monastery
Holy Monastery of Iviron is an Eastern Orthodox monastery at the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece...

 in Greece (built by Georgians in the 10th century), and the Monastery of the Cross
Monastery of the Cross
The Monastery of the Cross is a monastery near the Nayot neighborhood of Jerusalem, Israel. It is located in the Valley of the Cross, below the Israel Museum and the Knesset.- History :...

 in Jerusalem (built by Georgians in the 9th century).

The art of Georgia spans the prehistoric, the ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, medieval, ecclesiastic, iconic
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 and modern visual arts
Visual arts
The visual arts are art forms that create works which are primarily visual in nature, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, and often modern visual arts and architecture...

. One of the most famous late 19th/early 20th century Georgian artists is the primitivist painter Niko Pirosmani.

Cuisine




Georgian cuisine and wine
Georgian wine
Georgia is one of the oldest wine producing regions of the world. The fertile valleys of the South Caucasus, which Georgia straddles, are believed by many archaeologists to be the source of the world's first cultivated grapevines and neolithic wine production, over 8,000 years ago...

 have evolved through the centuries, adapting traditions in each era. One of the most unusual traditions of dining is Supra, or Georgian table, which is also a way of socialising with friends and family. The head of Supra is known as Tamada
Tamada
A tamada is the toastmaster at a Georgian Supra or at a Russian wedding, corresponding to the symposiarch at the Greek symposion or the thyle at the Anglo-Saxon sumbel....

. He also conducts the highly philosophical toasts, and makes sure that everyone is enjoying themselves. Various historical regions of Georgia are known for their particular dishes: for example, Khinkali
Khinkali
Khinkali are Caucasian dumplings filled with various fillings such as mushrooms or cheese, but mostly with spiced meat with greens, onions and garlic. They are eaten plain, or with coarse black pepper. The meat filling is uncooked when the Khinkali is assembled, so when cooked the meat's juices...

 (meat dumplings), from eastern mountainous Georgia, and Khachapuri
Khachapuri
Khachapuri is a filled bread dish from Georgia. The bread is leavened and allowed to rise, and is shaped in various ways. The filling contains cheese , eggs and other ingredients....

, mainly from Imereti
Imereti
Imereti is a province in Georgia situated along the middle and upper reaches of the Rioni river. It consists of the following Georgian administrative-territorial units:#Kutaisi #Baghdati region#Vani region#Zestafoni region...

, Samegrelo
Samegrelo
Samegrelo/Samargalo or Megrelia, Mingrelia is a historic province in the western part of Georgia, formerly also known as Odishi.It is inhabited by the Megrelians, an ethnic subgroup of the Georgians.-Geography and Climate:...

 and Adjara
Adjara
Adjara , officially the Autonomous Republic of Adjara , is an autonomous republic of Georgia.Adjara is located in the southwestern corner of Georgia, bordered by Turkey to the south and the eastern end of the Black Sea...

. In addition to traditional Georgian dishes, the foods of other countries have been brought to Georgia by immigrants from Russia, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, and recently China.

Religion



The Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church is one of the world's most ancient Christian Churches, founded in the 1st century by the Apostle Andrew the First Called
Saint Andrew
Saint Andrew , called in the Orthodox tradition Prōtoklētos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter. The name "Andrew" , like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the 3rd or 2nd century BC. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him...

. In the first half of the 4th century Christianity was adopted as the state religion. This has provided a strong sense of national identity that has helped to preserve a national Georgian identity despite repeated periods of foreign occupation and attempted assimilation.
According to the Constitution of Georgia
Constitution of Georgia (country)
The Constitution of Georgia is the supreme law of Georgia. It was approved by the Parliament of Georgia on August 24 1995. It entered into force on October 17...

, religious institutions are separate from government and every citizen has the right of religion. Most of the population of Georgia (83.9%) practices Orthodox Christianity
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and the Georgian Orthodox Church is an influential institution in the country.

The Gospel was preached in Georgia by the Apostles, Andrew, Simon the Canaanite, and Matthias
Saint Matthias
Matthias , according to the Acts of the Apostles, was the apostle chosen by the remaining eleven apostles to replace Judas Iscariot following Judas' betrayal of Jesus and his suicide.-Biography:...

. Iberia
Caucasian Iberia
Iberia , also known as Iveria , was a name given by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli , corresponding roughly to the eastern and southern parts of the present day Georgia...

 was officially converted to Christianity in 326 by Saint Nino
Saint Nino
Saint Nino , ), Equal to the Apostles in and the Enlightener of Georgia, was a woman who preached Christianity in Georgia....

 of Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

, who is considered to be the Enlightener of Georgia and the Equal to Apostles by the Orthodox Church. The Georgian Orthodox Church, once being under the See of Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

, gained an autocephalous
Autocephaly
Autocephaly , in hierarchical Christian churches and especially Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, is the status of a hierarchical church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop...

 status in the 4th century during the reign of King Vakhtang Gorgasali.

Religious minorities of Georgia include Armenian Christians (3.9%), Muslims (9.9%), and Roman Catholics (0.8%).

Despite the long history of religious harmony in Georgia, there have been several instances of religious discrimination in the past decade – such as acts of violence against Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 and threats against adherents of other "nontraditional faiths" by followers of the defrocked Orthodox priest Vasil Mkalavishvili.

Sports




Among the most popular sports in Georgia are football, basketball, rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

, wrestling
Wrestling
Wrestling is a form of grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position...

, and weightlifting. Historically, Georgia has been famous for its physical education; it is known that the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 were fascinated with Georgians' physical qualities after seeing the training techniques of ancient Iberia
Caucasian Iberia
Iberia , also known as Iveria , was a name given by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli , corresponding roughly to the eastern and southern parts of the present day Georgia...

. Wrestling remains a historically important sport of Georgia, and some historians think that the Greco-Roman style of wrestling
Greco-Roman wrestling
Greco-Roman wrestling is a style of wrestling that is practised worldwide. It was contested at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has been included in every edition of the summer Olympics held since 1908. Two wrestlers are scored for their performance in three two-minute periods, which can...

 incorporates many Georgian elements.

Within Georgia, one of the most popularized styles of wrestling is the Kakhetian style. There were a number of other styles in the past that are not as widely used today. For example, the Khevsureti
Khevsureti
Khevsureti/Khevsuria is a historical-ethnographic region in eastern Georgia. They are the branch of Kartvelian people located along both the northern and southern slopes of the Great Caucasus...

 region of Georgia has three different styles of wrestling. Other popular sports in 19th century Georgia were polo
Polo
Polo is a team sport played on horseback in which the objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Sometimes called, "The Sport of Kings", it was highly popularized by the British. Players score by driving a small white plastic or wooden ball into the opposing team's goal using a...

, and Lelo
Lelo burti
Lelo or lelo burti is a Georgian folk sport, which is a full contact ball game, and very similar to rugby...

, a traditional Georgian game later replaced by rugby union.

See also


  • Georgian media
    Georgian Media
    The Media in Georgia is relatively accessible and caters to a wide variety of audiences. A large percentage of households have a television, and most have at least one radio...

  • Healthcare in Georgia
  • Human rights in Georgia
  • International rankings of Georgia
    International rankings of Georgia
    The following are international rankings of .-Demographics :*List of countries by population, ranked 122 *List of countries by population density, ranked 145 -Economy:...

  • List of countries by received FDI
  • Orders, decorations, and medals of Georgia
  • Public holidays in Georgia
    Public holidays in Georgia
    -References:...

  • Telecommunications in Georgia
  • Transport in Georgia


External links


Government
General information

News media

Other