Your comprehensive travel guide to Georgia - All in one place!
From its green valleys spread with vineyards to its old churches and watchtowers perched in fantastic mountain scenery, Georgia is one of the most beautiful countries on earth and a marvelous canvas for walkers, horse riders, cyclists, skiers, rafters and travelers of every kind. Equally special are its proud, high-spirited, cultured people: Georgia claims to be the birthplace of wine, and this is a place where guests are considered blessings and hospitality is the very stuff of life. There are things to do in Georgia for the whole family, and for every interest.
Georgia is located in what is traditionally known as Eurasia. It borders the Black Sea to the west, Turkey to the west and south, Armenia to the south, Azerbaijan to the East and Russia to the north. An ongoing debate exists as to whether the location of Georgia should be considered Eastern Europe or Western Asia as its geographic locale and cultural distinctions can be somewhat ambiguous. This, in turn, makes for an extraordinary array of holiday possibilities and adventures showcasing myriad cultural features of both continents. Geologically speaking, Georgia sits on the tectonic drift of the Eurasian and Arabian plates. This vector places Georgia in a prime location between the Lesser Caucasus Mountains to the south, Greater Caucasus Mountains to the north and the Black Sea coast to the west.
Georgia is a multinational state but not like Central Asian countries. The most numerous are Caucasians. 70% of them are Georgians including such ethnic groups as the Megrels and Svans living high in the mountains in the gorges among the Major Caucasus ridges. They differ mainly in dialects as well as in some modes of life aspects, customs, etc. The other Georgian provinces are inhabited by Kartmians, Imeretians, Kazhtinians, Meskhs, Rachians, Lechkhums, Pshavs, Khevsurs, Mtiuls, Hirians, Adzharians and others.
The ethnic minorities are represented by Armenians who came to Georgia in the 19 century, Azerbaijanians, Adzharians, Ossetians, and Abkhazians. Jews, Assyrians, Kurds and Tatars represent very small ethnic groups.
Georgian culture is an exotic, mysterious and ancient culture stretching back for millennia. Elements of Anatolian, European, Persian, Arabian, Ottoman and Far Eastern cultures have influenced Georgia’s own ethnic identity resulting in one of the most unique and hospitable cultures in the world. Georgian culture is world-renowned for being accommodating and tolerant. Traditionally, Georgian people consider guests to be a gift from God and their welcoming amiability is immediately apparent upon a traveler’s arrival.
Georgia’s strategic geographic location between Europe and Asia is one of the primary reasons for its diverse, yet distinct, cultural features. Throughout history, pockets of isolation in the remote mountain areas have maintained much of their primeval peculiarity. These gems of antiquity offer the tourist a glimpse into the authentic Georgian condition.
Food and Drink
Situated at the crossroads of East and West, Georgia has fallen within the orbit of many cultural influences and empires. In the times of peace, as merchants carried goods and spices along the Great Silk Road, Georgians embraced new seasonings and methods, adopted and incorporated foreign ingredients and styles into their own. Throughout the centuries, Georgian food has been influenced by the Mediterranean world, Arab and Mongol flavours, Persian and Ottoman kitchens, the link stretching as far as Northern India. Today’s Georgian cuisine is a rich interplay between Mediterranean and Middle Eastern tastes.
Georgians are big on cultural and religious celebrations when towns come alive with festivities and activities. Georgia’s rich traditions are manifested in festivals that commemorate national unity and other milestones in history such as Victory Day, along with other secular Georgia holidays that are lovingly observed by high-spirited locals.
Best Time to Visit
Georgia may be a year-round destination, however, this country has a diverse climate thanks to its geographical position. Settled between the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains, Georgia is generally warmer and wetter in the west, with the east being cooler and drier. The months of mid-May to early July and September to October are considered the best times to visit, allowing you to avoid the freezing winter temperatures and heat of summer.