Georgia is a Republic, which is mainly populated by ethnic Georgians. In X century, Georgia was an ethnic-cultural concept and meant “Qarti” tomme’s and Georgian cultural auspices of all the South Caucasian and some nongeorgian tomme’s cultural unity, and later – their ethnic-cultural-religios-social-economic and political unity, which’s final form – united state, established in XI century. In XII-XIV centuries, Georgia was called the entire Christian and partly Muslim Caucasus. In XIV century, after collapse of country into kingdom-principalities, the term “Georgia” lost it’s meaning. For foreigners it became, etchic-geographical concept ( Gruzia, Vrastan, Gurjistan, etc.).
Location, nature, climate
Georgia is a country situated in south-east Europe, which borders with Black Sea from the West, Azerbaijan, from the East, Russia, from the North, Turkey and Armenia from the south. Great Caucasus cringe separates Russia from Georgia, the South border goes through the Small Caucasus’s highlands and volcanic slopes. 85 % of country’s territory is mountainous. The height of the highest peaks of Caucasus exceeds 5000 meters.
Diversity of physical-geographical and climatic conditions and multitude of natural waters, also the plants brought from different places of Earth, causes the wealthiness and uniqueness of it’s flora. In Georgia we can found Black Sea’s sandy coasts, everlasting snow covered peaks, humid subtropics and semi-deserts, unique sphagnum swamps and valley’s dressed with dense forests, also almost untouchable areas of wildlife. Due to such variety of nature in Georgia, one can go skiing in the mountains in summer and after that swim the sea.
Georgia has a subtropical climate, summer temperature is approximately 30-35 degrees, in winter from -20 up to +15 degrees.
The country territory’s total area is 69500 KM2. Georgia includes several historic-geographic regions : Kartli, Kakheti, Pshavi, Khevsureti,Mtiuleti, Gudamaqari, Tusheti (Eastern Georgia), Imereti,Guria, Adjara, Samegrelo, Racha, Lechkhumi, Svaneti (Western Georgia), part of historic Samtskhe-Javakheti and Meskhet(South Georgia).Total population approximately is 5 399 000 people, of which 71 % are ethnic Georgians, 8% are Armenians, 5% are Russians, 3% are Ossetians, 6% are Azeri, 1% – Ukrainians, 0,2% – Greeks and 2% – Jews
Georgia is one of the most ancient countries in the world, with 3 millenium history. The first Georgian states, Diaokhi(in the South-West of Georgia) and Kolkha(on the Black Sea South-East coast) existed yet still in XII-VIII centuries BC. In VI-IV centuries BC, kingdoms of Egrisi and Kartli were established on the territory of Georgia. The kingdom of Kartli particularly strengthened in IV-III centuries BC, during the reign of Parnavaz. At this time, Kartli’s capital was Mtskheta, and the main deity was – Armaz.
Vth century. Vakhtang Gorgasali’s reign period is connected with creation of Tbilisi and building churches on the whole territory of the country.
VII-IX centuries. Arabs dominated in Georgia. During the battle with Arabs, the united feudal Georgian monarchy developed with Bagrat III leadership.
XI-XII centuries. During David Aghmashenebeli and Tamar’s reign, the country’s military success and brilliant achievements in the economy and in culture made Georgia the strongest country. During Tamar’s reign, death penalty was abolished in Georgia. In this period, Rustaveli wrote his masterpiece : “Vepkhistkaosani”
From XIII century, Mongols long reign begins with devastating invasions of Tamerlan. XV century. Georgia disbanded into kingdom-principalities. Turkish- Ottoman powerful kingdom became the Western neighbour of Georgia, which eventually plucked Georgia from Western Europe. In South-East several Turkish kingdoms established, and Russia moored Georgia from the North. XVI-XVIII centuries. Georgian kingdoms principalities devotedly fought for independence. Iran – Turkish endless wars were destroying the country. At the end of XVIII century, Erekle II tried to restore the unity of the country, but he was able to do it only in Kakheti and in Kartli temporary.
By the treatise of Georgievsk in 1783, Eastern Georgia went into Russia’s protection, In 1801, Russia abolished Kartli-Kakheti kingdom and joined it to it’s empire. Soon in the Western Georgia and in whole Caucasus, Russian colonial regime established.
After the Russian Revolution in 1917, Georgia became temporary independent, but soon Bolsheviks conquered it. Only after Soviet Union collapse, Georgia reached complete independence.
After collapse of Soviet Union and it’s putsch, Georgia regained its independence(it was officialy announced on May 26, 1991), and in 1995 Georgia adopted a new constitution and became presidential republic.
Traditions and customs
Georgian traditions and customs are unique. The regale of guest is duty of all members of family, especially for the table head – Tamada.
Some Georgian traditions were gradually forgotten.
During non-christianity in Georgia, people worshiped national deities. From first century A.B, christianity spreads in Georgia. In 337, during king Mirian reign, with the liturgy of St. Nino the Kabadokian, christianity is declared as the state religion. In V century, Georgian Orthodox Church autocephalous was declared.
The most part of Georgians are Orthodox Christians, there are also Catholics – mostly in South Georgia and Islamic confessors – mostly in Adjara. Thus, one can see synagogues and a mosque near Georgian Orthodox churches.
Georgia is located on the two biggest cultures crossroad – Eastern and Western. That’s why, Georgian culture is a kind of mixture of Eastern and Western cultures and traditions. It’s evidents are ancient archeological monuments found in archeological excavations. Ancient period left palaces, fortresses – and the remains of ancient cities(Uplistsikhe, Armazi, Urbnisi, Vani, etc.). Also excellent examples of metalwork, ceramics production, mosaic art and other branches of art.
The main styles of Georgian churches are basilica and central dome. Ancient basilicas are dated for IV-VI centuries, the style of central dome dominated in VI century and reached the peak of development in XI-XII centuries.