Georgia Travel Guide
A land of endless wonders, unspoilt by modern tourism and still retaining its authentic character – Georgia. Once experienced, it will stay with you forever. Exploring Georgia is a constant pleasure. For walkers and hikers the country is sheer heaven, while botanists and bird-watchers will be simply enthralled and archaeologists can’t decide which of the numerous ancient findings to visit first.
With the towering Caucasus Mountains forming the border between Europe and Asia, Georgia has long been an important contact zone. In this mystical land you will be captivated by a thrilling blend of eastern enigma and western elegance. The traditions of the East and West meet in Georgia to form a culture unlike any other in the world.
The following legend adequately describes Georgia’s great natural beauty: When God apportioned the Earth to all the peoples of the world, the Georgians arrived late. The Lord asked them why they were tardy. The Georgians replied that they had stopped on the way to drink and raise their glasses in praise of Him. God was so pleased with their response that He gave the Georgians the part of the Earth that He had been reserving for himself. A visit to Georgia will confirm that this legend is indeed true: Georgia is a natural paradise.
Area: 69,700 sq.km
Population: 4.6 million, Georgians – 70%, Armenians – 8%, Azeris – 6%, Russians – 5%, Greeks – 2%.
Capital: Tbilisi, pop. 1.1 million
Language: Georgian (state), most people also speak Russian
Religion: Georgian Orthodox (main), Catholic, Muslim, Armenian Gregorian, Jewish
Currency: Lari (GEL), 1 USD = 1.6 GEL, 1 EURO = 2.4 GEL
Time: + 4 hrs GMT
Climate: In West Georgia the dominant subtropical climate features high humidity and heavy precipitation, while East Georgia has a more continental and drier climate. The alpine zone begins at about 2,100 metres; above 3,600 metres snow and ice are present year-round. The average summer temperatures range from 200C to 240C, average winter temperatures range from 20C to 40C.
Airport: 20 km from Tbilisi centre (30 GEL – by taxi, 0.5 GEL – by bus)
Main Towns: Kutaisi (233,000), Rustavi (150,000), Batumi (130,000), Sokhumi (120,000), Gori (68,000)
High Peaks: Shkhara (5068m), Janga (5059m), Kazbegi (5047m).
Main Rivers: Mtkvari (Kura) 1515km (351km in Georgia), Alazani 407km (390km in Georgia), Rioni (333km).
Main Lakes: Paravani (38 sq.km, depth – 3.3m, 2073m above sea-level), Tabatskuri (14 sq.km, depth – 40m, 2000m abovesea-level), Keli (1,3 sq.km. depth – 63m, 2900m above sea-level), Ritsa (1,5 sq.km. depth – 101m, 880m sea-level)
Electricity: 220 V, 50 Hz. two round-pin plugs are used
Museums: Opening hours 11:00 – 16:00 (closed on Monday)
Banks: Opening hours 10:00 – 16:30 (10:00 – 14:00 on Saturday)
Shops: Open daily 10:00 – 18:00
Restaurants: Open daily 11:00 – till midnight
Nationals of the following countries can travel to Georgia without a visa for up to 90 days: EU members, the UK, Switzerland, Israel, Japan, the USA, Canada, also CIS countries (except the Russian Federation and Turkmenistan).