Everything about Georgia

History of Georgia

The Ionian Greeks were the first recorded people to colonise Georgia in the 6th century B.C. They named the western region Colchis and the eastern Iberia.  Two centuries later the two regions were united into one kingdom.

In the 4th century Christianity spread to Georgia and became the country’s main religion. Georgia was conquered three centuries later by the Arabs and then in the 11th century by the Seljuk Turks. During that time Georgia had already begun the process of consolidating its feudal principalities and by the 12th century they were united under David the Builder into a single Georgian state. A united Georgia was strong enough to expel the Turks, regain independence and conquer large parts of neighbouring Armenia.

The birth of a newly independent Georgia inspired a resurgence of national spirit, which was reflected in the period’s burst of cultural development, especially in architecture. Georgia’s largest cathedrals were built during that time, including Bagrat Church in Kutaisi (1003), the temple of Sveti-Tskhoveli in Mskheta (1010-1029), Alaverdy temple (first quarter of the 11th century) and Samtavisi Church (1030). David the Builder also founded one of Georgia’s most influential monasteries, Gelati (1106-1125), near Kutaisi. The complex included a magnificent main temple and an academy building.

In the 13th century Georgia was once again conquered, this time by the Mongols. Later, it fell under the reign of both the Persian and Ottoman Empires. It remained a colony until the mid-18th century when it once again declared itself a kingdom. In 1801 it became a protectorate of the Russian Empire.

The following 200 years of Georgia’s history merges with Russia’s as it was turned into a province of the Tsar’s empire and then later into a Soviet republic. Georgia enjoyed a brief window of independence following the 1917 Revolution and the fall of the tsar. However, this was short lived and in 1922 the country fell into the hands of Soviet powers and, together with Armenia and Azerbaijan, became the Transcaucasia Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, which joined the USSR in 1936. In 1991 Georgia declared independence from the USSR and a year later received UN membership.

The 2003 attempt by the Georgian government to rig legislative election results caused the country to fall into civil unrest and resulted in the resignation of President Eduard Shevardnadze. In 2004 Mikhail Saakashvili was peacefully elected as president of Georgia.

Name of the country:

  • Conventional full form: Republic of Georgia
  • Conventional short form: Georgia
  • Local full form: Sakartvelos Republic
  • Local short form: Sakartvelo

Geographic coordinates: 41-44C, 40-47B. The Republic of Georgia is situated in South Eastern Europe and forms the central and western part of the South Caucasus. It borders Russia in the north, Azerbaijan in the east and Armenia and Turkey in the south, with the Black Sea to the west.

Area: 69.7 sq. km. 20% of this territory is not under Georgian government control.

Climate: Georgia is subtropical in the west and between tropical and moderate in the east. Climate conditions across the country are significantly influenced by the Caucasus mountain range, which stretches from west to east. Thus, even the most remote regions of the country experience the warm air masses coming in from the Black Sea coast.

Population: 4, 385, 000 (according to 2009 census).

Capital: Tbilisi

Biggest cities: Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi.

Administrative regions: Georgia has 12 regions, consisting of 53 districts and two autonomous republics, and has 11 cities.

Regions: Abasha, Adigeni, Akhalgora, Akhaltsikhe, Akhmeta, Ambrolauri, Bakhdati,Bolnisi, Borjomi, Chkorosku, Chokhatauri, Dedoplistskaro, Dmanisi, Dusheti, Gardabani, Gurdjaani, Djaava, Kareli, Kaspi, Kharagauli, Khashuri, Khobi, Khoni, Lagodekhi, Lanchkhuti, Lentekhi, Marneuli, Martvili, Mestia, Mtskheta, Ninotsminda, Oni, Ozurgeti, Kazbegi, Kvareli, Sachkhere, Sagaredjo, Samtrediya, Senaki, Signakhi, Telavi, Terdjola, Teritskaro, Tianeti, Tsageri, Tsalendjika, Tsalka, Vani, Zestafoni, Zugdidi.

Big Cities: Batumi, Chiatura, Gori, Kutaisi, Poti, Rustavi, Sukhumi, Tbilisi, Tkibuli, Tskhinvali, Tskaltubo.

Twelve Main Regions:

  • Abkhazia (Sukhumi);
  • Adzharia (Batumi);
  • Guria (Ozurgeti);
  • Imereti (Kutaisi);
  • Kakheti (Telavi);
  • Kvemo Kartli (Rustavi);
  • Mtskheta-Mtianeti (Mtskheta);
  • Racha-Lechkhumi-Kvemo-Svaneti (Ambolauri);
  • Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti (Zugdidi);
  • Samtskhe-Jevakheti (Akhaltsikhe);
  • Shida Kartli (Gori);
  • Tbilisi (Tbilisi).

Ethnic Composition (2002 census):

  • Georgian – 83.8 %;
  • Azeri – 6.5 %;
  • Armenian – 5.7 %;
  • Russian – 1.5 %;
  • Others – 2.5 %.

Language:

  • Georgian (official) – 71%;
  • Russian – 9 %;
  • Armenian – 7 %;
  • Azeri – 6 %;
  • Others – 7 %;
  • Abkhazian language is the official language of Abkhazia.

Religion:

  • Orthodox Christianity (majority of Georgians and Russians, and a small number of Abkhazians, Ossetians and Greeks) – 83.9 %;
  • Armenian Apostolic Church (Armenians) – 3.9 %;
  • Catholicism (a minority of Georgians and Armenians) – 0.8 %;
  • Sunni Islam (Georgians in Adzharia and Meskhet-Dzhavakheti, Abkhazians, Azeris, Kistinians) – 9.9 %.