Georgia (საქართველო 'sakartvelo' in Georgian), known from 1990 to 1995 as the Republic of Georgia, is a country to the east of the Black sea in the south Caucasus. It shares borders with Russia in the north and Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan in the south.
Enclosed high valleys, wide basins, health spas with famous mineral waters, caves and waterfalls are combined in this land of varied landscapes and striking beauty. The capital, Tbilisi, stands on the banks of the river Mtkvari, in a valley surrounded by hills. It is best seen from the top of mount Mtatsminda. With its warm climate, stone houses built around vine-draped courtyards, and winding streets, the city has a lively, Mediterranean atmosphere.
Geographical location: south Caucasus; in the longitude of 40o-47o in the latitude 41o-44o
Area: 69,700 sq. km (26,911 sq. miles).
Government: Republic gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Population: 5,399,000 (official estimate 1999).
Population density: 77.5 per sq. km.
Population: 1,253,000 (official estimate 1999).
Principal Towns: Kutaisi-(241.100), Rustavi-(158.000), Batumi-(137.100), Zugdidi-(105.000 including idp from Abkhazia), Chiatura-(70.000), Gori-(70.000), Poti-(50.900)
Administrative-Territorial units: the country is divided into 9 districts, 65 regions and 2 two autonomous republics Ajaria and Abkhazia.
Head of State and Government: President Michael Saakashvili since 2004.
Language: the official language is Georgian, the only language in the Iberia-Caucasian family written in ancient script, with its own unique alphabet. Russian, Ossetian and Abkhazian languages are also spoken.
Religion: Christian majority, mainly Greek orthodoxy, other confessional groups include Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Armenian Gregorian, Catholics, Baptists, Judaists
Mortality rate: 7.7% (1998)
Birth rate: 11.2% (1998)
Time: GMT + 3.
GDP: usd 995 per capital (1998)
Georgia is a mountainous country. The greater Caucasus range creates a natural border with Russian Federation in the north. This borderline stretches for 723 km. the border with Turkey is in the southeast, Armenia in the south, Azerbaijan in the east Georgia is washed by the black sea in the west, which forms a 315km (205 mile-long) coast line. The following Russian Republics/subdivisions border Georgia: Krasnodar krai, Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia-Alania, Ingushetia, Chechnya, Dagestan.
The state is crossed by the ranges of the greater Caucasus (highest peaks: Mt. Shkhara 5068m, Mt. Kazbek 5047m). The inter mountain depression to the south of the greater Caucasus encompasses the Kolkheti lowland, inner Kartli, lower Kartli and the Alazani plain. Still further to the south the minor Caucasian ranges rise to the medium height (Meskheti, Shavsheti and other ranges), reaching 2850 m. the southernmost area of the country is covered by the volcanic south Georgian upland (Mt. Didi Abuli 3301 m, its highest peak). The greater Caucasus and the south Georgian upland join with the Likhi range, which at the same time divides Georgia into two contrasting climatic zones: western and eastern Georgia.
The geological constitution characterized by the precipitation is basically of Mesozoic and Cenozoic era. According to the wrinkles it's divided by several geotectonic units: from north to the south by Caucasian main ring's anticlinoria, main Caucasian range, wrinkles system, Georgian belt, Achara-Trialeti system, Artvin-Bolnisi belt and Lloc-Karabag's wrinkled zone.
Georgia is reach with minerals resources: oil, coal, peat, iron, magnum, copper, projectile-zinc, arsenic, mercury, andezit, barite, talc, serpent it, agate, quartz, basalt, granite, diorite, marble, etc.
The glaciers are only on the Caucasus range (688) and occupy 508 sq. km (country area's 0.7%). regular snow line hesitates on 2800-3600 meter.
Georgia is rich with underground waters, there are mineral and thermal waters (Borjomi, Utsera, Dzau, Nabeglavi, Sairme, Zvare, Nunisi etc.).
The vegetation of Georgia is extremely rich and diverse, with numerous relict and endemic plants (Dioskeria, Pontic and Caucasian rhododendron, box tree, zelkva, persimmon, etc.).
Forest covers over 1/3 of the area, with broad-leafed species (oak, horn beam, chestnut, peach, etc.) common at lower levels, dark conifers (fir and spruce) in a higher mountain belt, and pine in higher-mountain valleys. Alpine meadows are spreading above 1880 m. the Kolkheti and Alazani plains and the lava plateau's of the south Georgian upland are dominated by cultivated plants (tea, citrus's, grapes).
The animal world is represented by variety of different mountain and plain species: Caucasian tur, roe deer, wolf, lynx, golden eagle, griffon- vulture, sparrow-hawk, falcon, Caucasian snowcock, great rose finch, white-winged redstart, water pipit, rufous-tailed rock thrush, alpine accentor, wall crepper, twite, sturgeon, chukar, common kestrels, northern goshawks, rock and Spanish sparrows, salmon, shoat-fish, trout etc.
The rivers of Georgia belong to the basins of the Black and Caspian seas. Iinto this basin flow the Mtkvari River with its numerous tributaries (left) the Didi Liakhvi, the Aragvi, the Iori, the Alazani, (right) the Paravani, the Algeti, and Khrami. The Black Sea Basin Rivers include the Rioni, the Enguri, the Acharistskali, the Bzipi and others.
The total length of the border is 1970 km (1224 miles)
The length of the land border is 1655 km (1028 miles)
The length of the Georgian section of the black sea coast line is 315 km (195 miles)
Mtkvari (Kura in Russian) - 1364 km (847.5 miles)
Tergi - 623 km (387.1 miles)
Chorokhi - 438 km (272.1 miles)
Alazani - 351 km (218.1 miles)
Rioni - 327 km (203.1 miles)
Tori - 320 km (198.8 miles)
Enguri - 213 km (132.3 miles)
Shkhara - 5068 m (16,627 ft)
Janga - 5059 m (16,597 ft)
Mkinvartsveri (kazbek) - 5047 m (16,558 ft)
Shota Rustaveli - 4860 m (15,944 ft)
Tetnuldi - 4858 m (15,938 ft)
Ushba - 4700 m (15,419 ft)
Ailama - 4547 m (14,917 ft)
Paravani - 37.5 sq. km (14.4 sq ml)
Kartsakhi - 26.3 sq. km (10.1 sq ml)
Paliastomi - 18.2 sq. km (7.0 sq ml)
Tabatskuri - 14.2 sq. km (5.4 sq ml)
Khanchali -13.3 sq. km (5.1 sq ml)
Jandari - 10.6 sq. km (4.0 sq ml)
The biggest cities (hab. population)
Tbilisi - 1225 000
Kutaisi - 221 000
Rustavi - 145 000
Batumi - 115 000