Georgia is an Eastern European country spread between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black sea. It has a distinctive culture and a rich history that can be traced back to antiquity and beyond. The country was first settled by the native proto-kartvelian tribes in the prehistoric period. The oldest evidence of humans in this area, which was dated c. 1.8 million years, was found in excavations of Dmanisi. The first Georgian kingdoms, Colchis, land of the Golden Fleece, and Iberia, appeared by the end of 8th century BC. Nowadays, these names are preserved in the names of western and eastern parts of the country respectively. The country was first unified as a single kingdom in 11th century and reached its Golden Age under King David IV and Queen Tamar the Great.
Because Georgia is located on the crossroads between Europe and Asia and was in a proximity of east-western trading routs, it had cultural and commercial interaction with various countries including Greece, Rome, Persia and Arabia. The country was a point of interest for various global powers as well. Georgia has its own language and alphabet, which is among the oldest spoken languages. A deeply complicated history and diversity of cultures created a particular atmosphere and gave the country a wonderful heritage of architecture and arts. Georgia’s countryside as well as cities is full with ancient and medieval fortifications, monasteries, and churches with unique style.
The country is beautifully shaped by rugged mountains, rivers, valleys and meadows, where vineyards and corn fields are spread out. Georgia is composed of different regions: Kartli – the center of eastern part and a home of the capital city, Tbilisi, Kakheti – the land of vineyards, Colchis on the black sea and different marvelous mountain regions such as Svaneti, Racha and Tusheti. Each part of Georgia is famous for its particular commodity; being here, you should not miss a newly baked Georgian bread and variety of rural cheese, wonderful dishes with local spices, and of course taste of famous Georgian wine.
Different touristic companies suggest different kind of adventurous, mountaineering, cultural, wine tours and etc. Duration of the tours varies from half to several days. The Guided tours are also available. Service is provided by professional and well-experienced guides in English, German, French languages. Visitors may reserve their favorite tours from these websites: G-travel, Crystal Travel, Georgia Travel, Georgian Holidays, Concord Travel, Visit Georgia.
Full documentary film about Georgia, made by Planet DOC
The homeland of wine
Georgia fairly is considered as the “homeland of wine”, because it has more than 7000 year history of wine making tradition, which is proved by archaeological discoveries. Wine was often associated with the blood of Christ in ancient Georgia that is why the holy wine called “Zedashe” has continuously made in Georgian monasteries.
Wine is a part of the life in Georgia. The most important region in wine-making is Kakheti, where the vineyards are located in the Alazani and Iori basins. It is well known that Kakhetian traditional wine technology has no analogy in the world. The wine making process consist pressing grapes in Satsnakheli and pouring Badagi in qvevri (qvevri is the vessel for wine made by clay. It is often called churi in western part of Georgia). Then qvevri is closed hermetically and during the years the wine is systematically controlled. Both European and traditional wine are produced in Kakheti, for example, Saperavi, which is the most wide-spread grape in Georgia.
There are more than 500 different grapes species in Georgia, which can be divided into white grapes, such as Rkatsiteli, Tsolikouri, Mtsvane Kakhuri, Goruli Mtsvane and red grapes, such as Saperavi, Tavkveri, Ojaleshi, Aladasturi.
One can be surprised of wide variety of red and white wines in Georgia, such as Tsinandali, Mukuzani, Napareuli, Kindzmarauli, Khvanchkara. More information about Georgian wine can be found on different websites: Georgian Wine, Marani, Badagoni, Aleksandreuli, Teliani Valley, Winery Khareba, Chateau Zegaani, Dugladzes wine and spirits, Chateau Mukhrani, Kvareli Cellar.
Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia, is a beautiful mixture of history and modernity. Being in the intersection between the Europe and Asia, the city remembers lots of guests from different cultures throughout the centuries preserved in the architecture and arts. The architecture here is a mixture of local and Byzantine, Neoclassical, Art Nouveau, Beaux-arts, Middle Eastern and Soviet Styles. The Old Town including Abanot-Ubani and Sololaki districts have particular traditional architectural look with narrow paving streets, small houses with beautiful wooden balconies and leafy squares. Out from the historic landmarks, the most notable sightseeing is Narikala fortress and old city walls (4th -17th centuries). In the Old city, other the most remarkable places are Anchiskhati Basilica, first Orthodox Church in Tbilisi, which dates back to 4th century, Sioni Cathedral and Church of Metekhi. One should not miss the beautiful view on the city from Mt. Mtatsminda as well.
The city lies on both banks of the river Mtkvari and is surrounded by the mountains. Tbilisi is famous for its Sulphuric hot springs; According to the legend, King Vakhtang I Gorgasali was hunting in the territory of the city, which was covered by forests as late as 5th century AC. His falcon caught a pheasant during the hunt after which both of them fell into a Sulphur spring and died from burns. King Vakhtang I was impressed with the hot springs, built the city here and called it Tbilisi, which literally means a “warm location”. At this time Mtskheta was the capital of Georgian rulers, but King Vakhtang Gorgasali was so fascinated by Tbilisi, that he decided to make it the capital of Georgia instead of Mtskheta.
Tbilisi justifies its name. The city has been home to people of different cultures, ethnicity and religious background. In the old city, in one neighborhood one can find orthodox and catholic churches, synagogues, and mosques. In the city center there are modern buildings in pseudo-moorish architecture such as the Tbilisi Opera House. One should visit Georgian National Museum, where you can see the nation’s rich, authentic content of cultural heritages. Besides the cultural and traditional attractions, Tbilisi offers wide range of vivid cafes and restaurants where you can have the best food ever and bars and nightclubs for those who love night life.