Georgia is a small, yet beautiful and ancient country located in the neighbourhood of Russia. The beautiful former Soviet country of Georgia, resting high in the Caucasus Mountains, at the meeting point of Europe and Asia, is a beautiful country with picturesque views. Georgia is still an unknown country to many. Blessed with great natural beauty and friendly people, it won’t be long before this nation becomes a hot destination for travellers looking for an authentic experience. Here are some interesting facts about Georgia!
1. Georgia is called Sakartvelo in Georgian. The name Georgia originated from the Persian name Gurcistan, which means “land of the wolves”.
2. The Caucasus Mountains yielded the oldest human skulls during an archaeological expedition in Dmanisi. Research on the 1.8 million-year-old skulls indicates that the early man travelled from Africa to Europe through Georgia. So apparently, Georgia is the cradle of the European civilization.
3. Georgia has the world’s deepest cave. Hidden amidst the Gagra Mountain range of the West Caucasus region, the Veryovkina Cave is the deepest cave on the planet and is 7,257 feet deep. It is said that it takes approximately 27 days to reach the bottom of the cave.
4. Georgia is an ecologist’s dream come true, with 12 different climate zones (ranging all the way from subtropical semi-desert to alpine), and literally 49 types of soil. The country’s dense forests house fabulous creatures like lynxes, bears, and leopards in huge numbers. From every respect, Georgia is very ecologically diverse and offers many exciting changes to the watchful eye.
5. Georgia is the motherland of wine. This beverage has been made here for several thousands of years, as seen from the archaeological findings in clay jugs (remains of grape seeds and the wine oxidation process, imprinted in clay). Some claim that the word “wine” comes from the Georgian “ghvino”.
6. The Georgian language is one of the 14 unique languages in the world, meaning it’s not spoken anywhere else. Its beautiful and unique 33-letter alphabet is thought to have been adapted from Aramaic from as far back as the third century AD. Hearing someone speaking the language can be a treat for those into linguistics, as it entails several puffs of air and throaty expressions you’ve probably never heard before!
7. A Georgian folk named ‘Chakrulo’ that is sung during festivals was actually recorded and sent into space on the spacecraft Voyager as part of the Golden Record. The Golden Record is similar to a message in a bottle, just in case there are aliens out there and they want to know who we are.
8. The villages of Bochorna and Ushguli are the highest permanent settlements in Europe at 2,345 and 2,100 meters above sea level, respectively. Both are mountainous regions where summer is short and winter is snowy and breezy.
9. There is an old Georgian saying that goes something like “A guest is a gift from God,” so if you’re a visitor, you’re guaranteed to experience divine hospitality. Whether stuffing guests full with local delicacies or offering their homes to rest for the night, visitors are promised to find a lot of smiling faces welcoming them with open arms. Definitely our most favourite fact!
10. You know how in most languages mama and dada/papa have cross-linguistic similarities and in most mama and numerous versions of this word means ‘mother’ and dada/papa means ‘father’. The Georgian language has its similar words backwards compared to other languages. ‘Mama’ means father and ‘Deda’ mother!
How to reach?
The international airport located in Tbilisi connects Georgia to the rest of the world via direct or connecting flights from larger cities in the world, including London, Paris, Vienna, Warsaw, Kiev, Munich, Athens, Riga, Istanbul, Prague, Minsk and many more cities.
Didube bus station, Samgori bus station, and Ortachala bus station are the three main bus stations of Tbilisi. Travellers to Georgia can find regular buses operating to and fro from Istanbul in Turkey. You also have an option of taking a marshrutka (mini bus) to Tbilisi.
Captain Nero’s recommendations in Georgia:
Tbilisi: Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia, lies on the banks of the Mtkvari (also known as the Kura) river and is surrounded by picturesque hills and mountains. Tbilisi contains a charming old town situated on a dramatic cliff-side, which makes for some awesome views. Be it exotic markets, ancient fortresses, or sublime churches, there is no shortage of amazing attractions in Tablisi.
Mtskheta: A must-see on your visit to Georgia, Mtskheta is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is considered as the spiritual heart of Georgia. The city holods three of the most important churches in Georgia – Svetitskhoveli, Jvari and Samtarvo Monastery, all of these offering a unique insight into the nation’s cultural past.
Svaneti: Home to the fierce Svan people, the region is best known for its tall defense towers scattered around the region, which in ancient times, used to provide an important lookout in case of attack by other tribes. Mestia, Svaneti’s main centre, has great tourist infrastructure and a delightful ethnography museum. From here, you can embark on hikes around the region, including a popular three-to-four-day trek to Ushguli – by some measures, the highest village in Europe.
Ushguli: Considered as the highest village in Europe, Ushguli, is a tiny collection of villages high in the Caucasian mountain region of Svaneti. Around the picturesque huts stand the imposing and eerie peaks of Svetani mountain range.
Gudauri: Gudauri is undoubtedly the best place for skiing in Georgia! It is the most promising and the youngest ski resort in the southern slope region of Greater Caucasus Mountains. Surrounded by some of Europe’s most dramatic peaks, Gudauri represents one of the most picturesque winter destinations for both experienced and amateurs’ gives an opportunity to show your hidden skiing talent.
Mestia: Mestia, one of the best places for hiking in Georgia, is the main town in the mountainous region of Svaneti. This quaint little town has some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the country. Not only that, the town is also filled with evidence of great empires and legendary hordes from Mongols to Persians to Ottomans which can give you an insight into their cultural past.
Click here to read about Atsunta Pass Trek in Georgia!