Situated at the strategically important crossroads where Europe
meets Asia, Georgia has a unique and ancient cultural heritage, famous traditions
of hospitality and cuisine and an alphabet which is entirely its own.
also has a history of winemaking said to date back thousands of years.
Over the centuries, Georgia has
been the object of rivalry between Persia, Turkey and Russia, and was eventually
annexed by Russia in the 19th century. Georgia enjoyed an interlude of independence
after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia but was invaded by the Soviet Red
Army in 1921 and incorporated into the Soviet Union a year later.
the collapse of Communism in the USSR in 1991, Georgians voted overwhelmingly
for the restoration of independence and elected nationalist leader Zviad Gamsakhurdia
as president. However, Gamsakhurdia was soon overthrown by opposition militias
which in 1992 installed former Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze as
the country's new leader. An attempt by the government to manipulate legislative
elections in November 2003 touched off widespread protests that led to the resignation
of Eduard SHEVARDNADZE, president since 1995. New elections in early 2004 swept
Mikheil SAAKASHVILI into power along with his National Movement Party.
Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia
" Population: 4,693,892 (July 2004 est.)
" Capital: Tbilisi
" Area: 69,700 sq km (26,911 sq miles)
" Major languages: Georgian,
" Major religion: Orthodox Christian
expectancy: 69 years (men), 78 years (women) (UN)
" Monetary unit: 1
lari = 100 tetri
" Main exports: Scrap metal, wine, fruit
GNI per capita: US $830 (World Bank, 2003)
" Internet domain: .ge
" International dialing code: +995