Official name of the state
As a country located in Europe according to top-mba-universities, Georgia lies between the Greater and Lesser Caucasus and the Black Sea. The country borders the Russian Federation, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The autonomous regions of Abkhazia, Ajaria and South Ossetia also belong to Georgia. The highest peaks in Georgia are the Kazbek (5047 m) and the Shchara (5068 m) in the Greater Caucasus. Deep valleys, river basins, health resorts, fascinating caves, waterfalls and subtropical plants shape the landscape.
Parliamentary democracy since 2013. Presidential republic from 1995 to 2013. Constitution from 1995 (last change in November 2013). Parliament with 235 members (next parliamentary election October 2016).
Head of state
Giorgi Margvelashvili, since November 2013.
Head of government
Giorgi Kvirikashvili, since December 2015.
220 V, 50 Hz.
ON THE GO
Traveling by plane
Airzena Georgian Airlines (A9) (Internet: www.airzena.com) operates domestic flights from Tbilisi to Kutaisi, Butani and Senaki.
On the way by car / bus
The road network comprises around 20,000 km of paved roads. A new motorway is to create a connection between the Black Sea ports, Tbilisi and the Azerbaijani border. Night trips outside the capital should be avoided. There are no reliable maps and no signs. Gasoline is scarce and only locals know where and how to get to hidden springs. Buses are now running again between the larger cities; they are often in poor shape and do not always go according to plan. You shouldn’t expect comfort.
Documentation: International driver’s license required.
Traveling in the city
Tbilisi has a small subway network, buses and trolley buses complement the local transport system. Buses can be stopped on the street and the fare should be negotiated in advance.
Taxis can be hailed on the street. The prices charged are often excessive. It is advisable to agree a price right before departure. The high crime rate requires precautionary measures (you should only use official taxis and not share them with strangers).
On the go by train
The rail network covers approx. 1600 km. The security situation (outdated wagons, armed robberies and fuel shortages) has improved significantly, so that train journeys are now less of a concern. However, long journeys are still not recommended. Rail travel across the Russian border in the north and west is not possible due to the conflict with Abkhazia. Theft precautions are appropriate. Reservations are required for all trains. There are two classes that differ mainly in the comfort of the seats. Children under 5 travel for free, children aged 5-9 pay half.
The official language is Georgian. Russian, English, German and French are also spoken, along with Armenian and various regional languages such as Ossetan (South Ossetia), Abcharish and Assyrian.
The nightlife is essentially limited to the international hotels. There is a casino in the Hotel Ivera. The Georgian National Dance Ensemble is famous, but almost always on tour abroad, so that in Tbilisi you hardly have the opportunity to admire its arts. The Georgian State Theater in Rustaveli also has a good reputation and is best known for Shakespeare productions.
Predominantly Christianity (65% Georgian Orthodox, 10% Russian Orthodox), Islam (11%), Jewish minority.
Social rules of conduct
Etiquette: Georgians are known for their sociability and hospitality. Foreign guests are often invited to a bottle of wine in restaurants. Invitations to your home are also welcome. Small souvenirs like chocolate, flowers or spirits are welcome. Crime remains a problem despite government efforts and many Georgians are armed. It is generally advisable not to have any valuables with you and, if possible, not to be out after dark.
Best travel time
Different climate depending on the region and altitude. Alpine in the Caucasus, warm and subtropical-humid in the coastal regions, continental climate in the east and south, Mediterranean in western Georgia, desert climate in the southeast in the steppe landscape of Garedja. Highest rainfall in the southwest. April to June and early autumn are usually the best weather for a trip to Georgia.
Area code +995 Area (sqkm) 69700 Population 4931226 Population density (per sqkm) 71 Population in 2015 Member of the EU No main emergency number 112