World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

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Georgia Travelling Guide
Georgia Travelling Guide

General background: Georgia was absorbed into the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Independent for three years (1918-1921) following the Russian revolution, it was forcibly incorporated into the USSR until the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. Ethnic separation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, poor governance, and Russian military bases deny the government effective control over the entirety of the state's internationally recognized territory. Despite myriad problems, progress on market reforms and democratization support the country's goal of greater integration with Western political, economic and security institutions.

Area comparative: Slightly smaller than South Carolina

Climate: Warm and pleasant; Mediterranean-like on Black Sea coast

Terrain: Largely mountainous with Great Caucasus Mountains in the north and Lesser Caucasus Mountains in the south; Kolkhet'is Dablobi (Kolkhida Lowland) opens to the Black Sea in the west; Mtkvari River Basin in the east; good soils in river valley flood plains, foothills of Kolkhida Lowland.

Population: 4,960,951 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Georgian 70.1%, Armenian 8.1%, Russian 6.3%, Azeri 5.7%, Ossetian 3%, Abkhaz 1.8%, other 5%

Religions: Georgian Orthodox 65%, Muslim 11%, Russian Orthodox 10%, Armenian Apostolic 8%, unknown 6%

Language: Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%

Government type: Republic

Capital: T'bilisi

Legal system: Based on civil law system

Economic overview: Georgia's main economic activities include the cultivation of agricultural products such as citrus fruits, tea, hazelnuts, and grapes; mining of manganese and copper; and output of a small industrial sector producing alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, metals, machinery, and chemicals. The country imports the bulk of its energy needs, including natural gas and oil products. Its only sizable internal energy resource is hydropower. Despite the severe damage the economy has suffered due to civil strife, Georgia, with the help of the IMF and World Bank, has made substantial economic gains since 1995, achieving positive GDP growth and curtailing inflation. However, the Georgian government suffers from limited resources due to a chronic failure to collect tax revenues. Georgia also suffers from energy shortages; it privatised the T'bilisi distribution network in 1998, but collection rates are low, making the venture unprofitable. The country is pinning its hopes for long-term recovery on its role as a transit state for pipelines and trade. The start of construction on the Baku-T'bilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in summer 2002 will bring much-needed investment and job opportunities to the country.

Communication/Telephone system: T'bilisi and K'ut'aisi have cellular telephone networks; urban telephone density is about 20 per 100 people; rural telephone density is about 4 per 100 people; intercity facilities include a fiber-optic line between T'bilisi and K'ut'aisi; nationwide pager service is available.

Places of interest: Tourist facilities outside of the capital, Tbilisi, are not highly developed.

Travel tips: Because of the presence of land mines and high incidence of kidnapping, visitors are advised to avoid traveling near the Russian border region, especially Chechnya, Dagestan, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Kabarda-Balkar and Karachay-Cherkessia. The breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia should also be avoided.