Sakartvelo – Georgia: Warm & Friendly
Georgians by nature are basically warm, friendly people just as for much of the year Georgia itslef is a warm & inviting country. Tbilisi,is the capital of this Caucasian city, the former Soviet, Republic of Georgia called by Georgians, Sakartvelo.
Throighout recorded history, Georgians have been famous for their hospitality to strangers. Ancient Greeks knew Georgia as the land of the Golden Fleece. It was a woman, St. Nino, who brought Christianity to Georgia in 330 A.D. Georgian wine has been produced for more than 4,000 years. Georgian literature dates back to the 5th century A.D. Scholars have compared the 12th century Georgian poet, Shota Rustaveli, to Dante & Shakespeare. Georgia is also believed to have the oldest spoken language with its own unique alphabet.
It is an magnificently beautiful country that exists at junction of 2 continents, Europe & Asia. Georgia is around 70.000 square kilometers in size. The northern boundary is formed by Caucasus Mountain Range & the western boundary is the shoreline of the Black Sea. The country’s population of 5,000,000+ people is composed of more than 80 ethonologies with Georgians prevailing at 70%.
Georgians are mostly Eastern Orthodox in religion but Jews, Muslims & Roman Catholics also exist there in harmony. There are some pagan ethnic groups also in the more remote parts of the mountians as well. Some of the oldest churches in Christendom exist in Georgia.
Weather in Georgia is pretty much Mediterranean in type except high in the Caucasus Mountains which are snow capped all year long. Georgia is hot in summer & cool in winter. Rain is not a problem as it does not rain orsnow much during the year. The norm for Georgia is sunny weather with decent temperatures.
Tbilisi, capital and largest city of Georgia, is situated on the Kura River in a valley sheltered by the Caucasus Mountains. The word Tbilisi derives from “tbili” meaning warm in Georgian.
There are 2 versions of this foundation story. This one is the one seeming most ralistic. According to the legend, Georgian King Vahtang Gorgasaly was falcon hunting in an area where he was thinking of building a new capital. His falcon caught a bird, but dropped it. This bird was found later in a hot stream boiled & ready to be eaten for lunch. Tbilisi got its name partly from the warm springs found in the area. These hot streams are very healthy mineral sources long used for in Tbilisi Turkish baths 19th and 20th centuries. You can still visit these Turkish baths. They are situated in one of the old parts of the city. These baths as well as the buildings surrounding them are worth a visit. Tbilisi is a big city as well as a city of a minimum of 3 contrasts. Tbilisi’s very old city is pretty, intersting & attractive like all very old cities everywhere. Tbilisi the pre-Soviet city has a neo-European architecture that is both attractive & functional. Tbilisi the Soviet city was built for practicality. The city is busy with lots of eateries, and the supermarkets are filled with lots of imported goods. The local produce is of excellent quality & of great variety along with being very reasonably priced. Food is the soul of Georgia. The cuisine is old, a mixture of Asian, Mediterranea, Greek & Slavic. Wine was inventd in ancient Georgia so the wines there are beyond pale. Eating & drinking is part of the culture as well as a way of life.
Georgia is not on the tourist trail…..yet…..but it is going to be soon. People who have visited there on buisness love it. I am entranced by the people, the culture & the cuisine. Go there now to have wonderful, pleasant & low cost vacation. Remember that Helen of Troy was a Georgian woman! Those ancient Greeks knew that Georgia was a great place to visit!
Giyorgi Vashavilli, PhD., Tbilisi-Goergia
Dr. Arakles Beleshvili, Batumi-Georgia
Dr. Galina Vernadzhe, Tbilisi-Georgia
Copyright Â© 2007-2008 Donald R Houston, PhD. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author’s consent.