Introducing Georgia Republic
Abanotubani, Tbilisi © Raye Fukuda, www.r-flux.com
The Georgia Republic is fast becoming a popular tourist hub. Offering vast mountain ranges with superb walking, skiing and snowboarding opportunities, a magnificent sub-tropical coastline with a temperate climate, immense architectural and archaeological sights and a modern capital displaying contemporary Georgian culture, there is plenty for the visitor to see and do.
Located on the strip of land between the Black and Caspian seas known as the Caucasus, Georgia has been continuously inhabited since the Stone Age. The busiest trade route of the ancient world, the Silk Road, ran through Georgia, bringing many different cultures through its borders and enriching its economy. Because of its transcontinental location the country has been invaded and occupied throughout the centuries by various forces such as the Persians, Romans, Arab Caliphs and Mongols. This is best seen in the country's impressive archaeological ruins, some dating back to the 5th century BC, and in its impressive fortresses and churches.
Gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the country is embracing its tourist potential. Known for their sincere hospitality, Georgians do their best to make visitors feel welcome. Often guests are invited to dine at residents' homes to partake in the supra tradition, where local cuisine can be sampled, an amazing blend of Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Persian and European flavours. Such occasions are marked by toasts of wine, reflecting the 3,000 year-old Georgian viticultural heritage.
The capital Tbilisi, named after the warm springs found in the area, has a distinct Mediterranean atmosphere. Visitors can wander the winding narrow streets and indulge in the café culture, visit some of the finest museums and art galleries in the region, as well as the theatre and Turkish baths. At the other end of this small country, the warm Black Sea invites travellers to discover its more isolated beaches and visit the many local markets, spilling over with fresh produce from the orange, banana and lemon groves found in the area.
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