Georgia was one of the first countries in the world to officially adopt Christianity in 337 AD.
Ushguli village in the Svaneti region at 2300 meters is the highest settlement in Europe
Remains of a 1.8 million year old hominid were discovered in Georgia. They are the oldest links to modern man found outside Africa.
A mix of these two continents and their diversity can be seen in the culture and architectural heritage of Georgia.
Archeological research provides evidence of viniculture in Georgia stretching back over 8000 years and many believe that Georgia is the birthplace of wine.
There are just 14 independent scripts in the world and Georgian is one of them.
103 spa resorts and over 2400 mineral springs mean that Georgia gas been one of the centers of spa live for thousands of years. The location of today’s capital Tbilisi was chosen because of its natural hot Sulphur baths now found in the heart of the city. Combine all this with a Mediterranean climate and the legendary Georgian hospitality and you have unique travel tradition.
Although only 69,700 square kilometers, Georgia’s biodiversity is immense: subtropical marshes, semideserts, lofty alpine meadows and mighty snow-covered peaks can all be found within a hundred kilometers of each other. There are more than 40 protected areas. So much of Georgia is still untouched and unspoilt.
It is a land of contrasts at the crossroads of East and West. For thousands of years traders and adventurers have visited via the historic Silk Road, their legacy remains today in the culture, sounds and monuments, including many UNESCO heritage sites. From the architecture of Tbilisi’s Old Town to the vineyards of Kakheti; from the ancient stone towers of Svaneti to the beaches and nightlife of Batumi, there is something inspiring and exciting for everyone. Ski the Caucasus mountains, Europe’s highest mountain range, in the morning and relax at the Black Sea coast in the afternoon. Sample the delicious Georgian cuisine and wine at a traditional supra (or feast) one day, detox in our natural saunas and spas the next. Georgia has a unique, welcoming culture which explains its world-famous hospitality. With its own alphabet and language, and many world-famous artists, Georgia will surprise and delight you at every turn.
Whatever it is you want from a holiday, come to Georgia: for the best moments of your life.
You are about to discover a country rich in history, tradition, pride, and friendship. A land so pleasant, rich and fertile that it is home to the earliest remains of modern man found outside of Africa, dated to be nearly 2 million years old. From these early Georgians, living in the shadows of the mighty Caucasus Mountains, to the Ancient Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts search for the golden fleece, the Kings and Queen that converted Georgia to Christianity in the 4th century AD, the events of the 20th and 21st centuries, Georgia has an amazing story to tell. Whether you visit our ancient cave cities, marvel at the highest settlements in Europe or experience the sights and sounds of our amazing theatre, food, arts, wine and music, Georgia will capture a place in your heart forever.
There is a saying in Georgia that “the guest is the gift from God”. You will be surprised by the warmth and genuineness of the hospitality you receive no matter where you travel and stay in Georgia.
During a traditional Supra, or feast, not only will you enjoy the amazing local food, but you will also be expected to sample much of the wine, which has been produced here for thousands of years. Today more than 500 varieties of grapes are grown in Georgia.
No trip to Georgia will be complete without the spectacular sound and vision of the world-renowned polyphonic singing and traditional dancing, described by UNESCO as “masterpiece of the world’s intangible cultural heritage.”
Georgia’s architectural inheritance is exceptionally rich. So are the churches and frescoes superb, so are the many of our historical monuments.
Many countries have ancient beginnings. But very few can, like Georgia, trace their history back nearly two million years. The discovery of 1.8 million year old remains in the hills just south of Tbilisi provides the missing link in human expansion between Africa and Europe. There are many reasons to come to Georgia, and gold is just one of them. Our museums and even stories are encased with gold: gold statues and figurines, belts and crowns from ancient tribes and peoples, like the Colchis. It was the Colchis, Georgia’s ancient people, who are widely believed to have inspired some of our most famous visitors: Jason and the Argonauts. According to a legend, the Colchis owned a famous, superb Golden Fleece and Jason and the Argonauts were sent to claim it and bring it back to Greece. The fleece itself was probably inspired by the practice of sifting for gold in the high, fast flowing mountain rivers of Georgia by leaving a sheep’s fleece in the river overnight. When taken out of the river, hung from a tree and dried out, the gold can literally be brushed out. The whole story of Jason’s quest for the fleece and his meeting with the Georgian princess Medea, the famous sorceress daughter of Aeetes, King of Colchis, can still be enjoyed today in a poem of The Odyssey by Homer.
As one of the first countries in the world to convert to Christianity, in just the 4th century AD, today Georgia is proud to provide for full religious freedom. While the majority of the country is Christian, Georgia is one of the few countries where churches, mosques, synagogues and chapels co-exist peacefully, side by side. Wandering through Tbilisi, one can lose count of the number of religious buildings and memorials, but they never feel intrusive.
Georgia has a magnificent 1,300 year old tradition of architecture, which is one of the most significant expressions of the nation’s artistic vision and heritage. The famous cupola structures that dominate Georgian ecclesiastic architecture can be traced back to domestic dwellings. Two major forms of ecclesiastical architecture was developed in Georgia; the central domed structure and the basilica. The basilica form came to Georgia through the influence of the Roman and Hellenistic worlds. The turn of the seventh century was an epoch of extraordinary architectural achievement. The tetraconch Church of Djvari, original in design and conception, soon became an inspirational model for many other architects. The eighth and ninth centuries were an interesting transitional period of hybrid forms such as the fusion of the central domed church and the triple-church basilica. The most notable surviving successes of this kind include the domed Church of Vachnadziani and the double-domed Church of Kvelatsminda in Gurdjaani. This period is known as the Golden Age of Georgia. Another outstanding gem of architectural heritage is The Alaverdi Saint Giorgi Church which was founded by one of the 13 Syrian Fathers, Joseb Alaverdeli in the 6th century and was constructed as an Episcopal Church in the 11th century. By the 15th-16th centuries the Realm of Kakheti reached the peak of its power and its capital city was Gremi, built by King Levan and one of the most important trading and economic centers of the Feudal Era. The unique castle of Gremi with its church of the Archangel, is a must-see in Georgia. Another example of great architectural and artistic accomplishments is Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, the most interesting being the one on ‘the pillar’ painted by the Georgian painters under the leadership of Grigol Guljavarsashvili (17th century). Svetitskhoveli is also a burial ground of the Bagrationi Royal family members and church dignitaries. Driving from Tbilisi to the North, the Ananuri Architectural Complex can be seen from afar; an impressive, elegant, 16th-17th century fortified complex of the local lords. Inside of the complex there is also a tower built in local, Khevsureti style.
Among the few notable cave towns in the world, the ones in Georgia are of very special interest. Uplistsikhe, David Gareja monastery, and the world-famous cave city of Vardzia are nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage list. Uplistsikhe ‘the fortress of the Lord’ can be dated back to the early Iron Age, and is located on a high rocky escarpment overlooking the bank of the Mtkvari river. Cut from natural sandy stone, the 8 hectares of cave-town have survived millions of people, erosion, years and even earthquakes but remains a good example of the mixture of pagan & Christian architecture. David Gareja monastery was founded in the 6th century on the slopes of the Gareja hills by one of the thirteen Syrian Fathers, Father David (Garejeli). They were missionaries from Mesopotamia promoting and spreading Christianity and are the respected founders of many monasteries and holy places around Georgia. The frescoes here are quite superb. Some of them date as far back as the 9th and 10th centuries. The Golden Age of Georgia is directly reflected in the amazing 11th-13th century frescoes. The incredible town of Vardzia dates back to Queen Tamar’s reign, nearly a thousand years ago. Her father, King George III started the foundation of the complex, while Queen Tamar continued its construction. Many frescoes date back to the beginning of the 12th century and the complex consists of small chapels, bell towers, secret tunnels, monks’ caves as well as a fully functioning monastery to this day. Set in the most serene and stunning countryside, its beautiful location captures your imagination and transports you back to the era of her reign.
Georgia’s polyphonic music tradition is world-renowned and calls upon an enchanting combination of ancient and modern harmonies. In 2001 UNESCO acknowledged this music as “a masterpiece of the world’s intangible cultural heritage” and its unique, slightly dissonant style has not changed for centuries. The Greek historian Strabo recorded the multi-voiced chants of Georgians riding into a battle as early as the 1st century BC. The songs, made up of three-partharmonies, are still the life blood of modern society. They can be heard in churches and monasteries across the country; down Tbilisi’s back-streets of an early evening; or across the village fields during the summer. They are also very much a part of the Georgian feast, or supra.
Georgian dance, like its polyphonic songs, remains a major cultural export and The Georgian State Dance company tours the world all year round. The vigorous, vibrant men leap high in the air; clash swords amidst flying sparks and razor sharp daggers are thrown into the floor in a frenetic, breathless choreography. All this contrasts with the women’s graceful, elegant and lightweight dances. Add our fabulous multi-coloured costumes from the many mountain villages, wild drumming, accompanying pipes and accordions, and the overall effect is mesmeric and truly unforgettable.
Nothing tells you more about the spirit and culture of a country than its native food and wine. And Georgia’s food and wine is amongst the best in the world. It may surprise you to know that Georgia has the oldest continuous unbroken tradition of wine making in the world, stretching back over 8,000 years and today, there are more than 500 indigenous grape varieties still cultivated here. A quick look at its geographical position and its landscape shows you why it is the perfect place to grow grapes. Georgian cuisine offers a variety of dishes, with liberal use of various tasty herbs and spices. Each historical province of Georgia has its own distinct culinary tradition, such as Megrelian, Kakhetian, and Imeretian cuisines. And while meat plays an important part in Georgian cuisine, very close attention is also paid to the locally produced salads, vegetables, fruit and greens. Many people come to Georgia and marvel at the sweet tasting produce and wonder how such flavour can be grown here. Again, the secret is in our history, location and soil type. A visit to Georgia is a true feast – let us show you how to eat and drink your way around Georgia.
Georgia’s natural environment is one of the most special in the world. Geologically its’ surface is more diverse, than that of much larger countries and the stunning landscape ranks among the world’s top twelve. In a mere 67,000 square kilometres (the size of Ireland) you can find 5000 metre-plus peaks; glaciers; alpine meadows; sub-tropical coastline; high desert; semi-desert; fertile valleys; wetlands and of course a large swathes of virgin forest. The rich natural resources found in our country are exceptional. National parks and protected areas cover more than 7% of Georgia. 75% of the all protected areas are covered with woods. There are 14 national reserves, 9 national parks, 17 suppressed, 14 natural monuments and 2 protected landscapes in Georgia.
Due to its large areas of uninhabited forest and remote high alpine zones, Georgia has more species of animals, than any country in Europe. This includes a number of endemic species – perhaps the most notable being the Caucasian aurochs (‘jikhvi’ in Georgian), unique for its splendid laterally curved horns. Besides this, Georgia has many animals now no longer found in western European countries. It has brown bear, lynx, wild boar, bezoar goats, chamois, wolves, jackal, wild cats, a number of endemic butterflies, lizards, snakes and numerous tortoises. Recently the endangered Anatolian Leopard has been caught on remote cameras in the Vashlovani National park – although it has yet to be seen by the naked eye.