Georgia is a country located at the intersection of Eastern Europe and West Asia, and generally considered to be part of Europe. Nestled between the Greater Caucasus and Lesser Caucasus mountain ranges, it is bounded to the west by theBlack Sea, to the north and northeast by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia is a unitary, semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.
During classical antiquity, several independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia. The most prominent of these Georgian precursor states, Colchis in the west and Iberia in the east, adopted Christianity as their state religion in the early 4th century. Following a complex period of nation building, a unified Kingdom of Georgia reached the peak of its political and economic strength during the reign of King David IV and Queen Tamar from the 11th to 13th centuries. In the early modern period, Georgia became fractured and fell into decline due to the onslaught of various hostile empires, including the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire, and Persia. In 1783, Eastern Georgia forged an alliance with the Russian Empire, which led to the gradual annexation of Georgia by Russia starting in 1801.
History: The territory of modern-day Georgia was inhabited by Homo erectus since the Paleolithic Era. The proto-Georgian tribes first appear in written history in the 12th century BC.In Greek mythology, western Georgia was home to Medea and the Golden Fleece.2nd century BC statue from Georgia, displayed at the Georgian National Museum.The earliest evidence of wine to date has been found in Georgia, where 8000-year old wine jars were uncovered.Archaeological finds and references in ancient sources also reveal elements of early political and state formations characterized by advanced metallurgy and goldsmith techniques that date back to the 7th century BC and beyond. In fact, early metallurgy started in Georgia during the 6th millennium BC, associated with the Shulaveri-Shomu culture.
The classical period saw the rise of a number of early Georgian states, the principal of which was Colchis in the west and Iberia in the east. In the 4th century BC, a unified kingdom of Georgia – an early example of advanced state organization under one king and an aristocratic hierarchy – was established.In Greek mythology, Colchis was home to sorceress Medea and held the famous Golden Fleece, sought by Jason and the Argonauts in the epic tale Argonautica. According to Strabo and several modern scholars, the incorporation of the Golden Fleece into the myth may have derived from the western Georgian practice of using fleeces to sift gold dust from the mountain rivers. Known to its natives as Egrisi or Lazica, Colchis was also the battlefield of the Lazic War fought between the Byzantine Empire and Sassanid Persia.
Foreign relations of GeorgiaPro-NATO poster in Tbilisi.Georgia maintains good relations with its direct neighbours (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey) and is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Community of Democratic Choice, the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, and the Asian Development Bank. Georgia also maintains political, economic, and military relations with Japan, Uruguay, South Korea, Israel, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, and many other countries.The growing U.S. and European Union influence in Georgia, notably through proposed EU and NATO membership, the U.S. Train and Equip military assistance program, and the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline have frequently strained Tbilisi's relations with Moscow. Georgia's decision to boost its presence in the coalition forces in Iraq was an important initiative.Georgia is currently working to become a full member of NATO. In August 2004, the Individual Partnership Action Plan of Georgia was submitted officially to NATO. On 29 October 2004, the North Atlantic Council of NATO approved the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) of Georgia, and Georgia moved on to the second stage of Euro-Atlantic Integration. In 2005, by the decision of the President of Georgia, a state commission was set up to implement the Individual Partnership Action Plan, which presents an interdepartmental group headed by the Prime Minister. The Commission was tasked with coordinating and controlling the implementation of the Individual Partnership Action Plan.
Law enforcement in Georgia (country)Georgian police's new patrol car Ford Taurus Police InterceptorIn Georgia, law enforcement is conducted and provided for by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. In recent years, the Patrol Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has undergone a radical transformation, with the police having now absorbed a great many duties previously performed by dedicated independent government agencies. New duties performed by the police include border security and customs functions and contracted security provision; the latter function is performed by the dedicated 'security police'. Intelligence collecting in the interests of national security is now the remit of the Georgian Intelligence Service.In 2005, President Mikhail Saakashvili fired the entire traffic police force (numbering around 30,000 police officers) of the Georgian National Police due to corruption. ] A new force was then subsequently built around new recruits. The US State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law-Enforcement Affairs has provided assistance to the training efforts and continues to act in an advisory capacity.The new Patruli force was first introduced in the summer of 2005 to replace the traffic police, a force which was accused of widespread corruption. The police introduced an 022 emergency dispatch service in 2004.
Geography and climate
Borders of the continents Svaneti region, northwestern Georgia , Georgia is situated in the South Caucasus, between latitudes 41° and 44° N, and longitudes 40° and 47° E, with an area of 67,900 km2 (26,216 sq mi). It is a very mountainous country. The Likhi Range divides the country into eastern and western halves. Historically, the western portion of Georgia was known as Colchis while the eastern plateau was called Iberia. Because of a complex geographic setting, mountains also isolate the northern region of Svaneti from the rest of Georgia.The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range forms the northern border of Georgia. The main roads through the mountain range into Russian territory lead through the Roki Tunnel between Shida Kartli and North Ossetia and the Darial Gorge (in the Georgian region of Khevi). The Roki Tunnel was vital for the Russian military in the 2008 South Ossetia war because it is the only direct route through the Caucasus Mountains. The southern portion of the country is bounded by the Lesser Caucasus Mountains. The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range is much higher in elevation than the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, with the highest peaks rising more than 5,000 meters (16,404 ft) above sea level.The highest mountain in Georgia is Mount Shkhara at 5,068 meters (16,627 ft), and the second highest is Mount Janga (Dzhangi-Tau) at 5,059 m (16,598 ft) above sea level. Other prominent peaks include Mount Kazbek at 5,047 m (16,558 ft), Shota Rustaveli 4,860 m (15,945 ft), Tetnuldi 4,858 m (15,938 ft), Mt. Ushba 4,700 m (15,420 ft), and Ailama 4,547 m (14,918 ft). Out of the abovementioned peaks, only Kazbek is of volcanic origin. The region between Kazbek and Shkhara (a distance of about 200 km (124 mi) along the Main Caucasus Range) is dominated by numerous glaciers. Out of the 2,100 glaciers that exist in the Caucasus today, approximately 30% are located within Georgia.
The overall region can be characterized as being made up of various, interconnected mountain ranges (largely of volcanic origin) and plateaus that do not exceed 3,400 meters (11,155 ft) in elevation. Prominent features of the area include the Javakheti Volcanic Plateau, lakes, including Tabatskuri and Paravani, as well as mineral water and hot springs. Two major rivers in Georgia are the Rioni and the Mtkvari. The Southern Georgia Volcanic Highland is a young and unstable geologic region with high seismic activity and has experienced some of the most significant earthquakes that have been recorded in Georgia.The Krubera Cave is the deepest known cave in the world. It is located in the Arabika Massif of the Gagra Range, in Abkhazia. In 2001, a Russian–Ukrainian team had set the world depth record for a cave at 1,710 meters (5,610 ft). In 2004, the penetrated depth was increased on each of three expeditions, when a Ukrainian team crossed the 2,000-meter (6,562 ft) mark for the first time in the history of speleology. In October 2005, an unexplored part was found by the CAVEX team, further increasing the known depth of the cave. This expedition confirmed the known depth of the cave at 2,140 meters (7,021 ft)
Relief map of GeorgiaUshba, a prominent peak in GeorgiaThe landscape within the nation's boundaries is quite varied. Western Georgia's landscape ranges from low-land marsh-forests, swamps, and temperate rainforests to eternal snows and glaciers, while the eastern part of the country even contains a small segment of semi-arid plains. Forests cover around 40% of Georgia's territory while the alpine/subalpine zone accounts for roughly around 10 percent of the land.Much of the natural habitat in the low-lying areas of western Georgia has disappeared during the past 100 years because of the agricultural development of the land and urbanization. The large majority of the forests that covered the Colchis plain are now virtually non-existent with the exception of the regions that are included in the national parks and reserves (e.g. Lake Paliastomi area). At present, the forest cover generally remains outside of the low-lying areas and is mainly located along the foothills and the mountains. Western Georgia's forests consist mainly of deciduous trees below 600 meters (1,969 ft) above sea level and contain species such as oak, hornbeam, beech, elm, ash, and chestnut. Evergreen species such as box may also be found in many areas. Ca. 1000 of all 4000 higher plants of Georgia are endemic in this country.View of the cave city of Vardzia and the valley of the Kura River belowThe west-central slopes of the Meskheti Range in Ajaria as well as several locations in Samegrelo and Abkhazia are covered by temperate rain forests. Between 600–1,000 metres (1,969–3,281 ft) above sea level, the deciduous forest becomes mixed with both broad-leaf and coniferous species making up the plant life. The zone is made up mainly of beech, spruce, and fir forests. From 1,500–1,800 metres (4,921–5,906 ft), the forest becomes largely coniferous. The tree line generally ends at around 1,800 metres (5,906 ft) and the alpine zone takes over, which in most areas, extends up to an elevation of 3,000 metres (9,843 ft) above sea level. The eternal snow and glacier zone lies above the 3,000 metre line.
The climate of Georgia is extremely diverse, considering the nation's small size. There are two main climatic zones, roughly corresponding to the eastern and western parts of the country. The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range plays an important role in moderating Georgia's climate and protects the nation from the penetration of colder air masses from the north. The Lesser Caucasus Mountains partially protect the region from the influence of dry and hot air masses from the south.Black Sea coast of western Georgia, with the skyline of Batumi on the horizon.Much of western Georgia lies within the northern periphery of the humid subtropical zone with annual precipitation ranging from 1,000–4,000 mm (39.4–157.5 in). The precipitation tends to be uniformly distributed throughout the year, although the rainfall can be particularly heavy during the Autumn months. The climate of the region varies significantly with elevation and while much of the lowland areas of western Georgia are relatively warm throughout the year, the foothills and mountainous areas (including both the Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains) experience cool, wet summers and snowy winters (snow cover often exceeds 2 meters in many regions). Ajaria is the wettest region of the Caucasus, where the Mt. Mtirala rainforest, east of Kobuleti, receives around 4,500 mm (177.2 in) of precipitation per year.Eastern Georgia has a transitional climate from humid subtropical to continental. The region's weather patterns are influenced both by dry Caspian air masses from the east and humid Black Sea air masses from the west. The penetration of humid air masses from the Black Sea is often blocked by mountain ranges (Likhi and Meskheti) that separate the eastern and western parts of the nation. Annual precipitation is considerably less than that of western Georgia and ranges from 400–1,600 mm (15.7–63.0 in).The wettest periods generally occur during spring and autumn, while winter and summer months tend to be the driest. Much of eastern Georgia experiences hot summers (especially in the low-lying areas) and relatively cold winters. As in the western parts of the nation, elevation plays an important role in eastern Georgia where climatic conditions above 1,500 metres (4,921 ft) are considerably colder than in the low-lying areas. The regions that lie above 2,000 metres (6,562 ft) frequently experience frost even during the summer months.