Where is Georgia on the Map? (Definitely Not Where You Think!)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Where is Georgia on the map?

If you don't know by now where is Georgia, you should hurry and find out.

The land where is Georgia will definitely amaze you. It will win you over, and you will go home with the most amazing stories. And you will probably come back, to bring curious friends and to make wine reserves.

By the way, look for the country named Georgia and not for the US state Georgia.

Georgia is a country on the Eastern border of Europe, near the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains. Although many people think it is an Asian country, it isn't. Georgia, Europe's little Eastern state, has a unique culture and a long, very long, history. The Georgian language is part of the Kartvelian languages, and it is the only remaining one in the world. It is not related to any other languages, and it is considered one of the world's primary language families. Also, the Georgian alphabet is unique; it is one of the 14 independent alphabets in the world.

And language is not the only unusual fact in Georgian culture. This small land is one of the oldest wine producers in the world, dated 8000 years BC. 

From ancient times, Georgia was between powerful empires. Greeks, Persian, Turkish, and Russians desired the beautiful land where is Georgia. But Georgia preserved its unique culture and spirit. It is one of the reasons for which this country is still a pleasant surprise, untouched by time.

Best Time to Visit Georgia

Summer and winter seasons in Georgia are equally beautiful and will impress you with its different vibes.
Summer and winter seasons in Georgia are equally beautiful and will impress you with its different vibes.

In order to plan your journey wisely, you have to know where is Georgia. Situated near the mountains and near the sea, Georgia is a perfect destination all year long. From sunny weather on the coast of the Black Sea to snowy peaks in the Caucasus Mountains, this concentrated country has plenty to offer to the pickiest tourist.

Georgia has a sub-tropical climate, with hot and wet summers and not so cold winters. Its climate makes it perfect for both seaside vacations and skiing adventures. Between summer and winter, Georgia is equally beautiful and exhibits amazing colors and picturesque landscapes. 

If you are mostly interested in Georgian culture and traditions, maybe you should plan your journey according to the schedule of the festivals in Georgia:

New Wine Festival 

Where is Georgia, you can enjoy in the wine festival featuring some of the best wines around.

Some say that Georgia is the oldest wine producer in the world. After almost 10,000 years of wine producing, it is definitely an expert in this field. So a wine festival is something you really need to attend in Georgia. 

The date of the New Wine Festival is not fixed, but it is held annually in Tbilisi. In 2018, New Wine Festival took place on May 12th. 

At the festival, you'll find more than 60 wine producers, from large brands to family wineries. You can taste, of course, anything you like. You can also eat traditional food, attend concerts, and win a barrel full of wine.

Cheese Festival

Taste some of the cheese variants of Georgia on the Cheese Festival.

To taste a bit of Georgian flavors, come to the Cheese Festival. Here you can smell and taste many of the Georgian traditional made cheese

One of the most interesting is dambal-khaco, a flavorful cheese whose technique is protected by UNESCO. 

Read more: 6 Most Unique Types of Georgian Cheese

You can also taste cheese in wine, oils, flowers, spices, and honey.

Cheese Festival is held annually in Tbilisi, around November.

Tbilisi Jazz Festival 

Tbilisi Jazz Festival is held at the beginning of every Autumn.

At the beginning of Autumn, Tbilisi hosts a great jazz festival. The festival's history began in 1978. It was the biggest USSR jazz festival, and today it is the most famous Georgian jazz festival. But it isn't the only one.

Black Sea Jazz Festival

Black Sea Jazz Festival is held every July and gathers musicians from all over the world.

Held every year in July, this festival gathers musicians coming from all over the world. You can listen to unique rhythms of jazz, R&B, disco, hip-hop, soul, and funk. Black Sea Jazz Festival is taking place in Batumi, a city on the coast of the Black Sea.

Art Gene Festival

Art Gene Festival is held annually and features traditional and folk music.

If you are more into traditional and folk music, book a seat to Art Gene Festival. It is held annually, in one of the summer months, in Tbilisi. The festival lasts for a week. Traditional dance and music, and an exciting experience are waiting for you.

Tbilisoba

Tbilisoba is a traditional festival that celebrates the diversity and history of Tbilisi.

Every year, in October, Tbilisi celebrates its diversity and history at Tbilisoba. This festival is already a tradition. You can attend to open-air concerts, listen to traditional music, and take part in all sorts of cultural events.

How to Get Around Georgia

Where is Georgia, the railway transport has become a viable option.
Where is Georgia, the railway transport has become a viable option.

In terms of transport, Georgia has:

  • Airplanes between Tbilisi and Batumi
  • The railway between the most important destinations
  • Roads between the others

Additionally, you can find Mashrutkas (minibusses), but don't rely on a schedule. If you want to visit more than the major cities and adventure on the roads, you should keep in mind that:

  • Roads are not in a very good shape, and motorways are not covering all the country
  • You need to buy fuel when you find it. If you are in trouble, ask the locals.
  • Drive on the right side of the road
  • Have an EU license or an International Driving Permit
  • Don't exceed the maximum speed (50 km/h in settlements, 80 km/h elsewhere)

In urban areas, you can also get around by taxi. In Georgia, taxis are officially marked with the red color. They can also be shared between several people, but it's safer to avoid that. In Tbilisi, you can even get around by metro.

What to Do in Georgia

Where is Georgia, you can experience the beautiful Black Sea and hike in the magnificent Caucasus Mountains.
Where is Georgia, you can experience the beautiful Black Sea and hike in the magnificent Caucasus Mountains.

There are many things to do in this small country. From seaside resorts to urban life, from hiking in the mountains to Georgia's country regions, this is a rich destination

Tbilisi

Visit the Old Town in Tbilisi for some epic sightseeing!

Start your journey in Tbilisi, the capital of the country. Colorful and vibrant, Tbilisi is a mix of ancient history and 21st century lifestyle. The settlement has been around since the 4,000 BC. Today, Tbilisi population is about 1 million people and has around 100 ethnic groups.

You can find everything you need to know about the history of this place from the Georgian National Museum

The Old Town (called Old Tbilisi) is perfect for walking and sightseeing. Its cobbled streets and colorful houses are an invitation to stories. The Old Town is known for its sulfur bathhouses, where natural hot springs heal and relax. You can also find many restaurants, cafes, and a very stylish life. 

From the Old Town you can see Narikala Fortress, built in the 4th century. You should also visit Mtatsminda Park, and not necessarily because it is fun, has carousels, a roller-coaster, and a funicular. But because it is situated on Mount Mtatsminda and the view is simply stunning. 

If you want a break from your sightseeing, go to Turtle Lake. It is on Mount Mtatsminda as well and it is a recreational space very popular in Tbilisi. 

You can also visit the Open Air Museum of Ethnography, which is situated on the Western part of the lake.

Batumi

Batumi is a perfect getaway if you want to relax on the beach.

If you plan a summer journey, don't miss Batumi. This Black Sea resort has everything you need for a perfect vacation. It has beaches, parks and promenades, a Botanical Garden, an old town with beautiful architecture, and even moving statues. 

The major point of attraction can be the 130 meters high Alphabetic Tower with Georgian script.

Caucasus Mountains

If you want to experience the best of the nature of Georgia, make sure to visit the Caucasus Mountains!

Hiking in the Caucasus Mountains is a must. Georgia's trekking tours take you to amazing places. 

The regions Tusheti and Svaneti are among them. Situated in the northern part of the country, these regions are home for the highest permanently inhabited settlements in Europe: Bochorna and Ushguli. Peaceful and serene, these regions are preferred for hiking and trekking. 

But not only the landscape attracts tourists. Orthodox churches, architectural treasures hidden in the mountains, and fortifications are other reasons to put Georgia's countryside in your schedule. 

Here are some of the best hiking trails in Georgia:

From Mestia to Ushguli

The trek from Mestia to Ushguli is the most popular one, and it's easy to guess why.

The most popular hiking trail in Georgia will take you through the beautiful Svaneti region. You can go by yourself or in a guided tour. You'll need four days for this route.

From Omalo to Shatili

The trekking journey from Omalo to Shatili will take you through the breathtaking views from the Atsunta Pass.

This route will take you to the Tusheti Region and through the 3,413 meters high Atsunta Pass. You'll need five days for this route.

Chaukhi Pass

One of the magnificent Abudelauri Lakes situated on top the Chaukhi Pass.

At 3,338 meters high, Chauki Pass gives you quite a perspective. Three different colored lakes are waiting for you there. They are called Abudelauri Lakes and are blue, green, and white. You'll need four days for this route.

Ritsa Natural Park 

Lake Ritsa, surrounded by Caucaus Mountains, is most definitely the main attraction in the Ritsa Natural Park.

Lake Ritsa, one of the deepest lakes in Georgia, is the main attration of this natural park. It is surrounded by mountains and meadows. From the legend of Ritsa's origin to the summer house of Joseph Stalin, this lake many stories to tell.

Gergeti Trinity Church

Gergeti Trinity Church is one of the Georgian symbols and is surrounded by dramatic landscape.

If you aren't so adventurous, but you still want to see the mountains, visit this Orthodox church. It is situated at 2,170 meters above the sea level. Built in the 14th century, the church resists on top of a steep mountain. 

There is nothing else around it, besides nature. Gergeti Trinity Church is one of Georgia's symbols. It will take you 1.5 hours to climb the mountain and see the church. If you like driving off-road, you can get there by car, on a rough mountain trail.

Kazbegi National Park

Kazbegi National Park is a popular destination thanks to its beautiful mountain peaks and historical monuments.

Although it doesn't have much of a tourism infrastructure, Kazbegi National Park is a popular destination. The mountains have heights up to 4,100 meters

Besides stunning mountain landscape, the park has several historical monuments (Sameba Temple, Garbani Church, Sioni three-parted Basilica, Akhaltsikhe Basilica, Sno Castle). 

Christian and pagan traditions are everywhere in this place. It is amazing to see how people live, to listen their stories, and understand their beliefs. Kazbegi National Park is only 150 km away from Tbilisi.

What to Eat in Georgia

The indulgence and flavor of Georgian cuisine has to be experienced first-hand.
The indulgence and flavor of Georgian cuisine has to be experienced first-hand.

Georgian cuisine is very well known because of indulgence and flavor. It's clear that Georgians love to eat and prepare their food with care and creativity. 

They cook with many spices and nuts, so pay attention if you are allergic. Every region has its own traditional dishes and they are so savory that it looks like a permanent contest. You can try at least some of the following:

Satsivi

Satsivi is meat (usually chicken) in walnut sauce.
Satsivi is meat (usually chicken) in walnut sauce.

Kuchmachi

Kuchmachi is chicken liver in walnut sauce.
Kuchmachi is chicken liver in walnut sauce.

Pakhlava 

Pakhlava is the Georgian version of Baklava.
Pakhlava is the Georgian version of Baklava.

Chirbuli

Chirbuli is an omelet with walnuts.
Chirbuli is an omelet with walnuts.

Mtsvadi

Mtsvadi is roasted meat, previously marinated in pomegranate juice.
Mtsvadi is roasted meat, previously marinated in pomegranate juice.

Churchkhela

Churchkela is a candle-shape candy. It contains nuts and grape must, and sometimes almonds, raisins, walnuts or chocolate.
Churchkela is a candle-shape candy. It contains nuts and grape must, and sometimes almonds, raisins, walnuts or chocolate.

Badrijani Nigvzit

Badrijani Nigvzit is a fried eggplant with walnuts and garlic filling.
Badrijani Nigvzit is a fried eggplant with walnuts and garlic filling.

Kubdari

Kubdari is a sort of meat pie, traditional in Svaneti region.
Kubdari is a sort of meat pie, traditional in Svaneti region.

Matsoni

Matsoni is Georgian yogurt.
Matsoni is Georgian yogurt.

Now that you know where is Georgia, why should you visit Georgia?

Some of the best day hikes in the Caucasus Mountains can be found in Georgia.
Some of the best day hikes in the Caucasus Mountains can be found in Georgia.

Georgian land is perfect for wine and shepherds. So, prepare yourself a plate of different kinds of cheese and try some Georgian wines. They have a very long tradition in both of them. You'll have to choose from so many different sorts. It's impossible to be disappointed. If wine is not for you, try Chacha, a pomace brandy, or a simple pomegranate lemonade.

Read more: 15 Delicious Georgian Wines to Try!

Georgian landscape is picturesque and inviting. In the last years, tourism became an important industry here. The country is quickly recovering after many years of USSR domination, and it is finally blossoming. 

The Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea are reasons enough to visit Georgia. But you have to add a very long and interesting culture, a tumultuous history, and passionate people. You also have to add an artistic and creative predisposition and a tradition in mountaineering

Last but not least, you have to add an incredible imagination when it comes to food. And, of course, a tradition in making wine. 

If you plan a journey to Georgia, schedule attending one of its vivid festivals. Also, make sure to get to know the people. Hire a guide to take you trekking for a few days. Emerge into a unique atmosphere and culture

No matter what interests you have, be it architecture, history, nightlife, or the magnificent sunny beaches; visit the mountains. Go to a small mountain village and embrace the view. 

Breath in all the beauty of this part of the world.

Interested in Caucasian countries? Check out where is Armenia on the map and why should you go there!

Monica Radulescu a freelance writer for aSabbatical.com
Travelling is a joy. It's a way to become a better and wiser person. Mountain paths and road trips are my favourites.