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Tuesday 24th October
Georgia Information - Page 1
Geography
Georgia, a republic in Southwestern Asia, is bordered by the Black Sea, Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey.

Tbilisi is the capital city. Other major cities include Kutaisi, Rustavi, Batumi, Chiatura, Gori, Zugdidi and Tskhinvali. Major ports are Batumi, Poti and Sokhumi.

Georgia is largely a mountainous country. There are some lowlands and a coastal region along the Black Sea. The main rivers are the Mtkvari (Kura), Alazani, Iori, Rioni, Enguri, and the Khrami.

The climate of Georgia is varied; the weather is Mediterranean-like on the Black Sea coast and cooler in the mountainous regions.

Environment
Georgia falls within the Caucasus Mountain system. Although very mountainous, the country has a varied terrain including valleys, forest, rivers, lakes, wetlands and a coastal region.

Protected areas in Georgia include the National Park of Borjomi-Kharagouli and a number of Nature Reserves.

The Colchis Wetlands and Ispani Mire are on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

Animals found in Georgia are gazelles, lynx, wild boar, wolves and brown bears. The Caucasian and Dagestani species of goat and the steppe eagle are endangered species.

Architecture
Georgia became a Christian country in the early fourth century. Soon, religious buildings were part of the landscape. Bagrati Cathedral and the Gelati Monastery are both on the World Heritage List, along with the medieval churches of Mtskheta.

The World Heritage List also features the medieval-type villages and tower houses of the Upper Svaneti region of the Caucasus Mountains that have been preserved through the centuries.

Tbilisi, the capital of the Republic, has a variety of striking architectural styles. There are also examples of nineteenth century Russian architecture and designs from the twentieth century Communist period. During the last few years growth in construction has added a number of twenty-first century buildings to the city.

Population
Georgia's population was estimated at 4,615,810 in 2009.

Languages
Georgian is the official language. Other languages spoken are Russian, Armenian and Azeri. Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia.

Religion
Over eighty percent of the people are Orthodox Christian. Other religions include Catholic, Armenian-Gregorian and Islam.

Food
A Georgian meal may start with a number of small dishes: salads, pickled vegetables and preserved meats.

Meat, such as beef, pork and poultry is featured prominently in the cuisine. Cooking methods include roasting, grilling and cooking slowly in a casserole.

Walnuts, grown in Georgia, are used in recipes in a variety of ways. Sometimes they are added to salads and often they are used in sauces and soups. Walnuts are also sugared and eaten as a sweet. Other sweet dishes include cakes, pastries and fruits.

Fruit juices are produced locally; mineral water is available and tea is cultivated. Red and white wine has been produced in Georgia for thousands of years.

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