The Republic of Georgia is an ex-Soviet state that became independent in 1991 and began its modern journey after the Rose Revolution in 2003.
Sitting at the crossroads between Eastern Europe and Central Asia, it is one of the oldest Christian countries (from 300AD), has one of the 10 oldest languages and is home to the origins of wine making.
It is politically stable, relatively compact and offers tourists wealth of experiences from visual, cultural, gastronomic and for those who are dilettantes of wine.
The capital and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its 2015 population is about 3.75 million. Georgia is a unitary, semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.
The geography of the country features the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range that forms the northern border of Georgia and Lesser Caucasus Mountains to the south. Climatically Georgia ranges areas of permanent glaciation to subtropical coastlines on the Black Sea and a myriad of climatic zones due to the influence of different air masses and local topography.
The nation’s capital is in Tbilisi, but its parliamentary capital is in the city of Kutaisi.
Many villages in the country are poor and income of many people is very low. In many areas housing is old and poor repair. This is contrasted with some amazing modern architecture around the country. Naturally many Georgians feel money could have been better spent on alternative projects.
There are flights to Tbilisi from a number of European, North American and Asian cities, including London with British Airways,
Paris with Georgian Airways, Vienna with Austrian Airlines, Warsaw
(LOT Airlines), Kiev (Georgian Airways), Munich (Lufthansa), Athens (Georgian Airways), Riga (airBaltic), Istanbul (Turkish Airlines 2.5 hrs flight), Prague (Czech Airlines).
Georgian Airways (AirZena) has many flights from many different cities. See also airBaltic for cheap flights to many European destinations.
Tbilisi is also served from the Middle East from Dubai with the low-cost carrier flydubai, which offers flights three times a week (3.5hrs flight)
The local currency is the Georgian Lari (GEL) and current exchange rate is A$1 – GEL 1.65. – 26/09/2015
GEL is a closed currency and currency can only be exchanged inside the country. For this reason it is best to carry cash in US$ or EURO. There are hundreds of money converters in the cities who offer almost identical rates.
Remaining currency needs to be changed before leaving as it cannot be exchanged outside the country.
Prices of everything other than accommodation is very cheap by Western standards.
Georgia is a very safe country, without the issues of scammers that plague many European countries. While occasional pickpocketing is not unknown, generally it is safe to be almost anywhere at any time of the day or night.
Police are reportedly helpful and are very visible as they have their flashing blue and red lights on all the time.