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Georgia - Geography

Georgia is situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, in the Western part of the Transcaucasia on the southern slopes of the Caucasian mountains, between the 40' and 47' latitude east and 42' and 44 longitude north, covering the area of 69.700 sq. km. It shares borders with the Russian Federation in the north, the Republic of Azerbaijan in the south-east, the Republic of Armenia in the south, and the Republic of Turkey in the south-west. Western Georgia is bounded by the Black Sea.

The surface of Georgia ranges in altitude from 0 meters on the Black Sea level up to 5.184 meters. The northern, central and southern parts are dominated by mountains (with Caucasus mountains in the north, Likhi range in the central part and lesser Caucasus mountains in the south). Kolkhida Lowland opens to the Black Sea in the west, while in eastern Georgia all rivers join the Mtkvari (Kura) river, forming the Caspian basin.

2/3 of the territory is mountainous, the average height being 1200 meters. The main peaks are : Shkhara (5184), Kazbegi (5033), Rustaveli (4960), Tetnuldi (4852), Ushba (4710), and Shkhelda (4322). The main rivers are: Mtkvari (384 km), Alazani (390 km), Iori (375 km), Rioni (327 km), Enguri (221 km), and Khrami (220 km).

Caucasian mountain barrier protects Georgia against the waves of cold air from the north, allowing Black Sea to warm the region. The climatic zones range from moderately humid Mediterranean in the west, complemented by both dry and temperate damp climates in the east. The average air temperature in the coastal areas of Georgia is 15oC and 11-13oC in the eastern part. An annual average rainfall ranges between 400 and 3000 mm from east to west.

There are about 300 deposits of mineral resources in Georgia, commercially most important being the deposits of manganese, non-ferrous and rare metals, raw construction, and facing materials. Minor coal and oil deposits are also present.

Georgia is rich in water resources. There are some 25.000 rivers and 850 lakes that constitute 66.3 cubic km. The commercially allocable water-power capacity of the rivers is evaluated at 60 million kWh. There are also numerous curative mineral springs, such as "Borjomi", "Sairme", "Tskaltubo" "Nabeglavi".

The total land area constitutes 7.3 mln. hectares. Arable land composes 11%, permanent crops - 4%; meadows and pastures - 29%; forest and woodland - 38%; other - 18%. Irrigated land equals to 4.660 sq. km. Coastal climate and soils allow important tea and citrus growth in the western part of the country.

Despite the fact that Georgia occupies a small territory on the world map, it is distinguished by the diversity of its landscape as well as by its resort areas. Georgia is rich with subtropical coasts, forests, deserts and alpine mountains. The uniqueness of Georgia is emphasized, through the fact that, during one summer day it is possible to swim and sunbathe at the sea as well as snow ski in the mountains.

The air of the Alps converges with the air of the Black Sea in Georgia, creating an ideal climate. Georgia is also rich with a variety of different types of water. There are more than 2,000 types of mineral and thermal waters. The country is famous for its extraordinary landscape and biodiversity as well as unique breeds of plants in the national parks and reserves. There are more than 12,000 historical and cultural monuments, 103 resorts and 182 interesting resort destinations in the country. No other country offers guests such a variety of sights simultaneously, which is why tourism is quickly developing in Georgia.

The city Tbilisi acquired its name "Tpilisi" later "Tbilisi" because of the warm sulphur springs located in the center of the city. Georgian's have a very interesting legend about the founding of Tbilisi. According to legend, King Vakhtang Gorgasali was hunting along with his company around the present-day Tbilisi area, a forest back then. The King's falcon chased down a pheasant; both birds fell into hot spring water. The King's escort found both of the birds boiled in the spring water. Because of the advantageous location and the curing qualities of the hot springs the King decided to build a city on this spot. The name "Tbilisi" is related to the warm springs that still flow from the ground. Because of the strategic location Vakhtang Gorgasali moved the Capital of the Kingdom of Kartli from Mtskheta to Tbilisi. The "Tpilisi Bath Houses", famous throughout the region, are still functional today.

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Page last modified: 29-09-2012 18:43:29 ZULU