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Georgia

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Tuesday, 14 August 2007

GruzjaGeorgia is a country in the Caucasus at the east coast of the Black Sea. It is bordered on the north by Russia, on the south by Turkey and Armenia, and on the east by Azerbaijan.


 

Historical background

The Georgian nation first appear in written history in the 12th century BCE The 4th century B.C. saw establishment of a United Kingdom of Georgia, an early monarchy with aristocratic hierarchy. Christianity came to Georgia with its first missionaries and it was declared the state religion as early as 337 CE Early and medieval Christian scholarship, the links with the rest of the Christian world and dynamic exchange with the Islamic world, together with the development of national literature and the political consolidation of the state in the 11th century CE, culminated in a true renaissance in Georgia under the Bagrationi dynasty in the 12-13th centuries CE This golden age of Georgian culture ended abruptly with a Mongol invasion in the 13th century CE, and throughout the next six centuries, Georgia fell to repeated invasions by Persians and Turks, resulting in disintegration of the Georgian state into small kingdoms. In 1783, disintegrated Georgia signed the Treaty of Georgievsk with the Russian Empire, placing the eastern Georgian kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti under the Russian protectorate. In 1801, Russia ultimately deposed the Bagrationi dynasty and officially annexed Georgia which remained under the Russian occupation until 1918 when the Democratic Republic of Georgia was established emerged from short-lived Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. In 1921, the country fell victim to the Red Army and in 1922 it was incorporated into the Soviet Union, initially as a part of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and from 1936 as the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The country regained independence in 1991 and by the late 1990s, after a period of civil war and severe economic crisis, Georgia was again a relatively stable state. The bloodless Rose Revolution of 2003 saw establishment of a new, pro-Western government; currently, efforts to join NATO and, possibly, EU are underway.

The territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, although de iure a part of Georgia, are de facto independent from Tbilisi and have put forward demands of the recognition of their sovereignty. Autonomous republic of Ajaria exists within the structures of  Georgia.

Economy

Archaeological research demonstrates that Georgia has been involved in commerce with the majority of the world’s historical empires, largely on account of its location on the Black Sea and later on the historical Silk Road. Throughout Georgia’s modern history, agriculture and tourism have been principal economic sectors on account of the country’s climate and topography. For much of the 20th century, Georgia's economy was governed by the Soviet command model; however, since gaining its independence in 1991, the country began a transition to the market economy model. After five years of severe economic collapse aggravated by the 1991-1993 civil war, the economy began to recover, with international help, in mid 1990s. The positive trend has continued since. In 2004, a 12% flat income tax was introduced which boosted the economy, and in 2006, Georgia's real GDP growth rate reached 8.8%, making Georgia one of the fastest growing economies in Eastern Europe.

Departing from the traditional reliance on agriculture and tourism, Georgia pushed for the development of the services sector which by 2006 grew to account for 55% of GDP. The main imports are natural gas, oil products, machinery and parts, and transport equipment. Georgia has large hydropower resources. The country is also developing into an international transport corridor through Batumi and Poti ports, an oil pipeline from Baku through Tbilisi to Ceyhan (the BTC Pipeline) and another pipeline parallel to the above (the South Caucasus Pipeline).

Religion

Around 80% of Georgians declare themselves as Christians of the Georgian Orthodox Church while 10% of the population follows Islam. Other religious communities include Armenian Apostolic (4%); Russian Orthodox Church (2%) and Roman Catholic (1%), and the country has a long history of religious harmony.

Culture

Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic influences have brought about one of the most remarkable cultures of the Caucasus area. After formation of the Georgian script in the 5th century A.D., the 11-12th centuries saw an impressive development in arts, architecture and literature and are often called the Golden Age of Georgia. The 18-20th centuries, under Russian influence, have given a clearly European trace to the flourishing Georgian culture and left behind an exquisite legacy in architecture, art, literature and performing arts.

Basic information

Country name:    Georgia

Local name:    საქართველო (Sakartvelo)

Capital:    Tbilisi

Government:    Semi-presidential unitary republic

President:            Mikheil Saakashvili

Prime Minister:    Zurab Noghaideli

Population:    4,661,473 (July 2006 estimate, government-controlled areas only)

Area:    69,700 km²

GDP (PPP) – 2005 estimate:

Total: USD 17.79 billion

Per capita: USD 3,800

HDI (2004): 0.743 (97th in the world)

Currency: Lari (GEL)

Independence: 9 April 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

Ethnic composition: Ethnic Georgians: 83.8, Azeris: 6.5%, Armenians: 5.7, Russians 1.5%

Other minorities: Abkhasians, Ossetians

Smaller groups: Assyrians, Chechens, Chinese, Georgian Jews, Greeks, Kabardins, Kurds, Tatars, Turks and Ukrainians.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_%28country%29, GNU Free Documentation License
and CIA factbook

photos: www.eTbilisi.com

 
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