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GeorgiaThe name Georgia is only used in English and other foreign languages. It likely comes from the Persian language roughly meaning "land of wolves." The Persians referred to the people and region in this way during the Crusades, expanding the name to much of Europe. Another theory states the name comes from St. George, who is a prominently revered saint in the country.

In the Georgian language, the name of the country is Sakartvelo, which means "land of Kartvelians." The Kartvelians are the descendants of Kartlos, the great-great-grandson of Noah, from the Biblical Noah's Ark story; the ark is believed by many to have landed near modern day Georgia, in the mountains between Armenia and Turkey.

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Introduction:

The country of Georgia is very mountainous and the people have been fairly isolated from outside influences for much of history. This isolation has led to a unique culture that is unmatched anywhere else. The people have a language with no close relatives, an alphabet used nowhere else, and are one of the first Christian countries in the world. These historic aspects of their culture are still very much alive today, but many other things have changed.

Over time the people of Georgia grew apart in many ways as numerous sub-languages were formed and seemingly ever valley had different styled clothing and foods. Outside influences also had varying effects as some people adopted outside influences, while others never even knew of their existence. In fact some claim there are people in Georgia who were unaware of the Soviet Union's existence since they were so isolated.

The origins of Georgia's flag are questionable. It was only officially adopted by the relatively new country in 2004, but the design has been used since the 1300s.

Name: Georgia
Independence: April 9, 1991
Capital: Tbilisi
Currency: Lari
Population: 4,555,911 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Georgian & others
Language: Georgian
Religion: Orthodox Christian

The landscape created a huge number of sub-cultures in Georgia, but the people remained united due to their many similarities as well as outside influences they avoided. With the outside influences though, the culture became more focused on the mountains as people fled to more inaccessible areas to maintain their historic culture, language, and foods. This changed with the arrival of the Soviets in the 1900s.

Although the Russians arrived earlier, it wasn't until Soviet rule that life in Georgia truly changed as a whole. The Soviets fought rural culture, urbanizing many of the people and shifting their lifestyle to one based on the lands to one based on industrialization and factories. Education changed and forced the Russian language on the people, transportation changed, and technology changed. Nearly every aspect of life changed, even the destruction of religion. Georgian culture suffered greatly under Soviet rule, in part since Josef Stalin was an ethnic Georgian and did his best to "revolutionize" the people, which meant changes were undertaken with no mercy.

Since Soviet rule, much of the historic Georgian culture has returned, but some aspects are still struggling or are lost. Today most of the people remain urbanized and for many people jobs are focused on industry. The country has also grown more diverse and also more divided. Many ethnic minorities in the mountains are now connected to the country, but they have few similarities with the ethnic Georgians, creating division. Many of these people are Muslim, while others cling more closely to Russia, including in some areas with large ethnic Russian populations. Despite the differences, Georgia is a country returning to its cultural roots, which nearly always seems to be focused on good food, local wines, and incredible scenery.

Learn More About Georgia:

The Land:
Geography WeatherWildlife

The Past:
History Architecture

The Food:
FoodSpecialtiesDining Etiquette Drinks

The Culture:
Way of Life EthnicityLanguage ReligionDress BehaviorIdentity

Map of Georgia:

Georgia Map

Information for Georgia was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks