Georgia is located in the South Caucasus region. It has a land area of 69,700 sq.km. 1.660 km of borders and 310 km of coast. It adjoins Russia to the north, Turkey and Armenia to the south and Azerbaijan to the south-east. To the west it is bounded by the Black Sea.
The Black Sea has no more than 0.2 to 0.3 % salinity. In summer, water temperature often reaches 24°С.
There are 3 main ports on the Black Sea coast: Batumi, Poti and Sukhumi. Other ports include Kulevi, Kobuleti and Anaklia. Raw materials and necessary goods are imported and exported by sea.
The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range stretches for 700 km from north-west to south-east Georgia. It contains many beautiful snow-capped peaks, including the two highest peaks in Georgia, Mt. Shkhara (5193 m) and Mt. Kazbek (5033 m). Numerous passes, such as Jvari, Mamisoni, Kodori and Roki, connect the North and South Caucasus.
Water is an almost unlimited natural resource in Georgia. The country has over 800 gorgeous lakes, distinguished by their shapes, sizes and depths. Lakes Paravani, Paleastomiand Bazaleti are some of the best known.
Georgia also has several well-known reservoirs, such as the Enguri, Shaori, Tkibuli, Zhinvali, Tbilisi etc. Their water is used for irrigation, drinking and to power hydropower stations.
There are about 26,000 rivers in Georgia, differentiated like the lakes by length, flow and capacity. The rivers of West Georgia flow into the Black Sea, those of East Georgia into the Caspian Sea.
As you might expect, these lakes and rivers are rich with fish. Around 84 species of freshwater fish are found in Georgia, including trout, Colchis barbel, river perch, carp, etc.
Georgia is also especially famous for its abundance of mineral waters. Over 2000 springs have been identified, and the majority have still to be sufficiently studied and developed. However, the healing effects of mineral waters such as Borjomi, Likani, Sairme and Nabeghlavi are internationally known.
Recreational resorts such as Borjomi, Tskhaltubo, Sairme, Nunisi and Shovi are built near these mineral springs. There are 14 national nature reserves, 8 national parks, 12 protected areas, 14 natural monuments and 2 protected areas within Georgia.
Georgia is a multinational state. Ethnic Georgians form the majority of the population. Abkhazians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Greeks, Ossetians, Russians, Ukrainians and Yezidis are amongst the other peoples who live in Georgia.
The majority of the Georgian population practices Orthodox Christianity. However Roman Catholics, Muslims, Jews and followers of many other religions are also well established in Georgia.
Georgia’s climate is extremely varied, given the small size of the country. Eastern Georgia has a dry and continental climate, with relatively cold winters and hot summers. Western Georgia, and particularly the Black Sea coast, has a subtropical climate with high humidity and heavy precipitation.
The abundant rainfall, mild and warm winters and long summers have made the lowlands of Western Georgia a perfect place to grow tea, lemons, tangerines, oranges, feijoas, kiwi fruit etc. The dry climate of Eastern Georgia is good for growing grapes, and consequently this is a major wine producing region.
The mountainous regions of Georgia experience long, snowy winters and short, cool summers. The higher the mountains, the shorter the summers.
In the valleys the winter is rather cold. The warmest winters are found on the Black Sea coast. It rarely snows there, and in summer that region is rather warm and humid.
January is the coldest month of the year and August the hottest. The average January temperature ranges from +3°С in Western Georgia to – 2°С in Eastern Georgia. The average August temperature is between 23°C and 26°С.
The Shiraki Valley, located on the Iori Plateau, is the driest place in Georgia. It receives around 400 mm of precipitation per year.
Georgia has one of the richest supplies of flora found anywhere. Its dizzying array of plants is the legacy of its ecological situation, diversity of geographical and climatic zones, geological structure, geographical location, paleogeographic past and length of human habitation.
There are a lot of relict, endemic, wild and cultivated plants in Georgia. Endemic species comprise about 9% of Georgia’s flora. There are more 5000 species of higher plants in Georgia, including 400 distinct trees and bushes.
Forests cover nearly forty percent (38.6%) of Georgia’s land area, though most are found in the mountainous regions. The flora of the eastern and western parts of the country is quite different. Eastern Georgia is divided into six zones: semi-desert, forest, sub-alpine, alpine, sub-nival, and nival, whereas Western Georgia has four main zones: forest, sub-alpine, alpine and nival. In the mountainous region of South Georgia meadows and steppes are common, and these are also rich with vegetation.
Due to the quality and variety of flora, Georgia has been included in the list of 25 biodiversity “hot spots” and the list of ecoregions identified by the World Wildlife Fund.
Georgia is located on the eastern shore of the Black Sea and borders the Greater Caucasus Mountains. Its location gives the country a diverse landscape that supports a multitude of wildlife.
Nestled within the Caucasus eco-region, the country is afforded relative isolation by the mountains and sea. However, it is also at the crossroads of three major bio-geographical regions (Europe, Asia and the Middle East), and has thus developed numerous unique and endemic species.
Georgia is home to many large carnivores: bears, wolves and even leopards. Given the traditional rural lifestyle of many of the population, these animals are primarily perceived as predators, threats to both humans and livestock.
Brush areas and forests make up more than 30 percent of the country’s landscape. Many rare trees and more common varieties of beech, fir, pear and linden, provide ideal homes for forest fauna.
Wild boars weighing up to 200 kilos roam free in the dense forests, scavenging for berries, nuts, roots and small reptiles and insects.
Brown bears are also found in Georgia’s forests, where they hunt smaller animals like wild hares and roe deer and supplement their diet with grass, tubers, berries and other foods they find on the land. Foxes and wolves are also common in the forests.
One of the most rare and elusive animals in Georgia’s forests is the lynx. This spotted member of the cat family reflects light with its eyes and can weigh up to 66 pounds.
The Eurasian lynx is the largest member of the species and is reported to meow and purr just like the common domestic cat. Its secretive behavior makes it difficult to spot in the wild, but its large paw prints can be found in many places.
Goats and antelopes rule the mountains, and bearded eagles, black grouse and turkeys can also be spotted along the Greater Caucasus mountain range. 11 species of amphibians, 330 species of bird, 160 aquatic species and 48 different kinds of reptiles add further diversity to Georgia’s fauna.