Georgian flora is extremely diverse and rich. It is very interesting from the ecological point of view. Located between the forests of northern Eurasia and the tropical deserts of Iraq and Iran, and incorporating Europe 's highest mountains and a subtropical coastline, it has a high level of biodiversity.
Georgia is considered the "cradle of wine", as archaeologists have traced the world’s first known wine creation back to the people of the South Caucasus. Here people used to drink wine some 8000 years ago, 5000 years before it became popular in the current continental Europe.
Georgia has a long history of beekeeping as well. So far, the oldest remains of honey have been found in Georgia. Archaeologists have found honey remains on the inner surface of clay vessels unearthed an ancient tomb, dating back to some 5,500 years ago. Georgia is the central homeland for the endemic species of Caucasian Mountain Grey honey bees.
Conservation International recently designated Georgia as one of its 25 global "biodiversity hotspots" because of the area's exceptional number of endemic species (those found nowhere else). Endemic species comprise about 9% of Georgia 's flora, a surprisingly high proportion for so small country.
There are about 5,000 species of vascular plants (of which 380 are endemic to Georgia and about 600 to the Caucasus), and about 8,400 - 10,000 cryptogamous or spore-bearing plants. High Caucasus is also rich in endemics; thick deciduous forest is spread on the lower to mid-altitude of the southwestern slopes and is described as 'temperate rain forest'.
There's a wide variety of plant communities, with examples of almost all the main habitat types found in Europe and some of those in Asia; many are highly valuable in terms of biodiversity, including sub-alpine coniferous forests, meadows, wetlands, peat bogs and lakes; coniferous and beech forests; oak woodlands; caves and mountain gorges; unique Colchic forests with evergreen undergrowth; Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean communities; steppe grasslands; arid light woodlands; as well as riparian shrub and forest vegetation along rivers.
The Caucasus district lies in the north at 2,000m and higher, with a severe climate and annual precipitation over a meter. It harbours some of the most diverse and distinctive temperate coniferous and deciduous forests in Eurasia, ranging with altitude from sub-alpine beech woods, dark coniferous forests and crook-stem woods to sub-alpine, alpine and subnival plant communities and, above these, bare nival landscapes.
Borjomi-Kharagauli National ParkGEORGIA
Alpine Lake Near Ushguli, Svaneti regionNORTHERN GEORGIA
Lamaria Chapel in Village Ushguli, Svaneti regionNORTHERN GEORGIA
At 7120 f. (2200 m.) high, Ushguli is the highest
inhabited village in Europe.
Gergeti Trinity Cathedral. 7120 f. (2170 m.) above sea levelNORTHERN GEORGIA
Gudauri Ski ResortCENTRAL GEORGIA
Intsira waterfall, Samegrelo regionWEST GEORGIA
Adjara botanical garden & MtiralaSOUTH-WEST GEORGIA
Adjara seaside & citrus plantationsSOUTH-WEST GEORGIA
Batumi City, AdjaraSOUTH-WEST GEORGIA
Petra fortress, 535 AD. AdjaraSOUTH-WEST GEORGIA
Gareja rock hewn monastery (6th c. AD)SOUTH GEORGIA
Sataplia Managed Reserve observation deckCENTRAL GEORGIA
Sataplia caveCENTRAL GEORGIA
Sataplia museum (Mesozoic Era, about 120 million years ago)CENTRAL GEORGIA
Upliscixe rock-hewn city (2nd millennium BC)CENTRAL GEORGIA
Vardzia rock-hewn city (XII c. AD)SOUTH GEORGIA
Sighnaghi - City of Love, Kakheti regionEAST GEORGIA
Alaverdi cathedral, Kakheti regionEAST GEORGIA
SHILDA vineyards with geothermal tasting spaceEAST GEORGIA
Wine garden, Kakheti regionEAST GEORGIA
Tbilisi, Capital of GeorgiaCENTRAL GEORGIA
Monastery of the Cross, MtskhetaCENTRAL GEORGIA
Ananuri fortressNORTH-EAST GEORGIA
THE BRIEF HISTORY OF GEORGIA
Georgia is a state in the western part of Transcaucasia on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. Georgia shares borders with Armenia and Turkey in the south, Azerbaijan in the southeast and Russia in the north. Territory: 69,700 sq.km. Population: 4,630,003.
Evidence for the earliest occupation of the territory of present-day Georgia goes back to c. 1.8 million years ago, as evident from the excavations of Dmanisi in the south-eastern part of the country. This is the oldest evidence of humans anywhere in the world outside Africa. The earliest agricultural Neolithic occupation is dated sometime between 6000 and 5000 BC. In the 1970s, archaeological excavations revealed a number of ancient settlements that included houses with galleries, carbon-dated to the 5th millennium BC in the Imiris-gora region of Eastern Georgia.
The ancient Greeks knew of Colchis, and it featured in the Greek legend of Jason and the Argonauts, who travelled there in search of the Golden Fleece. Starting around 2000 BC, northwestern Colchis was inhabited by the Svan and Zan peoples of the Kartvelian tribes.Between 653 and 333 BC, both Colchis and Iberia survived successive invasions by the Iranian Median Empire. At the end of the 4th century BC southern Iberia witnessed the invading armies of Alexander the Great, but neither Iberia nor Colchis was incorporated into the empire of Alexander or any of the successor Hellenistic states of the Middle East.In 65 BC the Roman general Pompey, who was then at war with Mithradates VI of Pontus, briefly invaded Georgia, but Rome did not establish her power permanently over Iberia.
Christianity was first preached in Georgia by the three Apostles: Andrew the First-called, Simon the Zealot and Matthias. Georgian Kingdom of Iberia became one of the first states in the world to convert to Christianity in 327. By the late 7th century, the Byzantine-Persian rivalry for the Middle East had given way to Arab conquest of the region and subsequent invasions to ensure Arab hegemony in the Caucasus. In struggle against the Arab occupation, Bagrationi dynasty came to rule over Iberia as a nominal dependency under the Byzantine Empire. After the Great Seljuk invasion Georgia was liberated by King David IV Bagrationi in 1121, one of Georgia's greatest kings. Queen Tamar the Great reign marked the Golden Age of Georgian Kingdom (1184–1213). The Mongol invasion of 13th century started the decline of the Georgian Kingdom. In spite of fierce resistance by Georgian-Armenian forces and their allies, the whole area including most of Georgia, all Armenian lands and Central Anatolia eventually fell to the Mongols. By the middle of the 15th century, most of Georgia's old neighbor-states disappeared from the map within less than a hundred years. The fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 sealed the Black Sea and cut the remnants of Christian states of the area from Europe and the rest of the Christian world. Georgia remained connected to the West through contact with the Genoese colonies of the Crimea.
In the early 18th century, Georgian saw a partial recovery under Vakhtang VI, who instituted a new law code and tried to improve the economy. His reign saw the establishment of the first Georgian-language printing press in 1709. King Erekle II, from 1762 to 1798, managed to unify east Georgia politically for the first time in three centuries. He turned towards Russia for protection against Ottoman and most notably Persian attacks. From 1803 to 1878, as a result of numerous Russian wars against Turkey and Persia, most of Georgian territories were annexed to the Russian Empire.
The Russian Revolution of October 1917 plunged Russia into a bloody civil war during which several outlying Russian territories declared independence. Georgia proclaimed the establishment of the independent Democratic Republic of Georgia on May 26, 1918. In February 1921, the Red Army of the Soviet Union invaded Georgia after a short war. Georgia was forcibly incorporated into the USSR.
Formal independence from the Soviet Union was declared on April 9, 1991, as a result of referendum on independence, which was approved by 98.9% of the votes. In August 2008 Russia and Georgia engaged in the 2008 South Ossetia war.
Georgia is a democratic republic with a presidential form of government, however, the idea of restoring the monarchy is popular among the public and some political circles, especially in the Georgian Orthodox Church. Currently Georgia is a member of the UN, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, GUAM, etc.