Trans Eurasia travel

Fast facts about country

Official name — Sakartvelo
Location Transcaucasia, between the Black and Caspian seas, bordering the Russian Federation, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Tbilisi, the capital, is (by rail) 3,214km from Moscow, 374km from Yerevan and 549km from Baku; 350km from the Black Sea; and 4,5 hours' flight from London.
Area 69,700km2
Population 4.6 million, of whom 83.8% are ethnically Georgian, 5.7% Armenian, 6.5% Azeri, 1.5% Russian and 2.5% other groups
Government Presidential-parliamentary republic shifting towards purely parliamentary system
Capital — Tbilisi
Major towns Tbilisi (population 1.4 million), Kutaisi (193,000), Rustavi (120,000), Batumi (124,000), Zugdidi (76,000), Gori (50,000)
Administrative divisions Two autonomous republics (Abkhazia and Adjara), ten regions or mkhare (Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli, Shida Kartli - containing the former autonomous region of South Ossetia - Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Samtskhe- Javakheti, Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi, Samegrelo, Zemo Svaneti and Guria)
Currency Lari (GEL), divided into 100 tetri; introduced September 1995.
Exchange rate (as of March 2011)US$1 =GEL1.70; £1 GBP =GEL2.75; €1 = GEL2.41
Language Georgian, a member of the Caucasian group of languages; Russian widely spoken.
Alphabet Georgian, devised in the 4th or 5th century
Religion 70% Georgian Orthodox; Muslims, Jews and other Christian sects also present
Famous for — The Golden Fleece, possibly inventing wine, Stalin, hospitality, mountains and dancing
Weights and measures Metric system
Electricity 220V 50Hz (in theory), with two-prong European-standard plugs
National flag Saint George's cross (red on white), with a red cross in each quarter
Patron — saint St George
Phrases — Gamarjoba (hello), Gmadlobt (thanks)

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