When you search for Georgia on Google, do not be surprised if you were directed to the state of Georgia in the United States. This is the fate that Georgia (the country) suffers in today’s world. Not many people know about this beautiful little country, neither do they know in which part of the world it is located. The only “Georgia” that people mostly recognise is the one in the other part of the world. Yet Georgia remains optimistic in spreading awareness about the existence of its country, its culture, food and history.
In 2016, Georgia planned a grand welcome for its 6th million tourist for the year. This was the first time that Georgia broke its 6th million tourist benchmark. Surely it was a huge celebration, with an all-expense paid trip for that tourist and even a welcome meal from the Prime Minister. The event went viral within and outside of Georgia and it was a huge talking point for Georgians. This was the extent that the government went to attract more tourists and show-off the Georgian hospitality. Georgians are proud of their country, and are excited to share their culture with people around the world.
If there is one thing that is unique about Georgia, it has to be the hospitality. Georgians have a huge heart for sharing and would do it even if they do not have much to begin with. Say hello to a Georgian family having a picnic and you would surely be invited for some incredible wine and local snacks. Walk into a village and people will unanimously wave at and greet you. Sometimes you would also be invited home for a sumptuous lunch or dinner, coupled with great wines and maybe chacha (Georgian hard liquor). Georgians love to eat and sharing food is akin to sharing something they believe is important in their lives.
Apart from the hospitality, Georgia is rich in natural beauty as well. Located in the beautiful Caucasus region, Georgia is surrounded by spectacular landscapes. The snaking roads to the northern regions of Kazbegi or Sveneti are a must-do in Georgia. The journey passes by towering snow mountains, deep valleys and lush forests, and the trip is as magnificent as the end-points themselves. Even the southern regions boast stunning scenery. With the Caucasus mountain range in the distance, you will pass through green rolling hills, sparkling turquoise rivers and vast plains. Every journey from one place to another is an unforgettable experience.
Moreover, surprise or not, Georgia boasts one of the oldest Christian civilisations in the world. There is so much history in Georgia that you would be amazed why was it not recognised as one of the great civilisations in the world. Many Georgian churches were built in highly inaccessible places, on top of mountains or at the edge of cliffs. You wonder how these churches were built in the first place! Famous monasteries such as the David Gareji Monastery and the Kazbegi Monastery are utterly stunning and mind-blowing. There are also many cave churches in Georgia, and massive ones like the cave churches of Vardzia will surely take your breath away.
Food is a Georgian speciality. The things I miss most about Georgia are its amazing wines, incredibly tasty khinkali (meat dumplings) and vein-clogging khachapuri (cheese pastry). In Georgia, food is everywhere. You can find eateries in almost every corner, or street food stalls on every street. Best of all, every region makes its food differently so you will never get bored of the taste. For example, there are so many variations of khachapuri that you simply do not have the time to try them all. In Georgia, I always looked forward to mealtimes because I know that there is something delicious waiting for me to devour.
Georgia is an incredible country. There is so much to do, so much to see, yet not many people know of its existence. Have you ever been to a country, yet kept wanting to go back again and again? Georgia is one such country for me. There is a strange attractive force that is always enticing me to go back. Maybe it is the people, maybe it is the scenery, maybe it is the food, but whatever it is I am definitely going back again.
The map below marks the places that I have visited in Georgia. Hover over them to see the names of these places. Soon, you will be able to click on them to discover what exactly these places are!
Also, check out the articles that I have written about Georgia: