Georgia

Georgia

Etymology

“Georgia” probably stems from the Persian designation of the Georgians – gurğān, in the 11th and 12th centuries adapted via Syriac gurz-ān/gurz-iyān and Arabic ĵurĵan/ĵurzan. Lore-based theories were given by the traveller Jacques de Vitry, who explained the name’s origin by the popularity of St. George amongst Georgians, while traveller Jean Chardin thought that “Georgia” came from Greek γεωργός (“tiller of the land”). As Prof. Alexander Mikaberidze adds, these century-old explanations for the word Georgia/Georgians are rejected by the scholarly community, who point to the Persian word gurğ/gurğān (“wolf”) as the root of the word. Starting with the Persian word gurğ/gurğān, the word was later adopted in numerous other languages, including Slavic and West European languages. This term itself might have been established through the ancient Iranian appellation of the near-Caspian region, which was referred to as Gorgan (“land of the wolves”). [wikipedia]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Deep Learning Tbilisi – For everybody interested in Artificial Intelligence, Deep Neural Networks. All skills levels are welcome. [meetup]

ProLife – Tbilisi Vegan/Vegetarian Meetup – We’re down to earth people with a concern for farmed animal welfare and an environmental conscience. ProLife MeetUp is run by volunteer hosts. [meetup]

R-Ladies Tbilisi – R-Ladies of the group’s global R-Ladies part, which aims to R software in the language of the people interested in sharing knowledge and experience. [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Georgia Passions – 100% Free Georgia Dating & Social Networking, Georgia Personals & Chat. [georgia passions]

Dating In Georgia – WayDate.com is a 100% free Georgia web dating site. [way date]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Georgia Walking Tour – Georgia’s geographical position at the heart of the Greater Caucasus defines its history and culture, placing it at the crossroads of Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. Invaded over the centuries by the Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Mongols, Persians, Ottoman Turks, Russians, Armenians and even the British (in 1919), Georgians have survived with a very strong sense of identity, expressed through their heritage of defensive towers and splendid, very early, churches – and above all, in their love of wine and feasting and in their legendary hospitality to visitors. [kudu travel]

Tbilisi Free Walking Tour – We’ll help you find your bearings in this confusing emotional city and allow you to make the most of your stay here. [tbilisi free walking tour]

Walks Worldwide – Bordered by Turkey and Armenia, the Black Sea and Russia, Georgia provides a fascinating and exotic mix of influences from both Europe and Asia – and it’s only five hours flying time from the UK. From cosmopolitan Tbilisi to the snow-capped mountains of the Caucasus, Georgia is a rewarding and adventurous destination for any traveller and keen walker. [walks worldwide]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Batumi – Neon lights and bustling seaside promenades, soaring high-rises and the pulse of modernity are what set Batumi of the Black Sea firmly apart from Georgia’s wealth of ancient and medieval towns. But despite its stylish edge, Batumi is actually one of the oldest cities in the country, with roots going back to the age of ancient Greek colonialism. [the crazy tourist]

Borjomi – While Borjomi may still be best known as the source of its namesake mineral water – a salty, uber-frizzante concoction that was beloved by Georgia’s onetime Soviet masters – the city of today has plenty more to offer than just its sulphuric, volcanic springs. For one, the setting is magnificent, with the town plugged neatly between the ridges of the Borjomi Gorge. [the crazy tourist]

Gudauri – Set more than 2,000 meters above the low valleys that carve their way through the heart of the Greater Caucasus range on the edge of northern Georgia, Gudauri has risen and risen in recent years to establish itself as the country’s prime winter sports destination and also a fine alternative to the bustling ski fields of the Alps. Skiers and boarders here enjoy a relatively snow-sure set of pistes that range from 22 kilometers of blue beginner runs to a welcome 10 kilometers of challenging black runs. [the crazy tourist]

Lake Ritsa – First-time travelers to Georgia could be forgiven for thinking that the shimmering waters of Lake Ritsa, set deep in a valley of the Caucasus Mountains and surrounded by verdant dashes of buxus and Nordman firs, had been plucked straight from the Austrian Alps or the Rockies of British Columbia. But no, this picture-perfect alpine retreat between the mountains of Abkhazia (a separatist section of the country that buts up to the Black Sea in the north-west) really is in Georgia. [the crazy tourist]

Mestia – Shrouded by the snow-mantled peaks of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, deep in the legendary lands of Svaneti, the various hamlets and dabas (small historic towns) of Mestia rarely fail to draw a gasp. They are instantly recognisable thanks to their stone-clad, square-cut Svan towers, which rise majestically from between the groves of chestnut and birch here, oozing with centuries of Georgian history and culture. [the crazy tourist]

Mtskheta – Situated just a short ride out of the capital of Tbilisi, UNESCO-attested Mtskheta clutches the low-lying banks of the Aragvi River confluence. Hailed for its countless Christian sites and importance as one of the nerve centres of the Georgian Orthodox Church, the town draws huge crowds throughout the year. [the crazy tourist]

Sighnaghi – Dressed like a Tuscan hilltop town above the verdant reaches of the Alazani valley, Sighnaghi really does live up to its reputation as one of the most beautiful towns in the country. A sea of cascading red-tiled roofs are what mark it out against the Caucasus glaciers on the horizon, while winding streets of cobblestone and painted timber bungalows showcase the traditional 19th-century Georgian style that continues to flourish here. [the crazy tourist]

Stepantsminda – 15 Best Places to Visit in Georgia – The icy tendrils and muscular ridges of Mount Kazbek dominate the horizon around breathtaking Stepantsminda; a town at once remote and wild that can be found nestled deep between the Caucasus ridges in Mtskheta-Mtianeti. Along the massifs of Kazbek just above the city, it’s possible to spy out the glistening caps of the Kuru and Shino glaciers, two of the natural wonders that have helped to catapult Stepantsminda to the forefront of Georgia’s ecotourist and adventure travel boom. [the crazy tourist]

Tbilisi – The great up-and-coming capital of this up-and-coming country, Tbilisi is the nerve centre of Georgia’s drive towards modernity. It’s also a town steeped in history, making it a great place to explore the republic’s fine balance of the old and the new. The city sprawls out along the ridges that bubble about the banks of the Mtkvari River. [the crazy tourist]

Telavi – The kingpin of the Georgian east makes its home between the sloping foothills of the Tsiv-Gombori. Boasting a history of more than 2,000 years, Telavi was shaped by the Romans, the Kakheti kings, the Georgian monarchs and the Russian tsars alike. That means a unique array of architectural pieces to discover, going from the formidable bulwarks of the Dzveli Galavani, left over from the region’s dynastic rulers in the 9th century, to the Batonis Tsikhe, a testimony to the late medieval period that blossomed here. [the crazy tourist]

Tusheti National Park – Cascading down the northern edges of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, right on the cusp of Russia and Chechnya, the Tusheti National Park is the historic home of the eponymous Tush peoples. It’s also breathtaking in the extreme; big on relief and made up largely of soaring peaks and grass-clad hills. [the crazy tourist]

Uplistsikhe – Remote and lonely on the hills of Shida Kartli, Uplistsikhe is thought to have once been one of the major political and economic centres of the Kingdom of Kartli, which dominated the heartlands of the Caucasus around the year zero. Today, and visitors who come here can discover an almost organic protrusion of the beige-brown hills Uplistsikhe is settled on; a series of monolith cave dwellings and winding staircases hewn deep into the rock. [the crazy tourist]

Ushguli – A string of five villages deep in the heart of the majestically beautiful Svaneti region, Ushguli bears its UNESCO tag with pride. Set between fields of cattle and crooked farmsteads more than 2,000 meters above sea level, the site encompasses towns like Zhibiani and Chazhashi, which pepper the grass plains below the shimmering ice of the Shkhara glacier like ancient relics strewn haphazardly amidst the Georgian highlands. [the crazy tourist]

Vardzia – Cut and carved meticulously into the sandy rock faces that rise like phalanxes against the meanders of the Mtkvari River in the deep Georgian south, Vardzia remains without question one of the most dramatic sights to behold in the country. It’s estimated that the various tiers of monolith churches, caves and shrines seen here were inhabited from at least the middle of the 12th century, when the dynatstic kings of the Bagrationi are thought to have commissioned the first constructions on the sheer-cut edge of Mount Erusheti. [the crazy tourist]

Zugdidi – A fine stepping stone for further explorations in Svaneti, the Samegrelo region, the Georgian Black Sea coast and the autonomous region of Abkhazia, Zugdidi is shrouded by the serrated ridges of the Greater Caucasus just south of where the mountains claim the land. A relatively new town (at least as Georgia’s wealth of ancient and medieval centres goes), this regional capital is home to the elegant facades and enthralling architectural exhibitions of the Dadiani Palace, which rises in beautiful crenulations against the flowing waters of the Chkhoushi River right in the heart of the centre. [the crazy tourist]

Festivals

Festivals

Alaverdoba – A religious and folk celebration in the eastern Georgian province of Kakheti, with its roots in a harvest festival. It focuses on Alaverdi Cathedral from which it derives its name, with the suffix –oba designating attribution. The festival lasts for several days, climaxing on 28 September, the feast day of St. Joseph of Alaverdi of the Thirteen Assyrian Fathers, the 6th-century founder of the cathedral. [wikipedia]

Berikaoba – An improvised masqueraded folk theatre in Georgia, stemming from the pagan festivity of fertility and rebirth. The name is derived from a Common Kartvelian root ber (ბერ), meaning “a child”. The scenes of Berikaoba range from those of explicitly erotic nature to political satire and social protest. [wikipedia]

Chabukiani–Balanchine Festival – The Chabukiani-Balanchine International Festival of Ballet Art — festival-contest, the first in history of the Georgian ballet, was founded by choreographer, People’s Artist of Georgia Tamaz Vashakidze in 2001. The author of the Festival logo was Zviad Tsikolia, and the author of the Grand Prix statuette was Gia Japaridze. [wikipedia]

Festival “Golden Eye” – Golden Eye is an international festival for movie and TV cameramen and camerawomen. The festival’s main goal is to motivate cameramen and camerawomen and people in movie-TV industry, and support their professional development. The festival is a project of International Foundation for Innovative Technologies (IFIT) and was founded by Zurab Gegenava in 2009. All the works submitted to the “Golden Eye” are selected by an international jury. The Grand Prize – “Golden Eye” is awarded for the best camerawork. [wikipedia]

Rtveli – A traditional vintage and rural harvest holiday in Georgia accompanied by feasts, musical events and other celebrations. It normally takes place in late September in eastern Georgia and in mid-October in western Georgia. [wikipedia]

Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre – An international theatre festival in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. The festival is founded by the Tbilisi Municipality through the initiative of the mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava in 2009. [wikipedia]

Tbilisoba – An annual October festival which celebrates the diversity and history of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. It was first held on October 28, 1979, and has since become an established tradition. The festival features open-air concerts of traditional music and dancing and various cultural events, centered on Old Tbilisi, the historical part of the city. Beyond celebrating the city’s past and present, people from all over Georgia represent their region at the fair of the harvest and Rtveli. Awarding honorary citizenship of Tbilisi by the city government also occurs in the framework of Tbilisoba. [wikipedia]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Buses – Buses operate within Tbilisi and in the Georgian countryside, but the types of buses that are available vary greatly depending on location. Buses operating in Tbilisi, at 40 tetri per passenger, are one of the cheapest ways to get around the city. City buses are relatively comfortable, although they aren’t air-conditioned. [reach to teach recruiting]

Cars – Similar to many other countries in the region, driving conditions in Georgia can often seem chaotic. Traffic laws are not generally enforced, everyone drives at top speeds, and road conditions outside of the cities vary greatly. [reach to teach recruiting]

Minibuses – If doing what the locals do is something that gives you a thrill, try flagging down a marshrutka on the street. These tiny mini-buses operate within large towns and to and from cities all over Georgia. [reach to teach recruiting]

Taxis – There are a number of options for getting around in Georgia, with taxis being one of the cheapest, safest, and most convenient methods of travel. Trips within the capital city of Tbilisi range from three to five Lari, depending on distance. Remember to always have small bills and coins on hand, as most drivers will not be able to provide change for anything over 50 Lari. [reach to teach recruiting]

Trains – Train services run from Baku, Azerbaijan and stop at various places along the route, ending in Tbilisi. Prices for train tickets can vary, but are quite cheap and economical. [reach to teach recruiting]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Data Science Tbilisi – This is a meetup group focused on bringing together researchers, industry professionals, and students working in Data Science and related fields. [meetup]

Startup Grind Tbilisi – Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. We host monthly events in 200 cities and 85 countries featuring successful local founders, innovators, & investors. [meetup]

Tbilisi MongoDB User Group – A place for IT professionals and students around Georgia to learn more about the non-relational, open source, document-oriented database – MongoDB. MongoDB is the leading NoSQL database. If you are facing challenges with MySQL or Postgres or Oracle and want to explore a more flexible, salable alternative, please join us at our sessions. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Tbilisi Kabayan-Georgian Travel – Mabuhay! Gaumarjos! Kabayan, OFWs anywhere in the world who wants to know Georgian from the local level. We plan events in Tbilisi and Borjomi (the Los Banos of Georgia) where we could joke and sing over adobo or sinigang while drinking gvino or chacha. [meetup]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

LGBT Georgia – Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) ·Community Organization · Community Center in Tbilisi, Georgia. [facebook]

Tbilisi LGBT – LGTBT groups in Tbilisi. [facebook]

Resources

Resources

Places in Georgia

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