Georgia (country)

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The flag of Georgia

Georgia[1] (Georgian: საქართველო, transliterated as Sakartvelo) is a country in the Caucasus to the southeast of Continental Europe at the east coast of the Black Sea. Georgia shares borders with Russia in the north and Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan in the south.

Georgia is a unitary, emerging liberal democratic[2][3] nation-state. The roots of Georgian civilization may be archeologicaly substantiated over a period more than three thousand years.[4] Culturally, historically, and politically Georgia is considered part of Europe; however, the official geographic classification of the country varies according to different sources. Sometimes Georgia is considered a transcontinental nation.[5]

The English name Georgia is a transliteration of the classical term Γεωργία) according to archaeological research, the Greek and Aramaic alphabets were used for the purposes of commerce before officially adopting the Georgian alphabet during the reign of King Pharnavaz I of Iberia.[6] In 327, Christianity was declared the official state religion in the ancient Georgian Kingdom of Iberia, making Georgia the second oldest[7][8][9] country after Armenia (301) to declare Christianity as her official state religion. The Bible was translated into Georgian in the 5th century.[10]

The breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia have been recognized as independent states by Russia, but not by many other countries.

Geography

Geographically, Georgia is diverse with a mixture of Alpine zone in the Caucasus mountains and the subtropical Black Sea coast of western Georgia.

Economy

Archaeological research demonstrates that Georgia has been involved in commerce with the majority of the world's historical empires.[11] Throughout Georgia's history agriculture and tourism have been principal economic sectors, due to the country's climate and topography.[12] For much of the 20th century, Georgia's economy was governed by the Soviet command model. Since the fall of the USSR in 1991, Georgia has seen major structural reform designed to transition to a free market economy. In 2006 Georgia's real GDP growth rate reached 8.8%, making Georgia one of the fastest growing economies in Eastern Europe.[12] The World Bank dubbed Georgia "the number one economic reformer in the world" because it has in one year improved from rank 112th to 37th in terms of ease of doing business.[13]

2006 estimates place Georgia's GDP (adjusted for purchasing power parity) at US$17.79 billion. Georgia's economy is becoming more dependent on services (now representing 54.8% of GDP), moving away from agricultural sector (17.7%).[12] After the Kremlin banned imports of Georgian wine to Russia, one of Georgia's biggest trading partners, and severed financial links, the Georgian lari's rate of inflation spiked to 10% in 2006.[14] However, the high inflation rate was offset in part by a high investment rate (30% of 2006 GDP) and the country maintained a solid credit in international market securities.

Georgia's involvement in the global trading network has increased significantly: its 2006 imports and exports account for 10% and 18% of GDP respectively.[12] Georgia's main imports are natural gas, oil products, machinery and parts, and transport equipment. However, the country also has sizable internal energy hydropower resources. In 2004, the Georgian Parliament voted to introduce a flat income tax pegged at 12%, which significantly increased tax collection, thereby reducing the government's formerly large budget deficits. Experts estimate that Georgia has in the past few years significantly reduced corruption, because Transparency International places Georgia at joint number 99th in the world in its 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index (with number 1 being considered the least corrupt nation).[15] This is a significant improvement on Georgia's 2005 Corruption Perceptions Index, where Georgia was rated joint 130th.

Georgia's modern economy exploits its natual resources. Commercially, Georgia attracts many tourists as a ski resort and seacoast resort.

Culture

Georgian culture evolved over thousands of years with its foundations in Iberian and Colchian civilizations.[16] It eventually became a unified Georgian Kingdom under the monarchy of the Bagrationi. The Kingdom of Georgia reached what can described as golden age in the 11th century when there was a renaissance in classical literature, arts, philosophy, architecture and science. [17] The Georgian language, its alphabet, and the classical literature of poet Shota Rustaveli were revived in the 19th century after a long period of turmoil. This revival may be considered the foundation of the literary achievements of romantics and novelists of the modern era such as Grigol Orbeliani, Nikoloz Baratashvili, Ilia Chavchavadze, Akaki Tsereteli, and Vaza Pshavela. [18] Georgian culture was also influenced by the Greek, Roman and Byzantine empires, and later by the Russian empire which have all contributed to the European identity of the Georgian culture.

Georgia is well-known for its folklore, traditional music, theatre, cinema, and arts. Georgian love of music, dance, theatre and cinema is demonstrated by 20th century artists such as painters Niko Pirosmani, Lado Gudiashvili, and Elene Akhvlediani, ballet choreographers which include George Balanchine, Vakhtang Chabukiani, and Nino Ananiashvili, the poets Galaktion Tabidze, Lado Asatiani, and Mukhran Machavariani, and directors in theatre and film, Robert Sturua, Tengiz Abuladze, Otar Ioseliani, to name a few. [19]

Georgia has one of the oldest wine-making traditions in the world. Georgian wine is characterized as naturally semi-sweet and very competitive with French, Spanish and other Western European wines and is well-known around the world, especially in Eastern Europe. Georgia has been called the birthplace of wine, due to archaeological findings which indicate wine production as early as 6,000B.C.[20]

Architecture

Georgian architecture has its own distinguishing, indigenous characteristics and has been enriched by many civilizations during it long history. There are several different architectural styles for castles, towers and fortifications throughout the country. The Upper Svaneti fortifications and the castle town of Shatili in Khevsureti are considered some of the best examples of Georgian architecture.

Georgian ecclesiastic art is a dominant aspects of Georgian architecture. It combines classical dome style with original basilica style forming a distinctive Georgian cross-dome style. The cross-dome style of architecture was developed in Georgia during the 9th century. Before that time, most of the Georgian churches were basilicas. Traditionally, Georgian culture has placed emphases on individualism and this is expressed thought the allocation of space inside the churches.

Other architectural examples of Georgian style are evident in the Hausmannized Rustaveli avenue of Tbilisi and the Old Town District.

External links

References

  1. Georgia” shall be the name of the state of Georgia. Article 1, Constitution of Georgia Retrieved from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Website [1]
  2. Mitchell, Lincoln. "Georgia's Rose Revolution. (Brief Article) (Author Abstract)." Current History 103.675 (Oct 2004)
  3. Saakashvili, Mikheil. "The way forward: Georgia's democratic vision for the future. (after empire: Soviet Legacies)." Harvard International Review 28.1 (Spring 2006): 68(6)
  4. David Marshal Lang, History of Modern Georgia, London, 1962
  5. The Geographic Web Site www.worldatlas.com places Georgia in Europe as do many European sources, such as the BBC. The UN classification of world regions places Georgia in Western Asia as does the CIA World Factbook.
  6. David Marshall Lang, The Georgians, 1965
  7. Alasania, g. Twenty centuries of Christianity in Georgia. Library of Congress. Washington, DC
  8. Meyer, Karl E. Icebergs in the caucasus. 07-01-2001 World Policy Journal
  9. Theodor Dowling, Sketches of Georgian Church History, New York, 1912
  10. T. Dowling, The Sketches of History of the Georgian Church, 1912
  11. National Museum of Georgia - [2]
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 CIA World Factbook - [3]
  13. World Bank Economy Rankings.
  14. See 2006 Russian ban of Moldovan and Georgian wines
  15. Corruption Perceptions Index 2006
  16. Georgia : In the mountains of poetry. 3rd rev. ed., Nasmyth, Peter
  17. Studies in medieval Georgian historiography: early texts and European contexts, Rapp, Stephen
  18. Lang David, Georgians
  19. Lang David, Georgians
  20. 8,000-year-old wine unearthed in Georgia (2003) Archeo News; Now that's what you call a real vintage: professor unearths 8,000-year-old wine. Keys, D. (2003) The Independent