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After Soviet leader Joseph Stalin , a native Georgian, died in , a wave of protest spread against Nikita Khrushchev and his de-Stalinization reforms, leading to the death of nearly one hundred students in By the s, an independence movement was established and grew, leading to Georgia's secession from the Soviet Union in April For most of the following decade, post-Soviet Georgia suffered from civil conflicts , secessionist wars in Abkhazia and South Ossetia , and economic crisis.
Following the bloodless Rose Revolution in , Georgia strongly pursued a pro-Western foreign policy; aimed at NATO and European integration , it introduced a series of democratic and economic reforms.
This brought about mixed results, but strengthened state institutions. The country's Western orientation soon led to the worsening of relations with Russia , culminating in the brief Russo-Georgian War in August and Georgia's current territorial dispute with Russia.
Georgia is a developing country and ranks 70th on the Human Development Index. It contains two de facto independent regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia , which gained very limited international recognition after the Russo-Georgian War.
Most of the world's countries consider the regions to be Georgian territory under Russian occupation. Lore-based theories were given by the traveller Jacques de Vitry , who explained the name's origin by the popularity of St.
As Prof. The medieval Georgian Chronicles present an eponymous ancestor of the Kartvelians, Kartlos , a great-grandson of Japheth.
However, scholars agree that the word is derived from the Karts , the latter being one of the proto-Georgian tribes that emerged as a dominant group in ancient times.
Today the full, official name of the country is "Georgia", as specified in the Georgian constitution which reads " Georgia is the name of the state of Georgia.
The territory of modern-day Georgia was inhabited by Homo erectus since the Paleolithic Era. The proto-Georgian tribes first appear in written history in the 12th century BC.
The classical period saw the rise of a number of early Georgian states, the principal of which were Colchis in the west and Iberia in the east.
The incorporation of the Golden Fleece into the myth may have derived from the local practice of using fleeces to sift gold dust from rivers.
After the Roman Republic completed its brief conquest of what is now Georgia in 66 BC, the area became a primary objective of what would eventually turn out to be over years of protracted Irano—Roman geo-political rivalry and warfare.
D, the cult of Mithras , pagan beliefs, and Zoroastrianism were commonly practised in Georgia. Located on the crossroads of protracted Roman—Persian wars , the early Georgian kingdoms disintegrated into various feudal regions by the early Middle Ages.
This made it easy for the remaining Georgian realms to fall prey to the early Muslim conquests in the 7th century.
The extinction of the different Iberian royal dynasties, such as Guaramids and the Chosroids ,  and also the Abbasid preoccupation with their own civil wars and conflict with the Byzantine Empire , led to the Bagrationi family's growth in prominence.
The head of the Bagrationi dynasty Ashot I of Iberia r. The sons and grandsons of Ashot I established three separate branches, frequently struggling with each other and with neighboring rulers.
Despite the revitalization of the Iberian monarchy , remaining Georgian lands were divided among rival authorities, with Tbilisi remaining in Arab hands.
Leon I then married Mirian 's daughter, and a successor, Leon II exploited this dynastic union to acquire Lazica in the s.
Towards circa , Leon II r. After obtaining independence for the state, the matter of church independence became the main problem. In the early 9th century the Abkhazian Church broke away from the Constantinople and recognized the authority of the Catholicate of Mtskheta ; Georgian language replaced Greek as the language of literacy and culture.
A bitter civil war and feudal revolts which began under Demetrius III r. The stage of feudalism 's development and struggle against common invaders as much as common belief of various Georgian states had an enormous importance for spiritual and political unification of Georgia feudal monarchy under the Bagrationi dynasty in 11th century.
The Kingdom of Georgia reached its zenith in the 12th to early 13th centuries. This period during the reigns of David IV r. David suppressed dissent of feudal lords and centralized the power in his hands to effectively deal with foreign threats.
In , he decisively defeated much larger Turkish armies during the Battle of Didgori and liberated Tbilisi. The year reign of Tamar, the first female ruler of Georgia, is considered the most successful in Georgian history.
The revival of the Kingdom of Georgia was set back after Tbilisi was captured and destroyed by the Khwarezmian leader Jalal ad-Din in George V was the last great king of the unified Georgian state.
After his death, different local rulers fought for their independence from central Georgian rule, until the total disintegration of the Kingdom in the 15th century.
Georgia was further weakened by several disastrous invasions by Tamerlane. Invasions continued , giving the kingdom no time for restoration, with both Black and White sheep Turkomans constantly raiding its southern provinces.
The Kingdom of Georgia collapsed into anarchy by and fragmented into three independent kingdoms and five semi-independent principalities.
Neighboring large empires subsequently exploited the internal division of the weakened country, and beginning in the 16th century up to the late 18th century, Safavid Iran and successive Iranian Afsharid and Qajar dynasties and Ottoman Turkey subjugated the eastern and western regions of Georgia, respectively.
The rulers of regions that remained partly autonomous organized rebellions on various occasions. However, subsequent Iranian and Ottoman invasions further weakened local kingdoms and regions.
As a result of incessant Ottoman—Persian Wars and deportations, the population of Georgia dwindled to , inhabitants at the end of the 18th century.
With the death of Nader Shah in , both kingdoms broke free of Iranian control and were reunified through a personal union under the energetic king Heraclius II in Heraclius, who had risen to prominence through the Iranian ranks, was awarded the crown of Kartli by Nader himself in for his loyal service to him.
In , Russia and the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti signed the Treaty of Georgievsk , by which Georgia abjured any dependence on Persia or another power, and made the kingdom a protectorate of Russia, which guaranteed Georgia's territorial integrity and the continuation of its reigning Bagrationi dynasty in return for prerogatives in the conduct of Georgian foreign affairs.
However, despite this commitment to defend Georgia, Russia rendered no assistance when the Iranians invaded in , capturing and sacking Tbilisi while massacring its inhabitants, as the new heir to the throne sought to reassert Iranian hegemony over Georgia.
Pyotr Bagration , one of the descendants of the abolished house of Bagrationi, would later join the Russian army and rise to be a prominent general in the Napoleonic wars.
The Georgian envoy in Saint Petersburg reacted with a note of protest that was presented to the Russian vice-chancellor Prince Kurakin.
Those who disagreed were temporarily arrested. In the summer of , Russian troops on the Askerani River near Zagam defeated the Iranian army during the —13 Russo-Persian War and saved Tbilisi from reconquest now that it was officially part of the Imperial territories.
Russian suzerainty over eastern Georgia was officially finalized with Iran in following the Treaty of Gulistan.
The last Imeretian king and the last Georgian Bagrationi ruler, Solomon II , died in exile in , after attempts to rally people against Russia and to enlist foreign support against the latter, had been in vain.
The principality of Guria was abolished and incorporated into the Empire in , while Svaneti was gradually annexed in Mingrelia , although a Russian protectorate since , was not absorbed until After the Russian Revolution of , the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic was established with Nikolay Chkheidze acting as its president.
The federation consisted of three nations: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. As the Ottomans advanced into the Caucasian territories of the crumbling Russian Empire, Georgia declared independence on 26 May The Georgian—Armenian War , which erupted over parts of disputed provinces between Armenia and Georgia populated mostly by Armenians, ended because of British intervention.
The Georgian army was defeated and the Social Democratic government fled the country. On 25 February , the Red Army entered Tbilisi and established a government of workers' and peasants' soviets with Filipp Makharadze as acting head of state.
Georgia was incorporated into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic , alongside Armenia and Azerbaijan , in which in would become a founding member of the Soviet Union.
There remained significant opposition to the Bolsheviks in Georgia, which was unindustrialized and viewed as socially backward, and this culminated in the August Uprising of Soviet rule was firmly established only after the insurrection was swiftly defeated.
In June , Germany invaded the Soviet Union on an immediate course towards Caucasian oil fields and munitions factories. They never reached Georgia, however, and almost , Georgians fought in the Red Army to repel the invaders and advance towards Berlin.
Of them, an estimated , were killed. After Stalin's death, Nikita Khrushchev became the leader of the Soviet Union and implemented a policy of de-Stalinization.
This was nowhere else more publicly and violently opposed than in Georgia, where in riots broke out upon the release of Khruschev's public denunciation of Stalin and led to the death of nearly students.
Throughout the remainder of the Soviet period, Georgia's economy continued to grow and experience significant improvement, though it increasingly exhibited blatant corruption and alienation of the government from the people.
With the beginning of perestroika in , the Georgian Communist leadership proved so incapable of handling the changes that most Georgians, including rank and file Communists, concluded that the only way forward was a break from the existing Soviet system.
On 9 April , shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Supreme Council of Georgia declared independence after a referendum held on 31 March Gamsakhurdia stoked Georgian nationalism and vowed to assert Tbilisi's authority over regions such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia that had been classified as autonomous oblasts under the Soviet Union.
The coup was instigated by part of the National Guards and a paramilitary organization called " Mkhedrioni " "horsemen". The country became embroiled in a bitter civil war , which lasted until nearly Simmering disputes within two regions of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia , between local separatists and the majority Georgian populations, erupted into widespread inter-ethnic violence and wars.
During the War in Abkhazia — , roughly , to , Georgians  were expelled from Abkhazia by Abkhaz separatists and North Caucasian volunteers including Chechens.
Around 23, Georgians  fled South Ossetia as well, and many Ossetian families were forced to abandon their homes in the Borjomi region and moved to Russia.
In , Shevardnadze who won re-election in was deposed by the Rose Revolution , after Georgian opposition and international monitors asserted that 2 November parliamentary elections were marred by fraud.
Mikheil Saakashvili was elected as President of Georgia in Following the Rose Revolution, a series of reforms were launched to strengthen the country's military and economic capabilities.
The new government's efforts to reassert Georgian authority in the southwestern autonomous republic of Ajaria led to a major crisis early in Success in Ajaria encouraged Saakashvili to intensify his efforts, but without success, in breakaway South Ossetia.
These events, along with accusations of Georgian involvement in the Second Chechen War ,  resulted in a severe deterioration of relations with Russia , fuelled also by Russia's open assistance and support to the two secessionist areas.
Despite these increasingly difficult relations, in May Georgia and Russia reached a bilateral agreement  by which Russian military bases dating back to the Soviet era in Batumi and Akhalkalaki were withdrawn.
Russia withdrew all personnel and equipment from these sites by December  while failing to withdraw from the Gudauta base in Abkhazia, which it was required to vacate after the adoption of the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty during the Istanbul summit.
Tensions between Georgia and Russia began escalating in April South Ossetians were responsible for instigating this incident, which marked the opening of hostilities and injured five Georgian servicemen.
In response,  several South Ossetian militiamen were hit. These artillery attacks caused Georgian servicemen to return fire periodically since 1 August.
On 30 September , the European Union —sponsored Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia stated that, while preceded by months of mutual provocations, "open hostilities began with a large-scale Georgian military operation against the town of Tskhinvali and the surrounding areas, launched in the night of 7 to 8 August At around on 7 August , Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili announced a unilateral ceasefire and called for peace talks.
Russia accused Georgia of "aggression against South Ossetia",  and launched a large-scale land, air and sea invasion of Georgia with the pretext of " peace enforcement " operation on 8 August South Ossetians conducted a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Georgians in South Ossetia ,  destroying Georgian villages around Tskhinvali after the war had ended.
President of France Nicolas Sarkozy negotiated a ceasefire agreement on 12 August Georgia is a representative democratic parliamentary republic , with the President as the head of state, and Prime Minister as the head of government.
The executive branch of power is made up of the Cabinet of Georgia. The Cabinet is composed of ministers, headed by the Prime Minister , and appointed by the President.
Salome Zurabishvili is the current President of Georgia after winning Legislative authority is vested in the Parliament of Georgia. It is unicameral and has members, known as deputies, of whom 73 are elected by plurality to represent single-member districts, and 77 are chosen to represent parties by proportional representation.
Members of parliament are elected for four-year terms. On 26 May , Saakashvili inaugurated a new Parliament building in the western city of Kutaisi , in an effort to decentralise power and shift some political control closer to Abkhazia.
Different opinions exist regarding the degree of political freedom in Georgia. Saakashvili believed in that the country is "on the road to becoming a European democracy.
In preparation for parliamentary elections, Parliament adopted a new electoral code on 27 December that incorporated many recommendations from non-governmental organizations NGOs and the Venice Commission.
However, the new code failed to address the Venice Commission's primary recommendation to strengthen the equality of the vote by reconstituting single-mandate election districts to be comparable in size.
On 28 December, Parliament amended the Law on Political Unions to regulate campaign and political party financing. Local and international observers raised concerns about several amendments, including the vagueness of the criteria for determining political bribery and which individuals and organizations would be subject to the law.
The growing U. Train and Equip military assistance program, and the construction of the Baku—Tbilisi—Ceyhan pipeline have frequently strained Tbilisi's relations with Moscow.
Georgia's decision to boost its presence in the coalition forces in Iraq was an important initiative. Georgia is currently working to become a full member of NATO.
In , by the decision of the President of Georgia, a state commission was set up to implement the Individual Partnership Action Plan, which presents an interdepartmental group headed by the Prime Minister.
The commission was tasked with coordinating and controlling the implementation of the Individual Partnership Action Plan.
George W. Bush became the first sitting U. Bush Avenue. Georgia's military is organized into land and air forces.
They are performed under the guidance and authority of the Ministry of Defense. The biggest part, The first exhibition of products made by STC Delta was in With 1, troops in , it was at that time the largest non- NATO  and the largest per capita   troop contributor.
Over 11, Georgian soldiers have been rotated through Afghanistan. In Georgia, law enforcement is conducted and provided for by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.
In recent years, the Patrol Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has undergone a radical transformation, with the police having now absorbed a great many duties previously performed by dedicated independent government agencies.
New duties performed by the police include border security and customs functions and contracted security provision; the latter function is performed by the dedicated 'security police'.
Intelligence collecting in the interests of national security is now the remit of the Georgian Intelligence Service. In , President Mikheil Saakashvili fired the entire traffic police force numbering around 30, police officers of the Georgian National Police due to corruption.
The new Patruli force was first introduced in the summer of to replace the traffic police, a force which was accused of widespread corruption.
Human rights in Georgia are guaranteed by the country's constitution. There is an independent human rights public defender elected by the Parliament of Georgia to ensure such rights are enforced.
NGO "Tolerance", in its alternative report about its implementation, speaks of a rapid decrease in the number of Azerbaijani schools and cases of appointing headmasters to Azerbaijani schools who do not speak the Azerbaijani language.
The government came under criticism for its alleged use of excessive force on 26 May when it dispersed protesters led by Nino Burjanadze , among others, with tear gas and rubber bullets after they refused to clear Rustaveli avenue for an independence day parade despite the expiration of their demonstration permit and despite being offered to choose an alternative venue.
Georgia is divided into 9 regions, 1 city, and 2 autonomous republics. Georgia contains two official autonomous regions, of which one has declared independence.
Officially autonomous within Georgia,  the de facto independent region of Abkhazia declared independence in South Ossetia is officially known by Georgia as the Tskinvali region, as it views "South Ossetia" as implying political bonds with Russian North Ossetia.
Its autonomous status was revoked in De facto separate since Georgian independence, offers were made to give South Ossetia autonomy again, but in an unrecognised referendum in the area resulted in a vote for independence.
In both Abkhazia and South Ossetia large numbers of people had been given Russian passports, some through a process of forced passportization by Russian authorities.
Adjara under local strongman Aslan Abashidze maintained close ties with Russia and allowed a Russian military base to be maintained in Batumi.
Upon the election of Mikheil Saakashvili in tensions rose between Abashidze and the Georgian government, leading to demonstrations in Adjara and the resignation and flight of Abashidze.
The region retains autonomy, and as a sign of Ajaria's reconnection with the central Georgian government, the Georgian Constitutional Court was moved from T'bilisi to Batumi.
Georgia is mostly situated in the South Caucasus , while parts of the country are also located in the North Caucasus. It is a very mountainous country.
The Likhi Range divides the country into eastern and western halves. Because of a complex geographic setting, mountains also isolate the northern region of Svaneti from the rest of Georgia.
The southern portion of the country is bounded by the Lesser Caucasus Mountains. The term Lesser Caucasus Mountains is often used to describe the mountainous highland areas of southern Georgia that are connected to the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range by the Likhi Range.
Prominent features of the area include the Javakheti Volcanic Plateau , lakes, including Tabatskuri and Paravani, as well as mineral water and hot springs.
Two major rivers in Georgia are the Rioni and the Mtkvari. The Southern Georgia Volcanic Highland is a young and unstable geologic region with high seismic activity and has experienced some of the most significant earthquakes that have been recorded in Georgia.
The Krubera Cave is the deepest known cave in the world. The atlas was presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair , where Georgia was the guest of honor.
Over large-format thematic maps and figures provide information on all relevant topics concerning the country, from Physical and Human Geography , to Economics and Politics.
The detailed table of contents is bilingual English, German , and helps to find texts and maps easily. The landscape within the nation's boundaries is quite varied.
Western Georgia's landscape ranges from low-land marsh-forests, swamps, and temperate rainforests to eternal snows and glaciers, while the eastern part of the country even contains a small segment of semi-arid plains.
Much of the natural habitat in the low-lying areas of western Georgia has disappeared during the past years because of the agricultural development of the land and urbanization.
The large majority of the forests that covered the Colchis plain are now virtually non-existent with the exception of the regions that are included in the national parks and reserves e.
Lake Paliastomi area. At present, the forest cover generally remains outside of the low-lying areas and is mainly located along the foothills and the mountains.
Evergreen species such as box may also be found in many areas. The west-central slopes of the Meskheti Range in Ajaria as well as several locations in Samegrelo and Abkhazia are covered by temperate rain forests.
The zone is made up mainly of beech, spruce , and fir forests. The eternal snow and glacier zone lies above the 3,metre line. Eastern Georgia's landscape referring to the territory east of the Likhi Range is considerably different from that of the west, although, much like the Colchis plain in the west, nearly all of the low-lying areas of eastern Georgia including the Mtkvari and Alazani River plains have been deforested for agricultural purposes.
In addition, because of the region's relatively drier climate, some of the low-lying plains especially in Kartli and south-eastern Kakheti were never covered by forests in the first place.
The general landscape of eastern Georgia comprises numerous valleys and gorges that are separated by mountains.
In contrast with western Georgia, nearly 85 percent of the forests of the region are deciduous. Coniferous forests only dominate in the Borjomi Gorge and in the extreme western areas.
Out of the deciduous species of trees, beech , oak , and hornbeam dominate. Other deciduous species include several varieties of maple , aspen , ash, and hazelnut.
The Upper Alazani River Valley contains yew forests. The only remaining large, low-land forests remain in the Alazani Valley of Kakheti.
The climate of Georgia is extremely diverse, considering the nation's small size. There are two main climatic zones, roughly corresponding to the eastern and western parts of the country.
The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range plays an important role in moderating Georgia's climate and protects the nation from the penetration of colder air masses from the north.
The Lesser Caucasus Mountains partially protect the region from the influence of dry and hot air masses from the south. The precipitation tends to be uniformly distributed throughout the year, although the rainfall can be particularly heavy during the Autumn months.
The climate of the region varies significantly with elevation and while much of the lowland areas of western Georgia are relatively warm throughout the year, the foothills and mountainous areas including both the Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains experience cool, wet summers and snowy winters snow cover often exceeds 2 meters in many regions.
Eastern Georgia has a transitional climate from humid subtropical to continental. The region's weather patterns are influenced both by dry Caspian air masses from the east and humid Black Sea air masses from the west.
The penetration of humid air masses from the Black Sea is often blocked by mountain ranges Likhi and Meskheti that separate the eastern and western parts of the nation.
The wettest periods generally occur during spring and autumn, while winter and summer months tend to be the driest. Much of eastern Georgia experiences hot summers especially in the low-lying areas and relatively cold winters.
The common pheasant also known as the Colchian Pheasant is an endemic bird of Georgia which has been widely introduced throughout the rest of the world as an important game bird.
The species number of invertebrates is considered to be very high but data is distributed across a high number of publications. The spider checklist of Georgia, for example, includes species.
Slightly more than 6, species of fungi , including lichen-forming species, have been recorded from Georgia,   but this number is far from complete.
The true total number of fungal species occurring in Georgia, including species not yet recorded, is likely to be far higher, given the generally accepted estimate that only about seven percent of all fungi worldwide have so far been discovered.
Archaeological research demonstrates that Georgia has been involved in commerce with many lands and empires since ancient times, largely due its location on the Black Sea and later on the historical Silk Road.
Gold, silver, copper and iron have been mined in the Caucasus Mountains. Georgian wine making is a very old tradition and a key branch of the country's economy.
The country has sizable hydropower resources. For much of the 20th century, Georgia's economy was within the Soviet model of command economy.
Since the fall of the USSR in , Georgia embarked on a major structural reform designed to transition to a free market economy.
As with all other post-Soviet states , Georgia faced a severe economic collapse. The civil war and military conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia aggravated the crisis.
The agriculture and industry output diminished. By the gross domestic product had shrunk to a quarter of that of Since the early 21st century visible positive developments have been observed in the economy of Georgia.
The ban on imports of Georgian wine to Russia, one of Georgia's biggest trading partners, and break of financial links was described by the IMF Mission as an "external shock".
Around the same time, the National Bank of Georgia stated that ongoing inflation in the country was mainly triggered by external reasons, including Russia's economic embargo.
Main exports are vehicles, ferro-alloys, fertilizers, nuts, scrap metal, gold, copper ores. Since coming to power the Saakashvili administration accomplished a series of reforms aimed at improving tax collection.
Among other things a flat income tax was introduced in As of , 54 percent of the population lived below the national poverty line but by poverty decreased to 34 percent, by it is In regards to telecommunication infrastructure, Georgia is ranked the last among its bordering neighbors in the World Economic Forum's Network Readiness Index NRI — an indicator for determining the development level of a country's information and communication technologies.
Georgia ranked number 58 overall in the NRI ranking,  up from 60 in Tourism is an increasingly significant part of the Georgian economy.
In , more than 1. Today transport in Georgia is provided by rail , road, ferry, and air. Traditionally, the country was located on an important north—south trade route between European Russia and the Near East and Turkey.
In recent years Georgia has invested large amounts of money in the modernization of its transport networks.
The Georgian railways represent an important transport artery for the Caucasus, as they make up the largest proportion of a route linking the Black and Caspian Seas.
In turn, this has allowed them to benefit in recent years from increased energy exports from neighbouring Azerbaijan to the European Union, Ukraine, and Turkey.
Since the Georgian Railways have been undergoing a rolling program of fleet-renewal and managerial restructuring which is aimed at making the service provided more efficient and comfortable for passengers.
Air and maritime transport is developing in Georgia, with the former mainly used by passengers and the latter for transport of freight. Georgia currently has four international airports, the largest of which is by far Tbilisi International Airport , hub for Georgian Airways , which offers connections to many large European cities.
Other airports in the country are largely underdeveloped or lack scheduled traffic, although, as of late, efforts have been made to solve both these problems.
Scheduled and chartered passenger ferry services link Georgia with Bulgaria,  Romania, Turkey and Ukraine. Like most native Caucasian peoples , the Georgians do not fit into any of the main ethnic categories of Europe or Asia.
The present day Georgian or Kartvelian nation is thought to have resulted from the fusion of aboriginal, autochthonous inhabitants with immigrants who moved into South Caucasus from the direction of Anatolia in remote antiquity.
Ethnic Georgians form about The census recorded , ethnic Russians , or 6. According to statistics, Georgia gets most of its immigrants from Russia In the early s, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union , violent separatist conflicts broke out in the autonomous region of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region.
The most widespread language group is the Kartvelian family , which includes Georgian, Svan , Mingrelian and Laz.
Georgian is the primary language of The goal was to import English speakers from across the world to ensure that all children in Georgia spoke English in four years and replace Russian as a second language.
Today The special status of the Georgian Orthodox Church is officially recognised in the Constitution of Georgia and the Concordat of , although religious institutions are separate from the state, and every citizen has the right of religion.
Main religions . Religious minorities of Georgia include Muslims In Abkhazia , a minority of the Abkhaz population is also Sunni Muslim, alongside the faithful of the revived Abkhaz pagan faith.
There are also smaller communities of Greek Muslims of Pontic Greek origin and Armenian Muslims , both of whom are descended from Ottoman-era converts to Turkish Islam from Eastern Anatolia who settled in Georgia following the Lala Mustafa Pasha's Caucasian campaign that led to the Ottoman conquest of the country in Georgian Jews trace the history of their community to the 6th century BC; their numbers have dwindled in the last decades due to high levels of immigration to Israel.
Despite the long history of religious harmony in Georgia,  there have been instances of religious discrimination and violence against "nontraditional faiths", such as Jehovah's Witnesses , by followers of the defrocked Orthodox priest Basil Mkalavishvili.
In addition to traditional religious organizations, Georgia retains secular and irreligious segments of society 0. The education system of Georgia has undergone sweeping modernizing, although controversial, reforms since Students with a secondary school certificate have access to higher education.
Only the students who have passed the Unified National Examinations may enroll in a state-accredited higher education institution, based on ranking of the scores received at the exams.
Most of these institutions offer three levels of study: a Bachelor's Program three to four years ; a Master's Program two years , and a Doctoral Program three years.
There is also a Certified Specialist's Program that represents a single-level higher education program lasting from three to six years. Tbilisi has become the main artery of the Georgian educational system, particularly since the creation of the First Georgian Republic in permitted the establishment of modern, Georgian-language educational institutions.
Tbilisi is the home to several major institutions of higher education in Georgia, notably the Tbilisi State Medical University , which was founded as Tbilisi Medical Institute in , and the Tbilisi State University TSU , which was established in and remains the oldest university in the entire Caucasus region.
Georgian culture evolved over thousands of years from its foundations in the Iberian and Colchian civilizations.
The Georgian language, and the Classical Georgian literature of the poet Shota Rustaveli , were revived in the 19th century after a long period of turmoil, laying the foundations of the romantics and novelists of the modern era such as Grigol Orbeliani , Nikoloz Baratashvili , Ilia Chavchavadze , Akaki Tsereteli , Vazha-Pshavela.
Georgia is known for its folklore , traditional music, dances, theatre, cinema, and art. Georgian architecture has been influenced by many civilizations.
There are several different architectural styles for castles , towers , fortifications and churches. The Upper Svaneti fortifications, and the castle town of Shatili in Khevsureti , are some of the finest examples of medieval Georgian castle architecture.
Georgian ecclesiastic art is one of the most notable aspects of Georgian Christian architecture , which combines the classical dome style with the original basilica style, forming what is known as the Georgian cross-dome style.
Cross-dome architecture developed in Georgia during the 9th century; before that, most Georgian churches were basilicas.
Other examples of Georgian ecclesiastic architecture can be found outside Georgia: Bachkovo Monastery in Bulgaria built in by the Georgian military commander Grigorii Bakuriani , Iviron monastery in Greece built by Georgians in the 10th century , and the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem built by Georgians in the 9th century.
Television, magazines, and newspapers in Georgia are all operated by both state-owned and for-profit corporations which depend on advertising , subscription , and other sales-related revenues.
The Constitution of Georgia guarantees freedom of speech. As a country in transition , the Georgian media system is under transformation.
The media environment of Georgia remains the freest and most diverse in the South Caucasus ,  despite the long-term politicisation and polarisation affecting the sector.
The political struggle for control over the public broadcaster have left it without a direction in too. A large percentage of Georgian households have a television, and most have at least one radio.
Most of Georgia's media companies are headquartered in its capital and largest city, Tbilisi. Georgia has an ancient musical tradition, which is primarily known for its early development of polyphony.
Georgian polyphony is based on three vocal parts, a unique tuning system based on perfect fifths, and a harmonic structure rich in parallel fifths and dissonances.
Georgian cuisine and wine have evolved through the centuries, adapting traditions in each era. One of the most unusual traditions of dining is supra , or Georgian table , which is also a way of socialising with friends and family.
The head of supra is known as tamada. He also conducts the highly philosophical toasts, and makes sure that everyone is enjoying themselves.
Various historical regions of Georgia are known for their particular dishes: for example, khinkali meat dumplings , from eastern mountainous Georgia, and khachapuri , mainly from Imereti , Samegrelo and Adjara.
In addition to traditional Georgian dishes, the foods of other countries have been brought to Georgia by immigrants from Russia, Greece, and recently China.
The most popular sports in Georgia are football , basketball , rugby union , wrestling , judo , and weightlifting. Historically, Georgia has been famous for its physical education; the Romans were fascinated with Georgians' physical qualities after seeing the training techniques of ancient Iberia.
Within Georgia, one of the most popularized styles of wrestling is the Kakhetian style. There were a number of other styles in the past that are not as widely used today.
For example, the Khevsureti region of Georgia has three different styles of wrestling. Other popular sports in 19th century Georgia were polo , and Lelo , a traditional Georgian game later replaced by rugby union.
The first and only race circuit in the Caucasian region is located in Georgia. Dinamo Tbilisi won the prestigious Euroleague competition in Other notable basketball players are two times Euroleague champion Giorgi Shermadini and Euroleague players Manuchar Markoishvili and Viktor Sanikidze.
Sport is regaining its popularity in the country in recent years. Georgia national basketball team qualified to EuroBasket during the last three tournaments since From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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Samegrelo- Zemo Svaneti. Samtskhe- Javakheti. Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti. Shida Kartli. Kvemo Kartli. Mtskheta- Mtianeti.
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Parliament of Georgia. Archived from the original PDF on 10 December National Statistics Office of Georgia. Retrieved 29 April Retrieved 9 February Archived from the original PDF on 8 August Retrieved 2 May International Monetary Fund.
Retrieved 14 January World Bank. Archived from the original on 20 July Retrieved 22 March United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved 10 December National Statistics Office of Georgia Geostat.
Archived from the original PDF on 5 February Retrieved 7 June Soviet Studies. State Ministry for Reintegration. Archived from the original PDF on 24 June Retrieved 1 February Tüm oteller Oteller Daireler.
Gürcistan otelleri Daireler. Ajara otelleri Daireler. Batum otelleri Daireler. Obosnak Türkiye. Semih Türkiye. Great location in the Old Town.
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