GEORGIA

   
 

COUNTRY FACTS

  • Area: 69,700 sq km
  • Population Total: 4,615, 807
  • population Capital: Tbilisi 1,240,200
  • Religion: Georgian Orthodox 65%, Muslim 11%, Russian Orthodox 10%, Armenian Apostolic 8%, unknown 6%
  • Life Expectancy: 71.5 years
  • GDP per capita: $2,970

Tbilisi Capital of Georgia

Tbilisi’s fate during the Mongol invasion is typical: “tens of thousands were killed with unspeakable cruelty; the streets were awash with blood, brains and human hair”. Eye-gouging, often ordered by Georgian princes against rival relatives, occurs with depressing frequency. In reading about 17th century western Georgia’s mini-monarchs, one learns they are driven by “concupiscence, vengefulness and idiocy,” a mix that produces “internecine war, depositions and restorations, abduction, adultery, mutilation, murder and treachery.” With a few exceptions, this picture fits the whole epoch.



Society & Culture

Like other small nationalities in tough neighborhoods, Georgians are shrewd survivors, enduring and often outwitting shah, sultan, czar and commissar alike. But while cultural identity is often sentimentalized, hero-tales, customs, and family and village histories do provide coherence and foster resistance to assimilation by occupiers, especially when linked to a faith and language distinct from the outsider’s. Ireland and Serbia, among many others, relied on these identity markers to withstand centuries of oppression. Is this also a key for Georgia?


Dining Etiquette
  • Georgian dining can be quite divided (by sex that is) and extremely informal, especially among a group of men eating without the supervision of any women. However, dining in Georgia is a social affair, particularly when a group of men or women go out to eat (and drink). These same-sex gatherings can last for hours and by the end, if you're not careful, the alcohol may block out any memory of what you ate hours earlier at the same gathering.
  • Ideally your meal will begin, end, and be interrupted multiple times by the tamada or toastmaster. This position is a great honor in Georgia and those new to the position may make full use of their power by constantly topping off glasses and proposing toasts. For most meals though there will be no tamada, but this doesn't change the intent of dining: socialization.
  • Begin on the correct food and, if dining in a local's home, be sure to bring a gift of chocolate and don't overdress since the Georgians are quite informal (but also conservative so don't wear anything provocative). Your host will most likely smother you with attention and food, especially if you are the only foreigner, so come hungry. Your host will also offer you more than one helping so don't overindulge on the first offering. It is common for hosts to offer seconds and to bring out multiple courses or multiple sweets and you are expected to try each of these, which is a welcomed and delicious gift for most visitors.
Food

Bread: the most common variety is a flat bread called lavash
Meat: many traditional meals are based around a meat; lamb, chicken, beef, and pork are the most common

Regional Specialties

Kebabs: typically lamb, beef, or pork marinated and grilled; often served with lavash (thin bread)
Khachapuri: bread topped with various ingredients, most commonly with cheese
Khinkali: thick dough stuffed with beef or pork spiced with herbs, onions, and garlic

Drinks

All common drinks can be found in Georgia and their best known non-alcoholic drink is carbonated mineral water, which is at times slightly flavored.
However, Georgia is more well-known for their alcoholic drinks. Some claim that wine originated in Georgia; while others dispute the claim, drinking the wine yourself will help you notice that their wines tend to fall on the sweet side. Chach is a locally made alcohol similar to vodka, while more traditional vodkas and beers are also common.

  • There is no consensus on the cleanliness of the tap water in  Georgia. Near the mountains and in the major cities the water is generally clean, but this is more of a tendency than a rule. In other areas the water quality is poor, and perhaps unsafe, so should be avoided.

Immigration of Punjabis

  • With shrinking land holdings that have become increasingly unviable in their home State, many Punjabi and some farmers from neighbouring Haryana, too, have begun exploring the possibilities of buying up cheap land in Georgia that has made available some 40,000 hectares of newly privatised land for farmers and entrepreneurs from other countries who can help rejuvenate its largely agriculture-based economy.
  • Even though this is the first year that Indian farmers in Georgia have harvested a crop, mostly wheat, conservative estimates put the number of Indian farmers there at around 2000 Punjabi people.Mostly they have settled in Tsnori,
  • A Gurdwara has been established in Khaketi with a good Granthi & Ragi Jatha. Every Sunday there is a huge gathering.



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