Georgia - General information

State form: Republic of Georgia
Independence: 9 April 1991
National anthem:Tavisoup'leba ("Freedom")
Capital:Tbilisi (about 1.1 million inhabitants)
Official language: Georgian
Administrative divisions (mkhare) and autonomous republics: Tbilisi, Mingrelie and Upper Svaneti, Gourie, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, Imereti, Samtskhe-Djavakheti, Shida Kartli, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Kvemo Kartli, Kakheti, Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, Autonomous Republic of Adjaria
Area: 69 700 km²
Timezone: UTC+3 
Highest point:Chkhara, 5,200 m above sea level
Population:about 5 million inhabitants
Density of population: about 67 hab./km²
Religion: Orthodox
National currency: Lari (GEL)
Constitution: August 1995
National holiday:May 26
Calling code: 00995
Economy:Mineral Resources, Industry, Agriculture

Neighboring countries:
North: Russia
Southeast: Azerbaijan
South: Armenia
Southwest: Turkey


USEFUL INFORMATION

Passport and visa:
Citizens of the European Union and Switzerland do not need a visa to enter Georgia. You will need a passport valid for at least 6 months after the expected date of return from Georgia. In any case, the stay in the country must not exceed 3 months. It should be noted that the passport must have sufficient white pages for the entry and exit stamps.

Customs:
Georgia has simplified customs procedures by liberalizing the trade regime. Customs regulations in Georgia allow the import of foreign currency without restriction. However, if the amounts exported are equivalent to $ 2,000, it is recommended to fill in a customs declaration to avoid problems when leaving the country. It is allowed to have an amount not exceeding 25000 GEL. You can import 200 cigarettes, three liters of wine, ten liters of beer, personal items not exceeding 100 kg. It is forbidden to bring weapons and explosives, narcotics, items that have artistic and historical value.

Money:
The Georgian monetary unit, the lari (GEL) was introduced in 1995, under the rule of President Eduard Shevardnadze. It is divided into 100 Tetri. In addition, the National Bank of Georgia produces commemorative and investment coins of various denominations. In general, expenses are in cash, yet banks, large hotels, restaurants, supermarkets also accept credit cards and travelers' checks. Money can be changed in banks and exchange offices. Travelers are advised not to change too much money because of fluctuating lari prices. Current exchange rate http://www.oanda.com/lang/fr/

Communication:
Access to the Internet is growing rapidly in Georgia. In Tbilisi, there are several Internet providers operating via ADSL (via copper wire). Internet cafes are available in all major cities (Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi). For the travelers having a laptop it is more convenient to buy a 3G modem and connect to local Geocell or Beeline providers. Telephone communications are undergoing rapid modernization and by 2011 they already met international standards. You can easily acquire a SIM card by presenting the passport. It is possible to make an international call in automatic stations which generally operate by calling cards. In the regions, there are telephone sets which operate in small rooms. It is easier to make international calls in the central stations. Communication with Abkhazia and South Ossetia is extremely difficult.

Climate:
In the East, the mountainous area has a harsh climate, while the West enjoys a humid subtropical climate, thanks to the Black Sea. It is best to avoid the months of December to February, during which the weather is very cold. It is best to stay in Georgia between April and October (1 ° C in January and 25 ° C in July in Tbilisi). The evenings remaining relatively cool, it is advisable to have warm clothes with you.

Traditions and customs:
Give up your place to old people and women with children in public transport. If you want to give a gift, men will appreciate a good knife. They are indeed great fans of knives. In places of worship, behave respectfully, enter silently and properly dressed.

Gastronomy:
Culinary art is one of the most important elements of Georgian culture. Meals follow a special ceremony. The table is run by the "tamada" which offers traditional toasts throughout the meal. You must not make a toast before the householder does it.
Hazelnuts are used in all sauces! All types of dishes and "satsivi" are served with herbal, garlic and hazelnut flavored sauce. They are also found in soups and desserts.
Meals usually start with an assortment of hot and cold dishes: grilled and spicy offal, bean and hazelnut salad (lobios), marinated eggplant, spicy spinach (pkhaliis), as well as pickles and smoked meats (basturmas). Georgians are lovers of roast pork and beef. The chicken is roasted or stewed. One of the most common dishes is chakhokhbili, a herb-flavored stew with tomatoes and paprika. Georgian wine is famous. Finally, the bravest will dare to eat Georgian breakfast served with khachi, a soup with tripe, steak and lots of garlic!

Holidays:
January 1st: New Year's Day.
7 janvier: Noël Orthodoxe.
January 19: Orthodox Epiphany.
May 26: Independence Day.
August 28: Assumption of the Virgin Mary or Mariamoba.
October 14: Svetitskhovloba (celebration of the Cathedral of the center of Mtskheta)
November 23: Feast of St. George.

Public transport:
In Georgia, almost all types of public transport are available: trains, buses, minibuses, trams, subways, air and sea routes. The most common means of transport is the bus. The taxi is the only means of transport available 24 hours a day. Tbilisi is connected to all regions of Georgia via the railway route.

Health:
Preventive vaccination is only recommended for stays in remote areas (trekking, safari, hiking etc.) and in case of contact with animals. In any case, it is advisable to carefully monitor children so that they do not approach unknown animals and unvaccinated pets. Some stray dogs carry rabies. It is best to drink bottled water and peel fruits and vegetables (risk of diphtheria).

Security:
The situation in South Ossetia is tense. It is strictly forbidden to go near the conflict zone around Ossetia (Tskhinvali, Gori, Stepantsminda, Gudauri, Ananuri) as well as in Abkhazia.
Shopping:
In Tbilisi many souvenir shops can be found at Rustaveli Avenue and Shardeni Street, as well as in the vicinity of Dry Bridge to bring a piece of Georgia's cultural wealth. The most typical Georgian souvenirs are Georgian hats, Svab, Khevsureti, Papakhi with multicolored ornaments, drinking horns, bull horns prepared and used for drinking wine, swords (khandjalis) and a wide variety of earrings. ears, bracelets, rings, multicolored necklaces.

Useful phone numbers:
Firefighters: 01
Police: 02
Emergency Medical Service: 03 009 901
Number of the telecommunications company: 110110
Information service: 09
Airport information: 995 32 310 341

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