GEORGIA - The Republic of Georgia, Sakartvelo, Sakartvelos Respublika, a country in the South Caucasus by the Black Sea.
Capital - Tbilisi
Area - 69.700 km2
Population - 4,5 mln (2003)
Official language - Georgian
Monetary unit - lari
Administrative divisions - 10 regions and one city (the capital)
Borders - with Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey.
Georgians form 70% of the population; other major groups include Ormians (about 9%), Azeris, Ossetians (about 3%), Abkhazians (about 2%), Greeks, Ukrainians and Kurds. Today most of the population practices Orthodox Christianity of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
The birth rate is negative -2,4‰ (1998); average population density 72/ km2
Until December 1991 Georgia was an industrial and agricultural country with central planned economy. Since 1992 it has been a member of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the economy is although destroyed by civil Wars (ethnic conflicts). Gross domestic product - 3 200 $ per capita (2001).
Since 9 April 1991 Georgia has been an independent republic with constitution from 1995. The head of the state is president, elected in universal election for 5 years. The legislative governing body is a single - chamber parliament (Supreme Council), which consists of 235 members, elected for four years on the basis of universal human suffrage. The executive governing body is the government (Ministries Cabinet).
On the 1st of March 1994 Georgia became a formal member of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The highest educational institution in Georgia is Georgian Academy of Science (established in 1925) - an association of scientists and a state - owned scientific research centre. There are 2 universities in Georgia, one of which is in Tbilisi (established in 1918). There are also Georgian Technical University (established in 1990) and Tbilisi State Medical University (established in 1918).
One of the oldest Caucasus legends describes the beginning of the world. According to it, God gathered all nations and divided the world between them. They formed a long queue and each of them wanted to be the first. Only Georgians spread their carpets and waited patiently. And so they feasted until the sun came down and they even didn't notice that the division of lands had already been finished. God noticed the people who were singing and ordered an angel to call them. And when they came up to Him, he said: "You were feasting when others fought over the land. I have already divided the whole world. I feel sorry for you! You are cheerful and joyful. There is only the most beautiful spot left. There are picturesque mountains, beautiful meadows and fertile plains there. I wanted to save that place for myself but because I have nothing else left, I will give it to you."
In that way Georgians became the inhabitants of the most beautiful land in the world, four times smaller then Poland.