A map of Georgia, showing the disputed territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are both self-declared independent...Read More >>A map of Georgia, showing the disputed territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are both self-declared independent territories and not under the control of the Georgian government In the north of Georgia, forming the border with Russia, lie the mountains of the Greater Caucasus. To the south are the Lesser Caucasus, a chain of lower mountains. Between the two ranges lie forested lowlands and fertile river valleys. The coastal region near the Black Sea has a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters. Further inland, it gets colder: the highest mountains are covered with snow and ice all year round.
The Georgians are a Caucasian people; their ancestors have lived in the southern Caucasus for at least 5000 years. The great majority of the population is Georgian; the rest are mainly Azeris, Armenians and Russians. Around a tenth (mainly Azerbaijanis) are Muslim, but most people are Orthodox Christians. The church plays an important part in modern Georgian culture and society.
Georgia is widely believed to have been named after St George. In fact, its name originates from the Persian "gurg", meaning “land of wolves”. Georgians themselves call their country Sakartvelo.
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