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Driving Directions Georgia

GEORGIA, a republic in the southwest of the former USSR, gained full independence from Russia in 1991. It shares borders with Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Russian Federation and is bounded to the west by the Black Sea. The country incorporates the breakaway repub­lic of Abkhazia and the semi-autonomous regions of Adzharia and South Ossetia. It consists of a coastal plain and low-lying river valleys sandwiched between two high mountain ranges – the Great Caucasus in the north and the Lesser Caucasus in the south.

The climate on the coast is moist and warm, while inland, it is dry, with hot summers and cold winters. Glaciers and snowfields occur on the highest peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. About one-third of the country is forested, with conifers on the mountain slopes and deciduous species lower down. Wildlife includes deer, lynx, wolf, wild boar, and eagle.

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Agriculture, which is the population’s main occupation, includes tea cultivation and fruit growing, especially citrus fruits and viticulture. The republic is rich in minerals, especially manganese, but imports the majority of its energy needs. Industries include coal, timber, machinery, chemicals, silk, food processing, and furniture.

In the past, the Black Sea tourist trade exploited the country’s wealth of thermal and mineral springs very successfully, and tourism should again become an economic mainstay. The country has been devastated. The economy and its people’s lives have been severely disrupted by internal strife during the last decade as ethnic minorities have struggled for regional autonomy.

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Although it is a small country, Georgia features extremely diverse terrain, with high mountain ranges and fertile coastal lowlands. Most of the country is mountainous, with the Greater Caucasus Mountains in the north and the south’s Lesser Caucasus. In the mountains, earthquakes, and landslides frequently destroy life and property. In the west, the Kolkhida Lowland borders the Black Sea, while the terrain in the east consists of the Kura River Basin’s plains. The country is situated in the isthmus between the Caspian and Black Seas.

Included within Georgia’s boundaries are two autonomous republics: Ajaria in Georgia’s southwestern corner and Abkhazia in the northwest. Another autonomous region is South Ossetia, in the north-central part of Georgia. Separatists have sought to detach these areas from Georgia, especially in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Georgia’s shoreline lies at the easternmost edge of the Black Sea. The Black Sea is a tideless, nearly landlocked water body that lies between southeastern Europe and Asia Minor. It connects to the Sea of Marmara to the southwest through the Bosporus Strait. The principal Black Sea ports in Georgia are Pot’s and Batumi.

Did you know about Georgia?

The Caucasus Region is the land area between the Black and Caspian Seas, including southwest Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. This area forms part of the traditional natural boundary between Europe and Asia.

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