Georgia – Interesting Facts

The time has come for a long-awaited Georgia interesting facts. I mean Georgia the country in Europe, not a state in the United States.

I have travelled in the Caucasus region for a bit more than 4 months, including Azerbaijan, Georgia, Abkhazia, Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh and I loved it there!

Georgia stole my heart with an extreme hospitality, stunningly beautiful mountain regions, quirky cities and amazing food.

Georgia Interesting Facts - Things You Didn't Know about Georgia

I spent one and half month in Georgia exploring every single corner of the country and there are things that amused or surprised me.

There are many unusual facts about Georgia, such as Georgians do not call their country Georgia but Sakartvelo or that Georgia has 12 different climate zones, ranging from subtropical through alpine to semi-desert.

But I’m going to tell you about interesting facts about Georgia that you can’t Google and read about so easily.

Georgia Info/ Georgia Interesting Facts

Georgia Flag - Georgia Interesting FactsGeorgia Capital: Tbilisi

Georgia Currency: Georgian Lari GEL

Georgia Languages: Georgian

Georgia Population: 3,718 millions

Georgia Religion: Georgian Orthodox Church

Georgia Flag: also known as the Five Cross Flag. A white flag depicting five red crosses (the Cross of St. George and four smaller ones).

The flag of Georgia was adopted in January 2004 after the “Rose Revolution” but the origin of the flag dates back to the 14th century.

Georgia Map/ Where is Georgia located?Georgia Map - Georgia Interesting Facts

Located on the continent of Asia in the Caucasus region. Georgia shares land borders with four countries: Turkey, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan.

Georgia Interesting Facts

1. Amazing Hospitality

Georgian people are extremely hospitable. No! Wait! To say that they are hospitable is an understatement! They take hospitality to another level!

They will make anything to make their guest happy and content and I think only Iranian have any chance at beating them in that matter.

But even complete strangers, on the streets, are super, super nice! I had people paying marshrutkas for me, helping with my luggage, giving me lifts, driving extra 40km to give me a lift.

Giving me fruits on the market for free. Letting me to museums for free. Inviting home for tea, coffee, food and conversation. Organizing me transport, asking me to join them on expeditions etc This list is never ending…

For example, super amazing people from the Institute of Forest Protection who I have met on my way to Tusheti and instantly became friends with.

Georgia Interesting Facts - Things You Didn't Know about Georgia

Spend 5 days checking the state of trees, studying butterflies species, celebrating, partying, learning about Georgian toast tradition and culture! Exploring Tusheti and making friends for life.

In the words of many Georgians, “guests are a gift from God,” and Georgia’s hospitality really shows they believe it!

2. You are never alone in Georgia!

I travel on my own and I do not mind sitting alone in the restaurant or spending a day wandering around some lost streets of Zugdidi, but Georgian people do not understand the idea of ‘on your own’.

Shock and surprise are always on Georgian faces when they see someone alone in the restaurant.

Every single time I went to the restaurant without a company of fellow travellers, the invitation to one of the tables was instant. And straight away everything was about me. The conversation and the toasts, of course.

For Georgians I’m a guest and to be honest I get an idea that they never miss a good occasion to celebrate at any point of the day :)

Georgia Interesting Facts - Things You Didn't Know about Georgia

3. Mama is a Father?!

You know how in most languages mama and dada/papa have cross-linguistic similarities and in most mama and numerous versions of this word means ‘mother’ and dada/papa means ‘father’.

The Georgian language has its similar words “backwards” compared to other languages. ‘Mama’ means father and ‘Deda’ mother!

You would have to see the confusion on my face when I was staying in a guesthouse in Tusheti and the daughter of the owner was all the time calling him ‘Mama’!

I thought I heard something wrong therefore I asked around to make sure I’m not crazy. Papa stands for grandfather and here we touching some common base.

Georgia Interesting Facts - Things You Didn't Know about Georgia

4. The Art of Toasting

This is a country where you will hear the longest toasts on the ’supra’ – a traditional Georgian dinner party with an institution of ‘tamada’ – a toast maker, chosen especially for that actual situation. It is a big honour and a sign of great respect to be a tamada.

I love the whole culture behind this tradition, but as a Polish person, I had some little problems with it, in the beginning.

In Poland; we, as well, always toast before drinking but those toast are rather short and fast so we can get to drinking ha ha

In Georgia, the toast can be even 20 mins long, and often ‘tamada’ decide who will be speaking after him/her so it can take a rather long moment, while in Poland we would be on the 4th shot by then.

With time I got used to and grown to love this beautiful custom. As wine is an inseparable part of the traditional Georgian table and here we have some common ground to cover.

Georgia Interesting Facts - Things You Didn't Know about Georgia

5. Cradle of Winemaking

The moment I learned that Georgians invented winemaking I understood my unconditional love for this country, haha That is my favourite among all Georgia interesting facts!

But seriously, Georgia has been producing wine for at least 8,000 years, therefore, UNESCO has listed the country’s wine-making method as a notable piece of cultural heritage.

UNESCO has also designated Georgia’s polyphonic singing as an Intangible Cultural Heritage (you can meet the heartwarming Folk Music Artist, Beso Tshitanava, in the video by GLP Films below).

In the wine region of Kakheti, I have learned about a very specific way Georgians produce this divine liquid.

The wine fermentates in a clay jar called a ‘qvevri’. The jars are filled with grape juice and often with stone and ski and sealed with a wooden lid.

The sealed jar is then buried underground, but most often it is already placed there, to ferment and follow a natural process of wine-making.

As I have mentioned in number 1 Georgians are incredibly hospitable and wine plays an essential part in that hospitality (number 4). As the monumental “Mother of Georgia” symbolize: friends will be welcomed with wine, enemies with a sword!

And believe me, Georgians can drink. Being Polish I’m never worried in that department, I can outdrink most people easily but not Georgians! After 1,5 months in the country, I was dreaming about a day without a drink!

6. Stalin was Georgian

Joseph Stalin was Georgian. Stalin ruled the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953, but he was born and grow up in Gori, Georgia.

I went to visit this city only for one reason, to visit the Joseph Stalin Museum. And yes that is most quirky among all Georgia interesting facts.

Being from the country which was occupied by the Soviet Union after WWII and under strict influence of communism for decades after it was something unthinkable to me. That there could be a museum to Stalin!

The museum displays Stalin’s journey from the Gori church school to the leadership of the USSR, the Yalta Conference at the end of WWII, and his death in 1953.

And takes no attempt to present a balanced account of Stalin’s life. Its purpose remains, much as when it opened in 1957. A reverent homage to the Gori boy who became a key figure of 20th-century.

Back in 2008, Georgia’s Minister of Culture Nikoloz Vacheishvili wanted to reorganized into the Museum of Russian Aggression.

Since then not much changed except a big banner saying: “This museum is a falsification of history. It is a typical example of Soviet propaganda and it attempts to legitimise the bloodiest regime in history.”

In 2012 the municipal assembly of Gori voted to put an end to plans to change the museum’s content and the banner is long gone.

And strangely, I somehow understand Gori’s citizens. The museum is a cultural heritage of the city. It is a reminder of a very sad and painful history, but nevertheless part of the history.

For me, the museum represents and gives a bigger understanding of Joseph Stalin’s cult of personality and somehow stands as a warning to all of us.

Georgia Interesting Facts - Things You Didn't Know about Georgia

7. Religion is big in Georgia

Georgian people are extremely religious. The predominant religion in Georgia is Orthodox Christianity but traditionally Georgia is a country of many religions. Having said that many pagan beliefs are still very much alive in Georgia.

And I know what you gonna say, Marysia in many countries people are religious, even in yours. So why is it so special? Maybe because I’m not used to seeing a display of your faith outside the places of worship.

In my country, people might be religious and go to church on Sunday. In many countries of the Middle East, where I like to travel, many people are religious but you can’t see much of that outside of the mosques.

Every Georgian makes a sign of the cross when passing nearby a church. Every driver has pictures of saints and rosemary hanging in the car and often in the house.

There is always a toast to God on the ‘supra’ and many people will openly tell you they are religious. To put it another way, religion is big in Georgia. A bit like in Hinduism and Buddhism, in Georgia, religion is omnipresent in every aspect of life, and I find it beautiful to observe.

Georgia Interesting Facts - Things You Didn't Know about Georgia

8. Toilet Paper Issue

Toilet paper has no hole inside of the roll and it is very difficult to hang it on the toilet paper holder.

More shocking is that every bathroom is equipped with one, but the paper is never hanging on it! Biggest mystery among Georgia interesting facts!

And those are kind of quirky things, which always make me simile and my mind to wonder and investigate things lol

You find this one weird? Sorry, that is crazy me, I had to include this one :)

Georgia Interesting Facts - Things You Didn't Know about Georgia

9. No smoking restrictions?

Georgian people smoke and they smoke like hell. Everywhere, anytime, no matter what!

Drivers in the marshrutkas. People in the table next to you in the restaurants. People in your table while you still eating. People actually smoke while they eat!

It is totally insane, for someone like me, who never smoke and hate the smell, it was really challenging. For example, it seems totally ok to have cigarets mixed with teddy bears for kids in claw crane machine!!!

Georgia Interesting Facts - Things You Didn't Know about Georgia

While Georgians are really amazing people for guests (their hospitality is world famous) this is one thing they don’t notice! Simply they don’t consider it a problem.

Update: As of 1st of May of the 2018 smoking in public spaces in Georgia is banned, but that wasn’t a reality on my trip there!

I’m super happy to hear that this one of the Georgia interesting facts will not be a problem for future travellers anymore!

Georgia Interesting Facts - Things You Didn't Know about Georgia

10. Crazy driving

I know many people in Georgia may be upset with me for saying this but Georgians drive like crazy.

Seriously, overtaking on the continuous line while heading for a frontal collision without a space to escape when something goes wrong, because you are on a mountain serpentine road with one line in each way, is normal in Georgia.

Georgia Interesting Facts - Things You Didn't Know about Georgia

To be honest, I do not know if Georgia is the worst in the world in this matter, as I haven’t been everywhere yet. And I have definitely have been to many countries where driving is insane like Iran or Benin, but Georgia is in my top 3 for sure.

I do always take it as one of the country’s flavours and sometimes, I think, I pay so much attention to it because I’m European (but Romanians drive like crazy for me as well) so don’t be scared by this quirky fact about Georgia.

I don’t have a faint heart but when I saw a man falling off the road because of the car driving too close to him I had to stop the driver. I would be lying if I said I didn’t scream at him like an insane person!

Luckily the man felt in the safety net. After that, the driver was driving like a saint, not sure if he was humbled by the situation or simply was too scared that I would scream again.

As well I was never sure how people pass technical inspection in the country… haha

Georgia Interesting Facts - Things You Didn't Know about Georgia

Georgia is an amazing country, which is becoming one of the world’s top destination for travellers from around the globe. And I’m not surprised by it.

As cliche, as it sounds Georgia, has it all.  Food that will make you gain a few pounds, but do not worry, they have fantastic mountains to hike so you can stay in shape.

After exploring some of the best mountains in the world, you can chill a few days on the beach of the Black Sea, go explore some ancient cave cities, or go wine-tasting in Kaheti.

Georgia Interesting Facts - Things You Didn't Know about Georgia

Your options are limitless.

PS. As you know I’m always looking for the Polish connection on my travels, as I’m Polish. Sometimes it is hard to find anything but it wasn’t in Georgia. Georgians seem to have a special love for Polish people or maybe they just say the same good things to all nations :)

Georgia Interesting Facts - Things You Didn't Know about Georgia

Learn more about travel experiences in Georgia at www.georgia.travel

Videos above provided by GLP Films

Check out Interesting Travel Facts about other countries!

Do you love Georgia Interesting Facts?

If you did like Georgia Interesting Facts, please share it on social media, that would mean the world to me!

If you didn’t like Georgia Interesting Facts, please do tell so I can improve this site for you and other readers.

And do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions about Georgia. More than happy to chat!

Cheers, Marysia

Azerbaijan Interesting Facts  Borjomi – Tbilisi Train

Pin Georgia Interesting Facts

Georgia Interesting Facts: 'Mama' is a father, where hospitality is taken to another level, the craziest drivers in the world and no smoking restrictions. #travel #travelphotography #georgia #Caucasus #Caucasusregion #asia #europe

28 thoughts on “Georgia – Interesting Facts

  1. I hope I get to go to Georgia some day! Everyone I know who visited, totally fell in love with this country! Here in Latvia it is considered that Georgian hospitality is like nowhere else!

  2. I’ve been wanting to get to Georgia for so long and your post finally convinced me to squeeze it somehow in my next year itinerary, since it is so close to home and have a direct flight as well.

  3. This was such a lovely little read and definitely learnt some new things. I enjoy reading these types of posts, cause as you said, you can’t just google these things. Thanks for sharing!

  4. The description of winemaking in Georgia made me want to experience it. Georgia is definitely a place that I’d like to go and you made it very interesting. Sri Lank needs to be on the list of crazy drivers. Cairo, too.

    • Haha for sure, Sri Lanka didn’t shock me at all, to be honest, Iran and Benin did much more. Georgia is a superb place to visit and the wine is great and very specific!
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair 211My Profile

  5. This is such a cool post! I keep seeing so many people talking about Georgia lately so definitely have to visit some day. I learnt a lot in this post, especially surprised about the wine. You never think of Georgian wine, but it sounds great.

    • I agree many people do not connect Georgia with wine! France and wine, that goes without saying, but I think more and more people learn about typical Georgian wines and grapes.
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair 211My Profile

  6. Georgia has been on my list since the last year… I’m hoping to make it in 2020… I’m going to save this article to show my husband because he was skeptical about going.

  7. Sarah

    I love these facts, thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to get to Georgia!

  8. Georgia is so on my list of places to explore! I never knew about the toilet paper thing – so weird, but glad I’m prepared for that!

  9. I absolutely loved my time in Georgia but I was honestly scared for my life every time I got into a marshrutka. I’ve travelled through many parts of China, India and Southeast Asia and although the traffic is crazy there, the drivers are nowhere near as reckless as they are in Georgia!

    • Haha, so it wasn’t only my observation I can see. They really drive like crazy :) But the country is fantastic, that is a given!
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair 217My Profile

  10. Such an interesting read! I remember we drove through Georgia as a kid and my parents kept on saying it’s the craziest place to drive ever. It seems that it didn’t get any better with the years :)
    Jurga recently posted…See The Best of Milan in One Day (Perfect Itinerary)My Profile

  11. I think Georgia is those up and coming destinations. This article certainly made me want to travel there! I’d love to witness the hospitality part and have some Georgian wines. I’m a vegetarian though, do you think I would find anything to eat? I’m under the impression that the food is quite heavily based on meat. A lovely article, kudos!

    • It is heavily based on meat indeed, but if you are a vegetarian you won’t have a problem. If you are a vegan it would be harder but not impossible.
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair 216My Profile

      • Ok, thanks for the info. I’m flexible, don’t have to be vegan all the time so I’d do just fine then.

  12. What a detailed post with cool pictures. I have heard that Georgia is an amazing country. Now I am sure of it :)
    Priyanka Gupta recently posted…How to Score Chile Visa on an Indian Passport – From India and South AmericaMy Profile

    • Oh, that goes without saying, a great country with beautiful landscapes and amazing people!
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair 216My Profile

  13. I have been wanting to go to Georgia for years but honestly didn’t do lots of research and until this day don’t know what to expect. Learning about driving makes me a bit anxious though. I thought the worst driving was in Ukraine. Hopefully next year I’ll get a chance to visit!

    • You gonna love it, and as for driving, as I said I doubt it is worse than in Ukraine. As a European, I guess my driving standards are rather slow and very steady lol Georgia is an amazing country, one of my best trips ever!
      Marysia recently posted…Georgia – Interesting FactsMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

CommentLuv badge