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  • Georgia Republic

    Georgia Republic travel guide

    Overview

    The Georgian Republic is fast becoming a popular tourist hub.Visitors can look forward to vast mountain ranges with superbwalking, skiing and snowboarding opportunities, a magnificentcoastline, immense architectural and archaeological wealth, and amodern capital that shows off contemporary Georgian culture.

    The country lies between the Black and Caspian seas, and has hadinhabitants since the Stone Age. History lovers should note thatthe ancient world's busiest trade route, the Silk Road, ran throughGeorgia, enriching the region both culturally and economically.

    Against that, the country's transcontinental location exposed itto invasion throughout the centuries, with Persians, Romans, ArabCaliphs and Mongols occupying it at various times. This turbulenthistory is best seen in Georgia's impressive archaeological ruins,some dating back to the 5th century BC. Its impressive churches andfortresses are worth seeing too.

    Having gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991,Georgia has only recently embraced its potential as a touristdestination. Known for their sincere hospitality, locals do theirbest to make visitors feel welcome. Often guests are invited todine at residents' homes to partake in the tradition. Essentially, it's a sampling of the localcuisine, which blends of Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean,Persian and European flavours. Such occasions are marked by toastsof wine, reflecting Georgia's 3,000 year-old viticulturalheritage.

    The capital, Tbilisi, was named after the area's warm springs,and has a distinct Mediterranean atmosphere. Travellers can wanderthe winding narrow streets and indulge in the café culture, andvisit some of the finest museums and art galleries in the region.They can also enjoy the theatre and Turkish baths. Located at theother end of this small country, the warm Black Sea invitestravellers to discover its more isolated beaches and visit the manylocal markets, which spill over with fresh produce from the area'slemon, orange and banana groves.

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Georgia has a warm, temperate climate. The Likhi mountain rangedivides the country into western and eastern halves, shielding theeastern part of the country from the influence of the Black Sea andcreating a continental climate. The average temperature in the eastranges between 60°F to 75°F (20°C - 24°C) in summer and between36°F to 39°F (2°C - 4°C) in winter.

    Western Georgia experiences a sub-tropical, maritime climate,and summer temperatures average around 72°F (22°C), dropping to41°F (5°C) in winter. The west can get humid and experiencesrainfall throughout the year, though autumn and winter receive theheaviest precipitation. In the east, rainfall peaks in spring andwinter is the driest season. The mountainous areas receive a lot ofrain, though the amount of rainfall generally decreases withdistance from the coast.

    Whether travellers are visiting the coast or the mountains, thebest time to see Georgia is during summer. The weather is at itssunniest and most pleasant in May, June and September. However, asthe country's climate varies somewhat from region to region, it'sworth checking out exactly what to expect for particulardestinations.

    Tbilisi International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 12 miles (19km) south east of thecity.
    Time: GMT +4.
    Getting to the city: Airport taxis are available to the city centre, taking about 30minutes.
    Car Rental: Rental agencies are available for car hire at the airport.
    Fascilities: Facilities include banks and exchange facilities; severalrestaurants, cafeterias and bars; a VIP lounge; duty free shop;newsagent/tobacconist; disabled access/facilities and a businesscentre. There is also a pharmacy, and medical services areprovided.
    Parking Short and long-term parking is available.
    Money:

    The official currency is the Lari (GEL), which is divided into100 tetri. Cash is the preferred method of payment in Georgia butmajor credit cards are accepted in established restaurants, hotelsand shops in Tbilisi. Euros, Roubles or US Dollars can be exchangedat any of the widespread bureaux de change, but other currenciesshould generally be changed at the bank. ATM machines can be foundin the major cities. Banking hours are Monday to Friday from 10amto 6pm.

    Language:

    Georgian is the official language, but Russian andEnglish are also spoken widely. In Abkhazia, a region in westGeorgia, the Abkhazian language also has the status of an officiallanguage.

    Electricity:

    Electrical current is 220 volts, 50 Hz. The "Type C"Europlug with two round pins is standard.

    Entry Requirements:

    US citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period ofintended stay in Georgia. No visa is required for a stay of up to ayear.

    British citizens must have a passport that is valid for theintended period of stay in Georgia. For passports endorsed BritishCitizen or British Overseas Territories Citizen no visa is requiredfor a stay of up to a year. Those with passports with any otherendorsement should confirm entry requirements before travel.

    Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for theperiod of intended stay in Georgia. No visa is required for a stayof up to a year.

    Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for theperiod of intended stay in Georgia. No visa is required for a stayof up to a year.

    South African citizens must have a passport that is valid forthe period of intended stay in Georgia. No visa is required for astay of up to a year.

    Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for the periodof intended stay in Georgia. No visa is required for a stay of upto 1 year.

    US citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period ofintended stay in Georgia. No visa is required for a stay of up to ayear.

    New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for theperiod of intended stay in Georgia. No visa is required for a stayof up to a year.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    Travellers to Georgia require valid passports and may requireproof of sufficient funds for their stay, proof of healthinsurance, and an onward ticket and documentation for the next legof their journey. It is highly recommended that their passportshave at least six months' validity remaining after their intendeddate of departure. Immigration officials often apply differentrules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

    Travel Health:

    Travel to Georgia is usually incident-free from a health pointof view so long as visitors go prepared. Preventative healthmeasures should be taken for malaria when travelling to Georgia;there is no risk in Tbilisi, but visitors to the southeastern areasshould take malaria medication.

    There are no required vaccinations for Georgia but travellersshould ask their doctors to recommend some or all of the followingvaccinations, depending on what they are planning to do in thecountry: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, tetanus-diphtheria, andrabies. Visitors should avoid drinking untreated tap water; bottledwater is widely available. Medical care in Georgia is limited,especially outside Tbilisi. Many doctors and hospitals will expectpayment in cash, regardless of whether visitors have travel healthinsurance.

    If travellers need prescription medications, it is best to takethem along, as well as a copy of a doctor's letter explaining themedical condition in question, and what has been prescribed. Thatway, visitors can avoid having difficulties with customs.

    Tipping:

    Tipping is generally expected in at cafes and restaurants, aswell as for taxis. The tip is usually between 10 and 15 percent,but visitors should take note that a service charge is sometimesadded to bills.

    Safety Information:

    Holidays in Georgia are generally trouble-free, with the mostcommon forms of crime against foreigners involving petty acts oftheft and pickpocketing. That said, visitors can minimise risk evenfurther by using hotel safes to store valuables, and by dividingcards, money and travel documents between various bags. They shouldalso avoid flaunting their wealth and walking alone in quiet areasat night, and should remain vigilant when using publictransport.

    Travellers should not visit the separatist regions of SouthOssetia and Abkhazia, as they clash sporadically with the nationalgovernment. Another area of concern is Pankisi Gorge, wherenational armed forces have occasionally conducted operationsagainst suspected international terrorists, Chechen fighters, andcriminals who have taken refuge in the area.

    Local Customs:

    Georgians are generally friendly, hospitable, and gregariouspeople. They're known to offer complete strangers drinks at bars orrestaurants, and routinely invite foreigners into private homes fordinner.

    Tourists should wear suitable clothing if visiting churches.(Shorts are inappropriate and women should cover their heads.)Homosexuality is legal in Georgia, though not widely accepted.

    Business:

    Suitable business attire for men is a suit, while dresses orsuits are appropriate for women. Business cards are frequentlyexchanged. Georgians pride themselves on being good hosts, someetings are often followed by a meal or drinks. If invited into aprivate home, a small gift of chocolates, flowers, or alcohol isappreciated. Business hours are usually 10am to 6pm, with a shortbreak taken over lunch.

    Communications:

    The international dialling code for Georgia is +995. Theoutgoing code is 8-10 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 81044 for the UK). Area codes exist, such as 32 for Tbilisi. Mobilephone coverage is good in the capital and in coastal regions, butsignal strength is not as good in rural areas. Landlines are widelyavailable and internet access is available in cities and at majorhotels.

    Duty Free:

    Travellers are allowed 400 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco, 4litre of any alcohol, and a reasonable amount of perfume forpersonal use without incurring a customs duty.

    Useful Contacts:

    Georgian National Tourism Association, Tbilisi: +995 32 243 6999https://gnta.ge/

    Georgia Republic Embassies:

    Embassy of Georgia, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 3872390.

    Embassy of Georgia, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 73481942.

    Embassy of Georgia, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 421 0460.

    Georgian Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 3461831

    Embassy of Georgia, Canberra, Australia (also responsible forNew Zealand): +61 2 6162 0126.

    Embassy of Georgia, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 905 9191

    Foreign Embassies in Georgia Republic :

    United States Embassy, Tbilisi: +995 32 227 7000.

    British Embassy, Tbilisi: +995 32 227 4747.

    Canadian Embassy, Ankara, Turkey (also responsible for Georgia):+90 312 409 2700.

    South African Embassy, Kiev, Ukraine (also responsible forGeorgia): +380 44 289 8870.

    Australian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey (also responsible forGeorgia): +90 312 459 9500.

    Georgia Republic Emergency Numbers : Emergencies: 112.
    Georgia Republic