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At the eastern end of the Black Sea lies Georgia, a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. It is surrounded by Russia to the north, Azerbaijan to the southeast, and Turkey and Armenia to the south. Situated at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, the country covers an area of 69,700 square kilometres or 26,911 square miles, home to approximately five million residents. Its capital and largest city is Tblisi.

What to see & do

Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia. It is also the largest and most cosmopolitan city. From Tbilisi, visitors head to Mtskheta, located about 20 kilometres from the capital. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the former capital of Eastern Georgia. Mtskheta is the centre of Georgian Orthodox Church and is a place of interest for tourists who want to explore Orthodox Christianity.

Head to Kutaisi and explore the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Bagrati Cathedral, also known as Cathedral of the Dormition or Kutaisi Cathedral, is the 11th-century cathedral church in the city, showcasing modern and medieval Georgian architecture. It sits on top the Uk’imerioni Hill and has become an important landmark in central Kutaisi. On the other hand, Gelati Monastery is home to the Church of the Virgin as well as the 13th-century churches of St. George and St. Nicholas. It was also included in the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund, a non-profit international organisation that seeks to preserve historic architecture and cultural heritage sites.

Akhaltsikhe is the small capital of Samtskhe-Javakheti. It is close to popular tourist destinations such as Vardzia and the Sapara Monastery. Another must-see city is Borjomi which is home to a national park and the summer palace of the Russian Romanov dynasty. Telavi, the capital of Kakheti, serves as a starting point for those who want to explore nearby castles, monasteries, and wineries.

Other must-see destinations include the Bakuriani ski slopes in the southern part of the country, Pasanauri ski slopes in the Georgian Greater Caucasus Mountains, a sixth-century cave monastery called Davit Gareja that offers great views of the Azerbaijani desert, and Mount Kazbeg, one of the highest mountains in Europe. It is also home to the Tsminda Sameba (Holy Trinity) monastery.

How to get around within Georgia

The easiest way to get around Georgia is by taxi. It is inexpensive, though visitors are advised to agree on the fare and destination with the driver first before getting in the taxi. Marshrutkas or minibuses run on established routes and from one city to another. By train, Georgia has an extensive railway system, even for long distances. Visitors can likewise go mountain biking to reach remote areas. Bikes can be rented in bigger towns.

How to get there

All European countries, CIS nations, and other countries do not need a visa to visit Georgia for up to 90 days. For those that need a visa, apply at a Georgian embassy or consulate. Visas are likewise issued at official road and air entry points to the country.

There are flights from several locations in Europe, North America, and Asia to Tbilisi International Airport. There are also international flights from the Middle East.

Georgia can also be accessed by boat. There are boat services from Istanbul and Odessa to Batumi and Poti. By train, people from Baku, Azerbaijan can reach Tbilisi. There is also a train service from Yerevan, Armenia.

Direct bus services are available from Istanbul, Turkey as well as Baku, Azerbaijan to Tbilisi. On the other hand, routes of minibuses cover Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, and Iraq.

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