The Greater Caucasus mountain range, several UNESCO World Heritage sites, the 12th-century cave monastery at Vardzia—the beauty in Georgia is infinite.
We’ve been spending a lot of time recently thinking about this fascinating country. This is partly because we’ve just enabled fast money transfer deliveries there. But also because there are so many interesting and little-known facts about the place.
Curious to find out more? We thought so. Here are our favourite fun facts about Georgia.
Georgia—that’s not even its name
Georgia is the western name for what’s actually Sakartvelo. And this is the name the Georgians give to their country. There are two parts to this name. The first, Kartveli, means someone who lives in the central region of Karli-Iberia. And the other is sa-o, meaning the inhabited land of whatever comes next (kartvelo). So, the land of the Kartveli.
So why ‘Georgia’, then? Well, some say ‘Georgia’ came from the country’s love for St George at the time of the Christian crusaders in the Middle Ages. Interesting, huh?
Wine was born in Georgia
Ladies and gentlemen, our favourite drink has a home! Yes, that’s right. The birthplace of wine is Georgia. In fact, it’s been producing it for around 8,000 years—if not more. Georgian wine is becoming more well-known around the globe. It’s made in the ancient wine-growing region of Kakheti, situated in eastern Georgia close to the borders of Azerbaijan and Russia.
Like many of the best things in life, wine was actually one big happy accident. Somehow, grape juice ended up in a pit in the earth and got buried underground. What happened next? It became wine! In Georgia, the traditional way to make it is in a clay jar called a Qvevri. The process is listed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. Also, see image above.
Georgia’s in space!
It’s 1977. You’re NASA. You’re on an alien-finding mission. You’ve just successfully had your ‘Voyager 1’ spacecraft built by experts. You’re pretty happy about life. What do you do next? Why, you take a Georgian folk song and launch it into space, of course!
The beautiful Georgian folk song, “Chakrulo”, was taken into space on the Voyager on a record. It was accompanied by other traditional music from across the globe, along with images, spoken greetings in over 50 languages and more. Apparently, it was seen as an onboarding experience for any aliens that might want to see what planet Earth is all about. How cool is that?
One of the oldest Jewish communities lives in Georgia
Georgia is home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. Georgian Jews have been in Georgia for over 2,500 years, having migrated there in the 6th Century BC during the Babylonian captivity.
The 1800s then saw the arrival of Ashkenazi Jews—the Jewish diaspora.
The highest inhabited settlements are in Georgia
Altitude is something Georgia knows a lot about—especially as it’s home to Europe’s highest permanent settlement. Ushguli and Bochorna stand at 2,100 and 2,345 metres above sea level, respectively. Not only are they both situated in mountainous regions, but they also enjoy windy and snow-filled winters and short and fresh summers. Fancy that.
Georgia has 12 different climate zones
Most countries have a couple of climate zones, right? Some even have four, or five, or six. Well, listen up. Georgia has an impressive 12 climate zones ranging from the subtropical to the alpine to arid semi-desert landscapes.
Georgia is an incredibly ecologically diverse country. You can ski, hike canyons and spot bears, wolves and lynx across miles and miles of forest. It really is full of beauty.
Safety is one of Georgia’s successes
In 2017, Georgia was rated the 7th safest country to visit in the world. Not only is that pretty impressive, but it’s great news for those travelling alone! Yes, the border with Russia has a few dodgy spots, but overall it’s all good. The rest of the country is incredibly safe. So many of us can travel there with total peace of mind.
And if you’re travelling on a budget, you’ll be pleased to learn it’s also the 7th cheapest country in the world. Happy days! Your holiday savings will go far as you navigate the wonders of Sakartvelo. Enjoy!
Got an unusual fact about Georgia? Or a special memory of Georgia that you want to share? Tell us! Share your fact or story about Georgia on Instagram and tag us @transfergo. We’ll reshare our favourites!