Georgia—An Ancient Heritage Preserved
BY AWAKE! CORRESPONDENT
HOW would you like to live in a country of productive valleys nestled among 15,000-foot-high [4,600 m] snowcapped mountains, where some people live to the age of 100 and beyond? For the inhabitants of Georgia, this is not just a dream. It is a reality.
Georgia lies along the geographic and cultural border between Europe and Asia. In ancient times, Georgia was an important stage on the famous Silk Road, the same one that Marco Polo took to China. Georgia benefited financially and culturally from this connection between East and West, but sometimes invaders also found it worth their while to pass this way. By one count, Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, has been destroyed 29 times! Today, Tbilisi is a bustling and cheerful city, boasting a subway and modern buildings mingled with long-standing architectural monuments.
Some 87 percent of the Georgian terrain is mountainous. Down from the icy and desolate high country and through the lowlands flow 25,000 rivers, many full of trout. More than a third of the country is forested or covered with brush. The Caucasus mountain range on Georgia’s northern border shields the interior of the country from frigid weather coming from the north. This situation allows western Georgia to be warmed by the moist air from the Black Sea—one reason why Georgia has been a favorite destination for vacationers. The mild climate has also contributed to one of the world’s oldest and finest wine-making traditions. In fact, Georgia produces over 500 different varieties of grapes and wine!
Georgia’s greatest asset, however, is its people. They have been known through the ages for their valor, intelligence, and openhanded hospitality, as well as for their humor and love of life. Their culture is rich in song and dance, and folk songs are still frequently sung around the table in Georgian homes.
Georgia also has a long literary history, dating from the fifth century. Georgian was one of the earliest languages into which the Bible was translated, using the unique and beautiful Georgian alphabet. All this culture forges a living link with Georgia’s past—an ancient heritage preserved in a modern country.
[Picture Credit Line on page 24]
[Pictures on page 25]
1. Georgian Bible
2. Some residents live to the age of 100 and beyond!
3. A busy street in Tbilisi