According to CITYPOPULATIONREVIEW, Georgia is a state of Transcaucasia, bordered to the North and NE with the Russian Federation, to the SE with Azerbaijan, to the South with Armenia, to the SW with Turkey ; to the West it overlooks the Black Sea with a coastline of 310 km.
The territory of Georgia is mainly mountainous, dominated to the north by the Great Caucasus chain which marks the border with the Russian Federation for over 700 km; to the South develops the Little Caucasus, with peaks not exceeding 3500 meters. In the western part of the country extends the fertile plain of Colchis, wide open on the Black Sea and limited inland by the two Caucasian ranges. The main river is the Kura: born in Turkey, it penetrates Georgia, flows there for several hundred kilometers and flows into the Caspian Sea in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The climate is very varied and reflects the orographic-altimetric and morphological heterogeneity: it is temperate continental in the inland areas of mediocre altitude, rigid in the higher ones, humid subtropical (2800 mm of rain per year) along the coast.
Territory and population
A typical Transcaucasian country of transition and crossroads, Georgia has still suffered in recent years from its border position between very different natural and ethnic-cultural environments: between the Pontic coast and the very high Caucasian and Anatolian-Armenian peaks, and at the same time between the Slavic (Russian) and the Islamic (Turkish) world.
The country (5,059,000 residents in 1998, according to an estimate) includes in its territory, in addition to Georgia in the strict sense (which represents 78 % of the surface and 82 % of the state’s population), two autonomous republics, those of Agiaristan and Abkhazia on the Black Sea, and the autonomous province of South Ossetia in the interior, close to the Caucasus. In addition to the Abkhasi and Agyars, who are Muslims, and the Ossetians, the most numerous of the other minorities scattered throughout the country are ethnically linked to the three neighboring ex-Soviet countries: Armenians (9 % of the population), Russians (6 %, concentrated in urban areas), Azeri (6 %).
About a quarter of the Georgian population lives today in the capital city, Tbilisi, an ancient and traditional cultural center of the country but also a modern and lively metropolis (unfortunately devastated by the clashes of the nineties), with vast expanding neighborhoods surrounding the ancient core. Among the smaller cities emerge Kutaisi, the economic center of western Georgia, Rustavi and the capitals of Abkhasia, Sukhumi (heart of the Pontic tourist region), and of Agiaristan, the port and shipbuilding city of Batumi.
The Pontic side of the Georgia, especially in the coastal plain of Colchis, with a mild and humid climate, densely populated, traditionally finds its economic vocation in the rich and varied Mediterranean and subtropical agriculture, with vineyards, citrus groves and tea plantations (of this plant Georgia is one of the great world producers) and cotton; on the coast of Abkhasia, to the north-west, an intense tourist-seaside activity is well rooted, even if hampered by recent internal conflicts. The eastern sector of the country, with a much drier and more continental climate, is now widely irrigated thanks to the waterways coming from the Caucasus and can therefore also accommodate crops that require humidity such as cotton, as well as tobacco, corn, beet plantations, soy; however, there is no shortage of vineyards, which were the best in the USSR. Overall, Georgian agriculture at the end of the millennium, partly privatized, therefore appears to be a relatively flourishing economic activity. The industry can count on modest coal deposits and the most important manganese deposits in Čiatura (which have been exploited for some time); imported oil is refined and used for petrochemicals in Batumi, the Black Sea terminus of the historic oil pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan; a larger pipeline, in function of the export of Azerbaijani oil to the West, is planned (with an outlet to the sea in Poti), but its construction appears to be highly contrasted. The large integral cycle steel plant in Rustavi, a ‘new city’ legacy of the Soviet era, has undergone a significant downsizing, while various processing industries (tea and tobacco processing, winemaking) are located mainly in the capital. It must be recognized that, unlike other former Soviet countries, Georgia on the one hand does not have a wealth of natural resources such as to solicit significant support from the outside, and, on the other, it occupies a position (on the border with Turkey) such as to make it very difficult for the Russian Federation to accept a truly independent international position. In this sense, the story of the Poti oil pipeline is significant, the construction of which could largely free Georgia (and Azerbaijan) from external dependence.