Location: Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between
Turkey and Russia
Geographic coordinates: 42 00 N, 43 30 E
Map references: Commonwealth of Independent States
total: 69,700 sq km
land: 69,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than South Carolina
total: 1,461 km
border countries: Armenia 164 km, Azerbaijan 322 km, Russia
723 km, Turkey 252 km
Coastline: 310 km
Maritime claims: NA
Climate: warm and pleasant; Mediterranean-like on Black
Terrain: largely mountainous with Great Caucasus Mountains
in the north and Lesser Caucasus Mountains in the south; Kolkhet'is
Dablobi (Kolkhida Lowland) opens to the Black Sea in the west; Mtkvari
River Basin in the east; good soils in river valley flood plains,
foothills of Kolkhida Lowland
lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Mt'a Mqinvartsveri (Gora Kazbek) 5,048 m
Natural resources: forests, hydropower, manganese deposits,
iron ore, copper, minor coal and oil deposits; coastal climate and
soils allow for important tea and citrus growth
arable land: 9%
permanent crops: 4%
permanent pastures: 25%
forests and woodland: 34%
other: 28% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 4,000 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: earthquakes
Environment - current issues: air pollution, particularly
in Rust'avi; heavy pollution of Mtkvari River and the Black Sea;
inadequate supplies of potable water; soil pollution from toxic
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate
Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous
Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution,
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Formal Name: Republic of Georgia.
Short Name: Georgia.
Term for Citizens: Georgian(s).
Date of Independence: April 9, 1991.
Size: Approximately 69,875 square kilometers.
Topography: Extremely varied; Greater Caucasus
and Lesser Caucasus ranges dominate northern and eastern regions.
Many rivers flow through mountain gorges into Black Sea and Caspian
Sea. Narrow lowland area along Black Sea. Plains region in east.
Climate: Subtropical, humid along coast. Mountains
protect from northern influences and create temperature zones according
to elevation. Eastern plains, isolated from sea, have continental
climate. Year-round snow in highest mountains.
Data as of March 1994
Located in the region known as the Caucasus or Caucasia, Georgia
is a small country of approximately 69,875 square kilometers--about
the size of West Virginia. To the north and northeast, Georgia borders
the Russian republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia, and North Ossetia
(all of which began to seek autonomy from Russia in 1992). Neighbors
to the south are Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. The shoreline
of the Black Sea constitutes Georgia's entire western border .
Despite its small area, Georgia has one of the most varied topographies
of the former Soviet republics . Georgia lies mostly in the Caucasus
Mountains, and its northern boundary is partly defined by the Greater
Caucasus range. The Lesser Caucasus range, which runs parallel to
the Turkish and Armenian borders, and the Surami and Imereti ranges,
which connect the Greater Caucasus and the Lesser Caucasus, create
natural barriers that are partly responsible for cultural and linguistic
differences among regions. Because of their elevation and a poorly
developed transportation infrastructure, many mountain villages
are virtually isolated from the outside world during the winter.
Earthquakes and landslides in mountainous areas present a significant
threat to life and property. Among the most recent natural disasters
were massive rock- and mudslides in Ajaria in 1989 that displaced
thousands in southwestern Georgia, and two earthquakes in 1991 that
destroyed several villages in northcentral Georgia and South Ossetia.
Georgia has about 25,000 rivers, many of which power small hydroelectric
stations. Drainage is into the Black Sea to the west and through
Azerbaijan to the Caspian Sea to the east. The largest river is
the Mtkvari (formerly known by its Azerbaijani name, Kura, which
is still used in Azerbaijan), which flows 1,364 kilometers from
northeast Turkey across the plains of eastern Georgia, through the
capital, Tbilisi, and into the Caspian Sea. The Rioni River, the
largest river in western Georgia, rises in the Greater Caucasus
and empties into the Black Sea at the port of Poti. Soviet engineers
turned the river lowlands along the Black Sea coast into prime subtropical
agricultural land, embanked and straightened many stretches of river,
and built an extensive system of canals. Deep mountain gorges form
topographical belts within the Greater Caucasus.
Data as of March 1994
Georgia's climate is affected by subtropical influences from the
west and mediterranean influences from the east. The Greater Caucasus
range moderates local climate by serving as a barrier against cold
air from the north. Warm, moist air from the Black Sea moves easily
into the coastal lowlands from the west. Climatic zones are determined
by distance from the Black Sea and by altitude. Along the Black
Sea coast, from Abkhazia to the Turkish border, and in the region
known as the Kolkhida Lowlands inland from the coast, the dominant
subtropical climate features high humidity and heavy precipitation
(1,000 to 2,000 millimeters per year; the Black Sea port of Batumi
receives 2,500 millimeters per year). Several varieties of palm
trees grow in these regions, where the midwinter average temperature
is 5° C and the midsummer average is 22° C.
The plains of eastern Georgia are shielded from the influence of
the Black Sea by mountains that provide a more continental climate.
Summer temperatures average 20° C to 24° C, winter temperatures
2° C to 4° C. Humidity is lower, and rainfall averages 500
to 800 millimeters per year. Alpine and highland regions in the
east and west, as well as a semiarid region on the Iori Plateau
to the southeast, have distinct microclimates.
At higher elevations, precipitation is sometimes twice as heavy
as in the eastern plains. In the west, the climate is subtropical
to about 650 meters; above that altitude (and to the north and east)
is a band of moist and moderately warm weather, then a band of cool
and wet conditions. Alpine conditions begin at about 2,100 meters,
and above 3,600 meters snow and ice are present year-round.
Data as of March 1994
Beginning in the 1980s, Black Sea pollution has greatly harmed
Georgia's tourist industry. Inadequate sewage treatment is the main
cause of that condition. In Batumi, for example, only 18 percent
of wastewater is treated before release into the sea. An estimated
70 percent of surface water contains health-endangering bacteria
to which Georgia's high rate of intestinal disease is attributed.
The war in Abkhazia did substantial damage to the ecological habitats
unique to that region. In other respects, experts considered Georgia's
environmental problems less serious than those of more industrialized
former Soviet republics. Solving Georgia's environmental problems
was not a high priority of the national government in the post-Soviet
years, however; in 1993 the minister for protection of the environment
resigned to protest this inactivity. In January 1994, the Cabinet
of Ministers announced a new, interdepartmental environmental monitoring
system to centralize separate programs under the direction of the
Ministry of Protection of the Environment. The system would include
a central environmental and information and research agency. The
Green Party used its small contingent in the parliament to press
environmental issues in 1993.
Data as of March 1994