spectacularly underrated destination, those who have been to Georgia are probably keen for it to stay that way – it simply wouldn’t do to let the masses come along and spoil it.

Sat at the crossroads between Asia and Europe, this plucky nation packs a lot in: from snowy mountains to sandy shores, via rolling vineyards, ancient cities and Unesco-listed monasteries. Today marks the 99th anniversary of independence from what was then the Russian Empire and to celebrate here are some things you may not know about this Eurasian beauty.

Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan.

The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its population is almost 4.7 million. Georgia is a unitary, semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.

During the classical era, independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia. The kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia adopted Christianity in the early 4th century. A unified Georgia reached the peak of its political and economic strength during the reign of King David IV and Queen Tamar in the 11th–12th centuries. At the beginning of the 19th century, Georgia was annexed by the Russian Empire. After a brief period of independence following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia was occupied by Soviet Russia in 1921, becoming the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic and part of the Soviet Union. After independence in 1991, post-communist Georgia suffered from civil unrest and economic crisis for most of the 1990s. This lasted until the Rose Revolution of 2003, after which the new government introduced democratic and economic reforms.

Georgia is a member of the Council of Europe and the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development. It contains two de facto independent regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which gained limited international recognition after the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. Georgia considers the regions to be part of its sovereign territory under Russian military occupation. Download and view Georgia at a Glance.

Find the cheapest flights to Georgia on JustFly (great fares) or Momondo (best for Business Class tickets) for the best deals on the internet.

I really didn’t know what to think about going to Georgia in the beginning but honestly this country absolutely blew my mind. It was literally something that I was waiting to discover. You have this dream about going somewhere and you just think “Yes that’s the perfect place to be”.

It’s like the perfect match and everything you do just amazes you even more. “What’s so magical about it?” you’re probably asking right now. It’s a mix of everything I reckon. The warm-hearted people, the stunning countryside, Tbilisi’s nightlife, maybe something else… It’s hard to describe but I guess it’s the mix of everything.

Technically Georgia is located in Eurasia, but its own people describe it in a very lovely way, it’s the balcony of Europe. Yes I think that is true. Balconies are usually my favorite part of an apartment and I fully agree. I arrived with very little expectation but Georgia took me on a journey, taught me how to appreciate nature and showed me what influence people can have on your soul.

A journey into humanity and kindness. A gem between Europe and Asia and a place you will not regret visiting. This is all based on my personal experience and to date if someone asks me this very, very difficult question about the best country I have ever visited, well…. my answer hasn’t changed in years and I still say it is Georgia, the country that has left a massive impact on my life as a traveller.

This traditional Georgian cheese and egg bread is best eaten hot. Use a spoon to stir the yolk and butter into the molten cheese, then tear off a piece of fluffy crust to dunk into the cheesy well. Georgians typically make this savory pastry with a mixture of imeruli and sulguni cheese. We find that a blend of low moisture mozzarella and strong, tart feta gets you very close to the traditional version.

The sunny and modern Batumi personifies all the charm of a southern city and a sea resort of the third millenium with high-class luxury hotels. It is located on the Black Sea coast and is exquisitely framed by exotic subtropical flora. Palm trees, cypresses, magnolias, oleanders, bamboo trees, laurels, lemon and orange trees, thuyas and box trees delight the eye everywhere. Batumi is located in a convenient natural Black Sea bay and is not only an important seaport for entire Georgia, but also a tourism capital of the country. The romantic picture of ships departure from the harbor is better seen from Batumi Quay. Batumi citizens name this place Seaside Park-Boulevard. It surrounds the city along its sea border for 8 km. It is at all times very crowded. This is the most popular place for both locals and visitors of the capital. There stands the city symbol – the Dolphin with a palm branch. Dolphins frolicking in Batumi harbor all year round, have become the integral a part the resort image.

The city beach is next to the Boulevard. The beaches in Batumi and its vicinities are stony without sand. To the east from the beach there are theatres, cinemas, restaurants, cafes with great food and other entertainments. The residential quarters of Batumi are seen from afar due to their rainbow coloring. The matter is that each house there is painted with certain color.

The Old part of the city is especially interesting, most of the houses were built in XIX century. There reins the spirit of past centuries – rows of small shops of handicraftsmen making copper ware, magnificent aroma of freshly brewed coffee in small cafes. The old city is known for the variety architectural subtleties: buildings are decorated with chimeras, mermaids, atlantes and other mythical creatures.

The architecture of Batumi features the combination of European and Asian styles, the variety of architectural forms. It is possible to see buildings with elements of Georgian, Turkish, Imperial Russian, Soviet, English, French and colonial architectures; the buildings combining European and Oriental architecture. The lights of the evening city are especially beautiful. Modest in the afternoon the buildings turn into majestic palaces by night.

Last 10 years Batumi has changed a lot. Former half-closed regimed border zone turned into tourism paradise and the best holiday place in Georgia. New buildings of banks, transcontinental hotels, modern tourist and sports complexes are under construction; the residential houses being erected conform to world standards. The luxurious trading centre with pools, yacht-club and entertainment for children is being built. The entire historical part of the city has turned to the area of boutiques, bars, tea and coffee houses. However, Batumi will remain the city where European and Asian cultures meet. Such cultural mix is justified by historic facts. Let us make small excursion into the city’s past.

The first mentioning of Batumi we can find in the works of a Greek philosopher Aristotle and it can be related to the 4th century BC. Aristotle described the city calling it Batus (from Greek “deep”), located on the Black Sea coast in Colchis. The ancient fortress of Tamaris-tsihe served as the basis for the city. In the 2 nd century AD Romans come to Batumi. In the 5 th century Georgian tsar Vakhtang Gorgasali annexed the city to his domain. In the 6 th , the 7 th and the 8 th centuries Batumi and its area was governed by Egriss and Abkhazian princes. In the 17 th century Batumi was captured by Turkey.

After Turky’s defeat in Russian-Turkish war of 1878 the region was taken by Russians. In the same year the Berlin Congress declared Batumi a large commercial port which was used by Russia for oil trading. This status lasted for eight years and brought the country certain benefits. It did not take long for Batumi to become the third largest city in Transcaucasia and the third most significant port in the Russian Empire. By the end of the 20th century Batumi became a major industrial center and later a famous resort.

A land of endless wonders, unspoilt by modern tourism and still retaining its authentic character – Georgia. Once experienced, it will stay with you forever. Exploring Georgia is a constant pleasure. For walkers and hikers the country is sheer heaven, while botanists and bird-watchers will be simply enthralled and archaeologists can’t decide which of the numerous ancient findings to visit first.

With the towering Caucasus Mountains forming the border between Europe and Asia, Georgia has long been an important contact zone. In this mystical land you will be captivated by a thrilling blend of eastern enigma and western elegance. The traditions of the East and West meet in Georgia to form a culture unlike any other in the world.

The following legend adequately describes Georgia’s great natural beauty: When God apportioned the Earth to all the peoples of the world, the Georgians arrived late. The Lord asked them why they were tardy. The Georgians replied that they had stopped on the way to drink and raise their glasses in praise of Him. God was so pleased with their response that He gave the Georgians the part of the Earth that He had been reserving for himself. A visit to Georgia will confirm that this legend is indeed true: Georgia is a natural paradise.