“Sakartvelo” – this is how we Georgians call our country, and we call ourselves – “Kartvels”. Georgian is one of the oldest spoken languages in the world and with its unique alphabet, among 14 others throughout the whole world.
Legend About Georgia
“When God was dividing lands between peoples, Georgians came late. All the land was already divided. Georgian explained that they felt hungry on their way; they ate bread and raised toast to praise God. God liked their explanation very much and gave them a small Garden of Eden which he kept for himself.”
Georgia, known as the Republic of Georgia until 1995, is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bordered 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 and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its population (2017) is about 3.718 million. Georgia is a unitary parliamentary republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.
Georgian culture emerged thousands of years ago from the ancient Colchian and Iberian civilizations. Georgian culture enjoyed a renaissance and golden age of classical literature, arts, philosophy, architecture and science in the 11th century. Georgian culture was influenced by Classical Greece, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the various Iranian empires (notably the Achaemenid, Parthian, Sassanian, Safavid and Qajar empires), and later, from the 19th century, by the Russian Empire.
Today 83.4 percent of the population practices Eastern Orthodox Christianity, majority of which adheres to the national Georgian Orthodox Church. The Georgian Orthodox Church is one of the worlds’ most ancient Christian Churches, and claims apostolic foundation by Saint Andrew. In the first half of the 4th century, Christianity was adopted as the state religion of Iberia (present-day Kartli, or eastern Georgia), following the missionary work of Saint Nino of Cappadocia. The Church gained autocephaly during the early Middle Ages; it was abolished during the Russian domination of the country, restored in 1917 and fully recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1989.
The special status of the Georgian Orthodox Church is officially recognized in the Constitution of
Georgia and the Concordat of 2002, although religious institutions are separate from the state, and
every citizen has the right of religion.
Orthodox Christian (83.4%)
Armenian Apostolic (2.9%)
Roman Catholic (0.5%)
Religious minorities of Georgia include Muslims (10.7 percent), Armenian Christians (2.9 percent) and Roman Catholics (0.5 percent).0.7 percent of those recorded in the 2014 census declared themselves to be adherents of other religions, 1.2 percent refused or did not state their religion and 0.5 percent declared no religion at all.
Georgian is a Kartvelian language spoken by Georgians. It is the official language of Georgia. Georgian has its own writing system, the Georgian script. Georgian is the literary language for all regional subgroups of Georgians, including those who speak other Kartvelian languages: Svans, Mingrelians and the Laz.
Georgian dialects: Dialects of Georgian are from Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi, Guria, Adjara, Imerkhevi (in Turkey), Kartli, Kakheti, Saingilo (in Azerbaijan), Tusheti, Khevsureti, Khevi, Pshavi, Fereydan (in Iran), Mtiuleti and Meskheti.
The history of the Georgian language can conventionally be divided into:
Early Old Georgian: 5th–8th centuries
Classical Old Georgian: 9th–11th centuries
Middle Georgian: 11th/12th–17th/18th centuries
Modern Georgian: 17th/18th century – present
Georgian writing system
Georgian had variety of scripts over its history. Currently the Mkhedruli or “Military” script is almost completely dominant; the others are used mostly in religious documents and architecture. Mkhedruli has 33 letters in common use; a half dozen more are obsolete in Georgian, though still used in other alphabets, like Mingrelian, Laz, and Svan. The letters of Mkhedruli correspond closely to the phonemes of the Georgian language.
According to the “Life of Kartli” – the book written by Leonti Mroveli in the 11th century, the first Georgian script was created by the first ruler of the Kingdom of Iberia, Pharnavaz, in the 3rd century BC. However, the first examples of a Georgian script date from the 5th century AD. Currently, there exist three Georgian scripts, called Asomtavruli “capitals”, Nuskhuri “small letters”, and Mkhedruli. The first two are used together as upper and lower case in the writings of the Georgian Orthodox Church and together are called Khutsuri “priests”.
In Mkhedruli, there is no upper case. However, a capital-like effect, in titles and headings is achieved by modifying the letters so that their vertical sizes are identical and they rest on the baseline with no descenders. These capital-like letters are often used in page headings, chapter titles, monumental inscriptions, and the like.