Surface area : 69700.0 km2
Population : 4486000 inhabitants
Ceramics, embroidery, and jewellery are the main handicraft products to bring back as souvenirs. The export of old books, paintings or icons can cause serious complications with customs. Ask the Ministry of Culture for authorisation to take them out of the country. Shops are generally open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Saturday.
Food is one of the most important elements of Georgian culture. Meals are like a ceremony. The table is directed by the ?tamada', who offers traditional toasts during the entire meal. You cannot drink a toast to somebody, before the master of the house has done it for all his guests. You cannot change the dedication of the toast either. Hazelnuts are used in all of the sauces! Any name of a dish placed next to the word ?satsivi' is served with a sauce flavoured with herbs, garlic and hazelnuts. You can also find some in soups and desserts.
Meals generally start with an assortment of hot and cold dishes: grilled and spiced giblets, beans and nuts (lobios) salad, marinated eggplant, spiced spinach (pkhaliis), without forgetting the pickles and smoked meats (basturmas). For the meat, Georgians serve suckling pork and beef. Chicken is roasted or cooked in a stew. One of the most common dishes is the chakhokhbili, a stew flavoured with herbs, tomatoes and paprika. Georgian wine is renowned; Kindzmareuli is a fruity red wine and Tsinandali and Gurdzhaani are two dry white wines. Finally, the bravest will try the traditional Georgian breakfast, served wuth khachi, a soup with tripes, beef-foot and a lot of garlic!
Like in Britain, old people and women with children have priority on public transportation.
If you wish to offer a gift, men will appreciate a quality knife. In fact, they love weapons with a blade. You can also offer American cigarettes, T-shirts, key chains or postcards. In any case, Georgians love gifts.
In places of worship, act respectfully. Enter in silence and correctly dressed.
Do not pass judgement on political issues or on corruption problems; a lot of Georgians are armed, and since they are touchy, they can get angry quickly. Moreover, do not tell a Georgian he is Russian, he will not like it.
Although they are suspicious at first, Georgians are particularly welcoming. Do not refuse an invitation, on the contrary, go and share the table with a Georgian family to appreciate the warm welcoming of its hospitality. Do not forget to bring a small gift.