Georgia extends over a length of 450 km southwest of the steeply sloping mountains of the Greater Caucasus over intermediate mountains to the highlands of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains. While the Greater Caucasus protects the country from Russia’s harsh continental climate, it divides the Lichi Mountains into a western and an eastern part. Two thirds of the total surface of the country (69,700 km² roughly like Bavaria or Ireland) is with a population of around 3.7 million (2016 – 2010: 4.45 million) with mountains up to 5,000 m (the Schchara is also valid 5200 m as the highest mountain in Georgia), covered. That is why Georgians like to compare themselves with Switzerland. The most important neighboring countries are the Russian Federation and Turkey, the republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The former Autonomous Region of South Ossetia (Georgian historical Samachablo Province) – like the former Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia – is currently not subject to the Georgian state authority. Background information on the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict with further links and references can be found in the chapter “History and State” of this country portal.
Independence Day: April 09, 1991
President: Salome Zourabichvili (since December 16, 2018)
Prime minister: Giorgi Gakharia (September 8, 2019)
Political system: Semi-Presidential Republic
Political Transformation (BTI): 6.39 Rank 43 of 137 (2020 for 2019)
Corruption Index (CPI): 56 Rank 44 of 180 (2019)
According to computerannals, the administration of Georgia is still highly centralized, but the expansion of local self-government (sakrebulo) has been a priority task of the government since the local elections in May 2010. In the 2014 local elections, the mayors in twelve cities were for the first time directly elected and no longer by the central authority in Tbilisi appointed.
It is divided at the upper level into nine regions (Georgian მხარები, mcharebi, singular mchare), two autonomous republics (Georgian ავტონომიური რესპუბლიკა, awtonomiuri respubliki, singular awtonom respublika) and the capital.
The regions were introduced between 1994 and 1996 by a presidential decree. They are seen as a temporary measure until the secessionist problems with Abkhazia and South Ossetia have been resolved. At the middle level there are 73 municipalities (Rajons, districts) and at the municipal level there are approx. 1000 small towns and rural communities.
Its administrative head is a state commissioner (Georgian სახელმწიფო რწმუნებული, sachelmzipo rzmunebuli), informally called the governor. He is appointed and recalled by the President.
The autonomous republics of Abkhazia and Ajaria are excluded from the centralized administrative structure. In administrative terms, South Ossetia mainly belongs to the Shida Kartlien region, but like Abkhazia is largely outside the control of the central government and has separatist government organs. A “South Ossetian constitution” (in force since January 1, 2010) makes clear the right to state independence.
1. Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia (აფხაზეთის ავტონომიური რესპუბლიკა), capital Sukhumi (სოხუმი)
2. Mingrelia – Semo-Svaneti region (სამეგრელოს და ზემო სვანეთის მხარე, Samegrelo-Upper Svaneti), capital Zugdidi (ზუგდიდი)
3. Guria region (გურიის მხარე), capital Osurgeti (ოზურგეთი)
4th Autonomous Republic of Adjara (აჭარის ავტონომიური რესპუბლიკა), capital Batumi (ბათუმი)
5th Region Ratscha-Letschchumi – Kvemo-Svaneti (რაჭა-ლეჩხუმის და ქვემო სვანეთის მხარე, Ratscha-Letschchumi – Nieder- Svaneti), capital Ambrolauri (ამბროლაური)
6. Imereti region (იმერეთის მხარე), capital Kutaisi (ქუთაისი)
7. Samtskhe-Javakheti region (სამცხე-ჯავახეთის მხარე), capital Akhaltsikhe (ახალციხე)
8. Shida Kartlien region (შიდა ქართლის მხარე; German Inner-Kartlien), capital Gori (გორი)
9. Mtskheta-Mtianeti region (მცხეთა-მთიანეთის მხარე), capital Mtskheta (მცხეთა)
10. Region Kvemo Kartlien (ქვემო ქართლის მხარე, Lower Kartlien), capital Rustavi (რუსთავი)
11. Region Kakheti (კახეთის მხარე), capital Telavi (თელავი)
12. Georgia’s capital Tbilisi (საქართველოს დედაქალაქის – თბილისი)
Middle level (73 municipalities)
• 67 districts (რაიონი – singular)
• 6 independent cities (დამოუკიდებელი ქალაქი): Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Rustavi, Poti, Batumi, Sukhumi
• 55 cities (ქალაქი) that belong to a district
• 50 small towns (დაბა)
• 842 municipalities (თემი)
• 165 villages (სოფელი)
Georgia has an extremely interesting cultural-geographical diversity in a very small area. Different climatic and vegetation zones had an effect on the way of life of ethnic groups, mountain and valley communities. In Georgia, in addition to the state administrative structure based on large scenic areas, historical-ethnographic regions can be identified, which not only differ in terms of language and cultural history, but also strongly influence the identity of Georgians – in addition to the national state – to this day:
- The eastern Georgian lowland region of Kartli – Kakheti,
- The east Georgian mountain and high mountain zone with Tusheti, Chewi, Pschawi, Mtiuleri, Chewsuretien and Gudaschakari,
III. The lowlands and foothills in western Georgia with Imereti, Guria and Megrelia,
- The western mountain and high mountain zone with Rashta, Letschchumi and Svaneti in the north and Samtskhe and Javakheti in the south,
- the coastal areas on the Black Sea of Abkhazia and Adjara.