Georgia is situated at the strategically important crossroads where Europe meets Asia. The country has a unique and ancient cultural heritage, and is famed for its traditions of hospitality and cuisine.
The recorded history of Georgia dates back more than 4,000 years. The country is proud of the unique Georgian alphabet introduced in 5th century BC. Georgia is also one of the first world countries that adopted Christianity as the state religion in the first half of the 4th century.
Over the centuries, Georgia has been a home for people of different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Throughout its long and eventful history Georgia was the object of rivalry between Persia, Turkey and Russia, before being eventually annexed by Russia in the 19th century.
Since emerging from the collapsing Soviet Union as an independent state in 1991, Georgia has gone through the armed conflicts with the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 1992-1993, a peaceful Rose Revolution in 2003, and an armed conflict with Russia in 2008.
Georgia has made a notable progress since 2004 in accelerating democratic reforms in different areas, including: public service, elections, judiciary, local governance and economic development. The 2012 parliamentary polls demonstrated Georgia’s maturity as a state for the conduct of democratic election and a peaceful transfer of power.
In June 2014, Georgia signed the Association Agreement with the Euroepan Union which entered into force in July 2016.
Georgia has successfully implemented the Visa Liberalization Action Plan (VLAP) with the European Union. In October 2016, EU states agreed to grant Georgian nationals visa-free travel to the Schengen zone. Visa-free travel will come into force in 2017.
Poverty and unemployment remain among the key challenges of Georgia. The registered poverty rate (share of beneficiaries of subsistence allowance) is 10.1%, while relative poverty rate (share of population under 60% of consumption) is at 20.1% (GEOSTAT 2015) .
The ongoing reforms within the legislative, executive and judicial branches are directed towards enhancing independence of judiciary, ensuring the protection human rights and liberties, and curbing remaining challenges in the election system.
Georgia is struggling to resolve old conflicts with the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and approximate towards the European Union and Euro-Atlantic structures.