A country to be discovered

Legend has it that when God was distributing land among the various peoples of the Earth, the Georgians were too busy feasting to go and stake their claim. By the time they eventually remembered and went off to seek their entitlement, they found that all the lands had been distributed, leaving them homeless. In response to their pleas, God asked them why they had arrived so late. The Georgians replied that they had been busy feasting and drinking toasts to His glory. Overwhelmed by their sincerity and touched by their fervour, God thought for a second in silence – then decided to give them the one, last, precious piece of land that He had kept aside for Himself. Though geographically small, Georgia is a unique and culturally rich gem that has long been the subject of myths and fantasies.

According to the Ancient Greeks, Jason and his Argonauts were aided in their quest for the Golden Fleece by the kind and wise Princess Medea during their stopover in Colchis (modern-day Georgia). Earlier still, Prometheus, the hero who stole fire from the gods and gave it to the people of Earth, was reputedly left chained in the remote and forbidding – yet incredibly beautiful – mountains of the Caucasus in punishment for his misdeed.

Georgia’s position at the eastern end of the ancient Silk Road that joins Europe and Asia explains its prominence in myths and legends. Lying at the crossroads of East and West and forming part of three major empires of the past – the Persian, Russian, and Ottoman Empires – Georgia’s territory has been the subject of countless political and economic struggles throughout the ages, as various powers sought to harness the riches and potential of the country and its region. While bloody, this colourful history has left a lasting impact and a rich legacy, creating a brilliant cultural mosaic that blends Europe and Asia into the most delightful of mixtures. Not surprisingly, considering its history, Georgia is home to three world religions, dozens of languages, and hundreds of ancient traditions – a truly remarkable cornucopia in a land so geographically small.

Georgia was forced into the Soviet bloc in 1921, disappearing behind what was later to be known as the Iron Curtain, so that the country was cut off from Westerners who wanted to soak up her riches and enjoy her people. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the movement towards democracy and economic stability has been understandably slow, but having got back on her feet again, Georgia is opening her arms and her heart to the world once more. The time has come to discover the mythical beauty, the cultural heritage, and the ever-friendly people that make Georgia a global treasure. Let Georgian Discovery Tours be your guide as the largely unexplored wonders of this small but vibrant nation unfold before your eyes.

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