In this world of “Guinness World Records” it seems that everyone, everyplace and everything must be a historical milestone. History measured in firsts, biggest, highest, oldest….etc. Well, Georgia has it’s fair share of amazing historical “Firsts, highest, oldest and foremosts” to joint the ranks of important “facts” of our world. Let me name a few –
A 1.7-million-year-old skull(really, really old) found during Dmanisi archaeological excavations is the oldest evidence of human habitation in Europe. It proves that there is almost one-million-year gap between Dmanisi and any European early-human site, making Georgia the homeland of the FIRST European.
Legendary Jason and the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece – an ancient Greek myth based in Georgia. Numerous gold artifacts have been found in the area and Tim Severin’s recreated voyage of 1984 proved that the story of
the Golden Fleece could easily be true, especially considering Georgia’s centuries-old tradition of getting gold particles from
flowing mountain rivers with the help of the fleece.
Grapevines have been cultivated in the fertile valleys of Georgia for about 8000 years. With over 500 varieties of endemic grapes and the world’s first cultivated grapevines, the traditions of viticulture are entwined with the country’s national identity. It is also believed that the word “wine” is of Georgian origin (“gvino” in Georgian). Gives new meaning to “aged” wines.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Georgia boast multiple sites
Ancient Capital of Georgia – Mtskheta Svetitskhoveli Cathedral – 11th century
Jvari Church – 6th century
The Town of Kutaisi – Gelati Monastery – 12th century
Bagrati Cathedral – 11th century
Upper Svaneti – Medieval Watchtowers
Ancient Christian Country
- The Caucasus Mountains stretch for about 1200km between the Black and the Caspian seas – a natural boundary between Europe and Asia with summits over 5000m, including Mt. Elbrus (5642m) – the highest in Europe.
- At 2200m Ushguli is the highest settlement in Europe. The medieval Svanetian watchtowers of Ushguli is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- The Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is one of the largest in Europe and the first national park in the Caucasus.
So many notable sites encourages a traveler to spend considerable time just on the historical highlights…yet there is much more to discover in this small country.