Georgia Travel Tips

By | June 17, 2022

The Russian language has a rather limited use. He is remembered mainly only by people over the age of 30, and even then only in the central regions. It is almost impossible to find a person who speaks fluent Russian in the mountains.

According to COMPUTERDO, the Georgian language belongs to a separate Kartvelian group, the writing is built on an independent basis, taking its origins in the ancient Eastern Aramaic type of writing. And given the abundance of local dialects, even a superficial knowledge of the Georgian language usually does not help a tourist.

In Abkhazia, they speak their own language, which does not even remotely resemble Georgian (it belongs to the Abkhaz-Adyghe group of languages of the North Caucasian family). But Russian is understood by almost everyone here. Yes, and national writing is built on the basis of Cyrillic.

The standard of living (and wages) in the country is extremely low. The prices are the same as well. At the same time, large denominations of lari (not to mention the currency) are often difficult to exchange or use when shopping – the seller may simply not have change. Therefore, when exchanging currency, it is recommended to take as many small bills as possible.

In Abkhazia, Russian rubles are in use, which are freely exchanged for any hard currency and have unlimited circulation in trade. But just like in the rest of Georgia, in many places tourists will simply be required to pay in dollars. Constant power outages are common throughout the country.

Central heating is also long gone (as well as hot water). That is why the capital of Georgia is recognized as the most polluted city in Europe – diesel generators and potbelly stoves all over the place emit a huge amount of soot into the air, to which are added the exhausts of cars, often running on fuel of dubious origin.

Choosing tours to Georgia at sea, it should be borne in mind that most of the beaches in popular resorts are pebbly, and the bottom level quickly drops from the coast. Swimming in the sea with waves of great strength and winds over three points is simply dangerous, since the coast is in most cases undeveloped. Most of the seaside health resorts have long fallen into decay, so the cleanliness of the beaches is almost not maintained (the exception is the resorts of Adjara and Abkhazia, where the cleaning of the coast is still underway).

The cordiality and hospitality of the inhabitants of Georgia have been widely known for a long time. Nothing has changed even now. Even with such a low standard of living, not a single resident of the country will refuse to help a tourist, most often – absolutely free of charge. In the tourism sector, one can still meet an openly consumerist attitude towards a guest, but in everyday life, any Georgian considers it an honor to take a guest to a place of interest to him or give any advice.

The Georgian feast has been repeatedly glorified by everyone who has ever attended it. And this is not surprising. Centuries-old traditions and a special attitude to the table and hearth as an integral part of the home and family (and the family is sacred for any Georgian!) have led to the fact that any meal, especially if there is a guest, turns into a feast. Regardless of the level of wealth of the owners, by the way. And often this feast is attended by neighbors, numerous relatives and even authoritative in the eyes of a local resident “invited” – elders, officials, etc. This is especially noticeable in the interior regions of the country. In any case, a complex ritual of toasting (and there is always wine on the table!), communication and exchange of opinions about a wide variety of life events comes into play. At the same time, any owner, regardless of whether whether he shares the point of view of the guest or interlocutor, or not, he will never allow himself to doubt its justice – the opinion of others is treated extremely respectfully here. Noisy argument, yes. Appeal to all witnesses and authorities – also yes. But the honor of the guest within the house will never be infringed.

A special, emphatically caring attitude towards parents (especially elderly family members) and friends is also immediately evident. All the first toasts are for them. The best seats at the table are also for them. But be sure – the second (and often the first) place after friends and close relatives will be the guest. There is no special etiquette at the table. The main thing is not to interrupt the toastmaster, to show counter signs of attention to the owner and his family and “to do like everyone else.” Meat and poultry can be taken with your hands, but it is not forbidden to use cutlery. Bread is taken by hand and is often used as a spoon for scooping up sauces and gravies. Greens, constantly present on the table, are taken by hand and eaten “bite” with any dish.

Many dishes, contrary to popular belief, are washed down not with wine at all (it was not created for this!), but with clean cold water.

Relationships between Georgian sub-ethnic groups, as well as between Georgians and neighboring peoples, are a special conversation. The characteristic features of the “neighbors” are often the object of endless banter and jokes at the table and in everyday conversation. A Gurian is always ready to “prick” a Kakhetian, an Imeretian – a Lachinian, etc. But God forbid a “stranger” to offend the neighbors with an evil word or an unsuccessful joke – almost every local resident considers it his duty to stand up for the object of ridicule with all his fervor, be it an Armenian, Russian or the same Ossetians, with whom the Georgians, by the way, have a wide variety of disagreements. Therefore, conversations on national topics should be avoided in every possible way.

Ethnic conflicts in a country that has been torn apart by poverty and conflict for many years are the exception rather than the rule. In many areas, representatives of different nationalities get along so peacefully with each other that many tourists do not even find differences between them, considering all the numerous ethnic groups of the country to be one people. The exceptions are Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which, as a result of armed conflicts, practically seceded from Georgia – interethnic clashes are not uncommon in these regions. Tipping in most establishments is 5%, but in high class establishments, if the service charge is not included in the bill, it is recommended to leave a “tip” of 10% of the bill. In other places, you can just leave change. It is customary to bargain in the markets. Prices in most stores are fixed.

On May 15, 2006, a law came into force in Georgia prohibiting smoking in public places – in government buildings, in hospitals, public transport, as well as in public catering establishments, except for those where customers are allowed to drink alcoholic beverages. Violators will have to pay a fine of 5-10 lari (about $3-6), while organizations will pay a fine of up to 200 lari (about $110).

Georgia Travel Tips