Ancient Metekhi Church, beautifully illuminated each night of the year, glows golden on this snowy December evening in Old Tbilisi. From a distance, the much older Narikala Fortress and its Church of St. Nicholas share this peaceful scene. Religious services, suppressed during Soviet times, are once again offered at both of these historic churches, allowing Georgians and foreign visitors alike opportunities for worship and cultural visits. Tbilisi is one of the world’s oldest cities, and Old Tbilisi is its heart.
– Ronald Bielen ©2009
In Southwestern Asia, bordering Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia, with a sliver of land north of the Caucasus extending into Europe, very mountainous with many glaciers; 69,700 km2 (slightly < SC), 11.5% arable.
Capital T’bilisi (pop est. 1.3M)
Population 4.6M (161/km2)
Life expectancy 77 years
Languages Georgian (official) 71%, Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%
Religions Orthodox Christian 84%, Muslim 10%, Armenian-Gregorian 4%, Catholic 1%, other 1%
Ethnic Groups Georgian 84%, Azeri 6%, Armenian 6%, Russian 2%, other 2%
PCVs 2001 – present; education and NGO development (Volunteers in country: 63; total to date: 373)
Nat’l holiday Independence Day 26 May (1918)