A land of endless wonders, unspoilt by modern tourism and still retaining its authentic character – Georgia. Once experienced, it will stay with you forever. Exploring Georgia is a constant pleasure. For walkers and hikers the country is sheer heaven, while botanists and bird-watchers will be simply enthralled and archaeologists can’t decide which of the numerous ancient findings to visit first.
With the towering Caucasus Mountains forming the border between Europe and Asia, Georgia has long been an important contact zone. In this mystical land you will be captivated by a thrilling blend of eastern enigma and western elegance. The traditions of the East and West meet in Georgia to form a culture unlike any other in the world.
Homeland of the First European
This 1.7-million-year-old skull 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.
This is the face that’s changing a thousand minds. It could be the face of the first human to leave Africa. And it’s not what anyone expected. This 1.75-million-year-old pioneer, found beneath the ruins of a medieval town called Dmanisi in the republic of Georgia, had a tiny brain – not nearly the size scientists thought our ancestors needed to migrate into a new land. And its huge canine teeth and thin brow look too apelike for an advanced hominid, the group that includes modern humans and their ancestors. Along with other fossils and tools found at the site, this skull reopens so many questions about our ancestry that one scientist muttered: “They ought to put it back in the ground.” – National Geographic Magazine
A Silk Road Country
With its favourable geographic location Georgia has always been a connecting link between Europe and Asia, traversed by many routes including the famous Silk Road. This most important pre-modern trade road linking China with the West diverged into northern and southern routes, the northern one passing through Georgia. The traces of ancient caravans are still visible near Uplistsikhe cave town.
Land of the Golden Fleece
The fabulous kingdom of Colchis, mighty King Aeetes, enchanting Medea, legendary Jason and the Argonauts and invaluable Golden Fleece – an ancient Greek myth based in Georgia. Numerous gold artifacts found in the area and Tim Severin’s recreated voyage of 1984 prove 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.
In the kingdom of Colchis there ruled the mighty King Aeetes. Alongside with other numerous riches he possessed the Golden Fleece – the skin of a ram with the Golden Fleece, which he kept under the guard of a sleepless dragon. Jason and the Argonauts sailed from Iolcus on the ship “Argo” and tried to take the fleece from Colchis to enable Jason to claim his inheritance. Fortunately for Jason, King’s daughter Medea fell in love with him. Medea had magical powers (the word “medicine” comes from her name), which she used to help Jason complete the assigned tasks and later steal the Golden Fleece.
The story of the Argonauts is a classic myth written by Apollonius of Rhodes in the 3rd century BC. The Golden Fleece is a symbol of cultural achievements of ancient Georgian tribes and mainly the high level of development of metal processing, gold in particular, although getting particles of gold from flowing mountain rivers was practiced in Georgia till the 20th century.