According to the folk legend, when God share lands among people, where those were supposed to live, Georgians were late because they had banquet. When they appeared in front of Him they were told that no free lands were left. And Georgians replied that they were late while they were drinking for His health and invited Him to banquet. Got spend a great time and decided to give them land, which left for Himself. Indeed Georgia is a divine country!
The northern part of Georgia is occupied with the mountain range of the Big Caucasus with heights up to 4500-5000 meters above sea level. The highest peak is mountain Shkhara (5068m), a bit lower β Kazbek (5047 m). Caucasus belongs to the young infolded systems, which means that tectonic processes here are not complete. Most part of Georgia cost slowly goes down. In average ground drowning of Kolkhida plain is 13cm per century. High seismic activity of the territory is observed (earthquakes up to 5-7 points, especially on the east)
For high mountain part ice-flows are typical, on the west β karstik phenomenon, and on the east β young volcanic forms. Here is located the deepest (1370 m) cave on the territory of all the former Soviet Union β Snow Linn on Bzybskiy range. Snow and ice can be met in it on the depth of 200 meters. Widely known is New-Aphon cave in Abkhazia, which was very popular among tourists before Georgia-Abkhazian war. It is the longest (3285 m) and the biggest by square (49 565 m2). In general, there were discovered about 500 caves on the Big Caucasus Ranges.
There is a Kolkhida plain between Big and Small Caucasus having shape of the triangle with base directed to the Black Sea, and on the east there is cavity, where Kura River flows. Kolkhida is described by Konstantin Paustovsky in his same-name novel. Before Argonauts were sent here to get Golden Fleece.
Rivers and Lakes
Rivers of Georgia belong to two basins β Black Sea and Caspian. Almost all Caspian basin flow is brought out with the biggest in Transcaucasia river Kura (in Georgian – Mtkvari) on which the Mingechaur water dam. The rivers of the Black Sea basin (Western Georgia) do not form a single system flowing into the sea separately. Main from them is Rioni, flowing on the lower part of Kolhida cavity. There are not many lakes in Georgia, they are mainly situated on Dzhavakhet highland. The most famous from them is high mountain lake Ritsa in Abkhazia (depth β up to 116m, square – 1,4 m2, 882 m above sea level)
Flora and Fauna
Flora of Georgia is very abundant and various. The number of flower plants counts more than 4500 kinds. Here are relicts and typical for this area plants (dioskeria, Pontic and Caucasus Rhododendron, boxwood, persimmons etc.). Forests cover more than one third of territory. Vast alp meadows stretching from the top forest border for 2800-3500 m. among specific landscape zones of Georgia worth of pointing out are Kolkhida broadleaved climber forests with always green trees and bushes and also forest massive from Pitsunda pine-tree in Pitsunda, Caucasian pine-tree in Borjomi cleft, Eldar pine-tree in the Eastern Georgia. About 200 ha thousand of Kolkhida cavity are covered with swamps. In Georgia there are 15 reservations, main of which are β Lagodekhskiy, Borjomi and Ritsinskiy.
Animal world in Georgia is represented with more than 100 species of mammals, 330 species of birds and 160 kinds of fish. Fauna of the Easter Georgia is rather specific.
It was possible up until recently to see Persian gazelle, left only in separate areas of Shirak steep. From predatory birds, included to the Red Book of Georgia, can be met (mostly in reservations) lammergeier, golden eagle, griffon, black vulture and others. In some areas of Kolkhida and Kakhetia pheasant can be seen as well. High Mountain fauna is better preserved within Main Caucasus chain. In its western part there is Caucasian tur (from his horns people here drink wine) and in eastern – Dagestan tur.
Georgia is rich in mineral resources β oil, coal, bog muck, ore, copper, zinc, mercury, sardonyx, granite, granular limestone etc. But its main natural resources are numerous mineral and thermal springs (Borjjomi, Utsera, Dzau, Nabeglavi, Sairme, Zvare, Nunisi). On their bases there were created 50 resorts, the most popular of which are Borjomi and Tskhaltubo.