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Flag of GeorgiaGeorgia, a republic in Southwestern Asia, is bordered by the Black Sea, Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey. Tbilisi is the capital city. Other major cities include Kutaisi, Rustavi, Batumi, Chiatura, Gori, Zugdidi and Tskhinvali. Major ports are Batumi, Poti and Sokhumi.

Two-thirds of Georgia is mountainous. There are lowlands, and a coastal region along the Black Sea. The main rivers are the Mtkvari (Kura), Alazani, Iori, Rioni, Enguri, and the Khrami.

The climate of Georgia is varied; the weather is Mediterranean-like on the Black Sea coast and cooler in the mountainous regions.

Georgia falls within the Caucasus Mountain system. Although very mountainous, the country has a varied terrain including valleys, forest, rivers, lakes, wetlands and a coastal region.

Protected areas in Georgia include the National Park of Borjomi-Kharagouli and a number of Nature Reserves. Another six National Parks are planned (2003).

Animals found in Georgia are gazelles, lynx, wild boar, wolves and brown bears. The Caucasian and Dagestani species of goat and the steppe eagle are endangered species.

Georgia became a Christian country in the early fourth century. Soon, religious buildings were part of the landscape. Bagrati Cathedral and the Gelati Monastery are both on the World Heritage List, along with the medieval churches of Mtskheta.

The World Heritage List also features the medieval-type villages and tower houses of the Upper Svaneti region of the Caucasus Mountains that have been preserved through the centuries.

Tbilisi, the capital of the Republic, has a variety of striking architectural styles. There are also examples of nineteenth century Russian architecture and designs from the twentieth century Communist period. During the last few years a growth in construction has added a number of twenty-first century buildings to the city.

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