Georgia Religion and Languages

By | March 5, 2021

Population

In 2018, Georgia had a population density of 53 residents per km2. About 58 percent of the residents live in one of the country’s cities, of which Tbilisi is the dominant. Other cities include Batumi (163,400 residents, 2018) and Kutaisi (141,000).

According to Countryaah, Georgians or atrocities make up the country’s majority (84 percent at the 2002 census). They have lived in extremely diverse environmental conditions within their area of residence. On the coast, they were primarily farmers who, among other things, cultivated wine and fruit, while in the mountains they combined artificial irrigated and terraced agriculture with sheep, cattle and pig farming. They had a rich assortment of vegetables and herbs, which were the backdrop for the Georgian cuisine famous for its variety. The craftsmanship was richly developed early on, and the forging in particular was of high quality. Yet in the 19th century, Georgian soldiers appeared in forged ornaments that had the Crusaders’ armor as a role model. The buildings were assembled in spacious villages, which in the mountainous areas consisted of multi-storey houses with a distinctive fortress function. There, large families with several hundred members could live under the leadership of the oldest male member of the family. The grand families, in turn, were part of clans, among which not least blood revenge played an important role.

In Georgia, there are also a number of minority groups: Azerbaijani (6.5 percent), Armenians (5.7 percent), Russians (1.5 percent), Ossetians (0.9 percent), Jesuits, Greeks and Jews.

The Academy of Sciences in Tbilisi has an institute of ethnology and an associated museum. A systematic gathering of folk traditions began as early as the 19th century and intensified during the Soviet era, especially during the 1930s. Folk culture and ethnic diversity have also been represented since 1966 at the open-air museum in Tblisi, named after the ethnologist Giorgi Tšitaia.

Language

Official Language of Georgia

The official language of the country is Georgian as well as Georgian and Abkhazian in Abkhazia. Other major languages are Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian. Local minority languages are Ossetic and Abkhazian. Those with the Georgian-related languages, the megalegan and the Swanet, are spoken in western Georgia.

Religion

Georgia adopted Christianity as a state religion in 337. Most of the population belongs to the autonomous Georgian Orthodox Church. The church is headed by a Catholic in Tbilisi and has become an important identity factor in national liberation. There are also Armenian Christians, Roman Catholics, Russian Orthodox Christians and Muslims. In addition, there are some traces of Iranian religion.

Abkhazia Geography and population

Abkhazia, located on the northeastern corner of the Black Sea, has declared itself independent from Georgia, but is considered an outbreak republic by the government of Tbilisi and most of the outside world. Independence is only supported by Russia and a handful of other states. The capital is called Suchumi.

Abkhazia is wedged between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea. With its 8,665 square kilometers, the area is about the same size as Sörmland. Most of the landscape is mountainous. The highest peaks exceed 4,000 meters.

There is a narrow lowland between the mountains and the twenty-mile coast. The climate is mild on the coast and cooler in the mountain regions.

Before the war in 1992 (see History), there were between 500,000 and 600,000 people living in Abkhazia, of which just under a fifth were Abkhazians and close to half Georgians. Other groups were Russians, Armenians and Greeks. During the war, nearly 250,000 people were displaced or fled, mostly Georgians. Thousands were stranded in the mountains between Abkhazia and Georgia, and many died there of starvation and cold.

The number of people living in Abkhazia today is debated and there are no fresh figures. The most recent estimate made by the Georgia Statistical Office was published in 2005, giving the figure to 178,000 inhabitants. Estimates made in 2006 and 2007 by international organizations pointed to a population of between 160,000 and 190,000. A significantly higher figure – 240,000 – was reported by Abkhaz authorities following a 2011 self-examination.

The population is very mixed. About half are Abkhazians. Other major groups are Armenians, Georgians and Russians. The smaller ones include Ukrainians, Belarusians, Greeks, Ossetians, Tatars, Turks and Romans.

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In the capital Suchumi, there were estimated to be more than 63,000 people in 2011.

Most Abkhazians are Orthodox Christians or Muslims.

Georgia Population by Religion