Georgia is a beautiful country located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. The landscape is very diverse with its Black Sea beaches in the West, the grapevine meadows in the East and the lower and upper Caucasus mountain range in the Southa and North, with several peaks over 5000m.
Georgians have endured centuries of invasions from all directions: the Mongols, the Persians, the Turks, the Russians… Yet somehow they have developed an incredible sense of hospitality. When a guest of Georgia, you’ll be treated very well. The area has been populated for a very very long time and some locals talk about the country as the cradle of civilization. They are also proud to be one of the first, or perhaps the first, nation to be christianized in the 4th century. In 1918 Georgia declared its independence but the independence was shortlived. Some three years later Georgia was occupied by the Soviet empire and regained its independence again in 1991. So its a young country. The population of Georgia is not homogenous. Georgia is rather a host of a large variety of ethnicities, languages and cultural diversities.
Both Abkhazia (in the west) South Ossetia (in the north) are considered by Georgia as autonomous regions and both of these regions have had long since aspirations to become independent. After months of increasing tensions, a full scale war broke out in August 2008. Russia, already present with peace-keeping forces in both autonomous regions, strongly engaged in the conflict, fully backing the South Ossetians and the Abkhaz. The war lasted more or less 5 days at which point the French president Sarkozy managed to break a ceasefire agreement between Russia and Georgia. Part of that deal was that the EU would implement a monitoring mission to observe that all parties fullfil their commitments of the agreement. I live in Gori, about 10 km south of South Ossetia and our field office concentrate on the conflict with South Ossetia.