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Geography of Georgia

Landscape: Approximately 2/3 of the country is covered by mountains, and the rest of the land is also characterized by a variety of contrasts. The northern part of Georgia is formed by the Caucasus mountain range, with the highest peak of Shkhara (5.068 m.), followed by Kazbegi (Mkinvartsveri – 5.047 m.) and Ushba (4.710 m.) peaks as the second and third highest mountains. The Caucasus Minor covers the southern part of the country. Between these two mountain systems the Kolkhida lowland is spread (its lowest point near lake Paliastomi is a mere 1.5 m. above sea level), with its eastern counterparts – the plains of Alazani, and Shida and Qvemo Kartli valleys.

Climate: A comparatively small territory of the country demonstrates almost a complete variety of the climate zones of the planet – from eternal snows and glaciers and high mountain zones of the Caucasus Major - to the humid subtropical climate of the Black Sea coast, and from the climate of tropics – to that of the semi-deserts. The Likhi mountain range divides the country into two sharply different climate areas: the humid subtropical western zone of the Black Sea, and the dry continental zone of the east. The average temperature in January is about + 3o C in western Georgia and - 2o C in the eastern part; correspondingly, the temperature varies in August within the limits of 23 – 26o C.

Water resources: The country is exceptionally rich in water resources: there are more than 26,000 rivers, 756 lakes, a multitude of reservoirs and a substantial number of waterfalls. The mineral springs are also in abundance – about 2,000 sorts of almost any type of classification. The familiar names of Borjomi, Sairme, Nabeghlavi are among the most popular and widely known brands. There are also numerous fresh and thermal water springs (their temperature up to near boiling point), along with therapeutic mud perfect for mud-and-water cure, these water resources provide the factor and basis for a variety of spas and health resorts.

Flora and Fauna: The vegetation in Georgia is remarkable in richness and diversity. Species of flowering plants reach an impressive number of several thousand, almost 4,500, of them. The widespread herbs and plants are utilized for many purposes. Endemic plants – like rhododendron, box-tree, cherry laurel, persimmon and many other plants are well preserved. The following species included in the Red List of Georgia can be found: Elm, Yew tree, Oak, Chestnut, and Caucasian Whortleberry. More than 1/3 of the country is covered with forests, and the broad-leave type of trees makes the prevailing species of the woods. Vast alpine meadows extend from the upper edge of the forests up to the height of 2,800-3,500 m. above sea level. Among specific landscape zones of the country, a broad-leaved liana, deserves special attention in the forests with evergreen trees and bushes. Georgian fauna is notably diverse. Around 100 mammal species, more than 330 species of birds, and 48 species of reptiles, 11 species of amphibians and 160 species of fish and thousands of species of invertebrates dwell in Georgia. Following animals: Wolves, foxes, deer, badgers, bears, marmots, ibex, Lynxes, chamois, Hedgehogs, Hares, badgers and aurochs populate the forests and mountains. The following bird species are included in the Red List of Georgia: Eagles, Buzzard, Woodpeckers, Cuckoo, Eurasian Jays, Wood pigeons, Owls and etc.

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