Geography of Georgia (country)

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The geography of Georgia entails the physical and human geography of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Situated at the juncture of Western Asia and Eastern Europe,[1] it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the east by Azerbaijan. Georgia covers an area of 69,875 km².

Contents

Location

Georgia is located in the mountainous South Caucasus region of Eurasia, straddling Western Asia and Eastern Europe[1] between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Georgia's northern border with Russia roughly runs along the crest of the Greater Caucasus mountain range – a commonly reckoned boundary between Europe and Asia. In Philip Johan von Strahlenberg's 1730 definition of Europe, which was used by the Russian Tsars and which first set the Urals as the eastern border of the continent, the continental border was drawn from the Kuma-Manych Depression to the Caspian Sea, thereby including all of Georgia (and the whole of the Caucasus) in Asia.

Georgia's proximity to the bulk of Europe, combined with various cultural and political factors, has led increasingly to the inclusion of Georgia in Europe. Some sources place the country in that region;[1] as well, Georgia has joined European organizations such as the Council of Europe, and is seeking membership in NATO and accession to the European Union.

Topography

Despite its small area, Georgia has one of the most varied topographies of the former Soviet republics. Georgia lies mostly in the Caucasus Mountains, and its northern boundary is partly defined by the Greater Caucasus range. The Lesser Caucasus range, which runs parallel to the Turkish and Armenian borders, and the Surami and Imereti ranges, which connect the Greater Caucasus and the Lesser Caucasus, create natural barriers that are partly responsible for cultural and linguistic differences among regions. Because of their elevation and a poorly developed transportation infrastructure, many mountain villages are virtually isolated from the outside world during the winter. Earthquakes and landslides in mountainous areas present a significant threat to life and property. Among the most recent natural disasters were massive rock- and mudslides in Ajaria in 1989 that displaced thousands in southwestern Georgia, and two earthquakes in 1991 that destroyed several villages in northcentral Georgia and South Ossetia.

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