Georgia and her people are a nation scarred and shaped by a long history of conquests and dominance from not only their European and Asian neighbours but also by domestic struggles. Neither European, nor Asian, the Georgians are a testament to a people who despite being persecuted and terrorised for thousands of years remain proudly defiant and protective over their culture, language and religion. Due to their especially turbulent past history with Russia and other Asian invaders, most Georgians refuse to acknowledge any ties or connections with Asia; instead, they focus solely on building relationships with the West. They consider themselves to be more Mediterranean in temperament, character and religion even though their personal qualities, attitudes towards family, values and principles are more in line with that of an Arab or Turk.
The male remains the primary authoritative figure in society. Men are expected to protect and provide for their women and a Georgian male will fiercely defend the honour of his female associates. Women are expected to behave in a traditionally appropriate manner and the reputation of a family’s name rests heavily and solely upon the shoulders of the women in a family. They endeavor to educate their children to the best of their ability and they respect their elders. Although there is some social rank displayed and recognized by a person’s wealth, it is success rather than affluence that is admired and valued by a Georgian.
Georgians have a somewhat lackadaisical attitude towards punctuality by Western standards. Their work ethic focuses more on an immediate, crisis management, rather than a proactive, innovative approach, a legacy from their foreign occupation days, which can be frustrating for Western business persons dealing with Georgia trade.
Despite Georgia’s unresolved alliance with the West or East, a Georgians’ character is firmly set on a solid foundation of family, religion and patriotism. There might still be a huge gap between the average rural and urbanised Georgian with regards to lifestyle, language and adherence to tradition; but all Georgians remain united by their sense of national pride, fiercely protective over their unique ancient language and their devotion to the Georgian Orthodox Christian Church. Because of their history and their loyalty to their country, they cherish both their political heroes and rebels and they tend to support powerful individuals rather than an organisation.
Georgians consider their wine and local food to be world class, they believe that their morals and principles are firmly embedded in a culture of hospitality and generosity towards not only family and friends but also to strangers. Despite this culture and their interesting and turbulent past creating a nation rich in tradition, patriotism and diversity as well as religion, they remain, especially in the rural areas, a conservative nation. A traveler to Georgia would be well advised to respect and enjoy the local traditions, values, religious beliefs and nationalism to better enjoy their experience in a country that can offer a glimpse of the best both the Asian and European worlds have to offer.