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Georgia

Visas
A passport and a visa are required. Visitors must acquire a visa from a Georgian embassy abroad or upon arrival at the airport before being admitted into the country. Travelers arriving with a valid visa from Armenia or Azerbaijan are not required to have a Georgian visa unless they plan to stay more than three days. Travelers must also fill out customs declarations upon arrival and present them to customs officials when departing the country. Failure to declare currency and other items can result in fines or other penalties. In any case advisable to check the visa requirements before departuring to Georgia

Getting to Georgia

There are three main ways to enter Georgia : via Tbilisi international airport , Batumi port on the Black Sea , land border crossings with Russia , Azierbajan, Armenia and Turkey.

By air
Number of world-known air carriers have regular flight to Tbilisi - "British Airways", "Lufthansa", "Air France", "Aeroflot", "Turkish Airlines" and "Olympic". "Georgian Airways" flies to many European destinations, as well as to Istanbul, Larnaca and Tel-Aviv. It would be hard to find any cheap flights to/from Georgia. The cheapest flights are between Tbilisi and Russian towns : Moscow ($120-150 one way), Stavropol ($70 one way), Minvody ($60-65 one way), Vladikavkaz, Krasnodar, Saratov.

By train
Regular trains run to Erevan (Armenia), 12 hours, 6-8 USD ; and to Moscow via Baku (Azerbajan), 70 hours, 40-50 USD. There are no trains along the Black Sea coast because of unstability in Abhazia region. The same problem with the Moscow's train which runs via Gudermes in Chechnya. Trains were running in august '99, the nowdays situation is unknown. There is no railway connection with Turkey.

By bus
Bus would be your only way to travel between Georgia and neighbor countries. Buses connect Tbilisi with Turkish town of Trabzon several times daily, via Batumi ( Border officers would try to cause you to pay between 5-20USD for "Leaving Georgia", know, that their demands are unlawful, but the problem is that you have nothig to do, unless to pay them. Try to persuade an officer, that travelers cheques - are the only money you have. Sometimes it helps. Regular buses run to Erevan (Armenia), via Alaverdi ; Baku (Azerbajan) ; Istanbul via Batumi and Trabzon ; Minvody and Stavropol (Russia), via Georgian Military Highway, which runs through Dariali gorge. The highway that connects Georgia and Russia along the Abhazian coast via the Caucasian tunnel is closed. The only way to visit Abhazia is via Russia. The border between Georgia and Abhazia is closed.

By boat
Batumi and Poti are the points of departure for cargo ships leaving for Odessa ( Ukraine ), Sochi and Novorossijsk ( Russia ), Trabzon and Istanbul (Turkey) and Piraeus (Greece). The eji. David came to Garejian desert with his pupil, Lukiane and settled in the little natural cave. So was formed Davit's Lavra. Time by time it was branched, the number of monasteries came to 12. The monastery complex of David Gareji is carved in the Garejian Cave Mountains. Most intensively it was built in XII-XIII century, the own order of monastery life and constructing, own schools of frescoes painting were formed here. Wall painting of main churches and refectories is quite attractive. David Gareji was a very important heart of medieval culture. The friaries of David Gareji made a great educational work they were multiplying manuscripts, composing collected volumes and etc.

Batumi

The town of Batumi is a good entiry pint if you are coming from Turkey by sea. Its mainly industry center of western Georgia and an old traiding port. Once the coastal region between Batumi and Sukhumi was one of the largest resorts zones of the former USSR, with its sunny beaches, luxiry hotels, spa centers, a variety of entertaiment facilities. Today, after the collaption of Soviet Union, economical unstability and continious war with Abhazia - Batumi looks abandoned. Many of its interesting buildings and sites are destroyed or damaged. Today Georgian goverment makes every efforts to regain its wonderful Black Sea riviera. A dolphinarium - the proud of locals is worth to visit, The Botanical Garden, which are genuine highlights. The castle was reopened for visitors at resent years.



Sent by Yair, Israel