Today, April 9th, is Georgia’s National Unity Day

flag of Georgia with a red cross on a white background

Also known as Independence Restoration Day, the Day of National Unity is a public holiday in Georgia celebrated annually on April 9th.

N.B. – Georgia is a state in the United States of America but Georgia is also a transcontinental country at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, and it is the transcontinental country that this article is referring to, not the US State.

Today’s public holiday in the country of Georgia marks the commemoration of the Tbilisi Massacre (also known as the April 9th tragedy 1989 or the Tbilisi tragedy), when a peaceful anti-Soviet demonstration on Rustaveli Avenue, in Tbilisi was dispersed by the Soviet Army, resulting in at least 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

Georgias flag and coat of arms

Georgia’s Motto is “Strength is Unity”        Georgia’s Anthem is “Freedom”

This transcontinental country is part of the Caucasus region, and it is bounded by the Black Sea to the west, Russia to the north and north east, Turkey to the southwest, Armenia to the south, and by Azerbaijan to the southeast. The country covers an area of 69,700 square kilometres (26,900 sq mi), and has a population of 3.7 million people. Tiblisi is Georgia’s capital and largest city, and home to roughly a third of the Georgian Population.

So while Georgia is slightly smaller than Scotland in geographic terms it has roughly one half of Scotland’s population, and it is a fully independent country.

Not all country’s have had a smooth journey to independence and a liberal/open society, and for many Georgia could well be considered to be one such country.

After the Russian Revolution in 1917, Georgia emerged as an independent republic under German protection. Following World War 1, Georgia was invaded and annexed by the Soviet Union in 1922, becoming one of the USSR’s constituent republics. In the 1980s, an independence movement emerged and grew quickly, leading to Georgia’s secession from the Soviet Union in April 1991.

For most of the subsequent decade, post-Soviet Georgia suffered from economic crisis, political instability, ethnic conflict and secessionist wars. Following the bloodless Rose Revolution in 2003, Georgia strongly pursued a pro-Western foreign policy; it introduced a series of democratic and economic reforms aimed at integration into the European Union and NATO. The country’s Western orientation led to worsening relations with Russia, which culminated in the Russo-Georgian War of 2008, and entrenched Russian occupation of a portion of Georgia.

Georgia is now a representative democracy governed as a unitary parliamentary republic. It is a developing country with a very high Human Development Index.

Economic reforms since independence have led to higher levels of economic freedom, as well as reductions in corruption indicators, poverty and unemployment.

Georgia was admitted into the United Nations on 31/7/1992

Today Georgia has a seat at The Council of Europe, the World Trade Organisation and a range of other international organisations as, this now a fully independent country, moves through the transition stages which have moved Georgia toward a modern representative state with an open economy.

Some interesting facts about Georgia

Georgia is one of the oldest wine producing countries in the world.

The most popular sports in Georgia are football, basketball, wrestling, judo and weightlifting. However, Rugby Union is considered Georgia’s national sport.

Historically, Georgia has been famous for its physical education and the Romans were fascinated with Georgians’ physical qualities after seeing the training techniques of ancient Iberia.

The first and only race circuit in the Caucasian region is located in Georgia, Rustavi International Motorpark. Originally built in 1978 it was re-opened in 2012 after total reconstruction costing $20 million. The track satisfies the FIA Grade 2 requirements and currently hosts the Legends car racing series and Formula Alfa competitions.

Architecture and arts

scenic photo of city during daytime
Photo by Rudolf Kirchner on Pexels.com

Old Tbilisi is a historic city.

Georgian architecture has been influenced by many civilisations. There are several architectural styles for castles, towers, fortifications and churches. The Upper Svaneti fortifications, and the castle town of Shatili in Khevsureti, are some of the finest examples of medieval Georgian castle architecture. Other architectural features of Georgia include Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi and the Old Town District.

Georgian ecclesiastical art is one of the most notable aspects of Gegorian Christian architecture, which combines the classical dome style with the original Basilica style, forming what is known as the Georgian cross-dome style. Cross-dome architecture developed in Georgia during the 9th century; before that, most Georgian churches were basilicas.

Other examples of Georgian ecclesiastic architecture can be found outside Georgia:  in Bulgaria and Greece (built in 1083 by the Georgian military commander Grigorii Bakuriani), Iviron Monastery in Greece (built by Georgians in the 10th century), and the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem (built by Georgians in the 9th century). One of the most famous late 19th/early 20th century Georgian artists was primitivist painter Niko Pirosman.

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2 replies »

  1. Another great piece from Ian on who small nationals manage successfully to be independent.
    Georgia also shares its patron saint, St. George, with England, and one lesser known fact is that the dictator Stalin was Georgian, not Russian.

  2. Thanks for that Eamonn
    It is always nice to get comments and learn from others
    Best wishes

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