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The history of Sakartvelo aka Georgia – What’s in a name?

By Athul K V - September 4, 2020
Georgia

How many of us are familiar with the country Sakartvelo? Can you locate that on the map? We highly doubt you can do that because it is popular among us in a different name. Yes, of course, it is none other than Georgia in Europe. Confused? how can a country be known in 2 different names? Huh, do not worry, we will explain to you in a bit. The country of Georgia has a rich and somewhat complicated history with different people from different regions invading and ruling it in the past. But, through all this, they proudly stand up for themselves and have a unique cultural identity. Also, because of its geographical location, they have had a heavy influence from both Asia and Europe. Georgians call themselves as “Kartvelis” which mean people from the region of Kartli. Let’s check out why Georgia is also called Sakartvelo.

Also Read: Places to Visit in Georgia- Get ready for a surreal experience!

Why Sakartvelo?

Nestled nicely in the Caucasus region, Georgia is geographically blessed. This highly fertile land is home of the indigenous Kartvelian tribe, which is a major reason for the name. Sakartvelo has been the name since the early 8th century, and this got changed when the country was going through political unrest. Furthermore, the Kartvelian languages have a heavy influence on languages such as Svan, Mingrelian, Laz and Georgian. Thus, making it one of the oldest primary languages in the world. This is the reason why the country is still proud and its people still call their country Sakartvelo and themselves as Kartvelebi.

Sakartvelo Georgia
Image Source: Pexels

Invasions and influences

Again due to its location between Europe and Asia, Georgia has had invasions from both sides. From Europe, Romans have invaded and played a major role in spreading Christianity which is strong even now. After the Romans, Persians made their way into Georgia with Turks following them and thus the country has a small Muslim population as well. Furthermore, they have had invasions from their Russian neighbours as well. But both countries are co-existing in a neutral relationship even though there are some disputes regarding borders and autonomous regions in Georgia.

Also Read: The Best Adventure Activities not to be missed in Georgia

The birth of Georgia

There are several stories regarding the origin of the name Georgia. The most common ones are that it came from the Persian name of “gurg” which means wolves, as the Persians called it the land of the wolves. Some say that because of the rise of Christianity and the conversion of the population, the name associated with St George and became Georgia over time. Before this, there was a theory that the name Georgia came from ‘Georgios’, the god of farming in Greek mythology. Many people believe this story because of Georgia’s fertile land and flourishing agriculture. The Russian name of Gruzia mainly originated from the Persian name “gurgan”. These are some of the theories which explain how Georgia got its current and most popular name.

Georgia aerial view
Image Source: Pexels

Also Read: Best Delicacies of Georgia That Travellers Shouldn’t Miss Out

Georgia or Sakartvelo – What’s in a name?

Georgia or Sakartvelo is rich in both its history and vivid geography. The country has flourishing and fertile land and is a pioneer in winemaking. Due to the many influences, one would think the country might lose its prime fabric, but they are wrong. The people of Georgia are proud to proclaim their heritage and want people to identify them on their cultural heritage. So, when you hear the word Sakartvelo the next time, don’t be confused. Lithuania has officially decided to call Georgia as Sakartvelo, as they used to call them Gruzija before this. Sakartvelo is the Georgian name of this little nation, and its people take pride in being called a Kartvelian. So when are you planning a vacation to Sakartvelo?

Also read: Surreal Mountain Hikes in Georgia – The trekkers’ paradise

Visit Georgia/Sakartvelo and experience the best of this unique country. Check out the Pickyourtrail website and go through Georgia Packages. Did you know you can customize and craft your perfect vacation? Also, download the Pickyourtrail App to have your travel queries answered on the go. Additionally, drop us your queries on Whatsapp as well and let our travel experts help you.

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