Georgia’s unique culture of hospitality

Nestled in the Caucasus region, Georgia boasts a culture that has been shaped by centuries of rich history, diverse influences, and a profound sense of hospitality. From the snow-capped peaks of the Greater Caucasus to the lush valleys of the south, the warmth and generosity of the Georgian people leaves a lasting impression on everyone who visits Georgia, and is one of the reasons that Georgia has always been a favourite destination for our groups. We are so excited to be once again visiting Georgia on our upcoming Istanbul to Beijing tour which departs in April 2025.

At the heart of Georgian culture lies the sacred tradition of hospitality, known locally as “stumarmaspindzloba“. This ethos, deeply ingrained in the national identity, is not merely a social nicety but a revered virtue passed down through generations. Georgian hospitality is characterised by genuine warmth, open-heartedness, generosity and an unwavering commitment to making guests feel like family. A word of warning: giving your host a simple compliment about something they own can lead to them offering it to you, and refusal can cause offence! It’s a level of generosity that can come as a bit of a surprise!

Ancient proverbs encapsulate the essence of Georgian hospitality, such as “A guest is sent by God” (სტუმარი ღვთისაა), emphasising the belief that welcoming guests is not just a cultural norm but a spiritual duty.

A cornerstone of Georgian hospitality is the tradition of supra, a lavish feast where guests are treated to an abundance of food, wine, and heartfelt camaraderie. The supra is a ritualised affair, guided by a tamada, or toastmaster, who leads the proceedings with eloquence and wit. As the table groans under the weight of traditional dishes, such as khachapuri (cheese-filled bread), khinkali (dumplings), and mtsvadi (grilled meat), each offering is imbued with symbolism and significance, reflecting the bounty of the land and the generosity of the host.

And of course, then there is the wine! With a history dating back over 8,000 years, Georgia is widely regarded as the birthplace of wine, and viticulture is deeply intertwined with the national identity. Traditional winemaking methods, such as fermenting grapes in qvevri (large clay vessels buried underground), have been preserved for millennia, resulting in distinctive wines that speak of terroir and tradition.

Georgian wine is more than just a beverage; it is a sacred offering, a symbol of hospitality and communion. Guests are welcomed with a glass of wine, often poured from a communal vessel known as a kantsi, signifying unity and shared blessings. Throughout the supra, toasts are raised in honour of friendship, family, and the bonds that unite us. It’s a very special experience to be a part of.

Come and experience everything that makes Georgia such a incredible destination!

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