Georgia - Culture Smart! The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
Georgia lies between Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East, on the southeastern shore of the Black Sea. This small Caucasian country is used to playing a significant role in global geopolitics, and its strategic location at the crossroads of different civilizations has been a curse as well as a blessing. Once a battlefield of the Christian and Muslim worlds, today it is caught between its NATO aspirations and its location in Russia’s backyard. The Silk Road brought the best of the world to Georgia. Its ancient Christian culture shows the influence of Arab, Persian, and Ottoman conquerors. Combined with this is a southern, “Mediterranean” feel, traces of the Soviet legacy, and a strong Western influence. What awaits the visitor is a unique culture that goes back thousands of years. Georgia has a rich historical heritage, wonderful food and wines, unforgettable scenery, authentic folk music and dances, an attractive business climate, and an educated and hospitable people for whom indulging a guest is more a religion than a duty. Culture Smart! Georgia offers invaluable insights and practical tips for tourists and business people alike. The author, Natia Abramia, guides you through the past and present-day realities of her motherland, explaining what makes people tick, how they live and feel, and how to get on with them. You will discover that the Georgians will not let you down. Learn how to reach their hearts, and they will charm you back.
Kazakhstan, one of the largest countries on earth, was long hidden from the rest of the world behind the Iron Curtain, and continued to remain unnoticed among the “stans” of Central Asia that gained independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Now, twenty years later, it has emerged as a modern state with far-reaching ambitions. It has developed rapidly over the last decade, raising a brand-new capital in the middle of its vast, empty grasslands, and stepping up to take the leading position in the region. Blessed with great reserves of oil, gas, and mineral resources, it is politically and economically stable, and the richest country in Central Asia. The seemingly endless expanse of the Kazakh Steppe takes visitors by surprise. In the east and southeast the terrain eventually changes to picturesque highlands and mountains, providing natural habitats for a number of rare animal and bird species. Once home to ancient civilizations, this immense land has yielded a wealth of archaeological artefacts. The modern Kazakh people emerged from the rise and fall of a succession of medieval Turkic states before being absorbed into the Russian Empire. They were pastoral nomads, self-sufficient, free, and famously adaptable. Their openness and generosity of spirit have survived against all the odds of a grim history. Today Kazakhstan is open for business, and receptive again to outside cultural influences. Culture Smart! Kazakhstan introduces Western readers to this complex, unknown people. It guides you through their traditions, customs, and social values. It describes how they behave at work, at home, at leisure, and on the street, and what they eat and drink. There are vital tips on communicating, and invaluable insights into Kazakhstan’s dynamic business culture and economy.