Black Sea coastal zone
December 2, 2020
Black Sea coastal zone
Guria, Samegrelo, Adjara
Guria is a small region in the West of Georgia, located along the coastal zone. The distinctive features of Guria are not only its ancient history, but also its picturesque nature, rich in mineral springs, green forests and meadows, sandy beaches and clean air.
At the beginning of the XV century, Guria was only a part of Western Georgia, from where its history is best tracked. However, by the middle of the century, the ruler of the large province of Kutaisi, Bagrat of the Bagration dynasty, rebelled against the government and defeated the army of Tsar George VIII. After that, western Georgia was actually separated from Central Georgia. Bagrat was elevated to the throne of the ruler of Imereti, dividing the possessions among his supporters. In the same XV century, Guria passed into the control of the descendants of Vardanidze, Dadiani, and then Gurieli. In 1681, Prince Giorgi Gurieli became the ruler of Imereti, until in 1683 he was deposed by the Turks, who by the end of the XVI century conquered all of Adjara. Having found themselves in such a difficult situation, Guria was forced to become subordinate to Megrelia. Having finally lost Batumi in 1723, the principality became sparsely populated, numbering no more than 6,000 families by 1770. On September 2, 1829, the principality was abolished, becoming a county. In 1905, as a result of the Russian revolution that took place here, there were peasant unrest, which marked the beginning of the independence of the Gurian Republic. However, it did not last long and a few months later, in January 1906, it was liquidated by the expedition of Colonel Krylov.
Like any other region of Georgia, Guria has its own cultural characteristics and customs. Here they celebrate public and religious holidays, observing the traditions of cooking and national dishes. Also Guria is famous for its popular dancing "Ferzacc", "Kalmakova", "Fitlit of Aqua" and others. "Fartsakuku" is a dance of winners, which is performed together with women.
The Guria region has a long coastline of 22 kilometers, and 15,000 hectares of the total area is occupied by the Colchis National Park. Guria has a huge number of reservoirs, the main of which are the Natanebi and Sepsa rivers, as well as Lake Imnati and Lake Japan. Another feature of Guria is the presence of a large number of mineral springs, the most popular of which is Nabeglavi. The climate here is humid, subtropical, with moderately cold winters and mild summers. The average temperature for the year is 12-14 degrees with a plus sign, and the air has healing qualities due to the combination of mountain and sea.
Samegrelo is a region of Western Georgia, with a population of about half a million people. The Samegrelo region, conventionally divided into three parts: the built-up and densely populated plain, the less populated foothills and the mountains themselves, has the regional center of Zugdidi and the important port city of Poti. A distinctive feature of Samegrelo is not only its dense population, but also a good infrastructure, as well as a fairly high standard of living. However, it should be noted that this area is still provincial and all the processes and innovations here take place a little later than in the central part of Georgia and its capital.
The history of Samegrelo is full of political and military events. Even in ancient times, this region was the site of the kingdom of Colchis, then the province of Byzantium, and after the VIII century-the Abkhazian kingdom. However, in the XV century, this region separated and became an independent principality. After the quarrel of Prince Grigory Dadiani with the king of Imereti in 1803, the region fell under the control of the Russian Empire. Levan, son of Grigory, ruled from 1804 to 1846, helping the Russian army to suppress uprisings in his area. At the same time, his son David, who ruled from 1813 to 1853, did not give up his power in favor of Russia, establishing a museum in his palace. The last ruler of Samegrelo was Prince Nicholas. It was under him that the principality was liquidated in 1866. Nicholas was buried in 1903 in the Chkondidi monastery, and most of the country's population came to his funeral.
After that, the history of Samegrelo records some more military actions, such as the civil war in the 90s and the invasion of the Russian army in 2008.
To get to Samegrelo today is not difficult. Here are roads of good quality, many trails and detours that are little used, but have excellent quality coverage. Major highways are route Senaki-Poti, Zugdidi-Anaklia,Mastilica track Abasha-Senaki, Zugdidi and Zugdidi-chkhorotskhu.
In Samegrelo, agriculture is poorly developed due to the dampness of the characteristic local soil. The main crops grown are corn and nuts, but wheat almost does not grow here. However, today the land is actively cultivated for tea plantations, and often the tea that is found in Georgia on sale grows in Megrelia.
The main attractions of this area are buildings, walls and other preserved buildings of past empires. The most interesting and significant of which is Nokalakevi-Archeopolis, the capital of the ancient Byzantine Egrisi.
There are also fortresses and castles of various degrees of preservation, a large concentration of which is concentrated in the Tsalenjikha district. Also the most notable and interesting to visit are the Rukh fortress near Zugdidi, the ancient fortress of Anaklia, the well-preserved fortress of Chakvinji on the Chanisktskali River, the fortress of Shkhepi, where King Levan died in prison.
There are not so many temples and monasteries in Samegrelo, the main one is the Chkondidi monastery in Martvili, which became famous in the X century. Another one, known for its relics, is the Assumption Monastery in Hobi. The Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Tsalenjiha, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Blachernae, the Assumption Cathedral, the Assumption Church in the village of Kortskheli have beautiful frescoes and are a must-visit.
If you want to see museums, then you should pay attention to the house-museum of Konstantin Gamsakhurdiy, the Dadiani Palace and the Colchis Culture Museum in Poti.
In Megrelia, as in many other regions of Georgia, grapes are grown. Here, preserved by winegrowers from ancient times, such varieties as Tsitska, Ocaleshi, Tsolikauri grow. A great contribution to the development and preservation of these varieties was made by the Princes of Dadiani. The wine is aged here in clay vessels, as well as in Eastern Georgia. However, these vessels are called Churi and they have small differences with Qvevri. During the Soviet period, many varieties were exterminated, and some were on the verge of extinction. Now it is dominated by endemic grape varieties.
Samegrelo is considered the main region where winemaking originated. Here, for a long time, a special technology of growing grapes on trees was used, now replaced by gazebos.
Among all endemic varieties especially want to highlight a unique variety of Ojaleshi. They are engaged in true connoisseurs and dedicated winegrowers. Now you can easily find a bottle of this wine in a good wine store, but its price will not be low.
The nature in Samegrelo is magnificent. There is much to admire here, and if you find yourself in this area, you should definitely visit the little-known mountain resort of Lebarde, the famous Martville Canyon, Lake Tobavarchhila, located in the mountains. Many tourists and visitors of the country go to Samegrelo only because of Svaneti, which is famous for its natural beauty. Another feature of the region is the opportunity to visit both the ski resort and the coastal area in one day, which especially attracts tourists. For lovers of hiking, there is a huge national park of Kolkheti.
In the south-west of Georgia is the autonomous republic of Adjara, with a total area of more than two thousand nine hundred square kilometers and a population of four hundred thousand people, half of whom live in Batumi-the capital of the region.
Sunny Adjara is a very popular tourist destination. This is a magnificent picturesque area where the mountains and the sea converge. The height of the Adjara Mountains ranges from 2 to 3.5 thousand meters above sea level.
The coastal part of Adjara boasts a warm and humid subtropical climate. At the end of spring, when there is still snow in the mountains of Adjara, the Black Sea coast is already warm. This provides a unique opportunity for a day of skiing and swimming in the sea.
But Adjara is ambivalent not only in terms of climate. The region is located at the junction of Eastern and Western cultures, Christianity and Islam. This is reflected in the incredible mix of architectural styles, folklore, everyday customs, and gastronomic traditions. Adjara is a real kaleidoscope, in which a lot of contrasting elements add up to an incredible dizzying cocktail of impressions and vivid emotions.