History and important facts of Adjara

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    History and important facts of Adjara

    Ajara is one of Georgia's most ancient regions, which, along with Meskheti, was once part of the Kingdom of Kartli. Various sources, such as ancient texts, archaeological findings, ethnographic data, folklore, and toponymic evidence, confirm that Ajara is an area with deep-rooted settlements. The region was a prominent center for the advanced and self-sufficient Kolkhi culture. Additionally, the early state associations of Dayaen (Diaokhi) and Kulkha (Kolkha, Kolkhakhali) were creations of this culture's inventive population. The well-known myth of the Argonauts' voyage and the famed Golden Fleece are also associated with these locations.

    Throughout its history, Ajara has consistently been recognized as one of Georgia's most progressive regions, particularly in ancient times. Historical sources suggest that Christianity arrived in modern-day Georgia during the first century, with St. Andrew the First-Called and Simon the Canaanite first introducing the faith in Ajara.

    In pre-feudal times, Adara was a prosperous region in southwestern Georgia, playing an active role in all aspects of Georgian state life. It is worth mentioning that the name "Ajara" first appeared in Armenian in Anania Shirakatsi's "Armenian Geography." This 7th-century work is based on sources from several centuries prior, so it is possible that the name originated even earlier. The 7th-century work "Armenian Geography" is a notable historical monument, and it is acknowledged that Anania drew upon sources from centuries earlier. It's plausible that the name emerged prior to the time it was first documented. 

    During the 12th and 13th centuries, the Ajara region was part of the unified Kingdom of Georgia, and its ruling Abuseridzes were known for their loyalty to the king. Prior to the Ottoman conquest, Adjara saw advancements in agriculture, mountain and bar-type cattle breeding, viticulture-winemaking, fruit growing, and beekeeping. Numerous ancient churches, castle-towers, and stone-arched bridges, some still in ruins while others retain much of their original form, attest to Adjara's historical grandeur, economic prowess, and rich culture.

    It is rare to find so many fortresses and defensive structures in such a small area within Georgia. Some of these structures are ancient, while others were built during the height of feudal Georgia's power. The region is also home to many remnants of Orthodox churches. In fact, nearly every village has a nearby seat, church, or temple, along with other types of monuments. Stone arched bridges hold a special place among architectural relics in Ajara, standing alongside castle towers and religious monuments in importance. The construction of these bridges likely began in the 4th and 5th centuries. Stone arched bridge construction was particularly significant throughout Georgia, including Ajara, due to the passage of the Great Silk Road through the region.

    During the Middle Ages, as Georgia became divided into multiple kingdoms, the Ottomans were able to annex Ajara for a period of 300 years and convert much of the region to Islam. However, the local population managed to preserve the Georgian language and culture until Ajara was eventually returned to its homeland. Following the war between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire (1877-1878), Georgia reclaimed its historical regions, including Ajara. In August 1878, negotiations took place between representatives of Russia and the Ottoman Empire, resulting in the Ottomans being forced to relinquish control over Adjara on August 25. However, during World War I, the Turks attempted to retake their former territories.

    In 1921, after the Bolsheviks occupied Ajara and other parts of Georgia, Ajara and the rest of Georgia were incorporated into the Soviet Union.

    In spite of numerous historical challenges, Ajara has been reunited with its motherland. Presently, it is among the fastest-growing regions in Georgia, boasting significant potential for attracting and utilizing capital. The region's tourism and recreational resources are also noteworthy. Situated along the Black Sea coast, Ajara is one of Georgia's most picturesque and prosperous regions. The area is abundant in resources, supporting the growth of citrus fruits, various types of tea, pomegranates, and other fruits. Besides agriculture, the region hosts the country's largest port, ski resorts, significant national parks (three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites), an ancient and remarkable botanical garden, stunning beaches, and diverse flora and fauna.

    Ajara is a region of contrasts, featuring villages where people have preserved ancient authentic culture and traditions, as well as the modern city of Batumi, where dynamic urban life coexists with age-old customs. 

    Notably, Ajara is renowned for its religious tolerance. People of various faiths live harmoniously here, providing a positive example for the contemporary world. Approximately 35% of the population is Muslim, around 5% is Catholic, and the majority is Orthodox Christian. All of them coexist peacefully in a shared, open environment.










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