Adjara (Georgian: აჭარა Ač’ara [at͡ʃʼara] (listen)), officially known as the Autonomous Republic of Adjara (Georgian: აჭარის ავტონომიური რესპუბლიკა Ač’aris Avt’onomiuri Resp’ublik’a [at͡ʃʼaris avtʼɔnɔmiuri rɛspʼublikʼa] (listen)), is a historical, geographic and political-administrative region of Georgia. Located in the country's southwestern corner, Adjara lies on the coast of the Black Sea near the foot of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, north of Turkey. It is an important tourist destination and includes Georgia's second-largest city of Batumi as its capital. About 350,000 people live on its 2,880 km2.

Adjara is home to the Adjarians, a regional subgroup of Georgians. Adjara's name can be spelled in a number of ways, including Ajara, Ajaria, Adjaria, Adzharia, Atchara and Achara, among others. Under the Soviet Union, Adjara was part of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic as the Adjarian ASSR.[3]

Autonomous Republic of Adjara

აჭარის ავტონომიური რესპუბლიკა
Adjara in Georgia
Adjara in Georgia
41°39′N 42°0′E / 41.650°N 42.000°E
Official languagesGeorgian
Ethnic groups

Tornike Rizhvadze
LegislatureSupreme Council
Administrative republic
• Part of unified
Georgian Kingdom

9th century
• Conquered by
Ottoman Empire

• Ceded to Russian Empire
• Independent but not recognized state

• Administrative republic
of Georgia

• Total
2,880 km2 (1,110 sq mi)
• Water (%)
• 2012 estimate
• 2014 census
• Density
135.32/km2 (350.5/sq mi)
HDI (2017)0.781[2]
CurrencyGeorgian lari (GEL)
Time zoneUTC+4 (UTC)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+4 (not observed)


Adjara has been part of Colchis and Caucasian Iberia since ancient times. Colonized by Greeks in the 5th century BC, the region fell under Rome in the 2nd century BC. It became part of the Lazica before being incorporated into the Kingdom of Abkhazia in the 8th century AD, the latter led unification of Georgian monarchy in the 11th century.

The Ottomans conquered the area in 1614. The people of Adjara gradually converted to Islam in this period. The Ottomans were forced to cede Adjara to the expanding Russian Empire in 1878.

After a temporary occupation by Turkish and British troops in 1918–1920, Adjara became part of the Democratic Republic of Georgia in 1920. After a brief military conflict in March 1921, Ankara's government ceded the territory to Georgia under Article VI of Treaty of Kars on the condition that autonomy be provided for the Muslim population. The Soviet Union established the Adjar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1921 in accord with this clause. Thus, Adjara was still a component part of Georgia, but with considerable local autonomy.

Independent Georgia

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Adjara became part of a newly independent but politically divided Republic of Georgia. It avoided being dragged into the chaos and civil war that afflicted the rest of the country between 1991 and 1993 due largely to the authoritarian rule of its leader Aslan Abashidze. Although he successfully maintained order in Adjara and made it one of the country's most prosperous regions, he was accused of involvement in organised crime—notably large-scale smuggling to fund his government and enrich himself. The central government in Tbilisi had very little say in what went on in Adjara during the presidency of Eduard Shevardnadze.

This changed following the Rose Revolution of 2003 when Shevardnadze was deposed in favour of the reformist opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili, who pledged to crack down on separatism within Georgia. In the spring of 2004, a major crisis in Adjara erupted as the central government sought to reimpose its authority on the region. It threatened to develop into an armed confrontation. However, Saakashvili's ultimata and mass protests against Abashidze's autocratic rule forced the Adjaran leader to resign in May 2004, following which he went into exile in Russia. After Abashidze's ousting, a new law was introduced to redefine the terms of Adjara's autonomy. Levan Varshalomidze succeeded Abashidze as the chairman of the government.

In July 2007, the seat of the Georgian Constitutional Court was moved from Tbilisi to Batumi.[4]

In November 2007 Russia ended its two century military presence in Georgia by withdrawing from the 12th Military Base (the former 145th Motor Rifle Division) in Batumi.[5]

Since mid-2000s Turkey has expanded its influence over Adjara.[6][7] Turkish influence can be seen in the region's economy[8] and in the religious life—through the region's Muslim population.[9][10]

Law and government

Logo of the Cabinet of Ministers.
Council of Ministers of Adjara
Government building in Batumi.

The status of the Adjaran Autonomous Republic is defined by Georgia's law on Adjara and the region's new constitution, adopted following the ousting of Aslan Abashidze. The local legislative body is the Parliament. The head of the region's government—the Council of Ministers of Adjara—is nominated by the President of Georgia who also has powers to dissolve the assembly and government and to overrule local authorities on issues where the constitution of Georgia is contravened. Zurab Pataridze is the current head of the Adjaran government.

Adjara is subdivided into six administrative units:

Name Area (km2) Population
(17 Jan 2002)
(1 Jan 2010)
City of Batumi 121,806 123,500
Keda District 452 20,024 20,300
Kobuleti District 720 88,063 91,100
Khelvachauri District 410 90,843 94,000
Shuakhevi District 588 21,850 22,600
Khulo District 710 33,430 35,500

Geography and climate

Adjara is located on the south-eastern coast of the Black Sea and extends into the wooded foothills and mountains of the Lesser Caucasus. It has borders with the region of Guria to the north, Samtskhe-Javakheti to the east and Turkey to the south. Most of Adjara's territory either consists of hills or mountains. The highest mountains rise more than 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) above sea level. Around 60% of Adjara is covered by forests. Many parts of the Meskheti Range (the west-facing slopes) are covered by temperate rain forests.

Adjara is traversed by the northeasterly line of equal latitude and longitude.


Lesser Caucasus mountains.

Adjara is well known for its humid climate (especially along the coastal regions) and prolonged rainy weather, although there is plentiful sunshine during the spring and summer months. Adjara receives the highest amounts of precipitation both in Georgia and in the Caucasus. It is also one of the wettest temperate regions in the northern hemisphere. No region along Adjara's coast receives less than 2,200 mm (86.6 in) of precipitation per year. The west-facing (windward) slopes of the Meskheti Range receive upwards of 4,500 mm (177.2 in) of precipitation per year. The coastal lowlands receive most of the precipitation in the form of rain (due to the area's subtropical climate). September and October are usually the wettest months. Batumi's average monthly rainfall for the month of September is 410 mm (16.14 in). The interior parts of Adjara are considerably drier than the coastal mountains and lowlands. Winter usually brings significant snowfall to the higher regions of Adjara, where snowfall often reaches several meters. Average summer temperatures are between 22–24 degrees Celsius in the lowland areas and 17–21 degrees Celsius in the highlands. The highest areas of Adjara have lower temperatures. Average winter temperatures are between 4–6 degrees Celsius along the coast while the interior areas and mountains average around -3–2 degrees Celsius. Some of the highest mountains of Adjara have average winter temperatures of -8–(-7) degrees Celsius.


Adjara has good land for growing tea, citrus fruits and tobacco. Mountainous and forested, the region has a subtropical climate, and there are many health resorts. Tobacco, tea, citrus fruits, and avocados are leading crops; livestock raising is also important. Industries include tea packing, tobacco processing, fruit and fish canning, oil refining, and shipbuilding.

The regional capital, Batumi, is an important gateway for the shipment of goods heading into Georgia, Azerbaijan and landlocked Armenia. The port of Batumi is used for the shipment of oil from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Its oil refinery handles Caspian oil from Azerbaijan which arrives by pipeline to Supsa port and is transported from there to Batumi by rail. The Adjaran capital is a centre for shipbuilding and manufacturing.

Adjara is the main center of Georgia's coastal tourism industry, having displaced the northwestern province of Abkhazia since that region's de facto secession from Georgia in 1993.


Black Sea coast near the resort of Kvariati.

According to the 2014 census, the population of Adjara is 333,953.[11] The Adjarians (Ajars) are an ethnographic group of the Georgian people who speak a group of local dialects known collectively as Adjarian. The written language is Georgian.

The Georgian population of Adjara had been generally known as "Muslim Georgians" until the 1926 Soviet census which listed them as "Ajars" and counted 71,000 of them. Later, they were simply classified under a broader category of Georgians as no official Soviet census asked about religion. Today, calling them "Muslim Georgians" would be a misnomer in any case as Adjarans are now about 70% Christian (see below).

Ethnic minorities include Russians, Armenians, Pontic Greeks, Abkhaz, etc.[12]


The collapse of the Soviet Union and the re-establishment of Georgia's independence accelerated re-Christianisation, especially among the young.[13] However, there are still remaining Sunni Muslim communities in Adjara, mainly in the Khulo district. According to the 2014 Georgian national census, 70% were Orthodox Christians, and 30% Muslim.[11] The remaining were Armenian Christians (0.3%), and others (3%).[11]

Traditional public festivals


Selimoba is held in Bako village, Khulo Municipality on July 3 and commemorates the life of Selim Khimshiashvili. A concert with the participation of local amateur groups of a folk handicraft products exhibition is held during the festival. It is supported by Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Adjara.


Shuamtoba ("inter-mountain festival") is a traditional festival, which is held on the summer mountain pastures of two municipalities (Khulo and Shuakhevi), in the first weekend of every August. Horse racing, folk handicraft products exhibition and a concert involving folk ensembles are held on Shuamtoba.


Machakhloba is Machakhela gorge festivity, held in the second half of September. It is a traditional holiday celebrated in Machakhela gorge, Khelvachauri Municipality. Festival begins at the Machakhela rifle monument (at the point of convergence of rivers Machakhela and Chorokhi), continues in the village Machakhispiri and ends in the village Zeda Chkhutuneti.


Kolkhoba is an ancient Laz festival. It is held at the end of August or at the beginning of September in Sarpi village, Khelvachauri District. The myth about Argonauts is performed on stage during the festival.


Old Batumi
Batumi in the 1900s.

See also


  1. ^ "Georgia". 2012-01-01. Retrieved 2012-12-20.
  2. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  3. ^ "1936 Constitution of the USSR, Part I".
  4. ^ "Constitutional Court of Georgia - Brief History". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21.
  5. ^ "Russia closes last military base in Georgia". Reuters. 13 November 2007.
  6. ^ Belyaev, Andrey. "Friendly Relations between Georgia and Turkey shall be put to the test in Kirnati". New Eastern Outlook. 10 June 2014. This same period saw a strong influx of Turkish investments, direct entry of Turkish business into the region, and as a consequence, increased Turkish influence.
  7. ^ According to Georgian political analyst George Khutsishvili Turkey's influence in Adjara is felt stronger than elsewhere in Georgia. Otidze, Irina (10 July 2013). "Аджария: между сепаратизмом и исламом". (in Russian). «Турецкое влияние в Аджарии чувствуется сильнее, чем где бы то ни было в Грузии», — говорит эксперт Георгий Хуцишвили.
  8. ^ Rukhadze, Vasili (1 October 2015). "Defying Georgia, Turkey Gradually Cultivates its Influence in Separatist Abkhazia". Eurasia Daily Monitor. The Jamestown Foundation. 12 (177). Overall, Turkish businesses flourish across Georgia, with especially heavy concentration in Batumi and the surrounding Adjara region.
  9. ^ Balci, Bayram (18 June 2014). "Strengths and Constraints of Turkish Policy in the South Caucasus". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Turkish religious influence is notable, not only in Azerbaijan but also in the Muslim regions of Georgia (in the region of Adjara and the border areas of Azerbaijan).
  10. ^ "Islam in Georgia" (Word document). Government of the United Kingdom. Turkey’s influence in the region remains strong, in part through funding provided by Ankara for local mosques
  11. ^ a b c "census - 2014 General Population Census Results". Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  12. ^ (in Georgian)Autonomous Republic of Adjara, Department of Statistics
  13. ^ George Sanikidze and Edward W. Walker (2004), Islam and Islamic Practices in Georgia. Berkeley Program in Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies. University of California, Berkeley Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

External links

Adjar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic

The Adjarian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Adjarian ASSR or Adzhar ASSR; Georgian: აჭარის ავტონომიური საბჭოთა სოციალისტური რესპუბლიკა; Russian: Аджарская Автономная Советская Социалистическая Республика) was an autonomous republic of the Soviet Union within the Georgian SSR, established on 16 July 1921. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, it became the Autonomous Republic of Adjara within Georgia.


The Adjarians (Georgian: აჭარლები) are an ethnographic group of Georgians living mainly in Adjara in south-western Georgia and speaking the Adjarian dialect of the Georgian language.

The Adjarians had their own territorial entity, the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, founded on July 16, 1921 as the Adjara ASSR. After years of post-Soviet stalemate, the region was brought closer within the framework of the Georgian state in 2004, retaining its autonomous status.

Adjarian settlements are also found in the Georgian provinces of Guria, Kvemo Kartli, and Kakheti, as well as in several areas of neighbouring Turkey.

Administrative divisions of Georgia (country)

The subdivisions of Georgia are autonomous republics (Georgian: ავტონომიური რესპუბლიკა, avtonomiuri respublika), regions (მხარე, mkhare), and municipalities (მუნიციპალიტეტი, munits'ipaliteti).

Georgia a unitary state, whose borders are defined by the law as corresponding to the situation of 21 December 1991. It includes two autonomous republics (Georgian: ავტონომიური რესპუბლიკა, avtonomiuri respublika), those of Adjara and Abkhazia, the latter being outside Georgia's effective control. The former, Soviet-era autonomous entity of South Ossetia, also not currently under Georgia's de facto jurisdiction, has no final defined constitutional status in Georgia's territorial arrangement.The territory of Georgia is currently subdivided into a total of 76 municipalities—12 self-governing cities (ქალაქი, k'alak'i), including the nation's capital of Tbilisi, and 64 communities (თემი, t'emi). The municipalities outside the two autonomous republics and Tbilisi are grouped, on a provisional basis, into nine regions (mkhare): Guria, Imereti, Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, and Shida Kartli. Tbilisi itself is divided into ten districts (რაიონი, raioni).


Batumi (; Georgian: ბათუმი [bɑtʰumi]); is the capital of Autonomous Republic of Adjara and the second-largest city of Georgia, located on the coast of the Black Sea in the country's southwest. It is situated in a Subtropical Zone at the foot of Caucasus. Much of Batumi's economy revolves around tourism and gambling (It is nicknamed "The Las Vegas of the Black Sea"), but the city is also an important sea port and includes industries like shipbuilding, food processing and light manufacturing. Since 2010, Batumi has been transformed by the construction of modern high-rise buildings, as well as the restoration of classical 19th-century edifices lining its historic Old Town.

Catholic Church in Georgia

The Catholic Church in Georgia, since the 11th-century East–West Schism, has been composed mainly of Latin-Rite Catholics; Catholic communities of the Armenian Rite have existed in the country since the 18th century.

A Georgian Byzantine Rite Catholic community, though small, has existed for a number of centuries but does not, however, constitute an autonomous ("sui iuris") Church. Canon 27 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches defines these Churches as under a hierarchy of their own and recognized as autonomous by the supreme authority of the Church. "No organized Georgian Greek Catholic Church ever existed", though, outside Georgia, "a small Georgian Byzantine Catholic parish has long existed in Istanbul. Currently it is without a priest. Twin male and female religious orders 'of the Immaculate Conception' were founded there in 1861, but have since died out." This was never established as a recognized particular church of any level (exarchate, ordinariate, etc.), within the communion of Catholic Churches, and accordingly has never appeared in the list of Eastern Catholic Churches published in the Annuario Pontificio.


Chakvi (Georgian: ჩაქვი [tʃʰɑkʰvi]), also spelled Chakva, is a resort town in Georgia by the Black Sea coast. It is part of Kobuleti Municipality.

Geography of Georgia (country)

Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region. Situated at the juncture of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the east by Azerbaijan. Georgia covers an area of 69,700 square kilometres (26,900 sq mi).

Georgian cuisine

Georgian cuisine (Georgian: ქართული სამზარეულო, translit.: kartuli samzareulo) refers to the cooking styles and dishes created by the Georgians. The Georgian cuisine is unique to the country, but also carries some influences from other Caucasian, Eastern European and nearby Middle Eastern culinary traditions. Each historical province of Georgia has its own distinct culinary tradition, with variations such as Abkhazian, Megrelian, Kakhetian, Imeretian, Svanetian, Tushian, Kartlian, Gurian, Meskhian, Rachian and Adjarian cuisines. Rich with meat dishes, the Georgian cuisine also offers a variety of vegetarian dishes.

Georgian cuisine is the result of the broad interplay of culinary ideas carried along the Silk Road Trade route by merchants and travelers alike. The importance of both food and drink to Georgian culture is best observed during a feast called supra, when a huge assortment of dishes are prepared, always accompanied by large amounts of local wine, known to be one of the world's oldest wines, produced in ancient authentic Georgian underground kvevri clay pots (dating 8 century BC). In a Georgian feast, the role of the tamada (toastmaster) is an important and honoured position.

Keda, Georgia

Keda (Georgian: ქედა [kʰɛda]) is a small town in Ajaria, an autonomous republic in the southwestern Georgia, 42 km southeast to the regional capital Batumi. Keda District also comprises 60 villages adjoining to the town. Its area is 452 km². According to the 2014 census, its population is 16,760.In the district are several historical monuments, particularly the medieval Orthodox churches at Makhuntseti, Zesopeli and Namonastrevi, and the bridges of Tsonarisi and Dandalo.


Khelvachauri (Georgian: ხელვაჩაური [xɛlvɑtʃʰɑuri]) is a small town in Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia, 8 km southeast to the regional capital Batumi. The towns of Khelvachauri and Makhinjauri, and adjoining 75 villages form Khelvachauri District (raion) bordered by the Black Sea to the west and Turkey to the south. The area of the district is 410 km2; population – 51,189.The ancient Gonio fortress is a main historical site in the district. Makhinjauri is a popular climatic spa near the town.

Khelvachauri's military base has been bombed by the Russian army, 11 August 2008, at 3 am (local time)

Khelvachauri Municipality

Khelvachauri (Georgian: ხელვაჩაურის მუნიციპალიტეტი) is a district of Georgia, in the autonomous republic of Adjara. Its main town is Khelvachauri.

Population: 51,189Area: 413 km²


Khulo (Georgian: ხულო [xulɔ]) is a townlet (daba) in Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia, 88 km east of the regional capital Batumi, in the upper valley of Adjaris-tsqali. The town and adjoining 78 villages form the mountainous Khulo District (Rayon). Area – 710 km2; population – 23,327.The town, formerly known as Khula and Hulo, was a merchant place located on a medieval road that linked Samtskhe-Javakheti to the Black Sea coast. During Ottoman times, Khulo was a chief settlement of Upper Adjara governed by the Khimshiashvili family. In 1829, it was briefly occupied by the Russian force of General Osten-Sacken who sacked the Khimshiashvili residence before withdrawal. Khulo's population, largely Islamized under the Ottomans, diminished dramatically under the Russian oppression of Islam in the 1870s. A series of floods and avalanches in the 1990s-2000s induced another wave of migration from the mountainous villages of the rayon.

In the district are medieval historical monuments - Khikhani Fortress (10th century) where rebel against Ottoman Empire Selim Beg Khimshiashvili was defending himself until he was captured and beheaded in 1785. On the way to Khikhani fortress there is an active Monastery of Skhalta cathedral (13th century).

Besides historical monuments there are many other interesting tourist sights in Khulo district such as Beshumi Resort and Green Lake located near Goderdzi pass as well as Khulo Cable Cars which is used for daily means of transportation by the locals from Khulo to Tago village.


Kobuleti (Georgian: ქობულეთი [kʰɔbulɛtʰi]) is a town in Adjara, western Georgia, situated on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. It is the seat of Kobuleti Municipality and a seaside resort, visited annually by Georgians and many former Soviet Union residents. It is especially popular with Armenian tourists.

Kobuleti Municipality

Kobuleti (Georgian: ქობულეთის მუნიციპალიტეტი) is a district of Georgia, in the autonomous republic of Adjara. Its main town is Kobuleti.

Population: 74,794Area: 720 km²

List of cities and towns in Georgia (country)

The following list of Georgian cities is divided into three separate lists for Georgia itself, and the disputed territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Although not recognized by most countries, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are de facto independent since, respectively, 1992 and 1991 and occupied by Russia since 2008 Russo-Georgian War.

List of protected areas of Georgia

The South Caucasian nation of Georgia is home to several protected areas, which receive protection because of their environmental, cultural or similar value. The oldest of these – now known as the Lagodekhi Protected Areas – dates back to 1912, when Georgia was part of the Russian Empire.

The total area of Georgia’s protected territories is 511,123 hectares, which amounts to approximately 8.33 % of the country’s territory. Total number of protected areas — 90. There are 14 Strict Nature Reserves, 10 National Parks, 18 Managed Nature Reserves, 40 Natural Monuments and 2 Protected Landscapes in Georgia. Strict nature reserves comprise 140,672 ha, while national parks cover 276,724 ha. The total number of visitors in 2014 has exceeded 279,000.


Makhinjauri (Georgian: მახინჯაური [mɑxindʒɑuri]) is a small town (daba) in Adjara, Georgia, with the population of 735 according to the 2014 census. It is located on the Black Sea coast, 5 km north of Batumi, the capital of Adjara, and functions as a seaside resort. Until the opening of Batumi railway station in 2015, Makhinjauri station was the one serving Batumi. Administratively, Makhinjauri was part of the Khelvachauri district from 1959 to 2011 and of the city of Batumi since 2011.


Ochkhamuri (Georgian: ოჩხამური [ɔtʃʰxɑmuri]) is a small town (daba) on the Ochkhamuri river in Adjara, Georgia, with the population of 5,355 as of the Georgian census of 2014.


Shuakhevi (Georgian: შუახევი [ʃuɑxɛvi]) is a small town in Georgia's Autonomous Republic of Adjara, 67 km east to the regional capital Batumi. Situated on the right bank of the Adjaristsqali River, it is an administrative center of Shuakhevi District, which comprises the town itself and 68 adjoining mountainous villages. The area of the district is 588 km²; population – 15,044.There is a plant to build Shuakhevi hydro power plant, a run-of-the-river plant with installed capacity of 185 MW with expected electricity output of 452 GWh. It is expected to be commissioned in 2016.Near the town are the ruins of a medieval fortress.

Countries and regions of the Caucasus
Autonomous Republics
City with special status
Historical regions of Georgia
Kvemo Kartli
Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti
Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti
Shida Kartli

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