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 region of Egrisi before being incorporated into the unified Georgian Kingdom in the 9th century AD. The Ottomans conquered the area in 1614. The people of Adjara 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 due to Article VI of Treaty of Kars on condition that autonomy is 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.
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 1991–1993 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, it seemed convenient to turn a blind eye to the situation in Adjara.
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 ultimatums 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.
For many years, Russia maintained the 12th Military Base (the former 145th Motor Rifle Division) in Batumi. This was a source of great tension with Georgia, which had threatened to block access to the facility. Following talks in March 2005, the Russian government proposed to begin the process of withdrawal later the same year; Russia returned the base to Georgia on November 17, 2007, more than a year ahead of schedule.
In July 2007, the seat of the Georgian Constitutional Court was moved from Tbilisi to Batumi.
Batumi today is one of the main port cities of Georgia. It has the capacity for 80,000-tonne tankers to take materials such as oil which is shipped through Georgia from Central Asia. Additionally the city exports regional agricultural products. Since 1995 the freight conversion of the port has constantly risen, with an approximate 8 million tonnes in 2001. The annual revenue from the port is estimated at between $200 million and $300 million.
Since the change of power in Ajara, Batumi has attracted several international investors with real estate prices in the city trebling since 2001. Several new hotels opened after 2009, first the Sheraton in 2010 and the Radisson Blu in 2011. The Trump-tower and the Kempinski will open 2013.
Kakheti is a historical province in Eastern Georgia. It is bordered by the small mountainous province of Tusheti and the Greater Caucasus mountain range to the north, Russian Federation to the Northeast, Azerbaijan to the Southeast, and the Georgian province of Kartli to the west. Kakheti is geographically divided into the Inner Kakheti to the east of Tsiv-Gombori mountain range and the Outer Kakheti to the west of it. The major river of the eastern part is Alazani, while that of the western part is the Iori. Kakheti is well known as homeland of Georgian wines. As it is considered, Alazani valley is cradle of wine making. There are 4 protected areas in Kakheti: Lagodekhi national park, Vashlovani national park, Tusheti national park and Batsari restricted area. In Khakheti are popular cultural tours, jeep tours in Vashlovani, hiking and horse tours in Lagodekhi, Pankisi and Tusheti and of course food and wine tours.
Tusheti province is located on the north slopes of great Caucasus range. Tusheti is bordered by the republics of Chechnya and Dagestan to the north and east, respectively; and by the Georgian historic provinces Kakheti and Pshav-Khevsureti to the south and west, respectively. The population of the area is mainly ethnic Georgians called Tushs or Tushetians. Historically, Tusheti comprised four mountain communities of the Alazani Valley. These are Tsova, Gometzari, Chaghma and the Piriq’iti Tusheti (formerly known as Pharsman’s Tusheti). Included in the present day Akhmeta raioni, Kakheti region, Georgia, the area comprises ten villages with Omalo being the largest. The only road to Tusheti goes via Abano pass – 2926 meters above the sea level. Road is opened from end of June till beginning of October. Traditionally, the Tushs are sheep herders. Tushetian Gouda (cheese) cheese and high quality wool was famous and was exported to Europe and Russia. Even today sheep and cattle breeding is the leading branch of the economy of highland Tusheti. The local shepherds spend the summer months in the highland areas of Tusheti but live in the lowland villages of Zemo Alvani and Kvemo Alvani in wintertime. Their customs and traditions are similar to those of other eastern Georgian mountaineers. One of the most ecologically unspoiled regions in the Caucasus, Tusheti is a popular mountain-trekking venue. Pork is tabooed in Tusheti. Farmers will not raise pigs and travelers are usually advised to not bring any pork into the region. Locals will however eat pork themselves when not in Tusheti.
Kvelatsminda in Gurjaani
Gremi’s Archangel’s church
Vashlovani national park
Lagodekhi protected area
Tusheti national park
Kvemo Kartli is a region in southeast Georgia. Bordered by Kakheti from the east, Shida Kartli from the north, Javakheti from the west, and Armenia and Azerbaijan from the south. The administrative center of the region is the city Rustavi. The main river of the area is Mtkvari. The last part of the region is the lowland, Kura valley, which here is very wide. Here are cities – Rustavi, Marneuli and Gardabani. Agriculture is very highly developed in the valley, but from a tourist point of view, the lowland of Kvemo Kartli is not interesting at all. The western part, which is bordered by the Trialeti range from the north and Samsari and Javakheti range from the west, is much more interesting, and here in gorges covered by deep forests are the most exciting places of the area, but tourist infrastructure is not developed. Kvemo Kartli is very close to Tbilisi. There can be organized cultural tours, archaeological tours, naturalist tours and horse riding tours in Algeti national park, adventure tours and canyoning in Birtvisi canyon, and hiking tours.
Area: 6,527.6 km2
Samegrelo is the most north-west region of Georgia, which is bordered by the black sea, but Adjara and Guria have only two sea side resorts Anaklia and Ganmukhuri. Main city of Samegrelo is Zugdidi. According to the current administrative division Upper Svaneti belongs to Samegrelo – Zemo Svaneti region.
Samegrelo is not very touristic, but it has many interesting places to offer to its guests. Also, local cuisine is pretty different and deserves attention.
Area: 7,468 km
Main city: Zugdidi
Shida Kartli is region in central Georgia. Modern administrative division almost repeats provinces historical borders. ShidaKartli is bordered by Likhi range from the west, Trialeti range from the south, Great Caucasus range from the north and river Aragvi from the east. Administrative center of the region is town Gori, known because it is birth place of Stalin, and it was heavily damaged during Georgia – Russia war in 2008. In the city is Stalin’s museum, popular destination for tourists. North part of the region is currently occupied by Russia, so called South Ossetia, and it is impossible to travel there. Currently Mtskheta town itself and its district are in Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, but historicaly Mtskheta always used to be not only in the region Kartli, but it was its center. Shida Kartli is less known as wine making region then Kakheti, but here are local native types of grapes, and wines, so it is possible to combine tour in Shida Kartli with wine tour. Here we have two wine cellars and one wine factory. In the region most popular is cultural tourism, because Shida Kartli is reach with historical monuments – mostly churches. The most interesting site in the area is ancient carved in the rock town Uplistsikhe.
Area: 5,729 km2
Main city: Gori
Stalin museum in Gori