Guria

Guria

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Guria is a region (mkhare
Mkhare
Mkhare is a subdivision in the country of Georgia. It is usually translated as region.The country is divided, according to the Presidential decrees from 1994 to 1996, into regions on a provisional basis until the secessionist conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia are resolved...

) in Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, in the western part of the country, bordered by the eastern end of the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

. The region has a population of 143,357 (2002) and Ozurgeti
Ozurgeti
Ozurgeti is a town and the regional administrative centre of Western Georgian province of Guria, former Macharadze or Makharadze . Population of Ozurgeti: 21,009...

 is a regional capital.

Geography


Guria is bordered by Samegrelo
Samegrelo
Samegrelo/Samargalo or Megrelia, Mingrelia is a historic province in the western part of Georgia, formerly also known as Odishi.It is inhabited by the Megrelians, an ethnic subgroup of the Georgians.-Geography and Climate:...

 to the north-west, Imereti
Imereti
Imereti is a province in Georgia situated along the middle and upper reaches of the Rioni river. It consists of the following Georgian administrative-territorial units:#Kutaisi #Baghdati region#Vani region#Zestafoni region...

 to the north, Samtskhe-Javakheti to the east, Ajaria to the south, and the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 to the west. The province has an area of 2,003 km².

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

Guria consists of three administrative districts:
  • Ozurgeti
    Ozurgeti
    Ozurgeti is a town and the regional administrative centre of Western Georgian province of Guria, former Macharadze or Makharadze . Population of Ozurgeti: 21,009...

  • Lanchkhuti
    Lanchkhuti
    Lanchkhuti is a city in western Georgian region of Guria. It has a population of about 8000.Lanchkhuti received city status in 1961. Under the USSR, it was the centre of the Georgian SSR Lanchkhuti area and today continues to serve as the capital of the district of the same name within the Guria...

  • Chokhatauri
    Chokhatauri
    Chokhatauri is a town in Georgia’s Guria region, 310 km west to the nation’s capital of Tbilisi. It is an administrative center of Chokhatauri raioni , which comprises the town itself and its adjoining 60 villages. The area of the district is 824 km2; population – 24,090 .Several...


History



The toponym "Guria" is first attested in the c. 800 Georgian chronicle of Pseudo-Juansher.

Guria first appears c. 1352 as a fief of the house of Vardanidze
House of Vardanisdze
The House of Vardanisdze was an aristocratic family in medieval Georgia, listed among the Great Nobles of the realm.The family is presumed to have branched off from another eminent Georgian feudal clan of the Marushisdze, a hypothesis supported by the abundance of the name Marushiani in the...

-Dadiani
Dadiani
Dadiani was a Georgian family of nobles, dukes and princes, and a ruling dynasty of the western Georgian province of Samegrelo.- The House of Dadiani :...

; and after 1463 it became a sovereign principality independent of the Kingdom of Georgia
Kingdom of Georgia
The Kingdom of Georgia was a medieval monarchy established in AD 978 by Bagrat III.It flourished during the 11th and 12th centuries, the so-called "golden age" of the history of Georgia. It fell to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, but managed to re-assert sovereignty by 1327...

 under a branch of that house, known thereafter by the name of Gurieli
Gurieli
Gurieli was a Georgian noble family and a ruling dynasty of the southwestern Georgian province of Guria which was autonomous and later for a few centuries independent, as well as a few ducal rulers of the dynasty rose in the 17th-18th centuries to be kings of the whole western Caucasus in place...

. The principality, comprising modern Guria and much of Adjara
Adjara
Adjara , officially the Autonomous Republic of Adjara , is an autonomous republic of Georgia.Adjara is located in the southwestern corner of Georgia, bordered by Turkey to the south and the eastern end of the Black Sea...

 with the city of Batumi
Batumi
Batumi is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. Sometimes considered Georgia's second capital, with a population of 121,806 , Batumi serves as an important port and a commercial center. It is situated in a subtropical zone, rich in...

, was subsequently reduced in size and devastated in a series of conflicts with the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. A Russian
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 protectorate was established by the treaty concluded on June 19, 1810 between the Gurieli Mamia V and the empire, and in 1829, during the regency for the last prince, the Gurieli David, the principality was annexed by Russia.

There were uprisings against Russian rule in 1819 and again in 1841. In 1840, Guria was made a county (uyezd
Uyezd
Uyezd or uezd was an administrative subdivision of Rus', Muscovy, Russian Empire, and the early Russian SFSR which was in use from the 13th century. Uyezds for most of the history in Russia were a secondary-level of administrative division...

) and renamed Ozurgeti, after one of its main towns. In 1846, it was transferred to the new Kutais Governorate. By 1904, the population was just under 100,000, occupying an area of approximately 532000 acres (2,152.9 km²) of mountains and swampy valleys, covered by corn fields, vineyards, and some tea plantations. It was the most ethnically homogenous of Georgian areas, with the peasantry and lesser rural nobility making up almost the entire population, with a high level of literacy and relatively high degree of economic self-satisfaction. The peasant protest movement, which originated in 1902 and culminated in an open insurrection against the government during the Russian Revolution of 1905
Russian Revolution of 1905
The 1905 Russian Revolution was a wave of mass political and social unrest that spread through vast areas of the Russian Empire. Some of it was directed against the government, while some was undirected. It included worker strikes, peasant unrest, and military mutinies...

, was the most effective and organized peasant movement in the empire. The peasants’ self-government, the so-called Gurian Republic
Gurian Republic
The Gurian Republic or the Gurian peasant republic is a conventional term used to denote the revolutionary events that took place in the western Georgian province Guria prior to and during the Russian Revolution of 1905....

, survived into 1906, when it was crashed and Guria devastated by the Cossack
Cossack
Cossacks are a group of predominantly East Slavic people who originally were members of democratic, semi-military communities in what is today Ukraine and Southern Russia inhabiting sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper and Don basins and who played an important role in the...

 punitive expedition
Punitive expedition
A punitive expedition is a military journey undertaken to punish a state or any group of persons outside the borders of the punishing state. It is usually undertaken in response to perceived disobedient or morally wrong behavior, but may be also be a covered revenge...

. The region was a native powerbase of the Georgian Social Democratic (Menshevik) Party
Georgian Social Democratic (Menshevik) Party
200px|thumb|Menshevik Flag of Georgia, created by Iakob NikoladzeThe Social Democratic Labour Party of Georgia was a political party in Georgia. It was founded as the Georgian branch of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party separated itself from the Russian mother-party.The party dominated...

 which dominated the Democratic Republic of Georgia
Democratic Republic of Georgia
The Democratic Republic of Georgia , 1918–1921, was the first modern establishment of a Republic of Georgia.The DRG was created after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 from 1918 to 1921. Guria was a scene of guerrilla resistance to the militarily imposed
Red Army invasion of Georgia
The Red Army invasion of Georgia also known as the Soviet–Georgian War or the Soviet invasion of Georgia was a military campaign by the Soviet Russian Red Army against the Democratic Republic of Georgia aimed at overthrowing the Social-Democratic government and installing the Bolshevik regime...

 Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 rule early in the 1920s. Under the Soviet government, Guria was an agrarian area divided into three administrative districts. In 1995, the Georgian government decreed the creation of the region (mkhare
Mkhare
Mkhare is a subdivision in the country of Georgia. It is usually translated as region.The country is divided, according to the Presidential decrees from 1994 to 1996, into regions on a provisional basis until the secessionist conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia are resolved...

) of Guria, restoring the province’s historical name to official usage.

The Orthodox churches of Likhauri and Shemokmedi are the main historical buildings in the province.

Origin of the name "Guria"


As for the etymology of the name of Guria, some say that the root of the word refers to restlessness and the word should mean “the land of the restless” and may be associated with events during the eighth and ninth centuries when “Leon became the King of Abkhazeti
Egrisi
Lazica or Egrisi in Georgian |Georgia]], named after the Laz tribe, which at some time dominated the local ruling élite.The kingdom flourished between the 6th century BC and the 7th century AD. It covered part of the territory of the former kingdom Colchis and subjugated the territory of modern...

, Guruls refused to obey the ruler of Odzrakho
Odzrkhe
Odzrkhe or Odzrakhe was a historic fortified town and the surrounding area in what is now Abastumani, Samtskhe-Javakheti region, southern Georgia. According to medieval Georgian historic tradition, it was founded by the mythic hero Odzrakhos of the Kartlosid line. The ruins of old fortifications...

, ceased their vassal relations with Adarnase and Ashot Bagrationi and united with Leon” as it was described in Vakhushti Bagrationi’s historical works of the eighteenth century.

According to a later explanation, in the times of Georgia’s prosperity, when its borders stretched from “Nikopsia to Daruband”, Guria was situated in the heart of the Georgian territory. The linguistic evidence for the above hypothesis is the Megrelian for “heart” – “guri”.

Economy


Subtropic farming and tourism is a mainstay of the region’s economy. Water is one of the Guria’s main assets. The province is famous for the mineral water of Nabeglavi
Nabeglavi
Nabeghlavi is a mineral water from Georgia.It comes from the Chokhatauri region, and its chemical composition is similar to the better known Georgian Borjomi water....

, which is similar to Borjomi
Borjomi
Borjomi is a resort town in south-central Georgia with a population estimated at 14,445. It is one of the districts of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region and is situated in the northwestern part of the region in the picturesque Borjomi Gorge on the eastern edge of the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park...

 in its chemical composition and the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 health resort of Ureki
Ureki
Ureki is a town and a seaside climatic resort in the Ozurgeti District of Georgia’s Guria region, on the Black Sea coast, situated 10 km from Batumi and approximately 300 km from the nation’s capital Tbilisi. Located 4 meters above the sea level, it has the population of 1,422 .It received a...

 rich in magnetic sand. Guria is also one of the largest tea growing regions in Georgia. http://www.tonus.ge/about.en.html

Demographics


Gurians (Gurulebi) are ethnic Georgians
Georgian people
The Georgians are an ethnic group that have originated in Georgia, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, European Union, United States, and South America....

 who speak a local dialect of the Georgian language
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

.

Notables

  • Gabriel Kikodze, the Bishop
    Bishop
    A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

     of Imereti
    Imereti
    Imereti is a province in Georgia situated along the middle and upper reaches of the Rioni river. It consists of the following Georgian administrative-territorial units:#Kutaisi #Baghdati region#Vani region#Zestafoni region...

     (nineteenth century).
  • Ekvtime Takaishvili
    Ekvtime Takaishvili
    Ekvtime Takaishvili was a Georgian historian, archaeologist and public benefactor....

     (1862-1952), historian.
  • Kalistrate, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia
    Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia
    Catholicos–Patriarch has been the title of the heads of the Georgian Orthodox Church since 1010. The first Catholicos–Patriarch of All Georgia was Melkisedek I...

     from 1932 to 1952.
  • Noe Zhordania
    Noe Zhordania
    Noe Zhordania was a Georgian journalist and Menshevik politician. He played an eminent role in the Social Democratic revolutionary movement in Imperial Russia, and later chaired the government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia from July 24, 1918 until March 18, 1921, when the Bolshevik Soviet...

    , Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Georgia
    Democratic Republic of Georgia
    The Democratic Republic of Georgia , 1918–1921, was the first modern establishment of a Republic of Georgia.The DRG was created after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917...

     from 1918 to 1921.
  • Pavle Ingorokva
    Pavle Ingorokva
    Pavle Ingorokva was a Georgian historian, philologist, and public benefactor.He graduated from the University of St. Petersburg . In 1917 he was one of the founders of the Union of Georgian Writers...

     (1893-1990), historian, philologist, and public benefactor.
  • Eduard Shevardnadze
    Eduard Shevardnadze
    Eduard Shevardnadze is a former Soviet, and later, Georgian statesman from the height to the end of the Cold War. He served as President of Georgia from 1995 to 2003, and as First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party , from 1972 to 1985. Shevardnadze was responsible for many top decisions on...

    , Georgia
    Georgia (country)
    Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

    's former president.
  • Nodar Dumbadze
    Nodar Dumbadze
    Nodar Dumbadze was a Georgian writer and one of the most popular authors in the late 20th-century Georgia....

    , Writer.
  • Zviad Kvachantiradze
    Zviad Kvachantiradze
    Zviad Kvachantiradze is a Georgian diplomat. He was formerly Consul General of Georgia in Istanbul, Turkey, from 2005-2009 and Secretary-General of the TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission from 2000 to 2004...

    , (b. 1965) diplomat