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History

Ajara has hard and diverse past like whole Georgia. As a historical and geographical entity it has been known since ancient times. According to historians, this territory had to be inhabited since the Stone Age. The monuments of this age are found in the mountainous resort Beshumi. The Chorokhi basin used to be one of the main hearts of bronze metallurgy. Hence the abundance of monuments belonging to the Bronze and Early Iron Ages.

The Antique world was well-acquainted with Adjara. It used to have active cultural and trade relations with Colchis Kingdom.

Georgian chronicles first mention Ajara in the 3-rd century BC as a part of the Kartli Kingdom. It was here that Christianity was cradled in Georgia. This significant historic event is connected with Christ’s apostle Andrew the First-Called who was the first to enter Adjara and preach Christianity.

Gonio-Apsaros Fortress, located in Gonio near Batumi, is also connected with I century AD. It is called mighty Colchic citadel representing the most valuable monument of Ajarian history and an important research sphere for archeology to this day. Besides, it is here that one of the most significant Christian sanctities was found – grave of St.Mathias. It is well-known that he was elected as the twelfth apostle instead of Judas Iscariot. According to the historic sources he spent last years of his life in Ajara and was buried here.

Architecture, writing, copying, wood and leather processing was highly developed in Medieval Ajara. In XVI century Ajara was conquered by the Ottomans. It was liberated and reunited to Guria Princedom. In 1614 it was again conquered by the Ottomans until 1878. During all that period Ajara never bent under the huge Ottoman Empire. The population used to rebel, followed Christianity, preserved language and passed Georgian and Orthodox customs and traditions from a generation to generation. In 1878, as a result of Russian-Turkish war, Ajara was reunited back to mother-Georgia.

XIX century sees the beginning of new stage in the history of Ajara. The region started to follow the path of economic and social reconstruction and development. After becoming a Soviet State, in 1921, Adjara was announced as an Autonomous Republic. It retains this status up to this day.

During the last century of  Soviet leadership, Ajara was developing within the frames of common Soviet space.

After the so called “Rose Revolution” and famous November events in 2003, the Ajarian population made its choice in May 2004 and today it follows the path of revival and reconstruction.

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September 2014
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