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Guria Region

In the mountainous part of Western Georgia′s Colchis Plan lies one of the most dazzlingly picturesque corners of the region and the entire country – Curia. The hilly landscape of this beautiful land holds exotic beauty, and an unusual synthesis of the sea and mountainous . Well, it looks so much like the mages of paradise in our minds.

The environs of Guria are full of springs, strealets and rivers. When visiting, try going up a high hill or climbing a mountain so that you could take a look at those streams and rivers. They flow and run so rapidly, it looks as if they are moving in to attack the entire plain. Here you won′t find any garish colors or rough lines – everything about the region is soft, gentle, light and smooth. Even the mountains look like they are covered in velvet. Here, everything speaks in a unique harmonic language and this language is as complicated and distinctive as a Gurian Krimanchuli song.

…and the history! The past which makes this land an indivisible part of Georgia′s destiny and, at the same time, is the basis of local traditions and pride.

Territory – wise, Guria is the smallest of Georgias 11 regions. It is located in the western half of the country, sandwiched between the Colchis Plain and nearby mountainous zone. To the west, it is bordered by the black Sea. The coastline stretches 22 kilometers from south to north.

To the north, Guria isbordered by Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, with the borderline passing along the Pichori River. To the south lies the Adjara Autonomous Republic and to the northeast and southeast, it is bordered by Imereti and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions, respectively.

The word Guria is first mentioned in 8th century manuscripts (735-738 AD) and coincides with Umayyad caliph Marvan ibn Muhammads (nicknamed Marwan the Deaf by Georgians) military campaighn in Georgia. `Marvan the Deaf went through Guria`, writes the chronicler.

However, the folklore, legends and sayings often tell more interesting and impressive stories than dry historic chronicles. There is a very interesting legend as to how the word Guria originated:

Once upon a time there was avery conceited and insolent king in india by the name of Shedat. One day, he decided to create a heavenly place, a Garden of Eden for himself because he thought the people considered him to be a god. Shedat′s Eden had one lack, though:`What kind of Eden is that,` his servants asked him, which has no angels in it?` The king immediately ordered his men:`Go and find me guria (beauties) to fill my Eden even if you have to look for them in every single corner of the world`. The servants obeyed, gathered all the gurias from various countries and headed back to india. When they were passing through the Caucasus, the news came that king Shedat had passed away. The gurias then decided not to return to their homes and stay in what is today a Georgian region of Guria.

In feudal times, Guria became one of Georgian principalities. The Gurian royalties official name was Gurieli, although their historic family name was Vardanidze. The first Eristavi

(prince) of Guria was Vardan Varadnidze, who is mentioned in a Jumati manuscript dated by Giorgi Chubinishvili as written in 10-11th centuries.

In the second half of 15th century, when the unified Georgian state was once again dissolved, the Prinsipality of Guria was created. It was ruled by Gurielis, who made residence at Alambari (todays Ozurgeti) and later in Likhauri, with their country seat being located in Lesa village. The principality of Guria had continuous wars with Ottoman Empire and was always assisted by allies, with the principality of Odishi (todays Samegrelo region) being the closest.

Today, Guria is an administrative-territorial unit of Georgia. It consists of Ozurgeti, Chokhatauri, and Lanchkhuti municipalities, with the town of Ozurgeti being the main administrative center of the entire region.

Guria Cousine

Gurian cuisine is similar to Imeretian; poultry and herbal dishes together with corn flour and traditional mchadi are very popular here. Prior to frying fish or baking mchadi, they spread walnut leaves on Ketsi, which gives the distinguished taste to the dish. Besides walnuts, hazelnuts are widely used for seasoning. Gurian pie, a half moon-shaped Khachapuri with boiled eggs stuffing. Gurians also make Janjukha – hazelnut Churchkhela.

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