Guria is the smallest region of the country bordering Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, the Black Sea, and Adjara. Among the many beautiful landscapes Georgia can offer, Guria is less popular. However, it is the Black Sea coastline that stretches to 22 kilometers, mountainous resorts, and food and wine that make the region a tourist destination.
The administration center is Ozurgeti. There are 189 populated areas, including:
- City: 2: Ozurgeti, Lanchkhuti
- Daba: 5: Chokhatauri, Ureki, Naruja, Laituri, Kveda Nasakirali
- Villages: 172
The Guardians or Gurulebi (Georgian: გურულები) is one of the ethnographic groups of Georgians, inhabiting Guria. Gurians are Orthodox Christian and speak the Gurian dialect of the Georgian language.
The legend why it is called Guria
There is a local legend of the origin of the region’s name. Once upon a time, there was an arrogant and extremely proud king in India called Shedat. He decided to build a heavenly place, an Eden garden for himself because he believed that the residents considered him as God. When his servants saw the Eden, they noted that his garden lacked angels. Shedat ordered them to travel all around the globe and find gurias (beauties) and bring them to Eden. They obeyed the wish of their king and gathered all gurias they could find in different parts of the world. When they were heading back to India and passing through the Caucasus, they found out that the king has passed away. Gurias decided not to return to their home countries and stayed in the area that is now called Guria.
Guria is bordered by Samegrelo to the north-west, Imereti to the north, Samtskhe-Javakheti to the east, Ajaria to the south, and the Black Sea to the west. The province has an area of 2,033 km².
Guria is divided into 4 entities (3 municipalities and 1 city), including:
- City of Ozurgeti
- Ozurgeti municipality
- Lanchkhuti municipality
- Chokhatauri municipality
By 1904, the population was just under 100,000, occupying an area of approximately 532,000 acres (2,150 km2) of mountains and swampy valleys covered by cornfields, 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 a relatively high degree of economic self-satisfaction. Guria was a scene of guerrilla resistance to the militarily imposed Soviet rule, early in the 1920s. The Orthodox churches of Likhauri and Shemokmedi are the main historical buildings in the province.
Subtropical farming and tourism are a mainstay of the region’s economy. Water is one of Guria’s main assets. The province is famous for the mineral water of Nabeghlavi that is similar to Borjomi in its chemical composition, and the Black Sea health resort of Ureki that is rich in magnetic sand. Guria is also one of the largest tea growing regions in Georgia.
Guria is experiencing a true transformation. The locals are eager to benefit from the tourism boom in Georgia in the same way as their surrounding regions. Be it a cultural trip or a plunge into nature, Guria offers an authentic landscape for all types of travelers.
Lovers of active vacations have the opportunity to enjoy kayaking, engaging in fishing, hunting or rafting. The region is rich with historical past, polyphonic singing, and traditions.
There are a lot of sightseeing places in Guria, such as Gomis Mta, Dip in the Black Sea resorts, Ozurgeti Historical Museum, Ekvtime Takaishvili Museum, Nodar Dumbadze House Museum, Horse Riding in Bakhmaro, Leloburti, Kalanda and Gurian Christmas tree.
Plans are in place to develop Georgia’s western Guria region into a place that can be enjoyed all year round by tourists. Officials in Georgia’s western Guria region announced they were enhancing their efforts to promote the region’s unique landscape and showcase its natural beauty to tourists as an attractive place to visit. The local government of Ozurgeti municipality launched a campaign named ‘One step from the sea to the mountains’ to promote the region’s unique potential as a place that boasts the seaside and mountain resorts in close proximity.