Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti are located in the northern part of western Georgia. There are 4 administrative units in the region:
The region is bordered by Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti to the west, Imereti to the south, Shida Kartli to the east, and the Russian Federationand to the north. The area of the region is 4600 sq. Km. The identity of Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti is determined not by its geographical location, but by its rich landscape, rivers, waterfalls, picturesque trails and roads, alpine meadows, Shaori and Lajanuri reservoirs, diverse flora and fauna, and mineral waters.
The area of the region is 4954 km. The population is 32.000 people and the density is 6.4 km. The administrative center is Ambrolauri. There are 256 settlements in the region, including:
- City : 3: Oni, Ambrolauri, Tsageri
- Daba : 3: Lentekhi, Kvaisa, Kharistvala
- Villages: 251
Bodbe Monastery of St. Nino
In the tenth century, Racha Saistavi was created in feudal Georgia. According to documents, the first Eristavi was a rat from Baghdad, a family of princes. The Racha Harbor was a very important unit of the Kingdom of Georgia. In the 10th – 13th centuries, its eristavi played an important role in Georgian politics. To the north of Racha was the border of Svaneti. At the end of the 13th century, David VI abolished the Sariavisto. In the 15th and 17th centuries, the kings of Imereti owned land in Racha. In 1789, Solomon II became king in Imereti and abolished the Racha dynasty. From the eighteenth century onwards, Racha is part of united Georgia.
In the Lechkhumi region, traces of human life go back to the Neolithic Age. In ancient sources, the region was called Sarkinia, while in Lazica it was called Skrimina. This forthcoming Colchian tribe was called the Lechkhumans. After the creation of the Imeretian kingdom, Lechkhum entered the kingdom as a royal possession. Its economic center was in Laila. In the 18th and 19th centuries, King Solomon II of Imereti tried to conquer the region but he failed. Following the arrival of the Megrelian in the Russian Empire, administrative-territorial unity was established in Lechkhumi soil.
Bodbe Monastery of St. Nino
In the early centuries, Svaneti was part of Colchis after it became part of Egrisi. In the 11th-15th centuries, Svaneti was the epicenter of the Georgian kingdom. Following the collapse of the United Kingdom, Svaneti was divided into different parts:
Principality of Svaneti
The province was subordinate to Colchis, and its successor the kingdom of Lazica (Egrisi) until 552 AD when the Svans took advantage of the Lazic War, repudiated this connection, and went over to the Persians. The Byzantines wanted to seize this region because they had good access to the Lazika crossings and were able to prevent Persian attacks in the border regions of Lazika. By the end of the war, Svaneti was again part of Lazika. The province’s Orthodox culture flourished especially during the reign of Tamar, in the Georgian ‘Golden Age’. The Swans have been called cruel warriors for centuries.
Since the majority of the region is mountainous, the economy is heavily reliant on agriculture. Potato and viticulture and livestock are being developed in the region.
Gross regional product:107,121.5 GELs
- Industry – 12 999.5, 12% of GDP
- Construction – 10 027 GELs, 9% of GDP
- Agriculture – 63 300 GELs, 59% of GDP
- Services (Trade, Education, Tourism, Health Care, Transport, etc.) – 20 795 GELs, 20% of GDP
- The country’s gross domestic product accounts for 0.9% of GDP
- Gross regional product per capita is 2207 GELs.
Tourism and culture
Tourism is an important part of economic development in the Racha-Lechkhumi – Lower Svaneti region. This unique area has the potential to develop various types of tourism such as mountaineering, mountain tourism and more.
There are many choices of comfortable hotels in Lentekhi, Tsageri, Ambrolauri, and Oni districts. Local tourism is perfect for Shovi and umbrella, where boarding houses and hotels are arranged.
There are 4 Managed Nature Reserves in the Racha-Lechkhumi – Lower Svaneti PAs:
Askhi Plateau MR,
Khvamli Massif MR,
Racha-Lechkhumi – Kvemo Svaneti Natural Monuments were selected according to unique physical-geological features, in particular on the basis of karst terrain and limestone substrate features.
Projects and plans
Building Efficient Support Environment for the Returned Migrants in Samegrelo, Zemo Svaneti, Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi, and Kvemo Svaneti regions.
Improving farmers’ services through the organization’s Farmers’ Resource Centers in Racha, Lechkhumi and Lower Svaneti region.
Income generation activities, support of micro and small business initiatives of IDPs and vulnerable families.
Regional Project Supporting the Agricultural Extension
Project in Racha “Modernization of the vocational education training and extension systems related to agriculture in Georgia”
Program for Supporting Former Inmates, Inmates Families, and Probationers.