Samtskhe–Javakheti

Samtskhe–Javakheti in southern Georgia includes the historical Georgian provinces of Meskheti, Javakheti, and Tori; Akhaltsikhe is its capital.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the South Caucasus natural gas pipeline, and the Kars–Tbilisi–Baku railway pass through the region.

The area of the region is 6413 km squares and the population is of 160262 inhabitants. The administrative center of the region is Akhaltsikhe. There are 353 populated areas, including:

5 cities:

  •  Akhaltsikhe
  • Akhalkalaki
  • Borjomi
  • Vale
  • Ninotsminda

7 “daba”:

  •  Bakuriani
  •  Bakurianis Andeziti
  • Tsagveri
  •  Akhaldaba
  •  Adigeni
  •  Abastumani
  •  Aspindza

258 villages

Geography

Samtskhe–Javakheti is bordered by the regions of Adjara to the west, Guria and Imereti to the north, Shida Kartli and Kvemo Kartli to the north-east and to the east, and Armenia and Turkey to the south and southwest.
Today, the region of Samtskhe-Javakheti is part of the old Meskheti and it includes three historical provinces- Samtskhe, Javakheti, and Tori. The region has a favorable geopolitical location that helps to develop commercial, economic, and cultural relationships with neighboring countries. Samtskhe- Javakheti is utterly full with the most important recreational resources of Georgia

History

The current division of Georgia into regions -Mkhare- was introduced by the Shevardnadze government in the mid-1990s, partly as a response to the secession of Abkhazia and South Ossetia conflict. Samtskhe–Javakheti was basically formed by combining the two traditional provinces of Meskheti (Samtskhe) and Javakheti.

Bodbe Monastery of St. Nino

Meskheti

The ancient tribes of Meskhi (or Moschi) and Mosiniks are the first known inhabitants of the area. From the 2nd millennium to the 4th century BC, Meskheti was believed to be part of the Kingdom of Diauehi, and in the 4th century BC to the 6th century AD part of the Kingdom of Iberia. In the 16th century, Meskheti was integrated into the Safavid Empire, followed by the Ottoman Empire. After independence from the USSR, Meskheti was reinstalled as a province of Georgia, and later cast into the new Samtskhe–Javakheti region.

Ikalto monastery

Javakheti

Saint Nino entered Iberia from Javakheti, and following the course of the River Kura, she arrived in Mtskheta, the capital of the kingdom. Once there, she eventually began to preach Christianity culminated by Christianization of Iberia. In the mid-10th century, Javakheti was incorporated into the Kingdom of Abkhazia. In 964, Leon III of Abkhazia extended his influence to Javakheti, Kumurdo Cathedral was built during his reign. In the 15th century, Javakheti was incorporated into the Principality of Samtskhe-Saatabago. As a result of the struggles of the Russian Empire with the Ottomans, Russian authorities settled Christian Armenians and Caucasus Greeks in the area after 1828. In the struggle against the Arab occupation, the Bagrationi dynasty came to rule over Tao-Klarjeti and established the Kouropalatate of Iberia. For a long time, the region became a cultural safe-house and one of the most important religious centers of Georgia.

Economy

The region has a favorable geopolitical location. It is bordered by Turkey and Armenia; it creates promising conditions for trade, and economic and cultural relationships with these neighboring countries.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline, and the Marabda-Akhalkalaki-Karsi railway pass through the region.
The last decade has demonstrated a growth trend.
The region is rich in different resources, mostly:

  • Mineral
  • Thermal
  • Salt-free water
  • Finishing materials
  • Calc-tuff basalt
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Pearlite
  • Clay
  • Sand and gravel
  • Scoria
  • Charcoal
  • Gold
  • Andesite

Currently, there are 136 licenses issued for mining and extraction of natural resources.
The existing stocks of resources have an important economic potential.

Tourism and culture

The major tourist attractions are the cave monasteries of Vardzia (founded by Queen Tamar in 1185), Vanis Kvabebi (dating back to the 8th century), Rabati Castle and Khertvisi fortress. Also,the 10th century Sapara Monastery, Tmogvi fortress, and the 8th-century Zarzma monastery, are very popular among national visitors. .

Borjomi

image3

Borjomi is the best known and the most popular resort in Georgia. River Mtkvari divides Borjomi into two parts. In the environs of the town of Borjomi, the gorge has a canyon-like form, which was created as a result of a “break-in” of Bakuriani lava inside. The benefits of Borjomi mineral waters were enjoyed for centuries. This is proved by 7 baths made of cut stone uncovered by our archeologists and dating back to the beginning of our age. Borjomi mineral water with its curing qualities is known around the world as the Queen of mineral waters. Borjomi gorge has a unique beauty, that is related to the diversity of natural environments.

Bakuriani

image2

Bakuriani is located on the northern knees of Trialeti, in the gorge of river Bakurianistskhali, 1,700 meters above the sea level. Bakuriani is an outstanding point of mountain ski sport in Georgia; it is related to favorable climate conditions. Here,winter is long, cold, and snowy. There are several functioning ski tracks and technologically equipped ski-jumps here. On the border of the Bakuriani is located a botanical garden, set up at the beginning of the last century.

Borjomi

image6

Abastumani is known around the world for its Astrophysical Observatory, located on Mount Kanobili,1650 meters above the sea level, in 240 km from Tbilisi. Founded in the 1932, it was the first Astrophysical Observatory in the former Soviet Union. It is also distinguished for its sound air related to dark coniferous forests.
Abastumani is also known for the mineralized springs. Those mineral wares are used for the treatment of numerous diseases.

Akhaltsikhe

Akhaltsikhe

Bakuriani is located on the northern knees of Trialeti, in the gorge of river Bakurianistskhali, 1,700 meters above the sea level. Bakuriani is an outstanding point of mountain ski sport in Georgia; it is related to favorable climate conditions. Here,winter is long, cold, and snowy. There are several functioning ski tracks and technologically equipped ski-jumps here. On the border of the Bakuriani is located a botanical garden, set up at the beginning of the last century.

Borjomi

Vani cave

Vani Cave is another most important sight in Georgia. Vani Cave Monastery complex carved in the rock is located in Javakheti, 27 km from Aspindza. Vani Caves include 200 caves carved in the rock- cells, anterooms, burial site, asylum, support stock rooms, communication caves and 6 churches, which are arranged on 16 floors. On the center of the monastery stands the church of St. George, which was carved from the stone -along with the main part of the caves and cells- in IX-XI cc.

Akhaltsikhe

Vardzia

And the last one is legendary Vardzia. Vardzia monastery has a width of 0,5 km and is arranged on 13 floors. It consists of 2 parts: rock villages of Ananuri, and the monastery itself, built-in 5 stages. On the first stage, a church and the cells were carved. On the second stage, a hall church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary with Stoa was carved in the center of the monastery. On the third stage, construction of stockrooms and cells, and fortification and imagination facilities were over. On the fifth stage, a big refectory was carved. Overall, Vardzia consists of 420 utility rooms. Vardzia is also rich with fresco paintings.

Future plans

Agriculture will be the leading field in the region’s economy. Innovations introduced in agricultural production, as well as mechanisms of farmers’ cooperation and consolidation, and storing and cooling facilities will assist production and the sales of produce both inside and outside the country.

The processing facilities of the agricultural production will bring some additional incentives to further.

  • Developing the fields of plant growing and cattle breeding in the region.
  • Tourism will become one of the major fields of the region’s economy. Tourist service facilities and information centers recruited with personnel with relevant qualifications in the field of regional tourism will provide high-quality services for foreign tourists visiting the region. 
  • Recreational zones of the region will attract foreign and local tourists for leisure and treatment.
  • An integrated system of waste management and well-functioning infrastructure of water supply and sewerage systems will ensure a safe environment for the local population and visitors. Moreover, it will prevent pollution of the environment.
  • Frequency of natural disasters, risk of economic losses, and presumptive damages inflicted on humans’ health and ecosystem will be decreased. 
  • Ecological conditions of the region’s recreational zones and forests will be improved.