If you are traveling in Georgia, you will almost certainly drive through Guria, one of the smallest regions in the west of the country. Only 140 thousand people live here. The capital of Guria is the city of Ozurgeti. The resorts of Georgia on the sea are very diverse, and Gruia is perhaps the most secluded of them. But first things first.
The mentions of Guria in historical chronicles are rather scanty. For the first time this name slips in the annals of the 9th century. But as the principality of Guria took shape only in the 15th century.
However, this territory is not rich in historical events. There were almost no wars, no invaders came. For the past seven centuries, local life has been peaceful and quiet.
The region is composed of three types of terrain: the humid valleys of the Supsa River, the lowlands around Rioni, and a fairly large mountainous area.
Although officially the climate is subtropical, outwardly Guria is very similar to the tropical island of Java: black temples and monasteries, lost in thickets of palms and bananas. In general, black can be considered a kind of informal brand of the region - there are black ruins, black modern buildings, black national costumes.
Despite the fact that tourist routes run through Guria, an inexperienced traveler is unlikely to find much interesting here. As already mentioned, significant historical events bypassed these lands, local monasteries and fortresses are little known. And those attractions that are included in tourist guides are in disrepair.
Fortresses. In fact, there are many of them, but only two are known: the fortress of Queen Tamar and the fortress of Askana. Of course, you can visit them, but there is not much to see: there are no excursions, and the ruins are thoroughly overgrown. The fortresses include the princely palace of Gurieli in the capital of the region, but it was built late - in 1863, so it does not have much historical value.
Monasteries. Tourist guides contain 20 Gurian temples and one mosque. It is preferable to visit the two largest monasteries - Shemokmedi and the monastery in Jumati.
National parks. A part of the Kolkheti National Park "crawled" to Guria. This is a rather remarkable place - swamps and subtropical forests, formed in the Tertiary period (65 million years ago, after the death of the dinosaurs). Perhaps this is the most developed part of the region in terms of tourism. Vacationers are often taken here on excursions for hiking and bird watching.
Kolkheti National Park
Museums. Surprisingly, the only ethnographic museums in Chokhotauri and Lanchkhuti are very good. Chokhotaursky is also free. There is a historical museum in Ozurgeti, the capital of Guria, but for the last two years it has been closed for renovations.
Even in the 21st century, religion is an important part of every state. The rules of conduct in the country, orders and laws depend on what religion the people profess and what God they worship. Today's article will focus on religion in Georgia. I will tell you how Georgians relate to God, how they celebrate church holidays and baptize children.
In 337, Georgia adopted Christianity and still remains an Orthodox country. Most of the population of Georgia is Orthodox Christian. Georgians are a very devout people. Both old people and small children, passing by the church, necessarily cross themselves, many Georgians wear wooden or metal crosses around their necks, and an obligatory attribute of every house is a small church corner, where there are icons, candles, prayer books and incense. Georgians often attend church services, and it is important to note that the atmosphere in the Georgian church is relaxed, people communicate with each other, share news.
There are church shops in the markets, near churches and inside them, where it smells pleasantly of incense, you can buy icons, candles, crosses on wooden bones, bracelets and other paraphernalia. By the way, the prices in these shops are very affordable. For example, wooden crosses cost about 5-6 lari, in rubles it is 100-120 rubles.
As for church holidays, there are a lot of them in Georgia.
June 1 is the day when Saint Nino arrived in Georgia and brought the Christian faith with her. Every year, hundreds of pilgrims come to the relics of the saint, which are located in the Bodbe monastery in Kakheti, and celebrate the holiday of Ninooba.
October 14 celebrate a holiday called Mtskhetoba-Svetitskhovloba. It is based on the acquisition by Georgia of the great Orthodox shrine - the tunic of the Lord. On this day, a festive service takes place, and after it a mass baptism is held. It is also customary to visit ancient temples on this day.
On November 23, believers bow down to St. George. A solemn liturgy is celebrated in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Tbilisi. This day is officially declared a day off.
The feast of St. Tamara is celebrated on May 14. The main celebration takes place in Akhaltsikhe, where there is a monument in her honor.
Of course, one cannot but mention the most important church holidays - Christmas and Easter. On the night before Christmas, a liturgy is held in all churches in Georgia. Early in the morning, Christians with priests walk the streets of cities and sing church songs. And on Easter, Georgians bake cakes, paint eggs and visit churches.
The summer tourist season in Georgia can be considered over, except that October will still please with warm days. But the overall results of the "pandemic summer" are already clear
Unable to travel abroad amid the coronavirus, the residents of Georgia took advantage of the government's appeal and spent their summer holidays at home, opening it from a completely different side.
The coronavirus did not allow the authorities to realize the ambitious plans of the authorities to revive the industry, which is most important for the Georgian economy, and the skeptical forecasts of experts came true - tourism revenues decreased more than four times compared to last year, and in January-July this area brought the country only $ 468.6 million.
Among the leaders in terms of attendance in the summer period, one can single out the Black Sea resorts, where there were so many vacationers that, unfortunately, such popularity caused the lightning spread of COVID-19 in Adjara and the emergence of new "clusters".
Many people have opted for the mountainous regions - Svaneti and Racha.
In an interview with Sputnik Georgia, an expert on economic issues, Professor Soso Archvadze notes that even to travel around their native country, residents literally had to turn their pockets out, as the crisis greatly shaken the financial condition of each of them.
"On the one hand, the citizens of Georgia have more thoroughly familiarized themselves with the sights of their country. One might even say that they have become more patriotic. But this generally compensated for the income that the country lost due to the lack of foreign tourists. , maximum by one third, "says Archvadze.
He believes that tourism revenues have dropped dramatically this year.
"That is, if last year's tourism revenues can be estimated at 100%, then this year the maximum is 35-40%. The drop is quite significant. But it should be borne in mind that the volume of foreign tourism fell from 100% to 4 %, that is, the flow of foreign tourists decreased 25 times. Let's see how it will be in the coming months, but I don't think there will be drastic changes, "the expert noted.
Nevertheless, the government's fervent appeals to the population to support the tourism sector and relax in Georgia have yielded results.
"The season was very difficult. We started working in mid-July. Very unexpectedly, we felt the full support of the Georgian population. They consciously or unconsciously, but very strongly supported travel companies. That is, they turned to travel companies for in order to book hotels, trips in Georgia, rest, excursions ", - said in an interview with Sputnik Georgia the head of the public relations department of the Georgian Tourism Association GTA, owner of the travel company Check-in Travel Iya Gedevanishvili.
Thus, travel companies and hotels understood the importance of working together, which allowed during the "low season", instead of huge losses, to bring the business to zero, which is already good, given the prevailing reality.
Lively, hospitable, bright and sincere - this is how Georgia is remembered by numerous tourists, whose number is growing by leaps and bounds. Experts and politicians, as well as just local residents, who cannot fail to notice the huge number of overseas guests walking the streets with backpacks, speak about the tourist boom in the country.
The flow of tourists in Georgia is constantly growing and the current year is no exception. In the first three months alone, the number of foreign tourists in the country exceeded 1.1 million. And this is before the start of the traditional summer season.
"The tourism sector is developing dynamically. Georgia is indeed experiencing a real tourism boom. The country's authorities are actively working to attract tourists, projects are involved in organizing entertainment programs, attracting film makers, improving service," the Tourism Administration says.
In 2015, Georgia was visited by about 6 million tourists, this year is expected to be much more.
State budget revenues from this area are also growing - in 2015 they amounted to more than $ 1.9 billion, which is 148 million more than the data for the previous year.
Rest in Georgia began to interest Russians much more after such popular destinations as Turkey and Egypt were closed for them. Last year, 925,000 Russians visited Georgia, and their number will surely increase in the future, Roman Skory, deputy head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism (Rosturizm), told Sputnik.
"Almost a million people (from Russia) have chosen Georgia as a holiday destination, and this is gaining popularity ... We are interested in Russians knowing Georgia and Georgians knowing Russia," said Skory.
Russian tour operators note that Georgia is becoming the most demanded destination in the post-Soviet space, because the country allows you to combine seaside vacations with a rich excursion program. And the teachers of the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (RUDN), on the eve of the season, came to the Black Sea city of Batumi (AR Adjara) specifically to conduct Russian language courses for tourism workers - Georgia is gradually remembering the Russian language.
Georgia offers rest to both lovers of winter and summer resorts. And for each tourist season, the Tourism Administration periodically removes a commercial.
Georgia has become an increasingly popular tourist destination in recent years. Tourists from all over the world come to experience one of the most ancient cultures in the Caucasus.
Recent excavations on the territory of Georgia have brought serious results. As a result of the work, archaeologists managed to find ancient artifacts, which are at least 8000 thousand years old. Scientists call a more specific figure - 7769 years.
Excavations were carried out on the banks of the Kintrishi River, which flows near the village of Kobuleti. According to historians, in this territory in the V-III millennium BC. ... inhabited by sedentary tribes engaged in fishing and cattle breeding. This is evidenced by the large number of tools found for processing meat and animal skins, as well as fishing devices.
At that time, the settlement was the center of the economic life of the region. Some of the first linen products, which have survived to our times, were also made here. The exact age of all finds was determined using laboratory tests conducted in the United States.
For the first time, archaeological excavations in this region of the country began in the middle of the 20th century. And a large number of artifacts have already been discovered. But the most successful works can be called the latter, since about 1600 different copies of ancient tools and household items were found.
Vardzia (or Vardzia) is a unique cave city considered a symbol of Georgia along with Mtskheta, Kazbegi and Mestia. At first glance, it boggles the imagination, the question involuntarily arises: how can a sheer wall be made habitable like that? Over 900 meters along the bank of the Kura, there are more than 600 different rooms. These are chapels and cells, churches and baths, refectory and storage facilities, and even libraries. There are also secret passages between rooms, irrigation and water supply systems. The city is equal in height to an 8-storey building!
According to legend, the name Vardzia was due to the incident with Queen Tamara. As a little girl, she often played in the caves of an unfinished building with her uncle. But he lost sight of the child and began to call the girl. She heard and shouted back in Georgian: "Ak var, dzia!", Which translates as "Uncle, I'm here!" True, there is another version: "Varj" - this is how the Persians called the people of Georgia in ancient times.
The exact date of the construction of the complex is difficult to name, because it was built for more than one decade. For example, the frescoes inside it are dated to 1180, and in 1283 the city was partially destroyed by an earthquake.