Samegrelo

Travel through canyons - trace extinct animals

Mingrelia is one of the richest and most beautiful areas in Georgia. In this oldest part of Georgia live Mingrelian people. They have their old language Miingrelian maintained till now. Its oldest history makes this area more interesting. It is remarkable that the first oldest Georgian coin – “Kolkhuri tetra” was made exactly here and started from VI century B.C. certain things discovered as a result of archaeological excavations are dated back to VIII-VII centuries B.C.

The nature in Mingrelia is such diverse as in other areas of Kolkheti lowland. The area is rich in Mountain Rivers and canyons. The most beautiful Martvili Canyon is very popular among tourists where in summer to go to trip by boat will leave you beyond civilization and you will find yourself in old times.

One part of Mingrelia lies through the shoreline of Black Sea, where the sea resort Anaklia hosts music festivals often. Anaklia with its air humidity and clean sea creates peaceful environment for amateurs.

Samegrelo – is a region in western Georgia which includes the historical Georgian provinces of Samegrelo and Zemo Svaneti and has Zugdidi as its capital.

History – In ancient times Mingrelia was a major part of the kingdom of Colchis (9th-6th centuries BC) and its successor Egrisi (4th century BC-6th century AD). In the 11th-15th centuries, Mingrelia was a part of the united Kingdom of Georgia. From the 16th century to 1857, the independent Principality of Mingrelia was under the rule of the House of Dadiani.

In December 1803, the principality came under the patronage of the Russian Empire by an agreement between the Tsar and the Megrelian Prince Grigol Dadiani. The last adult Prince, David Dadiani, died in 1853, leaving his wife Ekaterine as regent for his young son, Niko. However, in 1867, the principality was abolished and absorbed into the Tsarist Russian Empire. Prince Niko Dadiani officially renounced his rights to the throne in 1868.

From 1918 to 1921, Mingrelia was part of the Democratic Republic of Georgia (DRG). In 1921, Georgia was Sovietized and later became part of the Soviet Union, as the Georgian SSR. On April 9, 1991, independence was restored to Georgia, of which Mingrelia is now part.

The first President of the post-Soviet Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was a Megrelian. After the violent coup d’etat of December 21, 1991-January 6, 1992, Mingrelia became the centre of a civil war, which ended with the defeat of Gamsakhurdia’s Megrelian supporters. Even so, this region was unmanageable by the central government throughout the presidency of Eduard Shevardnadze (1992–2003). Stability in the region is further deteriorated by the fact that the Georgian refugees from the Abkhazian war zone (who are considered by Georgians as victims of ethnic cleansing) are mostly Megrelians. In 2004, following the Rose Revolution of November 2003, newly elected Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, who vowed to resolve the conflict with the breakaway region of Abkhazeti solely by peaceful means, disarmed groups of Megrelians who tried to fight a guerrilla war against the Abkhazians by incursions from Mingrelia.

What to visit

Dadiani palace

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museum was established in 1921. Museum complex encompasses the Palaces of Queen of Mingrelia, Ekaterine Chavchavadze-Dadiani and nobleman Niko Dadiani. Here the botanic garden built by Dadianis is also. Currently 44 475 works are kept in the museum, including: the samples of goldsmith’s works dated I century B.C. – XIX century A.D., archaeological material reflecting the culture of ancient Greece and old Kolketi, collection of holy things of Christianity, the samples of European applied arts (Bulleh, Rococo, Ampir’s style); relics of family members of Emperors of France (including especially those things related to the name of Napoleon Bonaparte), Russia, Spain, and noblemen of MIngrelia, handwritten books and certificates of XV-XIX centuries, library of Dadianis and Napoleon Bonaparte (6000 tribes), sample of military guns of Europe and Asia, painting canvasses of Russian “Peredvizjnikebi,” French Batalists and English “Marinists,” rich photo fund (5000 photos), crystal of French, German, Chinese, Russian and other origins, china – fiancé vessel and other.

Martvili canyon

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canyon is located on the river Abasha. The Length of canyon is 2400 m, and the depth is 20-40 m, there is 12 m height waterfall in the middle part of the canyon. There are fossilized bones of animals inhabiting the land before 75 million years, owing to which I is the third discovery in the world, on the territory of which the parts of dead bodies of animals of pre-historic era are presented in great number. In some grottos of canyon there are traces of existence of primary human in several grotto of canyon. Despites there are bones of extinct families, including those ones of grotto bear and bison.

Goji castle

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Nokalakevi (place where there city was located), also Greek name for this is Archaeopolis (old city), Tsikhe Goji of Georgian sources is historic city fortress in West Georgia and is one of the most important monuments of Georgia in Middle Ages. Tsikhe Goji was the capital of Kingdom of Egrisi (Lazika) of West Georgia in IV-VIII centuries. Wars of Laz people between Byzantium and Persian Empires (542-562) have taken place here. The earliest archaeological discoveries made in Nokalakevi are dated back to VIII-VII centuries B.C. and indicates at high level of living in this period Nokalakevi. City fortress is built in Nokalakevi in IV century A.D. which then soon becomes the capital of Kingdom of LAzeti (Lazika) that is whole West Georgia. The palaces, Christian churches, baths, water reservoirs, tunnels and other kind of economical or fortification premises are revealed on this territory. The tunnel connecting city to the river is of high special architectural level.