WELCOME TO GURIA
With such diverse natural surroundings, there’s something for everyone in Guria. From the beautiful subtropical landscapes, to the Black Sea coastline, from the sweeping lowlands to the majestic snowy mountains, it’s truly a unique and magical destination. There’s plenty to keep you busy in Guria, whether you’re into hiking, kayaking, fishing, or just relaxing on the beach. Your local hosts will give you a warm and jovial welcome; and will no doubt encourage you to try local dishes.
You’ll be charmed by the picturesque local villages, characterised by their charming green yards with wooden houses, “kitchenhouses” and high barns for corn, displaying corn kernels spread out like beads and pumpkins drying in the sun. The region is abounding with citrus plantations and fruit gardens, plus a wide range of local production like tea, nuts, grapes and corn. In fact, Guria is the birthplace of Georgian Tea. Guria is a region rich in ancient traditions. In particular, music and singing have always played an important role and the world famous Georgian polyphonic music was developed there – enchanting songs with beautiful harmonies intertwining different melodies. Today, music still plays a large part in local traditions and events, like “Kalanda”, a fun and colorful local Christmas event, or “Aguna” a charming celebration of the region’s grape-harvesting and winemaking. Involving the whole community these events provide great entertainment for locals and visitors alike. Gurians enjoy their sport too. For instance, “Lelo”, a rugby-like game dating back to ancient times, is still played at Easter in some remote villages. In Shukhuti, two teams of men from neighboring villages have a mad scrum as they attempt to carry a 16kg ball over the river to the opposing side. Of course formalities are swiftly set aside as the whole village erupts into a massive free-for-all.
The wonderful, high, snowy mountains of Guria provide lots of hiking and walking opportunities, offering spectacular views for miles. Join a hike through the mountain forests for glimpses of the local wildlife, including bears, wolves, deer, martens, and bobcats. Fishermen flock to Guria for the amazing number and variety of fish in the rivers, with the likes of lamprey, sheatfish, perch, trout, and gudgeon. And if it’s adventure you’re after, these same rivers also offer great opportunities for rafting and kayaking. Horse riding has long been popular with the Gurian people and during the 1880s in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show Gurian riders received worldwide recognition. Newspapers and magazines of the time depict them as brave, fearless, mighty riders who were able to perform amazing stunts while riding a horse. Riders were from all levels of the society – farmers as well as aristocrats and were so impressive even Queen Victoria of Great Britain sent them a letter of gratitude.
Ozurgeti Historical Museum
This is a fascinating museum packed with archaeological collections of weapons, sculptures and currency from the Stone and Bronze Age right up to the 19th century. It even houses the sword of Napoleon.
Niko Berdzenishvili Chokhatauri Local Museum
With over 150,000 items, this is an extensive collection of local archaeological discoveries from Georgian, Roman, Byzantine and Oriental history. With a vast range of weapons, including swords daggers and rifles, and an amazing collection of jewelry, utensils, currency and handwritten manuscripts and poems, it provides an in-depth view of the local history and culture.
The Church of Archangels of Jumati
The Church of Archangels of Jumati Monastery, near Chokhatauri, was once the residence of the Archbishop of Guria. Of particular note is a medieval temple painted in the 16-18th centuries.
Askana Temple has had many alterations over the years; the first addition dates back to the early feudal period, while the newest changes occurred in the 19th century. The nearby Likhauri Church and its belfry were constructed in 1422.
Other historic places of interest include the Gurieli Church and Palace, the artificial caves of Khoreti and Gaguri, Bukistsikhe Castle, Goraberejouli Castle and Church (from the 17th century), Upper Erketi Church, and the Udabno Monastery Complex.
Shemokmedi Monastery Complex
The village of Shemokmedi, near Ozurgeti has a fascinating history and is home to the Shemokmedi Monastery. During the Middle Ages, it was one of the biggest cultural-educational centers in the region. Its temple housed a very rich library with lots of manuscripts and golden engravings and served as the residence for archbishops as well as the burial site for local nobility. The second temple of the complex is a church dating back to the 16th century.
Ureki is a health resort on the Black Sea shore, world-renowned for its amazing magnetic sand beaches. The healing benefits of this magnetic energy were used by Egyptians, Greeks and Indian Yogis for treatment of different diseases including anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties. Bakhmaro Known for its healthy and invigorating fresh mountain air, the village of Bakhmaro is located in the district of Chokhatauri, on the Meskheti Mountain range. It sits on top of the gorge of the Bakhvistskali River, 1,926 – 2,050 metres above sea level, and the mixture of the sea and mountain air results an a unique local climate – a great benefit for those who have health problems and can benefit from humid, clean air and healthy food.
Nabeghlavi resort, also in the district of Chokhatauri, is known for its fresh, clear mineral waters. Nabeghlavi spring and mineral water, is bottled here and is well known around the world.