Guria is the smallest region of the country bordering Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, the Black Sea and Adjara. With so many beautiful landscapes Georgia can offer, Guria is less popular. However, it’s Black Sea coastline that stretches to 22 kilometers, mountainous resorts, food and wine should make the region a touristic destination. Therefore, we decided to show you the beauty of this region through its gorgeous landscape, interesting facts and sightseeing you can do.

The legend why its called Guria

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Guria Region
Photo Source: paata.ge

There’s a local legend of the origin of the region’s name. Once upon a time, there was an arrogant and extremely proud king in India called Shedat. He decided to build a heavenly place, an Eden garden for himself because he believed that the residents considered him as the God. When his servants saw the Eden, they noted that his garden lacked angels. Shedat ordered them to travel all around the globe and find gurias (beauties) and bring them to Eden. They obeyed the wish of their king and gathered all gurias they could find in different parts of the world. When they were headed back to India and passed through the Caucasus, they found out that the king has passed away. Gurias decided not to return to their home countries and stayed in the area what is now called Guria.

Gurian folklore is one of its kind

Locals usually say that Gurian character is a different phenomenon. They are fast-paced people, with a bit of a temper and a good amount of humor. For instance, there’s a saying that “it’s better to hug a nettle than to hug a Gurian woman”. These characteristic features are shown in their famous folklore and feature three-voice polyphonic songs.

One of those voices is called Krimanchuli and is thought to be the highest male voice in Georgian songs. However, regional folklore includes single-voice songs as well. Those songs are remarkably complex and unique that can’t be seen in any other region of Georgia.

Gurian horse-riders

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Photo Source: pexels.com

We already mentioned that Gurians are distinguished by their temperament, character and freewheeling nature. Fewer people know that they were the ones who brought our country’s name to England and America back at the end of the 19th century. It all started in 1892 when Gurian horse riders visited England and participated in Wild West Show of popular Buffalo Bill Cody. As most of the world in that time didn’t know anything about the country Georgia, except the fact that it was part of the Russian Empire, the riders were known as Cossacks. A year later, they went to the USA  and for more than 30 years participated in Buffalo Bill’s shows bringing fame to their home country. Their trick-riding performance was the main highlight of the show, along with Indian and cowboy programs.

Unfortunately, the breakout of the WWI and the communist revolution in Russia blocked Gurians from continuing their adventure in the West. Most of them stayed in the USA until the end of WWII, and even when they came back home, they were accused by communist authorities of being American spies and arrested them. 

 

Don’t miss out on those events in Guria

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Lelo Burti – Rugby with no rules!
Photo Source: oc.medi.orgg

Horse Riding in Bakhmaro

When those famous Gurian trick-racers where arrested, the inhabitants have almost forgotten their organic love of extreme adventures and horse-riding. Fortunately, at the beginning of the 21st century, Gurian’s decided to revive their old tradition and started to celebrate the Transfiguration of the Christ, August 19, with a splendid horse race in Bakhmaro, the mountainous resort of the region.

Leloburti

Easter in Guria is completely different compared to the rest of the country. This important Christian holiday is celebrated with a Leloburti game, which looks like a rugby, but is much tougher. The game is held in between Lanchkhuti town and the village of Shukhuti, which is bordered by two streamlets. The main goal of the game is that players have to bring the 18-kilogram ball full of sawdust and sand to one of the streamlets. The winner then takes the same ball to the grave of the player who died that year.

Kalanda and Gurian Christmas tree

Gurians call New Year Kalanda which falls of the day of Saint Basil the Great. The main item on this day is Chichilaki – regional Christmas tree made from dried hazelnut shaving. It symbolizes the tree of life, as well as wealth and the wellbeing. Chichilaki is decorated with colorful ribbons and dried fruits. On the day of Epiphany, January 19, Chichlaki is burned.

Sightseeing in Guria

Bakhmaro, Guria
Photo Source: georgiatosee

Gomis Mta
This climatic summer resort of Ozurgeti Municipality lays at 2100-2755 meters above the sea level. With its mountainous landscape, surrounded pine and fir forest, and jaw-dropping panoramic views of the sunrise, Gomis Mta has become a popular destination for many Georgians. The climate here is moderately dry, with cold and snowy winters and cool summers.
Similar to Gomis Mta, Bakhmaro is a mountainous resort in Chokhatauri Municipality and is located around 1926-2050 meters above sea level. It also is surrounded by fir and pine forests, making it a perfect holiday spot for those who have breathing problems and other health issues.

There is a local legend connected to its name. One day, a beautiful and young girl Maro, who lived here, was kidnapped and murdered by a marauding tribe. When locals found the body, they saw a writing on a big stone next to her: Bakh Maro, which in the kidnappers’ language meant: Here’s Your Maro.

Dip in the Black Sea resorts

Guria has three seaside resorts along the Black Sea coast –  Ureki, Shekvetili, and Grigoleti. Ureki is distinguished with its sandy beaches rich in black iron ore particle. Those who have cardiovascular and respiratory issues come here during summer.  Grigoleti beach is one of the most notable resorts in Guria as its territory is covered with long pine forest and beach features magnetic black sand.

Shekvetili resort is the perfect place for those who want to spend their holiday days in a relaxing environment. Unlike Ureki and Grigoleti, Shekvetili features more entertainment venues, such as an amusement part Tsitsinatela and Georgia in Miniature Park next to it.

Ozurgeti Historical Museum

Being the biggest museum in whole Guria, the venue features unique collections of Early, Late, and Middle Bronze Age cultural items of Colhi Kingdom, ancient golden and silver items, numismatic items of Alexander the Great, Turkish and Colchis silver coins, and other ethnographic pieces. Additionally, the artworks of famous Georgian painters such as Lado Gudiashvili, Elene Akhvlediani, and Gia Bughadze are displayed here.

Ekvtime Takaishvili Museum

The village of Likhauri, Ozurgeti Municipality is home to a museum of famous Georgian historian and archeologist – Ekvtime Takaishvili. The venue has four exhibition halls, where Takaishvili’s books,  photos, and other personal items are displayed.

Nodar Dumbadze House Museum
Nodar Dumbadze is one of the most beloved Georgian writers. His humorous novels are well known by each citizen of the country. And some are even translated into English. His novels are mostly around Guria, their inhabitants, and character.

His museum is located in the village of Khidistavi, Chokhatauri Municipality, at next to the house of his grandparents. Here, you’ll see manuscripts, books, photos, and personal memorabilia to name a few

What to eat and drink in Guria

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Photo Source: paata.ge

The most widespread Gurian dish is Guruli Gvezeli, or Gurian Pie, which is similar to Khachapuri and is filled with boiled eggs and cheese. The cornmeal is a famous ingredient in Gurian cuisine. Gurian Mchadi is different in shape, size and preparation method. Originally it was baked in a claypan over the fire as an entire round piece. But before putting the “dough” on the pan, they used to put grape leaves on the bottom of the claypan giving Mchadi a distinguish taste.

There is another type of Mchadi in Guria called Natsris Mchadi or Mchadi of Ashes, but unfortunately it’s long forgotten today. Gurians used to set a fire for a long time in the fireplace to make it extremely hot. Then, they would spread the ashes and put the Mchadi dough in the middle. With a lit wooden stick, they would dry up the surface for a minute or two and cover it completely with the rest of the ashes. When the meal was done, they would take out and wash the ashes with water and place it on the wall of the fireplace to dry out.

Gurian Churchkhela is also different. Instead of walnuts, you’ll find hazelnuts dipped in white grape juice made from a mixture of Tsolikouri and Adessa grapes and cornmeal. The region is also known for its wine. In the past, there were around sixty different grape vines, but most of them are either on the verge of extinction. The most famous wines of Guria are Chkaveri, Jani, Adessa, and Tsolikouri.