Adzhar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic

Adjarian Autonomous Republic

Adjarian Autonomous Republic or Ajarian Autonomous Republic (both: əjärˈēən), formerly Adzhar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (əjärˈ) or Adzharistan (əjärˌĭstänˈ, əjärˈĭstănˌ), autonomous region, c.1,160 sq mi (3,000 sq km), SW Georgia, on the Black Sea, bordering Turkey on the south. The capital is Batumi. Mountainous and forested, the region has a subtropical climate, and there are many health resorts. Tobacco, tea, citrus fruits, and avocados are leading crops; livestock raising is also important. Industries include tea packing, tobacco processing, fruit and fish canning, oil refining, and shipbuilding. The Adjars or Ajars, a mainly Muslim people of the South Caucasian linguistic family, constitute the bulk of the population; the remainder are Georgians, Armenians, Russians, and Greeks.

Colonized by Greek merchants in the 5th and 4th cent. B.C., the region later came under Roman rule and after the 9th cent. A.D. was part of Georgia. The Turks conquered the area in the late 17th and early 18th cent. and introduced Islam. Acquired by Russia in 1878, the region became an autonomous republic of Georgia in 1921. In 1991 it became an autonomous republic of the newly independent state of Georgia. Subsequently, the region became increasingly independent of the Georgian central government, leading to a crisis (2004) in which Georgia reasserted its supremacy and forced Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze into exile.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Adzhar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic


(Acharis Avtonomiuri Sabchota Sotsialisturi Respublika), Adzharia, part of the Georgian SSR. Established July 16, 1921. Area, 3,000 sq km. Population, 310,000 (estimate as of Jan. 1, 1969; according to the 1959 census, 245,000). There are five raions, two cities, and six urban-type settlements in Adzharia. The capital is Batumi.

Constitution and government. The Adzhar ASSR is a socialist workers’ and peasants’ state—an autonomous soviet socialist republic. The present constitution was adopted on Oct. 25, 1937, by the 12th All-Adzhar Congress of Soviets. The highest bodies of state power are the unicameral Supreme Soviet of the Adzhar ASSR, elected for four years on the basis of one deputy for every 3,000 inhabitants, and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. The Supreme Soviet installs the government—the Council of Ministers of Adzharia. The Adzhar ASSR is represented in the Council of Nationalities of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR by 11 deputies. The local organs of state power are the city, raion, and village councils of workers’ deputies, elected by the population for a two-year term.

The Supreme Soviet of Adzharia elects the Supreme Court of the Adzhar ASSR for a five-year term. The court consists of two judicial colleges (one for criminal and one for civil cases) and the presidium of the Supreme Court. The attorney for the Adzhar ASSR is appointed for a five-year term by the attorney general of the USSR.

Natural features. Adzharia is located in the southwestern part of Transcaucasia and is bounded on the west by the Black Sea. The coast is fairly regular, with broad beaches, and is divided by Batumi Bay. A considerable part of the territory is taken up by mountain ranges and foothills of the Lesser Caucasus. The republic is bisected from southwest to northeast by the Meskhetskii Range (Adzharo-Imeretskii), which reaches an elevation of 2,755 m (Mount Sakorina). In the south the Shavshetskii Range stretches along the border with Turkey and reaches an elevation of 2,812 m (Mount Kheva). In the east is the Arsiian Range. The Goderdzi Pass leads into Adzharia through the Arsiian Range at a height of 2,025 m. Along the coast there is a relatively narrow strip of lowland, which is a continuation of the Colchis plain. There is a zone of rolling foothills between the spurs of the Meskhetskii Range and the coastal plain. The Meskhetskii Range separates the coastal and mountainous regions.

The climate in the coastal zone of low-lying areas and plains is warm, very humid, and subtropical. In the mountains it is humid, and the temperature varies from moderately warm to moderately cold. The average temperature in January in the coastal zone is between 4° and 6°C, and in the mountains it is between 2° and -2°C. In July the corresponding temperatures are 20°-23°C and 20°-16°C. Adzharia is unique in the USSR for its abundant precipitation. The average annual precipitation along the coast and the mountain slopes facing the sea is 2,400–2,800 mm. In the mountains of the eastern part of Adzharia, the average annual precipitation is 1,400–1,800 mm, and in the inland valleys it is 1,000–1,400 mm. The average period of above-freezing weather in the coastal zone is more than 300 days (sometimes 350). Freezing temperatures are rare and usually go no lower than -4° to -6°C. The total for all temperatures of days over 10°C for the coastal zone is 4000°-4200°C; for the inland area it is 3000°-3500°C.

The rivers are part of the Black Sea basin. The largest of them is the Chorokh River, which flows through Adzharia only in its lower course. Its tributary, the Adzharistskali River, bisects nearly the entire territory of Adzharia. The rivers have a large volume of flow and are fed primarily by rain and snow; there is flooding in autumn, winter, and spring. There are considerable hydroelectric reserves, with a potential of approximately 1 million kilowatts.

The soils in the lowlands are alluvial or marshy. Red soils predominate in the foothills of the coastal region. Brown forest soils and soddy or soddy-peat alpine-meadow soils are found in the inland mountains and valleys of Adzharia. Over 50 percent of the territory is covered by forests, which stand for the most part on the mountain slopes. In northwestern Adzharia the forests are of the Colchis type, with broad-leaved species, thick underbrush, and lianas. Higher up there are beech forests, and at the highest levels of the forest zone there are fir and spruce forests. (These predominate in eastern Adzharia.) The coastal plain and foothills are almost totally given over to cultivation (subtropical and industrial crops), and a considerable area in the Adzharistskali valley is taken up by fields and perennial crops. Above 1,800 m there is a thick scrub growth, and above that, subalpine and alpine meadows. In the mountain forests there are bear, wild boar, and lynx; in the foothills there are jackals. In the rivers there are chub, minnow, trout, and salmon. The Tsiskarskii and Kintrishskii preserves are located in Adzharia.

Population. The population is primarily Georgian. There were 178,700Georgians, according to the 1959 census. Russians (32,800), Armenians (15,800), Ukrainians, Greeks, Jews, Abkhazians, and others also live in the republic. Between 1926 and 1969 the population increased by 178,000. The average population density in 1969 was 103.2 persons per sq km. The coastal zone is the most densely populated. The cities are located there, and a considerable part of the rural population lives there. The population density there is 150–200 or more persons per sq km. In the inland areas the valleys of the Adzharistskali basin are densely populated (up to 100–150 persons per sq km). In 1969 the urban population constituted 50 percent of the whole. In 1969 the population of Batumi was 104,000; of Kobuleti, 16,000.


Historical survey. Adzharia is one of the most ancient regions of Georgia. Its past is inseparably connected with that of Georgia. Adzharia is mentioned in Georgian and Byzantine sources beginning in the tenth century A.D. Data relating to it are found even earlier in Armenian sources. During the period of Greek colonization on the southeastern shores of the Black Sea, the Adzharians—together with the other Georgian tribes—underwent a process whereby the clan system in the mountains and the communal-slaveowning system in the lowlands disintegrated. In the sixth to fourth centuries B.C., Adzharia was part of the west Georgian kingdom of Colchis, and, after that, part of Iberia. From the fourth century A.D., when Christianity was spreading rapidly through Georgia, Adzharia was part of the unified state of Lazika. In the sixth century A.D. western Georgia was the arena of combat between Byzantium and Iran, and in the seventh century it was subjected to Arab inroads. In the ninth century Adzharia became part of the Tao-Klardzheti principality and actively participated in the political, economic, and cultural life of Georgia as a whole. From the tenth century Adzharia was a part of the united feudal kingdom of Georgia. It was governed by royal eristavs (provincial rulers). In the 11th to 13th centuries Adzharia suffered severely from the inroads of the Seljuks and Mongol Tatars. The territory of what is now coastal Adzharia later became part of the principality of Guriia. In the second half of the 16th century, in connection with the weakening of Georgia caused by the rise of feudal fragmentation and internecine strife, the southern part of Adzharia (up to the Chorokh River) was seized by Turkey. In the 17th and 18th centuries Turkish feudal lords ruled over all of the contemporary territory of Adzharia. The Turks introduced heavy new taxes and land-use regulations in accordance with the system of feudal vassals. However, Georgian forms of land use continued to exist as well. Turkish rule condemned the Adzhar population to economic, national, and cultural deprivation. The policy of enforced Turkization and enforced conversion to Islam met with fierce resistance on the part of the Adzhar population. A considerable number crossed over to Guriia and reconverted to Christianity there. The people of Adzharia frequently rose up in open rebellion against the Turkish yoke (the uprisings of 1680, 1685, 1697, 1744, 1819, and 1856). As a result of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877–78, Kars and Ardagan were incorporated into Russia. Adzharia was reunited with Georgia, which had a progressive significance, since in spite of the colonial policy of tsarism, Adzharia acquired the opportunity to develop its productive forces and was able to partake of Georgian and Russian culture and be part of the Russian movement for social emancipation. Industry began to develop in Adzharia in the 1880’s. The railroad line linking Batumi with Tiflis and Baku was completed in 1883. Batumi was transformed into the third largest city in Transcaucasia (after Baku and Tiflis), and it had an important place in the foreign trade and industry of the Russian Empire. In 1898 there were more than ten large-scale industrial enterprises in Batumi, whose work force amounted to 11,000 (Georgians, Armenians, Azerbai-janis, and Russians). A major event was the laying of the oil pipeline from Baku to Batumi in 1897–1907.

In 1893 the Georgian writer and revolutionary E. F. Ninoshvili set up the first workers’ circle in Batumi; it became the basis for the first Marxist circle, organized in 1896 by the Russian Social Democrats I. I. Luzin and G. Ia. Francheski. In 1897 in Batumi excerpts from the Communist Manifesto by K. Marx and F. Engels were printed in Georgian for the first time. In 1901 a Social Democratic organization supporting the Lenin-Iskra trend was created in Batumi. Its organizer was the representative from the Tiflis committee of the RSDLP, J. V. Stalin. On Mar. 9, 1902, the Batumi committee of the RSDLP organized a major workers’ demonstration. There were demonstrations and strikes by workers in 1903 as well. Iskra wrote, “Little Batumi can congratulate itself on the mass demonstration of March 9 of this year” (1903, July 1, p. 2, footnote). By 1904 the Bolshevik organization of many members was active in Batumi as part of the Caucasian Union of the RSDLP. At the time of the first Russian revolution, at the end of November 1905, an armed workers’ uprising took place in Batumi. After the February Revolution of 1917, Adzharia came under the authority of the Special Transcaucasian Committee, an organ of the Provisional Government. The Bolshevik organizations in Adzharia emerged from the underground at that time. They organized the publication of Bolshevik papers such as Burevestnik and Pravda rabochego and began to form Red Guard detachments. In November 1917 the counterrevolutionary Menshevik Transcaucasian Commissariat was established as the ruling authority in Adzharia. On the night of Apr. 14, 1918, the Turks seized Batumi, Akhaltsikhe, Ardagan, and part of Guriia. During the period of Turkish rule the population of Batumi was reduced from 35,000 to 8,000 (autumn 1918). From December 1918 through July 1920, Adzharia was occupied by English troops. After the establishment of Soviet power in Tiflis in February 1921, Batumi became the last seat of the Menshevik government, which had concluded a secret agreement with Turkey. On March 11, Turkish troops entered Batumi. On March 18 the workers of Adzharia, under the leadership of a provisional revolutionary committee, liberated the city and proclaimed Soviet power. The provisional revolutionary committee was reorganized into an oblast revolutionary committee which consisted of S. I. Kavtaradze (chairman) and M. G. Toroshelidze, I. A. Pevtsov, D. A. Makharadze, T. G. Zhgenti, K. V. Sadzhaia, S. A. Gubeli, K. G. Tavberidze, M. I. Abashidze, and R. D. Nizharadze. On March 19 the 18th Cavalry Division (commanded by D. P. Zhloba) entered Batumi.

On July 16, 1921, the Adzhar ASSR was established as part of the Georgian SSR. On Dec. 13, 1922, Adzharia became part of the Trancaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic as part of the Georgian SSR. During the first years of Soviet power, nationalization of the land was carried out: the peasants of Adzharia received 6,865 desiatinas (7,346 ha).

Under the prewar five-year plans, advanced industry and multifaceted socialist agriculture were created in Adzharia. A cultural revolution was carried out: illiteracy was eliminated, remnants of the feudal and clan traditions that had existed earlier in Adzharia essentially disappeared, native cadres of the working class and intelligentsia sprang up, and institutions of higher education, scientific and scientific research institutions, libraries, clubs, and so on were created. On Oct. 25, 1937, at the 12th All-Adzhar Congress of Soviets, the constitution of the Adzharian ASSR was adopted, which reflected the victory of socialism in the republic.

During the Great Patriotic War, 19,207 persons were awarded orders and medals. Five persons were honored with the title Hero of the Soviet Union.

The economy and culture of Adzharia enjoyed further development in the postwar years. In 1968 the gross industrial product of the republic was 2.7 times greater than in 1940; it was 255 times greater than in 1923. The material and cultural level of the people has risen markedly. In Adzharia in 1969 there were 183 Heroes of Socialist Labor.

On July 12, 1967, Adzharia was awarded the Order of Lenin for its success in economic development and cultural advancement.


Economy. As an economic region of the USSR, Adzharia is noted for citrus growing, tea growing, petroleum refining, specialized machine-building, and the processing of subtropical agricultural products. Adzharia is also one of the major health resort areas.

Industry. Most of Adzharia’s industry has been built in the Soviet period. Electric power production in 1968 was 136 million kilowatt-hours (kW-hr). In 1940 it was 44 million kW-hr. The Batumi refinery engages in the processing of crude petroleum that comes from the Azerbaijan SSR (by pipeline and by railway) and other parts of the USSR (by sea). The territory of Adzharia includes the well-known deposits of copper and polymetals (the deposit at Merisskoe) and a well-known deposit of fire-resistant clays (at Tsetskhlaurskoe). Machine-building has developed greatly—goods used in the production of electrical-engineering articles and equipment for the food and ship-building industries (in Batumi). Chemical and pharmaceutical products are also manufactured in Batumi. The processing of agricultural products plays an important role: tea-processing factories in Kobuleti, Chakva, Ochkhamuri, Khutsubani, and Mukhaestate; wine-making in Batumi and Keda; and canning in Batumi. Tea production (initially processed baikhov tea) in 1968 amounted to more than 8,500 tons (2,600 tons in 1940). The production of canned foods was 10,700,000 standard containers (3,600,000 in 1940). There is also leather and footwear manufacturing, a garment industry, and woodworking in Batumi and the manufacture of construction materials in Batumi, Kobuleti, and Chakva.

Agriculture. The raising of subtropical crops—citrus fruits, tea, eucalyptus, bamboo, and tung—plays a main role in Adzharia. Vegetable-growing and livestock-raising have also been developed.

At the beginning of 1969 there were 168 kolkhozes (including two fishing kolkhozes) and 18 sovkhozes (citrus-growing, tea-growing, and others). In 1968 the area under cultivation was 13,000 ha (17,800 ha in 1940). The area devoted to perennial plants (tea and citrus fruits, orchards and vineyards) was 23,100 ha (17,300 ha in 1940). Citrus fruits are grown in the foothill region (more than 6,000 ha; over 50 percent of the citrus-growing area of the entire USSR). Two-thirds of all state purchases of citrus fruits in the Georgian SSR are made in Adzharia. Tea-growing is carried on primarily in the coastal zone (7,500 ha). Adzharia has an important place in the harvesting of high-grade tea (35,000 tons). Fruit-growing (8,100 ha) and viticulture (1,100 ha) have been developed in all areas, including the inland valleys. Cereal crops (maize) cover 6,300 ha. Tobacco is grown in the inland regions (1,500 ha). Vegetables are raised in the coastal zone, and potatoes are cultivated in the mountainous regions.

The draining of swamplands has great importance in the coastal lowland regions. In 1968 the area of reclaimed swampland was 5,000 ha. In the inland parts of Adzharia irrigation is used for hayfields, pastureland, and garden plots around the homes of peasants. (In 1968 there were 7,300 ha under irrigation.)

Intensive dairy-cattle farming and poultry farming predominate in the livestock-raising of the coastal belt. In the mountains, beef cattle are raised in pastures and barns. Livestock statistics as of Jan. 1, 1969, were as follows: cattle, 108,900 head; sheep and goats, 17,700; hogs, 1,700. In 1940 the corresponding figures were cattle, 81,000; sheep and goats, 74,400; and hogs, 3,200. Silkworms and honeybees are also raised.

Government purchases of agricultural products in 1968 in Adzharia were as follows: tea, 34,700 tons (10,500 tons in 1940); fruit, 7,000 tons; citrus fruit, 19,100 tons; tobacco, 2,500 tons; cattle and poultry (liveweight), 1,400 tons; milk and dairy products (in terms of milk used to make them), 4,800 tons (100 tons in 1940); eggs, 5,400,000 (400,000 in 1940). Commercial fishing for horse mackerel, mullet, mackerel, and other fish is carried on in the Black Sea.

Transport. In the coastal zone of Adzharia there is an electrified railroad line from Samtredia to Batumi and a highway from Novorossiisk to Batumi. The remote regions are served by a highway from Batumi to Khulo and Akhaltsikhe. Batumi is a major port of the Soviet Union and is engaged in both domestic and international shipping, primarily of petroleum. Batumi is linked with other regions of the country by an air route that is part of the All-Union system.

Adzharia exports petroleum products, machinery, food industry equipment, caffeine, tea, tung oil, canned foods, and tobacco products. It imports wheat, meat, dairy products, sugar, rice, potatoes, and vegetables.

Standard of living. The standard of living of the population has increased steadily, based on the rise in the national income of the republic. The volume of retail sales in 1968 was 2.9 times greater than that in 1950 in terms of comparative prices. In 1968 new residential and commercial construction by state and cooperative enterprises and organizations (not counting kolkhozes) and industrial and service workers in urban and rural areas amounted to 54,200 sq m. In addition, 520 dwellings were built by kolkhozes or their members or by the rural intelligentsia. Social security and pension funds have grown larger, and the real income of the population has increased.


Public health. In prerevolutionary Adzharia there were only nine doctors and one hospital with 100 beds. On Jan. 1, 1969, Adzharia had 964 doctors (270 in 1940), over 3,000 intermediate-level medical personnel, 45 hospitals or equivalent institutions with 3,100 beds, 79 medical institutions serving the public as outpatient clinics, and 117 first-aid stations. Health resorts are located on the territory of Adzharia in Batumi, Kobuleti, Tsikhisdziri, Zelenyi Mys, and Makhindzhauri. In 1968 there were six sanitoriums, 15 rest homes, and two rooming houses in operation, with accommodations for a total of 4,208 persons. A great many vacationers and tourists visit Adzharia every year.

Education and cultural affairs. Before the Great October Socialist Revolution, less than 7 percent of the population was literate. In the 1921/22 academic year, Adzharia had only 38 elementary schools, with about 3,000 students. There were no special secondary schools or institutions of higher learning. Under Soviet power, illiteracy has been eliminated in Adzharia, and compulsory universal education has been introduced. In 1968 there were over 7,000 children attending preschool institutions in 110 locations. In the 1968/69 academic year there were 200 elementary schools, with 5,300 students; 111 eight-year schools, with 14,900 students; 105 intermediate schools, with 40,700 students; and 24 schools for working and farming youth, with about 3,000 students. In 1969 there were 16 extracurricular institutions. There were seven special schools in operation (a maritime college, two agricultural technicums, a Soviet trade technicum, a cultural-educational college, a medical college, and a musical college). Over 3,500 students attended those schools, and there were three professional and technical colleges with 1,500 students. During the 1968/69 academic year there were about 3,000 students studying at the Shota Rustaveli Teachers’ College in Batumi (the institute has evening and correspondence divisions).

In 1966 there were two museums in Adzharia—the State Museum of Adzharia and the State Museum of the Revolution (both in Batumi). There were 222 circulating libraries, a national theater, a House of Folk Art, 175 clubs, and 167 motion-picture projectors.

Scientific institutions. In 1968 there were 11 scientific institutions in Adzharia, including the Batumi Scientific Research Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Georgian SSR. There are branches of the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Phytopathology (Kobuleti), the All-Union Institute of Tea and Subtropical Crops (Chakva), and the Georgian Scientific Research Institute on the Food Industry, the State Scientific Research Planning Institute on the Food Industry, and the State Scientific Research Planning Institute of the Paint and Varnish Industry (all in Batumi). Important research and educational work is done at the Batumi Botanical Garden of the Academy of Sciences of the Georgian SSR.

In 1968 there were 271 scientific workers at institutes of higher education or scientific research institutes, including six holders of the doctor of sciences degree and 100 holders of the candidate of sciences degree. Among the important scientists working in Adzharia are K. E. Bakhtadze, a member of the Academy of Sciences of the Georgian SSR and the V. I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VASKNIL); Professor Sh. S. Kemkhadze, doctor of physical and mathematical sciences; E. K. Mgalob-lishvili and G. G. Khechinashvili, doctors of medical science; M. I. Stambolishvili, doctor of philosophical science; and P. K. Tskvitariia, doctor of historical sciences.

Press and radio. In 1968 the Sovetskaia Adzhariia publishing house released 12 books and pamphlets with a combined total of 37,000 copies. There are two republic-wide newspapers—the Georgian-language Sabchota Adzhara (Soviet Adzharia) and the Russian-language Sovetskaia Adzhariia—both published since 1921. Their combined circulation is 39,000. Literaturuli Adzhara (Literary Adzharia), a Georgian-language literary, artistic, and sociopolitical magazine, has been published since 1958.

The republic radio broadcasts in both Georgian and Russian. Two television channels are relayed from Tbilisi, and both radio and television broadcasts are relayed from Moscow.

Literature. Adzhar literature is part of Georgian literature. The Adzhar branch of the Association of Proletarian Writers of Georgia was formed in 1927, and the Adzhar branch of Soviet Writers of Georgia was formed in 1932. Among the writers who have contributed to the development of Georgian Soviet literature are M. Varshanidze, N. Gvarishvili, Z. Gorgiladze, D. Dzhakeli, P. Loriia, N. Malazoniia, I. Pagava, Sh. Rokva, P. Rurua, G. Salukvadze, A. Samsoniia, F. Khalvashi, A. Chkhaidze, and A. Shervashidze.

Architecture and art. Prefeudal architectural monuments such as the Conia Fortress and remnants of the Byzantine fort city of Petra, founded in the sixth century A.D., as well as ruins of a three-aisled basilica and public baths at Tsikhisdziri, have been preserved in Adzharia. The fortress of Tamaristsikhe, a church at Skhalta in the form of a great hall with facades decorated with carvings (13th century), and the single-arched bridges at Makho, Makhuntseti, Dandalo, and Purtio all date from the time of the Georgian kingdom (tenth to 13th centuries). During the period of Turkish rule, architecture in Adzharia went into a decline. At the turn of the 20th century construction activity revived; private villas and residential homes built in the eclectic style of the period appeared in Batumi and its suburbs.

Under Soviet power, construction activity in Batumi and at health resorts (Kobuleti, Makhindzhauri, and Tsikhisdziri) developed quite extensively. In addition to many residential homes, the following structures were built in Batumi: the Intourist Hotel (1939; architect, A. V. Shchusev), the Summer Theater (1948; architects, K. I. Dzhavakhishvili and B. M. Kirokosian), the Dramatic Theater (1952; architect, L. S. Teplitskii), the Museum of the Revolution (1955; architect, K. I. Dzhavakhishvili) and Tbilisi Motion Picture Theater (1964; architect, N. Abashidze). In 1958 the general city plans for Batumi and Kobuleti were approved.

In popular architecture the predominant type of building is a two- or three-story dwelling with a brick or stone ground floor, wooden upper stories, and balconies and a gallery on the front and occasionally on other sides. Balcony railings, doors, and ceilings are decorated with wood carvings. Frame structures are widely used for economic purposes.

The arts as a profession appeared in Adzharia only in the 20th century, mainly after the establishment of Soviet power in 1921. Painting is done on historical and revolutionary themes (Sh. G. Kholuashvili and N. N. Iakovenko), landscapes (S. N. Artmeladze, Sh. A. Zamtaradze, and Kh. D. Imnaishvili), and portrait painting (Sh. G. Kholuashvili). Sculpture (T. P. Chanturia and M. A. Bolkvadze), graphics (G. A. Sechen’ian, D. Kh. Imnaishvili and V. O. Seidishvili), theatrical design (D. Kh. Imnaishvili and A. M. Filippov), monumental-decorative art (T. M. Dzhalaganiia), and decorative applied art (Sh. I. Kvernadze and O. Chachua) are developing. Adzhar folk art has been expressed ever since ancient times in wood-carving, metal-working, and embroidery.

Music. The Adzhar folk song is one of the numerous dialects of Georgian folk music. It is polyphonic and uses both the couplet and more complex forms, including ones with three or four parts. Especially popular are the naduri —work songs for four voices, sung by eight to 12 men while working in the fields. The majority of Adzhar songs are for two or three voices, but five-part pieces also occur in instrumental music. Folk instruments include the chiboni (bagpipes), chonguri (a three-stringed instrument), doli (drum), chianuri, salamuri, saz, and kemancha. These are mainly used for accompaniment, although solo melodies are sometimes played on them. The M. Kukhinidze State Ensemble of Song and Dance has existed in Batumi since 1921, and there has been a philharmonic orchestra since 1921 and a music conservatory since 1929. Among the composers who work in Adzharia is A. A. Partskhaladze.

Theater. The I. Chavchavadze Theater opened in Batumi in 1937. Its best productions have been Uriel’ Akosta by K. Gutskov (1941), The Exile by V. Pshavely (1945), Kikvidze by V. A. Daraseli (1951), Vassa Zheleznova by M. Gorky (1953), Hamlet (1956) and Othello (1959) by W. Shakespeare, and Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (1963). Its theatrical troupe includes People’s Artists of the Georgian SSR Iu. O. Kobaladze, A. D. Mgeladze, N. U. Tetradze, and M. M. Khinikadze.


Gruziia. Moscow, 1967. (“Sovetskii Soiuz” series.)
Nizharadze, N. Sovetskaia Adzhariia: Ekonomiko-geograficheskaia kharakteristika. Batumi, 1961.
Istoriia Gruzii, part 1. Tbilisi, 1962.
Frenkel’, A. S. Ocherki Churuk-Su i Batuma. Tiflis, 1879.
Bakradze, D. Z. Arkheologicheskoe puteshestvie po Gurii i Adchare. St. Petersburg, 1878.
Kazbek, G. Tri mesiatsa v Turetskoi Gruzii. Tiflis, 1876.
Chulok, I. Voenno-boevaia deiatel’nost’ bol’shevikov v Batumi v gody pervoi russkoi revoliutsii. Batumi, 1960.
Bor’ba za pobedu Sovetskoi vlasti ν Adzharii: Dokumenty i materialy (1917–1921). Batumi, 1961.
Revoliutsionnye komitety Adzharii ν bor’be za stanovlenie i uprochenie Sovetskoi vlasti (mart 1921–anvar’ 1922): Sb. dokumentov i materialov. Sukhumi, 1963.
Sovetskaia Gruziia k 50-letiiu Velikoi Oktiabr’ skoi sotsialisticheskoi revoliutsii: (Statisticheskii sb.). Tbilisi, 1967.
Akhobadze, V. Gruzinskie (adzharskie) narodnye pesni. Batumi, 1961.
Inaishvili, A., Dzh. Mogaideli, and Gr. Chkhikvadze. Materialy iz adzharskogo muzykal’nogo fol’klora. Tbilisi, 1961. (In Georgian, with summary in Russian.)
Ahvlediani, H. Sahalho-gantchathavi-swphlebeli brdzolis isttoriidan samhreth sakharthveloshi. Batumi, 1957.
Kkkhvittaria, Pp. Adsharashi revolwkkowri tchodzraobis isttoriis narkkvevebi (1890–1914). Batumi, 1959.
Diasamidze, D., and N. Danizharadze. Adsharis assr (monographia). Tbilisi, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.