The Adjarians (Georgian: აჭარლები) are an ethnographic group of Georgians living mainly in Adjara in south-western Georgia and speaking the Adjarian dialect of the Georgian language.

აჭარლები Ačarlebi
Georgian dialects.svg
  Distribution of the Adjaran dialect
Total population
c. 460,000
Regions with significant populations
 Georgia: Adjara
Adjaran dialect of Georgian language
Predominantly † Georgian Orthodox Church and Muslim minority.

The Adjarians had their own territorial entity, the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, founded on July 16, 1921 as the Adjara ASSR. After years of post-Soviet stalemate, the region was brought closer within the framework of the Georgian state in 2004, retaining its autonomous status.

Adjarian settlements are also found in the Georgian provinces of Guria, Kvemo Kartli, and Kakheti, as well as in several areas of neighbouring Turkey.

History and ReligionEdit

Shalva Kikodze. "Adjarian women in chadors". 1920

Many Adjarians converted to Islam in the 16th and 17th centuries when the Ottomans ruled over southwestern Georgian lands.

The Georgian population of Adjara had been generally known as Muslim Georgians until the 1926 Soviet census listed them as Adjarians, separate from the rest of Georgians, counting 71,426 of them.[1] In subsequent censuses (1939–1989) they were listed with other Georgians, as no official Soviet census asked about religion. In the 1920s, the suppression of religion and compulsory collectivization led to armed resistance against Communist authorities by Adjarians.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the re-establishment of Georgian independence accelerated the Christianization of Adjarians, especially among the young.[2] However, a number of Adjarians, particularly in and around Khulo, remain Sunni Muslims. According to estimates recently published by the Department of Statistics of Adjara, 70% are Christians, and 30% Muslim.[3][4]


The Adjarians speak Adjarian, a Georgian dialect related to the one spoken in the neighbouring northern province of Guria, but with a number of Turkish loanwords. Adjarian also possesses many features in common with the Zan languages (Mingrelian and Laz), which are sisters to Georgian and are included in the Kartvelian language group.

Famous AjariansEdit

See alsoEdit

  • Chveneburi, ethnic Georgians in Turkey many of whom are of Adjarian heritage.
  • Laz people, Kartvelian-speaking ethnic group.


  1. ^ Lorimer, Frank (1946). "The Population of the Soviet Union: History and Prospects" (PDF).
  2. ^ George Sanikidze and Edward W. Walker (2004), Islam and Islamic Practices in Georgia. Berkeley Program in Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies. University of California, Berkeley Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.
  3. ^ "census - 2014 General Population Census Results". Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  4. ^ (in Georgian) Autonomous Republic of Adjara, Department of Statistics.[permanent dead link]


  • Nugzar Mgeladze (Translated by Kevin Tuite). Ajarians. World Culture Encyclopedia. Accessed on September 1, 2007.