Tao-Klarjeti (historical region)
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Tao-Klarjeti (Georgian: ტაო-კლარჯეთი, romanized: t'ao-k'larjeti) is a Georgian and Armenian historical and cultural region in north-eastern Turkey. The region is based around two river basins - Chorokhi and Kura (Mtkvari), and also partially includes the upper source of the Aras river. In modern usage it most often denotes the territory that was administrated or claimed by Georgian Democratic Republic but is nowadays part of Turkey due to the Soviet-Turkish deal in 1921.
The term "Tao-Klarjeti" is based on the names of two most important provinces of the region — Tao and Klarjeti. The term is equivalent to “Zemo Kartli” (i.e., Upper Kartli or Upper Iberia) and is also a synonym for historical Meskheti.
Cultural and historical heritageEdit
In the 9th century, under the auspices of the Georgian Bagratids, Tao-Klarjeti saw a revival of monastic life. Georgians, who made up the majority of the population north of Tao, were gradually moving south. Igor Dorfman-Lazarev notes that they discovered a number of monasteries abandoned by Armenians in the 8th century and reconstructed them; many new houses were built. Stephen H. Rapp notes that in this “new Kartli”, the Kartvelian migrants encountered the large Armenian population already living there. A cultural exchange took place between the two peoples.
Many important Georgian cultural monuments from the middle ages are located on the territory of Tao-Klarjeti and many of them are preserved as ruins. Several monuments of medieval Georgian architecture – abandoned or converted churches, monasteries, bridges and castles – are scattered across the area.
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