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Map Source: Parliament of Georgia

Population: 160,600

Size: 2,000 sq. km

Main Town: Ozurgeti (pop: 23,279)

Average salary: 73 GEL (about $40) per month (2003)

Principal economic activities: Sub-tropical agricultural products, tea, scrap metal

Minorities: Guria's population is overwhelmingly ethnic Georgian and Georgian Orthodox, though Russians make up roughly 5 percent of the total population while about 1 percent of the population is Armenian.

Birth Rate: 8.2 per 1,000

Death Rate: 10.9 per 1,000

Nutshell History: Thanks to its Black Sea coastline, Guria has been influenced by various outside cultures – Turkish, Greek, Russian – but maintained a strong sense of identity. Hundreds of monasteries, fortresses and other ancient sites can be found throughout the region. The end of the 19th century was a particularly productive time. It was during this time that the region’s first printing house was established in Ozurgeti and Guria’s first library was founded in the village of Aketi in 1892. In 1999, international attention focused on the region with the opening of the Baku-Supsa pipeline and terminal. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, Guria has suffered much and is now one of the poorest regions in all of Georgia.

Claim to Fame: Aside from being the birthplace of former President Eduard Shevardnadze, Guria is most famous for its complex and beautiful forms of polyphonic music. Most notably among Gurian musical styles is the “Naduri,” which comes from a word for volunteer harvest workers and which features four alternating voices.

Statistics Source: United Nations Children’s Fund; CIA World Fact Book; CARE Georgia West GCMI Project. State Department for Statistics of Georgia

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