Adzhar: A Georgian People and Their Language

Adzhar: A Georgian People and Their Language

Adzhar, also spelled Adjara or Adzharia, is a term that can refer to both a people and a language. The Adzhar people are a Georgian ethnic group that live in the southern Caucasus region, mainly in the autonomous republic of Adjara within Georgia. The Adzhar language is a dialect of Georgian that is spoken by the Adzhar people.

The Adzhar people have a long and rich history that dates back to the medieval kingdom of Georgia. They were part of the Georgian Orthodox Church until the 17th century, when they converted to Islam under Ottoman influence. The Adzhar people have faced various challenges and conflicts throughout their history, such as Turkish and Russian invasions, Soviet repression, and Georgian civil war. Despite these hardships, they have maintained their cultural identity and traditions.

The Adzhar language is one of the Kartvelian languages, a family of languages that includes Georgian, Mingrelian, Laz, and Svan. The Adzhar language is closely related to Georgian, but has some distinctive features, such as different phonology, morphology, and vocabulary. The Adzhar language is written in the Georgian script, which is an alphabet of 33 letters that dates back to the 5th century AD.

The Adzhar people and their language are an important part of the diversity and heritage of Georgia and the Caucasus region. They have contributed to the fields of literature, art, music, and politics in Georgia and beyond. Some notable figures of Adzhar origin include Zurab Nogaideli, a former prime minister of Georgia; Aslan Abashidze, a former leader of Adjara; and Tamaz Chiladze, a poet and novelist.


The Adzhar people and their language face some challenges in the modern world, such as assimilation, migration, and education. According to the 2014 census, there are about 333,000 Adzhar people in Georgia, making up about 9% of the population. However, many Adzhar people have migrated to other countries, such as Turkey, Russia, and the United States, in search of better opportunities and living conditions. As a result, the Adzhar language is endangered, as many Adzhar people speak Turkish or Russian as their first or second language. Moreover, the Adzhar language is not widely taught or used in schools and media in Georgia, where Georgian is the official and dominant language.

Nevertheless, there are some efforts to preserve and promote the Adzhar language and culture, such as the establishment of the Institute of Adzharology in Batumi, the capital of Adjara; the publication of books and newspapers in Adzhar; and the organization of cultural festivals and events. The Adzhar people and their language are part of the rich mosaic of Georgia and the Caucasus region, and deserve recognition and respect.

The Adzhar language and culture have influenced and been influenced by other languages and cultures in the region, such as Turkish, Russian, Armenian, and Greek. The Adzhar language has borrowed many words from Turkish and Russian, especially in the domains of religion, politics, and technology. For example, the Adzhar word for mosque is cami, which comes from Turkish; the word for television is televizor, which comes from Russian. On the other hand, the Adzhar language has also contributed some words to other languages, such as the Turkish word acara, which means event or ceremony, and comes from the Adzhar name of their region.

The Adzhar culture has also developed some unique features that distinguish it from other Georgian cultures, such as the Adzhar khachapuri, a cheese-filled bread that is shaped like a boat and topped with an egg; the Adzhar dance, a folk dance that involves fast and energetic movements; and the Adzhar costume, a traditional outfit that consists of a long coat, a hat, and a dagger for men, and a dress, a headscarf, and jewelry for women. The Adzhar culture reflects the history and geography of the Adzhar people, who have lived in the coastal and mountainous areas of Adjara for centuries.

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