აჭარლები Ačarlebi
Georgian dialects.svg
  Distribution of the Adjaran dialect
Total population
c. 560,000-1,960,000
Regions with significant populations
 Georgia: Adjara-560,000
Adjaran dialect of Georgian language
Predominantly † Georgian Orthodox Church and Muslim minority.

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.

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 Religion

Adjarian men's clothing

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

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Famous Adjarians

was a Muslim Georgian nobleman (bey) of the Khimshiashvili from Adjara in the Ottoman service.

See also

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