Historical region
53800 Söğütlü-Rize Merkez-Rize, Turkey - panoramio (4).jpg
  Historical Lazistan
Coordinates: 40°55′54″N 40°50′52″E / 40.93167°N 40.84778°E / 40.93167; 40.84778Coordinates: 40°55′54″N 40°50′52″E / 40.93167°N 40.84778°E / 40.93167; 40.84778
Largest city Rize
Lazistan is not an official subdivision of either Georgia or Turkey; it constitutes a historical region only.

Lazistan (Laz: ლაზონა, romanized: Lazona; Georgian: ლაზეთი, or ჭანეთი Ç'aneti; Ottoman Turkish: لازستان‎, romanized: Lazistān) is a historical and cultural region of the Caucasus and Anatolia, traditionally inhabited by the Laz people, located mostly in Turkey, with small parts in Georgia. Its area is about 7,000 km2 (2,703 sq mi), and its population about 500,000. Geographically, Lazistan consists of a series of narrow, rugged valleys extending northward from the crest of the Pontic Alps (old name is Lazistan mountains, Lazic Alps) (Turkish: Anadolu Dağları), which separate it from the Çoruh valley, and stretches east-west along the southern shore of the Black Sea. Lazistan is a virtually a forbidden term in Turkey.[A] The designation of the term of Lazistan was officially banned in 1926, by Kemalists, as the name was considered to be an 'unpatriotic' invention of ancien regime.[1] However, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reportedly said in 2013, that the Ottoman Empire used to call the Black Sea Region Lazistan.[2]


The ethnonym "Laz" is unhesitatingly linked to a Svan toponym Lazan (i.e. the territorial prefix la- + Zan, "land of the Zan").[citation needed] The suffix -stan (Persian: ـستان, translit. stân) is Persian for region. The literal translation is, thus, "Region of Lazs". "Lazistan" was also formerly spelled Lazica or Lazia.




The Ottoman era


See also