Official visitor guide


Khulo Municipality, Skhalta Monastery


According to the Orthodox Church, the Virgin Mary selected St. Andrew the First-Called to disseminate Christianity in Georgia and gave him her icon as a protector. After converting the Trabzon population to Christianity, St. Andrew, together with Simon of Cana and St. Matthias, introduced Christianity to Ajara. Simon and Matthias continued their activities in Georgia until their deaths (Simon in Athon and Matthias in Gonio). Dissemination of Christianity in this region was fostered by the active cultural-economic relations with the nearby countries. Widespread church construction developed, the remnants of which are still found today.

The first cathedral was built with the name of Archangel in the village of Didachara. Archaeological excavations confirmed the existence of Christian chapels and churches in almost every settled area. Confirmation of this fact is the formation of ecclesiastical centers from the earliest days of Christianity: Skhalta in the 4th century, Petra (Tsikhisdziri) in the 6th century, Khino in the9th century, and Tbeti in the 10th century.

The records of travelers and researchers visiting Ajara in the 19th century also confirm that Christian shrines were functioning in almost every village of the medieval Acharistskali Gorge.


Since the time of Arab Conquest Islam is the second most widely professed religion in the territory of Georgia. There are approximately 433.784 Muslim citizens in the whole Georgia. Islam is multinational religion in Georgia. The vast majority of confessors are among local Azerbaijani people (among them Shiites and Sunnis as well) more less are among Kist Chechens and Meskhetian Turks. There are approximately 25% of Georgian Muslims among Ajarian population.

Under 300 years of Ottoman control Georgia underwent widespread religious transformation from orthodox cristianity to Islam. However, Georgian muslims managed to maintain their old traditions and came back to their identity-language and religion (in 1878). Georgian Orthodox Church was exceptionally strengthened after the eighties. Nowadays the followers of Islam and Cristian Orthodoxy coexist in a complete harmony in Ajara. Furthermore, it is possible to find monuments of all the major religions in the relatively small city of Batumi. An Armenian Apostolic church, a Jewish synagogue, a Catholic church, and the Batumi mosque as well as mosques in Ajara highland together with orthodox Christian churches and cathedral, represent cultural and spiritual wealth of the region.