Samstkhe-Javakheti: a mostly Armenian-populated region

As part of my volunteering activities at PMMG (Public Movement “Multinational Georgia”), a Georgian NGO whose mission has been to protect and represent minority groups of Georgia since 1999, I regularly go to the region of Samstkhe-Javakheti (see map below, in grey) where Georgians cohabit with Armenians. This article is a brief reminder of key regional facts.

Samstkhe-Javakheti is one of the 9 regions that divide the territory of Georgia, located in the West of the country along the southern border with Armenia and Turkey. An incredible 3-hour marshrutka journey through the mountains of Georgia separates the capital city, Tbilisi, from the main city of the region, Akhaltiskhe (meaning “New Castle”).

Samstkhe-Javakheti is home to a very large community of Armenians, with approximately 95,000 mainly Armenian speakers – according to the International Crisis Group – however likely to be Georgian citizens with Georgian passports.

The Armenians living in Samstkhe-Javakheti make up a compactly settled minority group of Georgia. It is therefore a region where the issues of integration, language and minority rights remain paramount.

Here is a series of photos taken in the city of Akhaltsikhe – it will surely help you better picture the region of Samstkhe-Javakheti:

Akhaltsikhe, view from the castle – April 14, 2011

Akhaltsikhe – May 25, 2011

Akhaltsikhe – April 25, 2011

Akhaltsikhe, Armenian church (rather Georgian, for some) – April 25, 2011

Akhaltsikhe, from the top of a hill – April 25, 2011


On May 23, 2011, the “International Crisis Group” published a briefing entitled “Georgia: The Javakheti Region’s Integration Challenges” that correlates the integration of the Armenian community of Javakheti with the stability of the region. Click on the link to have access to the website.

Source: Map of Samstkhe-Javakheti [online] Available at: <;


About Méline

I am an EVS volunteer working with minority youth in Tbilissi, Georgia, during 12 months. This blog aims at presenting Georgia's minority groups and their youth initiatives. The development of joint-action strategies is the work in process which we are conducting together. Let's see what will be achieved in 2011 !
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