Racha

Racha

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Racha

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Description:
Racha (also Ratcha, , Račʼa) is a highland area in western Georgia, located in the upper Rioni river valley and hemmed in by the Greater Caucasus mountains. Under Georgia’s current subdivision, Racha is included in the Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti region (mkhare) as the municipalities of Oni and Ambrolauri.

Racha occupies 2,854 km<sup>2</sup> in the north-eastern corner of western Georgia. Spurs of the Greater Caucasus crest separates Racha from the Georgian historical regions of Svaneti and Lechkhumi on the north-west and from Imereti on the south, while the main Caucasus ridge forms a boundary with Russia’s North Ossetia. On the east, Racha is bordered by breakaway South Ossetia, officially part of Georgia’s Shida Kartli region.

History

Racha had been part of Colchis and Caucasian Iberia since ancient times and its main town Oni was said to have been founded by King Parnajom of Iberia in the 2nd century BC. Upon creation of the unified Georgian kingdom in the 11th century, Racha became one of the duchies (saeristavo) within it. Rati of the Baghvashi family was the first duke (eristavi) appointed by King Bagrat III. Descendants of Rati and his son Kakhaber, eponymous father of Racha’s ruling dynasty of Kakhaberisdze, governed the province until 1278. In 1278 King David VI Narin abolished the duchy during his war against the Mongols. In the mid-14th century, the duchy was restored under the rule of the Tcharelidze family.

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