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Home arrow Religion arrow Religions and Migrations in the Black Sea Region


  • 1. According to the administration reform in the 1990s, a southern part of this region belongs to the administrative region of Samtskhe- Tzavakheti (south Georgia, near the borders with Turkey and Armenia) and the rest to Kvemo Kartli.
  • 2. Migrations of ethnic Greek Christian populations from the Ottoman Empire to the Caucasus differed as to the causes (economic migration, persecution, people exchanges), type (individual or collective migration), the qualitative characteristics (language and education), locations (rural or urban centres). Generally the Greek historiography classifies these migrations in four waves: In the period 1829-1831, we find groups (mainly of rural population and mining workers) from the Eastern Sea (Trabzon and neighbouring regions) who moved to central and eastern Georgia. More urban groups moved between 1869 and 1876 in Abkhazia, mainly in Sukhumi and surrounding areas. Merchant families migrated between 1878 and 1881 in the area of Batumi (south Georgia). Finally, between 1897 and 1902 we find some urban families settling in the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi (Aggelidis 1999, 223-249).
  • 3. The tsarist census of 1897 recorded 186,925 Greek-speaking (105,169 in the southern Caucasus, almost half in Georgia) and 20,611 Turkish-speaking (Turkish- and Tatar-speaking) Greek (Hassiotis 1997, 75-85).
  • 4. Many of these communities arrived later in Georgia and were not Tsarist subjects, so they did not become Soviet passport holders. As a result, the category of diasporic nationalities paved the way for the orchestration of a new category, that of enemy nations which targeted these Greeks, as stateless cosmopolitans who bore the stigma of ethnic affinity with capitalist nation states beyond the Soviet country, like Greece.
  • 5. All the Greek diasporic associations formed part of an unbrella organisation, The Confederation of the Associations of the Greek

Georgian Communities. They all received Greek funding, mainly through the Greek Foreign Office. Due to the current economic crisis, many of these associations suspended their operation.

  • 6. Furthermore, the Council of Hellenes Abroad had fund-raising programmes for the renovation of the churches in Tsalka (see Wheatley 2010).
  • 7. Tsalka has a very good representation on the YouTube.
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