KINTRISHI AND MTIRALA PROTECTED TERRITORIES are located on the territory of Ajara, 320-340 km from Tbilisi, on the Western slopes of Ajara-Imereti mountain range, in the gorge of river Kintrishi and in the vicinity of the town of Kobuleti. It includes two parts – Kintrishi sanctuary and Mtirala national park. Kintrishi sanctuary was founded in 1959 and Mtirala national park - nearly half a century later, in 2006. Protected territories stretch on the slopes lying perpendicular to the wind masses blown from Black sea. Here, in the vicinity of Mtirala mountain, precipitation exceeds 4 thousand mm that is the highest parameter not only in the Caucasus but also in Europe. Proximity of Black sea and big volume of precipitation determine formation of moist subtropical climate and forceful Kolkheti forests.
Mountain relief of protected territories includes several hypsometric stages and has an outstanding relative height that determines vertical belt and, accordingly, natural variety. Protected territories are known for unheard of diversity of Kolkheti vegetation. By occupied space in forests predominant are beech, chestnut and hornbeam groves. From the relicts it is worth mentioning pontine oak (Quercus pontica), birch tree (Betula medwedewii), rhododendron (Rhododendron ungernii), yew, ruscus (Ruscus ponticus), Caucasian persimmon (Diospyros lotus), sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa), et al. In the forests powerful under-bushes are dispersed where several species of liana, Kolkheti misletow, holly and cherry laurel dominate.
The fauna of perotected territories is rich with birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, et al. From predators there are such species as bear, wolf, lynx, fox, small eagle, hawk, falcon, horned owl, scops-owl, owl, et al. Protected territories are located near Georgia’s biggest sea and spa tourism centers (Kvariati, Batumi, Chakvi, Kobuleti). Region is rich with historic and archeological monuments. Among them are ancient Gonio (Apsarunt) Fortress and ruins, many medieval churches, mosques and fortresses.
Copyright © 2017. N. Elizbarashvili, B. Kupatadze
Copyright © 2017. “Dani” Publishing