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Map Source: Parliament of Georgia

Population: 494,300 (2002)

Size: 6,528 sq km

Main Town: Rustavi (pop: 142,000)

Average salary: GEL 131 (about $72) per month

Principal economic activities: Gold mining, wheat farming, animal husbandry, chemical fertilizer

Minorities: Located on the borders with both Armenia and Azerbaijan, Kvemo Kartli is an ethnic mixing pot. The Azerbaijani population makes up nearly half the population (45.1%), with Georgians accounting for 44.7%. Armenians make up 6.4% of the population. Small communities of Greeks, Russians and Ukrainians are also present.

Birth Rate: 3.56 per 1,000 (2003)

Death Rate: 3.42 per 1,000 (2003)

Nutshell History: Kvemo Kartli suffered from invaders throughout the ages. King David IV was able to free the region from foreign rule in the 12th-13th centuries, but Kvemo Kartli, with the rest of the country, was the target of Mongol invasions in the 13th century. The 17th century brought new attacks from Persian ruler Shah Abass; the region remained under Persian control until the 18th century when Teimuraz II and his son, Erekle II, ruled eastern Georgia. In 1783, Georgia signed the Treaty of Georgievsk, which placed the region under Russian protection.

Claim to Fame: During Soviet times, Kvemo Kartli was known for Rustavi and its sprawling industrial complexes, but today, its claim to fame is rooted much further in the past. A 5th century example of Georgian script, one of the oldest existing, is at Bolnisi’s Sioni Church. The region is also home to Dmanisi, the ancient site where archeologists have found the oldest known human remains outside of Africa.

Statistics Source: State Department for Statistics of Georgia

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