Mingrelians - Settlements



Despite rapid urbanization, the majority of Mingrelians live in rural settlements. High population density in the lowlands has not significantly altered the pattern of Mingrelian villages. Houses, each with its own fenced yard and outbuildings, are situated some distance from one another. Villages may extend for several kilometers. Formerly, settlements adopted the name of the dominant kin group. Today, villagers with a common lineage may still be located in one area of the village. Housing has vastly improved from the variety of primitive wooden or mud huts of previous centuries, such as the amkhara, jargvala, and godora. The majority of rural Mingrelians today live in two-story wooden or preferably brick houses with bedrooms on the second floor and communal rooms (kitchen, storeroom) on the first. The five towns in Mingrelia—the largest being Zugdidi, Poti, and Senak'i—contain a mixture of independent dwellings and state or (increasingly) cooperative apartment complexes. The latter are typically two-bedroomed and in buildings no more than five or six stories high. Private housing construction is now permitted in towns.

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