Mingrelia and Imeretia (valley of Rion) are the gardens of Caucasia, but the high valleys of Svanetia, farther north on the south slopes of the Caucasus mountains, are wild and difficult of access.
At that period the Georgians were divided into various petty principalities, the chief of which were Imeretia and Georgia (Kharthlia), owing at times a more or less shadowy allegiance to the sultan of the Ottoman Turks at Constantinople.
The same fate overtook Imeretia nine years later.
The government includes the districts of Guria, Mingrelia, Imeretia, Abkhasia and Svanetia, and consists of four distinct parts: (I) the lowlands, drained by the Rion, and continued N.W.
Arid upland plains and parched hillsides take the place of the rich verdure and luxuriant arborescent growth of Imeretia, Svanetia and Mingrelia, the districts which occupy the valleys of the Ingur and Rion and the tributaries of the latter.