About 45 minutes from the Georgian border with Armenia is Marneuli, a regional center mainly inhabited by ethnic Azeris with ethnic Armenians among those making up the remainder of the population. Located in the part of Georgia where most of the country's 280,000 ethnic Azeris live, traffic to and from Yerevan travels through Marneuli on a daily basis. And, despite the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh, there are also some villages such as Tsopi which are co-inhabited by ethnic Armenians and Azeris.
On 21 March 2011, Marneuli celebrated Novruz, the Zoroastrian New Year. Also celebrated in Turkey, Iran, and elsewhere, Novruz is an important date in the Azerbaijani calendar and in Georgia is now recognized as a national holiday.