15 Sights of Borjomi worth seeing
Borjomi is a balneological and climatic resort in the southwestern part of Georgia, an incredibly beautiful, cozy and shy town, “lost” among the mountain cliffs and lush greenery.
The name is known to all residents of the former Soviet Union due to the mineral water of the same name. But not only the thermal springs attract thousands of tourists, there is something to see in Borjomi for the lovers of history and antiquities, for the lovers of architectural monuments and magnificent natural landscapes.
The sights of Borjomi are unique and wonderful, many shrouded in mysteries and beautiful legends.
The spacious old park is spread in the center of Borjomi. For some time the green area was abandoned and untended, but it was cleaned and restored in 2005.
The central avenue runs along the local river Borjomula, where you can go down to the water itself. Almost a kilometer stretch is buried in greenery, and benches and gazebos are placed along the entire length of the alley.
On the territory of the park there are all kinds of attractions and playgrounds for kids. In the depths, among the trees, a small, picturesque waterfall murmurs, next to it is a sculpture of the ancient Greek god Prometheus.
The pearl of the park is a source of mineral water. All alleys and paths lead to a blue tent under a transparent dome, hiding a healing spring. Water in the spring is the same as bottled, only slightly warmer and with a more pronounced hydrogen sulfide odor. You can either treat yourself to some water in the pavilion or take it with you in a container.
Address: Central Park of Borjomi, 9, Borjomi, Georgia.
At the entrance to the Central Park is equipped cableway. The funicular is old, built more than half a century ago, but still in good working order and perfectly performs its “duties”. Remarkably, the shape and decor of the cabins of the elevator refer to the label of the legendary mineral water “Borjomi.
The upper station of the cable car is located in the mountains at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level. From here one can get astonishing views of the city and the mountain ranges far below. You can “add altitude” by taking a ride on the Ferris wheel installed on the plateau.
Since 2008 at the top station of the aerial bridge operates a small, cozy church of Seraphim of Sarov. Parishioners are always eager to come here, and the temple is especially crowded during the days of memory of the reverend saint.
Address: Borjomi cableway, Borjomi, Georgia.
The Green Monastery is the oldest holy cloister, a functioning monastery near Borjomi. The monastery complex owes its name to the surrounding evergreen forest. According to scientists, the monastery began to be built at the turn of the 9th-10th centuries in the glory of the heavenly patron saint of Georgia – George the Victorious.
Not all the buildings of the complex have survived to this day, and the “deceived by time” are like silent witnesses to the long and tragic history of the monastery. Legend has it that in the dark times of the invasion of Transcaucasia by Turkish troops, the monks and inhabitants of the monastery were murdered by the Ottomans. Soon the boulders of the mountain river were stained bloody in memory of the innocently murdered souls.
On the territory of the monastery there are seven springs with holy water. It is believed that to maintain health you need to drink a sip from each spring. Pilgrims from all over the world come to the monastery for physical healing and spiritual goodness.
Address: Green Monastery in Borjomi, Chitakevi, Georgia.
Firuza is the calling card of Borjomi, a luxurious old mansion located next to the Central Park. This wonderful building was erected at the end of the 19th century for the Persian Consul Mirza-Riza-Khan, and the mansion is often called after him. Firuza in Georgian means turquoise, “color” epithet received by the palace thanks to the turquoise stones, which were used to decorate the balcony.
The symbiosis of strong stone walls and light wooden facing is surprising. Predominance of light blue shades, intricate patterns and openwork decoration endows the building with unusual lightness, as if raising it above the ground.
During the Soviet period, the building housed a hotel, a museum and a sanatorium. Now the palace is recognized as a historical and architectural monument and is protected by the state. Original architecture and exquisite luxury attract a lot of tourists to the mansion.
Address: Firuze, Borjomi, Georgia.
Museum of Regional History
Museum of Local Lore.
Borjomi Local History Museum is the oldest museum complex in Georgia, which opened its doors to visitors at the beginning of the last century. The museum occupies an ancient three-storyed mansion of the former imperial chancellery.
The expositions on the first floor tell about the history of the region and unique archaeological finds. On the second floor the halls are devoted to the Romanov Dynasty. Here you can see the personal belongings of the emperor, the china and crystal from the tsar’s house.
On the third floor there is an exhibition of typical representatives of local flora and fauna. There are also pictures and documents related to the local mineral springs. The pride of the museum is a model of Borjomi, which is more than a hundred years old.
Address: Ethnographic Museum, Tsminda Nino Street, Borjomi, Georgia.
The thermal pools.
The famous thermal springs are the calling card of Borjomi. Near the town on the edge of the forest there are three pools with healing sulfuric water pouring from wide taps. Because of the concentration of useful substances and minerals, the water is turbid, with a characteristic pungent smell.
All three pools are open-air, lined with stone, but vary in shape, size, depth, and water temperature. The largest and deepest, rectangular in shape and relatively cool (26 °) water is designed for adult swimmers.
In the square, compact and shallow with pleasure splashing babies. The pool has a rounded shape with comfortable underwater steps and is filled with the warmest water (30 degrees). It is not recommended to go for a swim in it, it’s more comfortable to just lie quietly.
It is believed that for the greatest curative effect it is necessary to get into each pool in turn, starting with a cool and ending with a warm one. Thanks to the unchanging temperature of the water, you can swim in both summer and winter.
Address: Borjomi Sulfur Pools, Baratashvili Street, Borjomi, Georgia.
9th of April Street
9th of April Street, known as the 9th of April Street.
April 9th Street is one of the tourist attractions of Borjomi, the main pedestrian street of the city and, at the same time, the embankment of the Borjomula River. The end points of the “local Arbat” are the Central Park of the city and the Park named after Merab Kostava. The street owes its name to the tragic events in Tbilisi, when on April 9, 1989 a peaceful rally was suppressed by military forces.
The architectural background of the street is variegated, here beautiful old mansions peacefully “neighbor” with no less beautiful new buildings, many restaurants and cafes, shopping stalls and souvenir shops, offering all sorts of things.
GPS coordinates: 41.839696422952365, 43.38563609546403.
Likani Palace is a delightful mansion in the village of Likani on the outskirts of Borjomi, built in the late 19th century as a summer residence for members of the imperial family. The palace was designed by the famous Leontius Benois, who created a real architectural masterpiece in the original Moorish style on the banks of the rumbling Kura River.
Thanks to the advanced engineering solutions, the rooms are always dry and cool regardless of the weather outside the window. And in order to provide the mansion with electricity, a small hydroelectric power plant was built nearby. It was the first construction of its kind in the Russian Empire.
After the revolution, the palace was given to the ruling party elite. One of the rooms is believed to have been Stalin’s own study.
Currently, the mansion is the summer residence of the President of Georgia, and you cannot visit it. But you can admire the amazing facade, and luxurious palace furniture can be seen in Tbilisi at the State Museum of Georgia.
Address: Palace of the Romanovs, Meskheti Street, Borjomi, Georgia.
The Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
National Park Borjomi-Kharagauli.
The Borjomi-Kharagauli Park is an amazingly beautiful and magnificent place, the largest national park in Europe. The entrance to the protected area is in Borjomi, and the reserve itself, which stretches for many dozens of kilometers, covers several regions of Georgia.
Cloudy peaks buried in verdure, serene and calm valleys, noisy rivers, serene smooth surface of lakes – the landscapes of the park are wonderful and unique. Diverse flora and fauna – about 300 species of animals and birds and over a thousand species of plants live and grow in the protected area.
Borjomi-Kharagauli has developed a dozen different in length and complexity trails for tourists. You can travel among the splendor of nature for a few days or make a short “march” of a few hours.
In addition to hiking, instructors offer hikes on bicycles, motorcycles and horses. Breathtaking panoramas open from the equipped viewing platforms of the park.
Address: Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, Kvabiskhevi, Georgia.
Suram Pass, which stretches from the Greater Caucasus to the Lesser Caucasus, is known for its low location, less than 1,000 meters above sea level. In addition to the amazing nature, “accompanying” the pass, the place is notable for its rich history.
In the middle of the century before last a railroad was laid through the pass, and steam trains have been running along it for more than half a century. In the 30s of last century, after the construction of power plants, an electric locomotive – the first in the Soviet Union – was put on the road. Parallel to the railroad laid a road.
Along the way through the pass one can often see the ruins of ancient castles and fortresses, and in small villages the mountaineers still live, tending farming and cattle breeding, just like in the old days.
Artists have greatly appreciated the beauty of these places, and the painting “Old Suram Pass” by landscape artist Alexander Kiselev is on display at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.
Address: Suram Pass, Georgia.
Narrow gauge railroad.
The narrow-gauge railroad is a marvelous man-made monument, a miracle of 19th-century engineering, a bizarre “collaboration” of an ancient means of transport and a modern attraction.
The road with a non-standard gauge of 900 mm and a length of about 40 km, connecting the Georgian cities of Borjomi and Bakuriani, was built more than a century ago by order of the imperial family. It is noteworthy that the Frenchman Gustave Eiffel, who had a hand in the creation of the famous Paris Tower, worked on the project along with other architects and engineers.
The four-car train moves leisurely along the winding railroad, and those who wish can peek into the driver’s cabin and study the locomotive’s equipment. They affectionately call the train “Cuckoo”, almost three-hour journey along the serpentine mountain path on the iron “feathery” will leave unforgettable impressions and wonderful pictures to remember.
Atskuri Fortress – the oldest citadel in the vicinity of Borjomi. The first documentary evidence of a strong fortress dates back to the 9th century, although according to scientists, people settled in these places during the Bronze Age. The fortress could not stand the time and was destroyed. In its place during 14-17 centuries a new fortress town was built, the remains of which can be seen now.
Once there was a temple in the fortress city, which housed the miraculous icon of the Mother of God of Atzkur. According to legend, it was brought to the church by the Apostle Andrew during his missionary work in pagan Georgia.
There is a curious legend associated with the icon. At the end of the 15th century the fortress was fraudulently seized by the Persians who destroyed all its inhabitants and threw the icon into a fire. But the fire did not harm the holy face and the icon remained unharmed. After the divine sign, many Persians immediately converted to Christianity. Fragments of the walls of Atskur’s temple with beautiful frescos have survived.
Address: Atskur Fortress, Khashuri-Akhaltsikhe-Vale, Georgia.
The Fortress of Petre
The Fortress of Petre.
The Petre Fortress is the most famous fortification near Borjomi. This mighty castle was built on a high rock in Borjomi gorge and it safely protected the road leading to it.
The scientists cannot determine the exact date of the construction of the outpost, but they unanimously believe that it is not less than 500 years. In the Middle Ages the castle belonged to the princely family Avalishvili, and to this day bears the name of a member of the family Petre.
“The bricks for the construction of the fortress were large pebbles, as the most accessible building material. During the existence of the outpost it was several times remodeled and completed.
To this day, the upper vault of the fortress wall, the watershed, and some fragments of internal buildings have partially remained intact. The lower tier, unfortunately, is completely destroyed and overgrown with bushes. The fortress is surrounded by a picturesque park and a serpentine path leads to the upper ruins.
Address: Petre Fortress, Borjomi, Georgia.
The Gogia Fortress.
The Gogia Fortress is an ancient monument of Borjomi, located in the northwestern part of the city. It is believed that the citadel was built before the 14th century, as original square-shaped fortress towers were not used later in Georgian architecture.
Also, like the fortress of Petre, Gogia belonged to the family Avalishvili, and is named after a member of the princely family.
Time has not spared the ancient defensive structure; only ruins remain of the once powerful and impregnable stone towers. At the same time Gogia, thanks to its location on a high hill, is an excellent viewing platform within the city. Climbing up the path to the remnants of the fortress, you can admire the magnificent views of Borjomi and the surrounding peaks.
Address: Gogia Castle, Kokinaki Street, Borjomi, Georgia.
The Sali Fortress
The fortress of Sali.
The fortress of Sali is an ancient fortification located within the city limits, two kilometers from the fortress of Gogia. Roughly, the citadel was built during feudalism, between the 10-14 centuries. Like all other fortresses around Borjomi, Saly was created to protect the gorge from enemy attacks.
A curious detail: all forts in the neighborhood of Borjomi are built in such a way, that two other forts are situated within sight of each other. Such “clever” arrangement of the bastions allowed to signal neighbors about the appearance of enemies in the gorge, and the residents had time to prepare to repel an attack. Signals were given by lit torches.
16 interesting sights of Borjomi
Borjomi has been known worldwide since Soviet times as a resort with healing mineral springs. It is a small Georgian town, but it has enough attractions to stay here for a couple of days, and if the weather is lucky, even for a week. In this article I will tell you where to visit, what you must see, and where to go.
What sights to see in Borjomi in a day
This is a very small and compact town, which you can get acquainted with in one day. If you are here just one day, we recommend you start with the Local History Museum, which is located right next to the bus station. Then walk along the Kura embankment and go to the Central Park, where you can drink mineral water, enjoy the silence and see the Prometheus monument and waterfalls.
Then it is worth walking along the gorge of the Borjomka River and, after an hour, you will definitely get to the sulfur baths. When you return back to the park, leave it, and right at the gate there is the lower station of the ropeway. At the upper station there are several cafes where you can have lunch. If time permits, visit the surroundings of Borjomi, which will pleasantly surprise you.
The sights within the city are quite possible to see in one day
Where to go in the city in winter
In summer it is especially pleasant to relax among the deciduous and coniferous forests, you can just look at them or take a walk. You can spend time in nature, in the neighborhood, you can diversify your leisure time in the numerous cafes and restaurants. Autumn is warm here, during the rainy season it is worth wandering through museums. In Borjomi real winter, all the trees are covered with snow and here is a real fairy tale. You can walk around the city, periodically go to warm up in the local cafes. Spring is a great time for walks and short excursions into the surrounding mountains.
Borjomi is a wonderful place with calming nature, hospitable and friendly locals. The healing springs of mineral water will give its guests a charge of energy and health for years to come. If you have time, we recommend driving to other cities in Georgia, such as Kutaisi and Tbilisi, which are very close, or continue to the Black Sea coast in Batumi and Kobuleti.
To the left of the Prometheus Monument are two artificially created waterfalls. Many tourists note that only one of them works in summer, and the rest of the year they both work. In principle, the waterfall is not particularly remarkable, but walking through the park, you can not pass by it.
Monument to Prometheus
In the Central Park of Borjomi is a monument of impressive size to the ancient Greek god Prometheus. This concrete sculpture with gilded elements was brought from Tbilisi. In 2007 the monument was unveiled, but the capital did not appreciate it and decided to just send it to Borjomi. In this park, the sculpture harmoniously blends in among the rocks and two waterfalls. It symbolizes the unity of three elements: earth, fire and water.
In Borjomi canyon the Atskuri fortress is situated. According to archeologists, there was a settlement here before, in 1700 B.C. people lived here. According to some documentary chronicles, the Apostle Andrew visited this place. Now there are only ruins of the fortress, which was founded in the XIV century. It is worth coming here just to see the half-ruined walls, still powerful and looking formidable. Above the valley there is an ancient tower, which you will definitely see. From the fortress you can enjoy a beautiful view of the surrounding area.
Mirza Riza Khan House
Near the entrance to the central park is the famous 19th century house of Mirza-Riza Khan. Locals call this building Firuza, as its facade is decorated with turquoise-colored stones. This house is very attractive with its fanciful carvings and architecture.
Church of Seraphim of Sarov
The church of Seraphim of Sarov was built on the place of the destroyed temple in 2008 thanks to the efforts of the bishop of Bacurian and Borjomi Seraphim. You can get here by cable car or by cab. This is a rather modest church which is definitely recommended to visit. It has managed to win everyone’s love, crowds of parishioners come here.
Gogia and Petre fortresses
In the neighborhood of Borjomi on both sides of Kura there are two famous fortresses: Petre and Gogia. These remnants of the most ancient building are situated on the rock of Borjomi cleft. The Petre fortress attracts attention with its architecture, it was built of large pebbles, which, unfortunately, are almost ruined. From the Gogia fortress only a part of the wall was left. One can get here from Borjomi on foot: to walk along the right bank of Kura River, sticking to the railroad in the direction of the fortress, and then turn left on a wide path and walk a little more. It is better to be guided by the Romanov Palace in Licania.
9th of April Street
This is the main street of Borjomi, where you can buy local souvenirs, Georgian churchella, homemade wine, chacha. Locals will definitely recommend buying pastila made of natural spruce resin, which strengthens enamel and helps in the fight against tooth decay, as well as jam from young spruce cones – an excellent remedy for upper respiratory diseases.
In the vicinity of Borjomi, in the village of Likania, is the most beautiful residence of the Romanov family and Prince Nikolai Mikhailovich. The palace was built in 1895 and nowadays it is interesting because of the unique tsar’s exhibits preserved there. Here you can see a billiard table of the Romanov family; a table presented by Napoleon to the royal family; a table which was personally assembled by Emperor Peter I of Russia. The palace also preserves Romanov’s personal study, which was later used by Stalin. Visitors also remain fascinated by the bedroom, the walls of which are painted with butterflies. This palace is sure to impress at least with its beautiful garden, in which you can take a stroll.
One of the oldest monasteries in Georgia is the Green Monastery. Not all the buildings have survived, but what we see now shows a long history. It was created in the IX century and during its existence has undergone considerable destruction, almost 5 centuries it was not active. The reconstruction started in 1978 and only in 2002 the monastic life began. There are also springs of mineral water.
This is one of the oldest museums in Georgia that has been functioning since 1926. It is located in the building of the former chancellery of the emperor, built in the XIX century. On the first floor you can see the exposition devoted to the Georgian history and archeology, on the second floor you can see the representatives of the local flora and fauna. Despite the fact that the museum is very small, it is worth coming here to see with your own eyes the crystal and porcelain of the Romanov family.
The Borjomi-Bakuriani Narrow-gauge Railway
This is the only narrow-gauge railroad in Georgia, which connects Borjomi with the ski resort Bakuriani. Surprisingly, it combines public transportation and attraction. The track width is 91.1 cm and the length is 38 km. The road was built in 1898-1901 to bring tourists to the mineral springs and now is 100% functional. This road is remarkable because it passes through a beautiful mountainous area with a difficult terrain. If you come to Borjomi you should definitely take a trip on a narrow gauge railway, it is an unforgettable experience.
The Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
It is one of the biggest national parks in Europe, it includes 6 administrative districts and covers 5,3 thousand km², i.e. 7,6% of the territory of Georgia. Its uniqueness is in the variety of ecological and geographical zones, historical monuments, landscapes, flora and fauna. There are over 60 species of animals, 8 of which are included in the Red Book. This park is home to about 30 species of reptiles and amphibians, 215 species of birds, 13 of which are close to extinction and are protected by the state. The park was opened relatively recently in 2001, but these places have been revered since the Middle Ages, when local feudal lords hunted on these lands.
After walking through the Central Park, take another 30 to 40 minutes along a stony river bed (about 3 km), and you will reach the sulfur spring. Here for free you can take a sulfur bath in a concrete pool in the open air. Especially impressive bathing here in the winter, when the snow is swirling overhead. Do not forget that these springs have quite a characteristic smell. If you do not plan to swim, we still recommend a walk along the gorge and just enjoy the silence of these places. You can also get here by quad bike, this is for the especially lazy ones.
This park has existed for a long time, but only in 2005 it was renovated. It stretches along the river gorge about a kilometer, it has a main avenue, children’s entertainment and rides. This is a great place to take a walk and breathe the cleanest air of the foothills. Besides anyone can drink Borjomi mineral water absolutely free here. Keys come out in different places in the town, but it is in the Central Park there is a pavilion with a glass dome and taps, where you can take the water. The only thing to keep in mind is that the containers are not free, so bring a plastic bottle. Also remember that there is also a fee to stay in this park.
Borjomi Mineral Water
This amazing little town was the place where statesmen were treated, including the imperial Romanov family. According to ancient legends and stories of local residents, there were mineral springs in Borjomi a long time ago. In 1816 Kherson regiment of grenadiers passed through that area and discovered the water there. In 1834 the doctor S. Amirov became interested in this spring. Amirov, a few years later the fame of the local springs spread throughout the Russian Empire. In 1850 mineral water filling for export was started, and since 1862 the building of the health resort started. In 1890 the first bottling factory was started, and 6 years later glass containers for Borjomi water were produced. At present the producer of water is “Georgian Glass Mineral Water Co”, and the bottle of mineral water “Borjomi” can be bought in more than 30 countries.
In the city park is located the lower station of the ropeway, and the upper station near the Ferris wheel. The ropeway was built in the middle of the last century, so all the cabins already need restoration. Why is it worth a ride on this elevator? Before you open up great views, just for 5 minutes you can climb to a height of 1000 km above sea level. At the top station is a Ferris wheel and viewing platform, from which you can see buried in the greenery of Borjomi. It is better to go down on foot along the road among the coniferous forest.