Batumi is the port city, the capital of Adjara and the main Black Sea resort of Georgia. Travelers come here for the good pebble beaches, warm and clear sea, and luxurious subtropical greenery. The people of Batumi are traditionally hospitable, and local restaurants are considered the best place to sample Georgian cuisine.
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Batumi is located on the Black Sea coast in the Kakhaber Lowlands. The city has one of the three largest bays in the Eastern Black Sea. It is open to the north and is 10 to 50 meters deep.
Batumi lies in a subtropical climate zone. The most rainfall along the coast is in November (312 mm). May is the driest month of the year (108 mm). Winters here are not cold, and the snow lies no more than 12 days a year. The summer months are hot and humid in the seaside city. In July and August, the air heats up to +28. +35 °С.
The main tourist attractions of Batumi are concentrated in its center. They occupy an area from Batumi Bay to the mouth of the Chorokh River, flowing into the Black Sea. Most tourists come to the Old Batumi district, where the narrow streets paved with cobblestones and mansions from the 19th century have been preserved.
Next to Old Batumi stretches picturesque Batumi Boulevard, which is called the heart of the Adjara capital. There are always many tourists from Georgia and travelers from other countries. They come to the beautiful promenade to admire the sea, spend the evening in small restaurants and see the cafe, filmed in the famous Soviet film “Love and Doves”. Many people like to feed the tame pelicans and peacocks that live in a small lake.
People come to Batumi not only for recreation, but also for treatment. There are many sanatoriums and resorts built in the capital of Adjara and its surroundings, working all year round. The warm climate, curative sea air, mineral springs and black magnetic sand help everyone who has problems with respiratory organs, cardiovascular system, as well as suffering from nervous, skin and gynecological diseases.
History of Batumi
Batumi was first mentioned in the IV century BC in the writings of the Greek philosopher Aristotle as “Batus”, located on the shores of the Black Sea in Colchis. The city with a similar name was mentioned by the Roman writer Plinyus Senior and the Greek philosopher Flavius Arrian. In Greek, “Batus” means “deep”. And indeed, Batumi has one of the deepest and most comfortable bays of the Black Sea. The local population was actively trading with other countries.
Port of Batumi, Leo Lagorio, painting from 1881
In the Middle Ages the city was called Batomi. At first it was part of the united Georgian state, but then fell under the rule of the principality of Megrelia (Odishi) and the Gurieli dynasty. In the middle of the 16th century the Black Sea coast was seized by the Ottomans. They ruled the coastal lands for three centuries.
In 1878 the seaside city was liberated by the combined armies of Georgia and Russia. By treaty it became Russian and was named Batum. For the first nine years Batum had the status of a free port or “porto-franco”. Thanks to this, it grew and began to resemble a modern European city.
With the outbreak of World War I the situation in the Transcaucasus changed completely. The territory of Georgia was occupied by the Ottoman Empire, and the occupation of Batumi ended only with the end of hostilities. In 1919 the city came under British rule. The turbulent situation in Transcaucasia lasted until Soviet rule was established in the region.
Batumi in the 1970s Batumi in 1985
Today, Batumi has the status of the capital of Adjara, a multinational territory inhabited by Georgians, Armenians, Greeks, Russians, Ukrainians, Azerbaijanis and Jews. The city has 154.6 thousand people, and most of the local residents are Georgians (Adjarians).
Attractions of Batumi
The central part of the Old Batumi is the Europe Square, which used to be called the Argonauts’ Square. It is built up with beautiful buildings and looks especially picturesque in the evening. On Europe Square is one of the recognizable symbols of Batumi – the sculpture “Medea with the golden fleece”, which reaches 130 m in height.
In the center of the city is the oldest temple of Batumi – the Church of St. Nicholas (Parnavaz Mepe Street, 20). It was built on the initiative of the Greek community in the 60-70-ies of the XIX century. In the 1920s the church was closed and services were resumed only in 1946.
The beautiful Batumi Boulevard is considered to be the tourist center of the capital of Adjara. This is a landscaped promenade, which stretches for several kilometers along the coast. Near the seaside promenade there are small stores and cafes, and there are separate paths for cyclists. There are children’s rides, a tall Ferris wheel and fountains. Especially many people appear on the promenade in the early morning and after sunset, when the coast is not too hot.
There are many original sculptural compositions installed on Batumi Boulevard. One of the most memorable is the kinetic sculpture “Love,” made by the famous Georgian artist Tamara Kvesitadze. The figures of Ali and Nino are 8 meters high. They became a symbol of eternal love and understanding.
A narrow strip of beach separates the picturesque Argadan Lake from the sea. At nightfall, beautiful light and music fountains turn on in the middle of it. To admire the bright spectacle, many tourists come to the Arghadan Lake every evening. Rainbow water jets dynamically “dance” to the music. The fountains look great from all sides, but connoisseurs advise to watch the performance from the sea side. Then the blue contours of the Caucasus Mountains shine through behind the water jets. The show starts after 9 p.m. and continues until midnight.
In the “Park of Wonders” is one of the new architectural landmarks of Batumi – the Alphabet Tower. Metal construction looks like a model of a DNA molecule and was designed by Spanish architect Alberto Domingo Cabo. The openwork building, which depicts the letters of the Georgian alphabet, is visible from afar as the tower is 130 meters high. Inside, there is a TV studio, observatory and restaurant, and from the top of the tower there is a great view of the city streets, the coast and the mountains.
In the evening, many Batumi residents and tourists like to come to the picturesque Piazza. It is built in the Italian style and somewhat resembles St. Mark’s Square in Venice. In the high tower with a clock is a hotel. On the square are open restaurants and cafes. Here you can relax, have a good time with friends, enjoy the artistic paintings, unique stained glass and mosaics, as well as listening to the performance of musicians.
Batumi beaches are pebbly. The most popular and most equipped – Batumi Beach – has a length of 6 km and a width of 30 m. It is loved for its clean sea and good beach service. Parents with children choose this Batumi Beach because it has very gentle entrance to the sea, and the water is always warm near the shore. Near the main beach of Batumi, there are many cafes open. Tourists can use the changing cabins, showers, toilets, as well as rent deck chairs and sun umbrellas. There is a wide range of water amusements at Batumi Beach during tourist season: banana and trike rides, parachute flights behind the boat, rent of catamarans and jet skis.
In the southern suburbs of Batumi, on the border with Turkey stretches the beach Sarapi, which is considered the cleanest in Georgia. Its infrastructure is not inferior to Batumi Beach, but it is not as crowded as the city limits.
Near Batumi there are two more popular resorts – Ureki and Kvariati. Ureki is visited for its dark healing sand, and Kvariati has the only diving center in Georgia.
The beach near Batumi Botanical Garden – Green Cape is a cult place for beach lovers. It is 0.5 km long and covered with medium rounded pebbles. The beach starts at the Botanical Garden entrance, its northern end ends in a steep cliff, behind which is a small wild beach. There are a lot of tourists visiting Zelenyi Cape in summertime.
Dolphins are frequent guests in coastal waters, so many tourists manage to see sea animals right at the shore of Batumi. However, it is always difficult to see dolphins from afar, so vacationers like to visit the Batumi Dolphinarium. This entertainment institution is located on the territory of the Park “May 6”, at Rustaveli Street 51. It was opened in 1975 and was the first dolphinarium in the Soviet Union.
The performances with dolphins are held every day except Mondays, and last for 30 minutes. In summer they start at 2 pm, 5 pm and 9 pm, and in winter – at 5 pm. The dolphinarium amphitheater is divided into four sectors and can accommodate over 700 spectators. From the sun and bad weather the auditorium is protected by an elegant glass dome. It is convenient that the performances are commented in three languages – Georgian, English and Russian.
Next to the building of the dolphinarium, in the park there is a large lake. Near it there is a zoo, an aquarium and children’s attractions. At the entrance of the park you can see a huge tree, which was planted by Russian Emperor Alexander III during his visit to Batumi.
Museums of Batumi
Batumi museums are one of the local attractions. There are more than ten of them in the city. To learn more about the history, culture and traditions of Adjara, you should visit the Adjara Museum of Local Lore, which is located at I. Jincharadze Street, 4. There are ancient manuscripts and books, archaeological artifacts, as well as exhibits about the nature of Georgia and its inhabitants.
The bulk of the finds found on the territory of Adjara are housed in the Batumi Archaeological Museum. These are spears, tools, ancient jewelry and a rich collection of ceramics. The museum is located on I. Chavchavadze Street, 77.
Get acquainted with the works of Georgian artists at the State Art Museum of Adjara, on Gorgiladze Street, 8. Its halls exhibit paintings and graphics created by artists living in Georgia.
Batumi is a multi-confessional city, so it is not surprising that the Museum of Religion was created here. Its halls show more than 400 exhibits, telling the history of religious denominations of the capital of Adjara.
There is a place in Batumi, which presents the peculiarities of life and traditions of Adjarians. This is ethnographic museum “Borjgalo”. Here you can see more than 50 mannequins in national costumes, models of traditional houses and household utensils.
What is worth seeing around Batumi
There are a few reserves and national parks not far from the capital of Adjara. The mountain gorge of Kintrishi is 55 km from Batumi. The national park established here stretches on the northwest and western slopes of the Meskheti Ridge.
The river Kintrishi is home to trout, bull trout and carp. The mountain spurs are home to roe deer and chamois, and the dense forests are home to brown bears, wild boars, squirrels, badgers, martens and hares. In addition to natural attractions, the national park is adorned by ancient monasteries carved in the rocks, the ruins of medieval bridges and standing on the heights of the church.
12 km south of the seaside town, at the mouth of the Chorokh River, are the ruins of the Gonio-Apsaros fortress. It was erected during the Roman Empire and had been used for several centuries. According to legend, on the territory of the fortress is the tomb of the Apostle Matthew. Today you can see the ruins of the stone walls, the ruins of the hippodrome, barracks, baths and Roman theater. There is also a small museum in the fortress.
Botanical Garden of Batumi extends over an area of 113 hectares. This is one of the largest gardens on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus. It is located 8 km from the city, near the railway station “Green Cape”. Today the Botanical Garden of Batumi has more than 5000 species of plants, including about 2000 trees and bushes.
The botanical collection was founded by geographer and botanist Andrei Nikolaevich Krasnov in 1880 on a swampy seaside hill. Thanks to Krasnov, the wasteland by the sea was planted with beech, eucalyptus, chestnut, hornbeam, laurel and Pontic rhododendron. The Botanical Garden was officially opened in 1912.
Specialists who worked in the Botanical Garden, did a great job on the acclimatization of subtropical crops, which were valuable from the economic point of view. Since the beginning of the last century different sorts of tea, citrus fruits, bananas, persimmon, bamboo and camphor trees have been successfully grown near Batumi. The botanical garden is divided into several floristic zones, where one can see rich collections of plants from Australia, New Zealand, North and South America, East Asia, the Himalayan Mountains and the Mediterranean.
From Batumi to the Botanical Garden take bus № 31 and bus № 15. The entrance to the territory is paid. You can travel around the garden on foot and by electric car. In addition, there are excursions for tourists here.
Every resident of Georgia is proud of his national cuisine and has every right to be, because delicious Georgian dishes are known far beyond the borders of this country. The cuisine of Adjara is similar to the Georgian cuisine in many ways, but it has its own features. Batumi stands on the shore of the sea, so its restaurants serve many fish dishes, which are not so popular in other regions of Georgia. The city is oriented to the reception of tourists, so the bread here is often baked not from corn but from wheat flour.
When you come to Batumi, you should try the local khachapuri, which are famous as the best in Georgia. Local chefs bake fragrant flatbreads with cheese, fish and meat. They give them the shape of a boat, and the essential attribute of Adjarian khachapuri is the egg “sun.
All tourists like hearty dish – ojakhuri, the name of which is translated as “family” or “home. It is fried meat and potatoes with the addition of spicy Georgian herbs. Equally popular are Batumi hinkali, scrambled eggs chirbuli, corn tortillas mchadi, Georgian chicken chkmeruli, cold snack pkhali and shashlik mtsvadi.
Fish lovers should visit the small market, located at the entrance to Batumi. Here they sell freshly caught mullet, mullet, plaice and mussels. At the fish market you can always choose what you like, and skilled chefs immediately fry the gifts of the sea in the best traditions of Adjarian cuisine.
A special color gives the capital of Adjara “coffee on the sand” or “coffee in Batumi”. Local coffee houses know how to keep the sand at the right temperature, making the drink have a special taste and delicate aroma. And this coffee is served with baklava or puff pastry.
It is impossible to imagine a Georgian feast, or, as they call it here, “supra”, without good wine. In Batumi you should definitely try the rare wine “usakhelauri”, the pink “chhaveri” and the white “tsolikauri”.
Public transport in Batumi is represented by buses and route taxis. Buses stop at the equipped stops, and in order to slow down the minibus, you just need to wave to the driver. To climb from Batumi seafront to Mount Peria, 260 m above sea level, tourists use the cable car “Argo”.
Cabs in Batumi are divided into two types. A smaller part of the cars are owned by an official cab service. Most of the drivers engaged in transportation do it unofficially. The meters in cars are rare, so the fare must be negotiated in advance, even before the trip.
For those who like to travel by bicycle in the city created a network rental BatumVelo. Green two-wheelers are rented for an hour, a day and 10 days.
Tourists who travel to the Black Sea coast by personal car or rent a car should be aware that the traffic in Batumi is quite dense. There are often traffic jams in the city. Parking lots on the streets are many, and all of them are paid.
It’s no secret that most tourists, when they leave Batumi, try to take home tasty souvenirs – plaited Ajarian cheese, inexpensive Georgian tea, churchkhela, tkemali sauce, spices, local wines and chacha. Silver jewelry – rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets – known far beyond the borders of Georgia are in good demand. Smokers consider Georgian tobacco, which is quite rare in Russia, a pleasant souvenir. It is produced in several varieties, from light to very strong.
Of the traditional Georgian souvenirs in Batumi, tourists willingly buy mountain hats, wine horns and daggers. However, only copies of daggers are sold in stores, and the real ones must be sought in the markets. It is worth bearing in mind that the Georgian daggers are expensive, and to export them requires permits.
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How to get there
You can reach Batumi by plane, train, sea and by car. Batumi International Airport is located just 2 km southwest of the city. Twice a week it receives flights from Moscow. To fly to the capital of Adjara from other Russian cities, you have to change planes. You can fly to Tbilisi, and from there take a domestic flight, train or bus to Batumi. From Batumi airport to the center of the city take a cab or bus number 10. The trip takes only 15-20 minutes.
To arrive at the Black Sea coast by rail is convenient from Tbilisi. Trains from the Georgian capital to Batumi go twice a day, and the journey takes about 8 hours. The new Batumi Passenger railway station is located right in the center of the city, near the Tsaritza Tamara Highway.
From March to November, once a week from Sochi to Batumi, the ship “Comet” runs. Depending on weather conditions, the trip by sea takes from 6 to 10 hours. Please note that during peak tourist season “Kometa” runs twice a week.
It is possible to get to Batumi by private car. To do this you have to pass through Vladikavkaz and cross the Russian-Georgian border near the Upper Lars checkpoint. According to motorists, passing the border control usually does not take much time. However, there are days when the line of cars stretches for 4-8 hours.
There are intercity buses from some Russian cities to Batumi. Almost all of them go through Tbilisi, but there are some that go straight to the capital of Adjara. You can get to Batumi by bus from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, Orenburg and Volgograd.
Adjara is an autonomous region of Georgia, which is located in the southwestern part of the country. The center of the Ajara region is the city of Batumi. One part of Adjara is located near the Black Sea, the other part is covered by mountainous terrain. The population of the entire region is 480,209 according to 2020 data. The majority of the population are Georgians, followed by Russians, Ukrainians, and Greeks. Adjara is bordered on the south by Turkey. This is the reason for the division of the population into two main religions Christianity and Islam.
Archaeological excavations confirm that the territory of Adjara was inhabited in the Stone Age. The name Adjara has been around since the 7th Century, and as a territory of the Georgian feudal kingdom since the 11th Century. Church history believes that Christianity in Georgia came and spread from Adjara. Church writings say that the Apostle Andrew wandered in Adjara and spread the faith of Christ. It was he who erected the first Christian church on the territory of Georgia. In the 16th century Georgia was invaded by the Ottoman Empire, and along with other regions of Adjara. Islamic religion began to spread, the first who converted to the faith of the conquerors were the elite. The feudal lords at the time were Sanjak Bey Khimshiashvili, who were in fact representatives of the Sultan. Christianity in Adjara was preserved only by shepherds and farmers.
In 1828-1829, Adjara becomes a testing ground for the Russian-Turkish War. After that, most of the region comes under the patronage of the Russian Empire. After the Russian Empire collapsed in 1918, the Ottoman Empire reasserted its rights to the Adjarian lands. In October of the same year, the Ottoman Empire lost the First World War and was forced to sign the Truce of Mudros. This signature was tantamount to capitulation, which was used by the Georgians and returned their lands. In 1921 Georgia joined the Soviet Union and Adjara was declared an autonomous region. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Aslan Abashidze became the representative of the Adjarian autonomous republic. Over time, he was able to seize power and make the Adjara region an almost independent state. The central authorities in Tbilisi did not like it and in every way they tried to subdue the region of Adjara. The conflict between Abashidze and the central authorities reached its zenith with the arrival of the new government in Tbilisi. Open conflict turned into armed confrontation. At that time the Secretary of the Security Council of Russia, Igor Ivanov, was sent from Russia to negotiate. After that, Abashidze left Adjara and went to Moscow with his son. As a result, the central government completely subjugated the autonomous Adjarian republic.
Batumi, the capital of Adjara
The capital and center of the Adjarian republic is the port city of Batumi. Its cultural heritage, number of monuments, cuisine and most importantly the Black Sea resort made Batumi a real gem. Today’s Batumi breathes with modernity, especially when you see the city’s infrastructure. Ultra-modern hotels and hotels overlooking the sea continue to be built continuously. There are plenty of attractions for both children and adults in the city. In Batumi, you can enjoy day and night recreation at the same time. The convenient geographic location allows tourists to have a rest by the sea and at the same time there is an opportunity for a couple of hours to go up into the mountains.
Resorts of Adjara.
We can say that the entire western part of Georgia is a resort area, including Adjara region. The huge potential of Ajara as a resort area is based on the favourable subtropical climate, the presence of the sea and at the same time the mountains. Besides these there are also nature reserves, national parks, gorges, waterfalls, rivers and lakes in Adjara. Regardless of the preferences of travelers Adjara will make their holidays memorable.
Kobuleti is the second most popular seaside town in Georgia. It is located 25 kilometers from Batumi. In contrast to the capital of Adjara, the rest in Kobuleti is cheaper. The beach is almost the same as Batumi’s, its length is more than 10 kilometers. Along the length of the beach stretches a boulevard, where you can find parks, cafes, stores, etc.
Ureki is the most often chosen resort by families and is ideal for young children. The reason is that Ureki has the only sandy beach on the entire coast. The sand here is magnetic and has curative properties. Because of the presence of healing sand in the village Ureki was several health centers.
Chakvi is a little-known, but very comfortable seaside resort. The village is located 12 km from Batumi. It can be said that even in high season in Chakvi is not a large number of tourists. The prices for hotels here are among the most economical. From entertainment in the village is only an aqua-park, but the short distance to Batumi allows to go and enjoy all the charms of the city.
Makhinjauri is an increasingly popular seaside resort. A huge number of hotels in the resort allow you to choose accommodation for every taste. The beach is about 1 km long. Perfect for relaxing with the whole family. It is safe for children and those who can not swim, as the entrance to the sea is flat.
Attractions in Adjara
There are a lot of attractions in Adjara. In addition that there is a wonderful nature which is very beautiful, the sea, mountains, waterfalls and gorges. You can also learn more about local history and immerse yourself in the real spirit of the region.
Batumi is one of the main attractions of Ajara. The chic city sprawled by the waves of the Black Sea, continues to be built up to this day. A huge number of different attractions can be found in the city, these are: squares, playgrounds, amusement rides, boulevards, medieval buildings, art objects and much more.
Queen Tamara Bridge
Queen Tamara Bridge is a non-standard arched bridge in the village of Makhuntseti. Its uniqueness is due to the fact that there is no handrail on it, which can not create a feeling of suspicion when walking across it. The bridge is considered unique because of the fact that it was built of stone, which counts 900 years. Under the bridge there is a river to which you can get your feet wet, or even swim.
Mahuntseti Waterfall is a beautiful 30 meters high waterfall located in the village of Mahuntseti. It is very popular due to the ability to come very close to the waterfall. The refreshing Makhuntseti Waterfall provides you with beautiful pictures and positive emotions.
The Botanical Garden is one of the most recommendable places to visit in Batumi. Its beauty is due to its unique subtropical climate. We can boldly say that this is the most beautiful botanic garden in the country. Indescribable beauty opens up in the upper garden, where you can admire the sea from the cozy bamboo benches.
Fortress of Petra
Fortress of Petra is a former fortress city founded in the 6th century by a Byzantine emperor. Archaeological excavations have shown that life appeared here long before the fortress. Today, the fortress has preserved ruins with historical artifacts. Due to the fact that the fortress is located on a hill, there is a view of the Black Sea.
Mtirala National Park
Mtirala is a pristine and wild at the same time by nature. No matter what a traveler prefers, this place is truly wonderful. For hikers, there is a trail that captures the beauty of the area. There is also a more challenging trail designed for professional trekking. Regardless of the trail you choose, the local flora and fauna will surprise and delight your eyes.
Sameba Church is a convent located on a mountain near Batumi. Thanks to its location the city of Batumi with its seashore and sea is visible as if on the palm of your hand.
Another one of the countless waterfalls in Adjara, which stands out among others. The fact that the waterfall is located in a beautiful thicket, which is overgrown with moss. The combination of the nature of the ancient bridges and the beautiful waterfall makes you feel as if you have entered a wonderful fairy tale.
Tsitsinatela Amusement Park
Tsitsinatela is the largest amusement park in Adjara. It is located 40 kilometers from Batumi. The very name of the park translates as firefly, and in justification of its name at night the park glows with countless lights.
Mountain Adjara is the mountainous part of the Adjara region. It covers quite a big territory, which can not be seen in one day. However, there are some basic places and views that are worth seeing in a day tour. If you want to feel the spirit and colorfulness of mountain Adjara, you can find local hotels and hostels, which are happy to accommodate guests.
Adjarians is an ethnic group that lives on the territory of modern Adjara. It is believed that they descended from the more ancient nationalities living on the territory of Georgia. The term “Adjara” was formed in the Middle Ages and gradually began to exist as an independent region. Nowadays Adjarians undoubtedly have their own distinctive culture. Adjarians have their own polyphony, regional clothes, dances, cuisine, as well as their culture of hospitality and feasting.
Historically, the religion in Adjara has been dominated by the Muslim faith. This was due to 300 years of occupation by the Ottoman Empire, during which there was a violent Islamization of the Christian people. Christian population had been living on the territory of Adjara for a long time before the Ottomans invaded it. It is said that Christianity appeared in the I century, when two of the twelve apostles of Christ, Andrew and Matthew, visited the territory of Georgia. Today, most of the inhabitants of Adjara are Christians. A small part of the population that continues to practice the Muslim faith, mostly living in the mountains.
Cuisine of Adjara is similar to the rest of Georgia, except that in Georgia love to use spicy recipes, but in Adjara dishes are more neutral. Number one in the Adjarian cuisine is unquestionably Adjarian khachapuri, or as it is often called “boat”. Adjarian khachapuri is even recognized as intangible monument of cultural heritage. It is worth noting that the boat is much more popular with tourists than the locals themselves. This is rather due to the fact that at a table where there are many guests is uncomfortable to eat khachapuri of this kind. Adjara is also rich in production of dairy products and seafood. Ajara has also become very successful in wine production, namely in producing pink wine from Chkhaveri variety, which grows nowhere else but in Adjara.