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Batumi is the second largest city of Georgia, located on the coast of the Black Sea in the country's southwest. Situated in a subtropical zone near the foot of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, Batumi is a popular tourist destination known for its varying weather–it is a bustlingseaside resort during warm seasons, but can get entirely covered in snow during winter. Much of Batumi's economy revolves around tourism and gambling, but the city is also an important sea port and includes industries like shipbuilding, food processing, and light manufacturing. Since 2010, Batumi has been transformed by the construction of modern high-rise buildings, as well as the restoration of classical 19th century edifices lining its historic Old Town.
|FOUNDED :||Founded - 8th century|
City status - 1866
|TIME ZONE :||Georgian Time (UTC+4)|
|AREA :||64.9 km2 (25.1 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||3 m (10 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||41°38′45″N 41°38′30″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 47,1%|
• Female: 52,9%
|AREA CODE :|
|POSTAL CODE :||6000-6010|
|DIALING CODE :||(+995) 422|
|WEBSITE :||Official website|
Batumi is the capital city of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara in the country of Georgia. Its coastal location and sub-tropical climate make it a popular city for vacationers across the Caucasus. It's the party capital of the region with a night life to match which increasingly includes big name international DJs on the beach-front clubs. Expect to party on the beaches with Russians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Iranians, Turks, Dutch, and, of course, Georgians.
Batumi is located on the site of the ancient Greek colony in Colchis called Bathus or Bathys – derived from the Greek phrase βαθύς λιμεν bathus limen or βαθύς λιμήν bathys limin meaning "deep harbor". Under Hadrian (r. 117–138 AD), it was converted into a fortified Roman port and later deserted for the fortress of Petrafounded in the time of Justinian I (r. 527–565). Garrisoned by the Roman-Byzantine forces, it was formally a possession of the kingdom of Lazica until being occupied briefly by the Arabs, who did not hold it; in the 9th century it formed part of the Bagratid monarchy of Tao-Klarjeti and at the close of the 10th century of the unified kingdom of Georgia which succeeded it.
From 1010, it was governed by the eristavi (viceroy) of the king of Georgia. In the late 15th century, after the disintegration of the Georgian kingdom, Batumi passed to the princes (mtavari) of Guria, a western Georgian principality under the sovereignty of the kings of Imereti.
A curious incident occurred in 1444 when a Burgundian flotilla, after a failedcrusade against the Ottoman Empire, penetrated the Black Sea and engaged in piracy along its eastern coastline until the Burgundians under the knight Geoffroy de Thoisy were ambushed while landing to raid Vaty, as Europeans then knew Batumi. De Thoisy was taken captive and released through the mediation of the emperor John IV of Trebizond.
In the 15th century in the reign of the prince Kakhaber Gurieli, the Ottoman Turks conquered the town and its district but did not hold them. They returned to it in force a century later and inflicted a decisive defeat on the Georgian armies at Sokhoista. Batumi was recaptured by the Georgians several times, first in 1564 by prince Rostom Gurieli, who lost it soon afterwards, and again in 1609 by Mamia Gurieli. In 1723, Batumi again became part of the Ottoman Empire. With the Turkish conquest, the Islamisation of the hitherto Christian region began but terminated and to a great degree reversed, after the area was re-annexed to Russian Imperial Georgia after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78.
Imperial Russian rule
It was the last Black Sea port annexed by Russia during the Russian conquest of that area of the Caucasus. In 1878, Batumi was annexed by the Russian Empire in accordance with the Treaty of San Stefano between Russia and the Ottoman Empire (ratified on March 23) . Occupied by the Russians on August 28, 1878, the town was declared a free portuntil 1886. It functioned as the center of a special military district until being incorporated in the Government of Kutaision June 12, 1883. Finally, on June 1, 1903, with the Okrug of Artvin, it was established as the region (oblast) of Batumi and placed under the direct control of the General Government of Georgia.
The expansion of Batumi began in 1883 with the construction of the Batumi-Tiflis-Baku railway (completed in 1900) and the finishing of the Baku-Batumi pipeline. Henceforth, Batumi became the chief Russian oil port in the Black Sea. The town expanded to an extraordinary extent and the population increased rapidly: from 8,671 inhabitants in 1882 to 12,000 in 1889. By 1902 the population had reached 16,000, with 1,000 working in the refinery for Baron Rothschild's Caspian and Black Sea oil company.
In the late 1880s and after, more than 7400 Doukhobor emigrants sailed for Canada from Batumi, after the government agreed to let them emigrate. Quakers and Tolstoyans aided in collecting funds for the relocation of the religious minority, which had come into conflict with the Imperial government over its refusal to serve in the military and other positions. Canada settled them in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
War, communism, and late 20th-century independence
During 1901, sixteen years prior to the October Revolution, Joseph Stalin, the future leader of the Soviet Union, lived in the city organizing strikes. On March 3, 1918, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk gave the city back to the Ottoman Empire; unrest during the closing weeks of World War I led to the re-entry of Turkish forces in April 1918, followed in December by British forces, who stayed until July 1920. Kemal Atatürk ceded the area to the Bolsheviks of the Soviet Union on the condition that it be granted autonomy, for the sake of the Muslims among Batumi's mixed population.
When the USSR collapsed in 1989, Aslan Abashidze was appointed head of Adjara's governing council and subsequently held onto power throughout the unrest of the 1990s. Whilst other regions, such as Abkhazia, attempted to break away from the Georgian state, Adjara remained as an integral part of the Republic's territory. Abashidze exploited the central government's weaknesses and ruled the area as a personal fiefdom. In May 2004, he fled to Russia because of mass protests in Tbilisi sparked by the Rose Revolution.
Batumi today is one of the main port cities of Georgia. It has the capacity for 80,000-tonne tankers to take materials such as oil that are shipped through Georgia from Central Asia. Additionally, the city exports regional agricultural products. Since 1995 the freight conversion of the port has constantly risen, with an approximate 8 million tonnes in 2001. The annual revenue from the port is estimated at between $200 million and $300 million.
Since the change of power in Adjara, Batumi has attracted international investors, and the prices of real estate in the city have trebled since 2001. In July 2007, the seat of the Constitutional Court of Georgia was moved from Tbilisi to Batumi to stimulate regional development. Several new hotels opened after 2009, first the Sheraton in 2010 and the Radisson Blu in 2011. The Trump Tower and the Kempinski was scheduled to open in 2013
Batumi was host to the Russian 12th Military Base. Following the Rose Revolution, the central government pushed for the removal of these forces and reached agreement in 2005 with Moscow. According to the agreement, the process of withdrawal was planned to be completed in 2008, but the Russians completed the transfer of the Batumi base to Georgia on November 13, 2007, ahead of schedule.
In 2013, TAM GEO LLC announced it was investing $70 million to start construction of the 170- meter, 45-storey mix-use complex Babillon Tower, which will be tallest residential building in Georgia.
Batumi and its vicinity is one of the important tourism and resort zones on the Georgian Black Sea littoral. The climate is humid subtropical. The low annual range of temperature, with a mild winter and warm summer is a characteristic of the city and of the Georgian coast as well. The average annual temperature is 14.5C. The average temperature in January, the coldest month, is 7.1C and in August, the warmest month, 23.2 C. The annual precipitation is 2560 mm. Showers are frequent. It rarely snows but when it does, the snow melts easily. The average annual temperature of the sea is 16.7 C at the shore.
Climate data for Batumi
|Record high °C (°F)||25|
|Average high °C (°F)||10|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||7|
|Average low °C (°F)||4|
|Record low °C (°F)||−5|
|Source #1: weatherbase.com|
- Old Batumi (ძველი ბათუმის უბანი)
- Rustaveli (რუსთაველის უბანი)
- Khimshiashvili (ხიმშიაშვილის უბანი)
- Bagrationi (ბაგრატიონის უბანი)
- Aghmashenebeli (აღმაშენებლის უბანი)
- Javakhishvili (ჯავახიშვილის უბანი)
- Tamar (თამარის უბანი)
- Boni-Gorodok (ბონი-გოროდოკის უბანი)
- Airport (აეროპორტის უბანი)
- Gonio-Kvariati (გონიო-კვარიათის უბანი)
- Kakhaberi (კახაბრის უბანი)
- Batumi Industrial (ბათუმის სამრეწველო უბანი)
- Green Cape (მწვანე კონცხის უბანი)
Prices in Batumi
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.72|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€2.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€14.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€25.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€2.65|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€0.60|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.50|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.08|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€0.15|
Transportation - Get In
Batumi International Airport (IATA: BUS) is located 2 km south of the city.
The following airlines operate service to/from Batumi International Airport:
- Aerosvit (Kiev-Boryspil)
- Belavia (Minsk)
- Georgian Airways (Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kiev-Boryspil, Moscow-Domodedovo,Odessa, Tbilisi)
- Turkish Airlines (Istanbul-Atatürk)
Georgian Railways operates trains between Batumi and Tbilisi. Night train leaves Tbilisi at 22:55 and arrives in Batumi's Makhinjauri Station at 7:05 the next morning. Day train #30 leaves Tbilisi at 8:50 and arrives in Batumi at 4PM. First class costs 40 GEL, second class costs 23 GEL, seats cost 13 GEL. In first class, there are two people per cabin, the berths are a little short, narrow and hard but rather comfortable, and linen is provided. Night train #621 returns from Batumi's Makhinjauri Station to Tbilisi at 22:10, arriving around 7am (as of 2014). Since the schedule changes quite often, you can check before hand on the Georgian Railways Web site - you shouldn't trust the English version, though: if they do update the website, they will probably update only the version in Georgian.
Makhinjauri Station is 5 km north of Batumi, and taxis and buses await incoming passengers. A taxi from Batumi's city center costs 3 to 5 GEL.
Train tickets can be bought at the station or from an office in the old town at 5 General Mazniashvili St (between Melashvili and Abashidze). This office is very plain and nondescript with no signs in English. The door and window frames are green and some metal chairs are visible inside. Hours are 09:00 to 18:00.
Reserve your seats in advance on the weekends, as many Georgians flock to the seaside.
Buses and minibuses (marshrutkas) operate regularly between Batumi and Tbilisi. Travel time is 6 hours and the minibuses are more comfortable than the local marshrutkas in the city. The fare is 18 GEL. The scenery along the way is breathtaking.
Daily buses also operate between Batumi and Trabzon, Turkey, with stops in Rize and the border crossing at Sarpi. Make sure you meet all visa requirements before crossing the border into Georgia.
There are two Marshrutka stations. One has long distance minibuses to Kutaisi,Tbilisi, Poti, etc. This station is close to the northern end of the promenade, just go east across the railway tracks. There is one marshrutka to Borjomi (10.00 AM, 17 GEL, 4.5 hours). The other, on Tbilisi Square, has marshutkas to Sarpi (2 GEL, 20 minutes).
Ferries run from Sochi, Russia and from Ilyichevsk, near Odessa, Ukraine ($145, 42 hours, irregular service). More boats are operated from Poti (5 GEL with marshrutka and take one hour). It's a kind of Freighter travel. Probably best to call first to make inquiries, to avoid coming back from Poti empty-handed. The booking office is on Kutaisi 34, but the staff only speaks Russian and is not very helpful.
A boat operates between Sochi, Russia to Batumi, Georgia. It is a high speed hydrofoil which operates three times a week, Wednesdays at 10:30AM, Fridays at 9:30AM, Sundays at 10:30AM In 2010, the cost is 3500 rubles for adults, 1750 rubles for children. The number is +7-8622-609-622 or +7-918-409-12-96. Sochi port schedule
Transportation - Get Around
An automatic bike sharing scheme, called BatumVelo is available to rent bicycles and ride along the beaches.
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Note that as per usual in Georgia, prices are almost always slightly higher in the supermarkets than in the small family-run shops. This is counter to what most westerners will be used to. The difference is about 5% to 10%.
- Goodwill Supermarket, Chavchavadze Avenue. Many goods not available in smaller shops. Many of the products come from Germany.
Western Georgia has plenty of local flavors, but in Batumi the dish you must try is a special kind of khachapuri named acharuli khachapuri (Ajarian khachapuri) that resembles a Viking boat, with the cheese all mixed up with an egg in the center. Avoid this one if you have high cholesterol, but you'll be missing out — it's absolutely delicious.
- Adjara, Kutaisi street 11 (close to HB restaurant - a german style place (it's the only blue building in this area). A wide variety of different kinds of local and international food (khachapuris, pkhalis, pakhlava etc ..). If you crave for something sweet then their brownie is something for you. They have free WiFi and a friendly English-speaking staff.
- Boulangerie (ბულანჟერი), M. Abashidze Street 11 (near the corner of Mazniashvili Street). A French-style bakery/cafe which looks quite posh but has much lower prices than similar places in Tbilisi. A very nice cappuccino or latte is 3 GEL. There are many cakes, croissants, etc.
- Cafe La Vita Batumi (on Rustaveli Avenue, across the park from the Theater.).
- Cafe Literaturuli, K. Gamsakhurdia St 18 (near Europe Square (formerly Era Square)). This upscale bookstore-cafe has a number of branches in Tbilisi (in Kala, Vake, Vera, and Saburtalo), but the Batumi location is all the more attractive given the relative dearth of good and service-oriented restaurants in Batumi. Coffees, cakes, and basic Georgian sandwiches (plus khachapuri and lobiani) all available, although the menu seems more like a guideline to what might be available on any given day rather than a list of what's actually in the kitchen.
- Press Cafe, 1 Akhmed Melashvili Street, Batumi (on the coastal road right next to the Ukrainian restaurant), . Mon - Sun: 10:00-01:00.It has fast Wifi (for Batumi) and cheap food and drinks, but beware at some point you will be kicked out suddenly for a school group!
- Privet iz Batumi, 39 Abashidze (near Europe Square (formerly Era Square)).This charming "colonial Russia" theme cafe is a Batumi institution, with Georgians as well as foreigners peopling its picturesque outdoor tables. The menu is short on hot dishes, but the many kinds of blinis are delicious.
- San Remo Restaurant (on the seaside, at the south end of the Batumi Boulevard walking path). Elegant, with good Georgian and international food.
- Munich (მიუნჰენი), Kutaisi/Kostava str.8/5, 6000, 0422 227284. 10:00-2:00. Restaurant with German traditional cuisine. Pizza, Seafood and Vegan dishes are also served. Paying: Visa, American Express, Mastercard and Cash. Restaurant has open-air seats also. A bit overpriced. $15 for one course meal per person.
Sights & Landmarks
- Black Sea. enjoy the waves and admire the beach and the port itself, as well as the Ottoman-era clock tower
- Dolphinarium. Tu-Su shows start at 16:00, 19:00, 21:00. 15-20 GEL.
- Batumi Botanical Garden, (Take minibus 31 across the cablecar station in the direction to the coast on the north. It costs 60cents and finishes at the parking of the botanical garden.). 8AM to 9PM. Georgia has a remarkable tradition of (royal) botanical gardens. It is a quiet spot, next to the Black Sea on a high cliff and it both green and cool. Plan on a visit here to take a half day to nearly a full day as it is very large. 8 GEL.
- Medea statue, (in the center of the city). Statue of Medea and the Golden Fleece in the center of the city, near the Iranian/Azerbaijani joint consulate.
Places of Worship
- Orthodox, Catholic and Armenian churches.
- Old Mosque.
- Remains of Gonio Fortress, village Tsikhisdziti (Catch a bus from Tbilisi Square to Sarpi (1 GEL) and tell the driver you want to get out at Gonio.), . Tu-Su 10:00 – 17:00. Located at the sea shore the ruins host stunning views and interesting architecture. 3 GEL.
- Castle of Petra, village Tsikhisdziti, . Early medieval complex.
Museums & Galleries
- Archaeological Museum, 77, Ilia Chavchavadze str., . , Tu-Su 10:00 – 18:00. Georgian and foreign coins, bronze vessels, glassware, ceramic, etc 2 GEL.
- State Museum of Art, 8, Gorgiladze str. Tu-Su 10:00 – 18:00. Paintings of famous Georgian and foreign artists, sculptures and some samples of decorative art. 1 GEL.
- The Nobel Brothers Batumi Technological Museum, 3, Leselidze str, . Tu-Su 10:00 – 18:00. Exhibits inventions introduced to Batumi at the end of 19th - beginning of 20th centuries by Nobel Brothers, Rotschilds and Mantashev. 2 GEL.
- Khariton Akhvlediani Museum. Tu-Su 10:00 – 17:00. Houses archaeological materials of XII-IX c.c. B.C 1 GEL.
Things to do
Walk along the 'Bulvar' and watch the beach. During daytime families and youngsters play, during nighttime it is the favourite place for couples and party-goers. There are a number of restaurants and bars both on the beach and a little inland. The area is generally safe, but watch out for pick-pocketing.
- Panoramic Wheel (At the end of the seaside Blv and beginning of the port.).Attraction total time : 7min 3 GEL.
- Cable car. 09:00 - 02:00. Goes directly to the small (about 250m height) nearby hill with a nice restaurant on top of it. Stunning views, especially at night.5GEL.
- Aqua Park, 12, Khimshiashvili St. (3 km from the city centre), .
- Olympic Swimming Pool, Batumi Plaza Hotel, 50 Chavchavadze str. Mo-Fr 07:00-23:00, Sa,Su 09:00-21:00.
- Boat tour (in front of Panoramic Wheel). Lots of boats offering boat tours. Yacht can also be chartered. from 15 GEL
- 6 May Park. Nice park with Nurigeli Lake in the middle of it. There is also a zoo corner in the northern part of it, but some animals (monkeys in particular) are kept in quite a tiny cages, so animal lovers might not enjoy it.
Festivals and events
- Eredeli's Bar (ერედელის ბარი), N. Baratashvili St. 1 (Down the stairs to a door with no sign and no name on the diagonal street just next to Europe Square (formerly Era Square) where the monument to Medea and the Golden Fleece is.).A very cool bar that attracts the cool locals and expat English teachers. There are no signs and you might have to ring the doorbell on nights with live music, but it's not a private club. Very nice and friendly staff and they have the best cha cha I've tasted. The Caesar salad is also excellent. It's also a gallery and it has WIFI.
- Metro Bar, Melashvili st. 11, . A nice but small bar that often has live music and attracts the cool locals as well as expat English teachers.
- Vinyl Bar, Dumbadze str. (on Europe Square (formerly Era Square), near the Iranian and Azerbaijani consulates), . Small, Cozy Place to hang out for Beer, Pizza and Live Music. Great Staff, Great Service. A sweet bar ran by sweet people.
Things to know
While the official, and majority language is Georgian, English, Russian, and Turkish, are also commonly spoken. Russian is spoken by most older Georgians, while English is spoken by many (though hardly most) younger ones. In addition, because of the large number of Turkish tourists, it's not uncommon for locals to speak Turkish, or at least simple Turkish phrases.