Batumi is the city which easily makes visitors fall in love with it.
This small, white city containing mostly 2-3-storeyed buildings, possesses a certain unique charm. The part of the city called “Old Batumi” is nearly 150 years old. Here you can see a coffee-device workshops. Coffee ritual generally takes an important place in Batumi lifestyle. There are a lot of open cafes here where city dwellers gather according to the ages and interest and have aromatic hot black coffee prepared on the heated sand.
The buildings in “Old Batumi” are of exceptional beauty. A lot of buildings are decorated with chimeras, lions, nameless mythical creatures, and the pride of Batumians-a boy with the reed-pipe. The beautiful white building near the seaside park is shouldered by the Titans. They have been holding their “heavy” burden uncomplainingly for over a century already. The Post Office building is one of the most fascinating buildings in Batumi. It is built at the beginning of XX century and is located at the juncture of the two central streets-Baratashvili and Abashidze streets. The clock on its dome is the main clock of the city according to which Batumians set their clocks.
Growth and development of modern Batumi, began in Porto Franco period In the XIX century and continued more rapidly later on. Batumi with its first-rank port and well developed industry held a significant place in Georgia and in Caucasus as one of the most important transit and industrial centres.
Sightseeings of modern Batumi are the oldest historic-architectural monuments, places of rest and culture and great variety of subtropical plants.
A favorite rest and entertainment place for Batumians and tourists is the famous Seaside Park (Boulevard). The place was covered with water at the end of the 19th century. In 1881 the Sea backed about 100 meters and an idea of creating a seaside park on the free territory was fulfilled by the famous gardener A. Resler who had worked out a construction plan. After Resler’s death the work was curried out by M. Dalfons. Active part in these works took Georgian gardener-decorator, graduate from the Versal Agricultural Institute- Iason Gordeziani.
The length of Seaside Park was 1,9 km. till May 2004. At present it is stretched along the spacious beaches, occupying 5 km of area with its infrastructure. With various attractions, sports grounds, the tennis courts, the chess house and bungalows, the park provides the best conditions for the rest and entertainment. Seaside Park symbol - the Columns (Kolonada) was built in 1934. Rich in its exotic plants, the park attracts the visitors during the whole year.
Boulevard is subdivided in two parts: A shady alley with the oldest plants occupies its main area, where it is cool even in the hottest days of summer. Subtropical part with pyramidal cypress, Chinese roses and noble laurels, in the central alley, is stretched along the beach.
Improvement works on the Ardagani lake, which is the most important part of a”new” boulevard, are being done. Two artificial islands, amphitheatre and a fountain, a gift from the president of Georgia, decorate the lake. Also a modern standard swimming pool, solarium and sports grounds are being built.
In 1939 the hotel ,Intourist”, projected by Academician Shchusev, was built, what caused final demolition of the finest architectural monument – the Church of Alexander Nevski, the pictures and model of which are kept in the Museum of Local Lore of Batumi. Some time ago the ,,Intourist” hotel was purchased and restored by the Georgian businessman.
Key factor for the development of the city and port was oil transported via Baku-Batumi railway. Favorable grounds for the prospective growth of the port, constructed by the architects - Novikov and Kremliakov in 1962, were set with its geopolitical location, natural and climate conditions. The essential natural depth in the port allows to handle big size vessels.
Opposite to the sea port the cargo terminal built in 1878 is located. The port encompasses oil, multipurpose container, general and dry cargo, railway-ferry and passenger terminals. The port is provided with the newest equipment and all works are mechanized. The program for development of Batumi cargo terminal till 2010 has already been worked out, after implementation of which the cargo turnover will increase to more than 10 million tons.
Liberty Square, the name of which has been changed for several times, is located by the port. At the beginning of the XX century it was called Azizie Square and a huge mosque stood there. After establishing the Soviet power (1921) a monument of Lenin was placed and the square was named after him. Later the square has been given the name of the first president of Georgia - Zviad Gamsakhurdia.
After the investigatory activities performed on the square, the brotherly grave of the fighters fallen in the battle (18-21 march, 1921) for independence from Ottomans has been found out. It is planned to put up an obelisk at the place in their memory. Here, at the Adjarian women’s first congress, held on February 8, 1929, one of the delegates snatched away and burnt her veil. That was an example for other delegate women and the very day is considered as to free Adjarian women from veil.
The Chavchavadze State Drama Theatre of Batumi is situated on the street named after Shota Rustaveli - the author of the immortal poem ,,The Knight in the Panther’s Skin. The theatre building, with 625 seats, is built by the architect Teplitski. The ceiling and walls are painted by artists - Telengatov and Khalatov, according to the motives of the poem.
Yet at the beginning of the 19-th century, an endeavour of establishing theatrical troupe in Adjara ended in failure due to the absence of sum. In 1892 so called “Iron Theatre” was built in Batumi, where a dramatic piece “Has the Uncle got Married” by Zurab Antonov was staged at first. In 1892 the great musician- Fiodor Shaliapin sang on the stage of the “Iron Theatre”. He performed Roiveso part in the Belini’s opera “Norma”.
The Lado Gudiashvili Painter’s House, located on Rustaveli street, is the place where exhibitions of the works of the well-known local and foreign artists and sculptors are arranged. There are the saloons of arts here, where one can see the creations of the Georgian authors.
Tennis courts of Batumi suits the modern high standard level. Various tournaments, including ~the Lady’s Open ~, are held here.
The building of Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University was built in 1903. The boys’ gymnazia was located here. In 1935 the pedagogical institute with two year academic courses was established. Not long ago the building was repaired according to the modern standards.
By the University the Nurigeli lake and Students’ and Youth Park are situated. Primarily the lake was a hearth of such dangerous diseases as malaria and typhus. In 1881 under the supervision of the Military Governor of Batumi district - Smekalov the garden was planted with decorative and subtropical plants. While travelling across the Batumi area Russian Emperor –Alexander the III, and his family took an active part in planting those gardens with different plants. So the garden was called ~Alexander’s garden~ to his honor.
In 1935 it was given a new name – Pioneer Park. Present name of the place is Students’ and Youth Park. By the year 2007 the lake and nearby territories will be cleaned and get the modern face, as the buildings of dolphinarium and aquarium and the zoo- corner will be restored.
The building of the Art Museum of Batumi was built in 1949, according to the project of Kakha Javakhishvili. From 1955 the museum of the Revolution was located here, later- the Museum of the National Movement History and after, in December 19. 1998, the Museum of Arts was established here, where one can find a department of the West-Europe and Russian art, with various works of the 19-th century.
The Khariton Akhvlediani State Museum was established in March 19. 1908, on Voznesenski and Olgha cross roads (Present Melikishvili and Parnavaz Mephe Streets).From 1939 scientific- research and cultural- educational works and scientific expeditions were performed by the Museum staff).
Building the former Catholic, present Orthodoxy church, was financed by the Zubalashvili brothers, who were Catholics and had built the church in honor of their mother. The first divine service in the church was performed by the Catholic padre Anselmo Mgebrishvili. During the Soviet period, the Bolheviks had abolished the church and a laboratory of a high tension was located here. In 1989 the church was reestablished by the Orthodox parish.
The Saint Barbare Church is situated on the apposite of the tennis-courts. The Russian military hospital had been located at the place, after abolishing of which, the former church was restored. There is a beautiful square all around the church, which borders on Seaside Park.
In 2000 the Catholics of the city built the Catholic church of the Holy Spirit (projected by Oleg Pataridze and Giorgi Bagoshvili). The church was sanctified by Bishop Juzepe Pazolti – Transcaucasus apostolic dean.
The Jewish Synagogue was built by Semeon Vulkovich in 1904. Herein should be mentioned about the tradition of Georgian and Jewish peoples friendly relationship lasting for 26 century.
The Gregorian Church was built in 1885 by the project of the Austrian Architect- Morfeld, and the donation by the famous businessman- Mantashev. The church was closed down in 1937 and only in 1996 it became possible to make it function.
The Mosque “Orta Jame” was built whereby the donation by “Aslan-Beg” Khimshiashvili’s mother in 1886.
Batumi Botanical Gardens are situated 9 km north to Batumi. It is unique throughout the former Soviet Union. The place of location is called Mtsvane Kontskhi (Green Cape). The Gardens are inseparably connected with Andrey Krasnov, the acknowledged classic in Botanical and physical geography. As a tireless traveler Krasnov traveled round the most part of the world. After studying and observing the world flora, climate and soil, he came to the conclusion that the Black Sea littoral is the ideal place for a Botanical Garden. Implementation of this idea became the dream of the romantic scholar.
And indeed, everyone visiting the Gardens becomes possessed with the sensation that he has dashed away from reality and transferred into a dream-world. Batumi Botanical Gardens have no analogy in the world in a sense that the plants of completely different climatic and landscape zones co-exist here side by side. It may seem strange but the date-palm as well as Japanese Sakura grow equally well here. The Gardens represent thousands of plant species of astonishing beauty. Visitors are always fascinated by 1200 species of Rose.
The wealth of the Gardens is represented by 9 departments. These are departments of East Asia, North America, New Zealand, South America, the Himalayas, Mexico, Australia, the Mediterranean Sea and Caucasian humid subtropics. The lower, upper and seaside parks are situated on the main road of the gardens. The garden collection comprises 2037 taxonomic units of ligneous plants. Among them 104 are of Caucasian origin, and the rest are the representatives of foreign flora.
The above mentioned departments with rare and unique plants are situated successively in the Botanical Gardens. The splendid diversity of flora is represented by centenary oaks, North American Veimut Pine, Pama Washingtonia, relict beech as well as Japanese compositions of dwarf plants in miniature gardens.
The Botanical Gardens are also important in the sense that a plot has been created here for the selection of endemic fruit and berry species which are rare or on the verge of extinction.
The sea view from the Botanical Gardens is really impressive. Equally impressive is the view of the gardens from the sea. There is no season without blooming in this Botanical masterpiece. It is especially fascinating in late spring, summer and early autumn, when exotic plants burst into colourful blossoms in turn and wrap the whole cape in passionate aroma.