Batumi is the administrative center of the Adjara Autonomous Republic and is an important international port city. It’s a modern European city where, similar to Tbilisi, you are charmed by the harmonious blend of old and new. Wander down a long boulevard, admire the statue of eternal love – Ali and Nino – watch the sunset, and admire both modern and ancient architectural landmarks.
The Batumi Botanical Garden, located in Mtsvane Kontskhi village spans across 108 hectares of land, just nine kilometers from Batumi. The garden is special due to its diverse and very specific physical and geographical conditions. It has three arboretums, the famous Colchis forest reserve, and nine floristic sections representing different climatic and geographical zones. Aside from the Transcaucasian humid subtropics, these include Australian, New Zealand, Himalayan, East Asian, North American, South American, Mexican, and Mediterranean climates. There are more than 5,000 different plant species.
The Adjarian meals add very important traits to the diversity of Georgian cuisine. The highlands of Adjara are characterized by long winters and thus the necessity of long-term food storage. This is the reason why dairy is the main ingredient of many local meals.
The cuisine varies from vegetable to meat and fish dishes. Sweet treats also occupy a large niche. One of the staples and must-try dishes once here is the Adjarian khachapuri. If most types of khachapuri are eaten as a side dish, this one is consumed as a main course, either during breakfast or lunch due to it being very nutritious. There are many theories how the shape of this dish came to be. One widespread version is that the boat-like shape comes from the fact that the Laz people, a sub-group of Georgians, were skilled seafarers. And the egg in the middle symbolized the sun.
Mtirala National Park offers two different hiking opportunities that can last one or two days. The routes are well marked and arranged, with a picnic area, fire pits and camping areas along the way. The best season to visit are is early autumn, spring, and summer.
Another national park you can visit here is the Machakhela National Park, located in Khelvachauri municipality. The area boasts cultural and historical monuments, such as arch bridges of various periods, wine presses, and fortresses. While hiking here, you can have breathtaking views of Batumi, the river delta and the Black Sea, and Machakhela Gorge.
What locals now call Gonio Fortress used to be called Apsarunt and is believed to date back to the first century AD. The name Gonio came much later, in the 12th century.
In the 2nd century AD, it was a well-fortified Roman city within the Colchis Kingdom. It was well-known for its theatre and Hippodrome. It later came under Byzantine, Ottoman, and Russian influence. Today, only ruins are left from his magnificent city.
Another fortress that you can visit while in Adjara is Petra Fortress. Similar to Gonio, only ruins remain today, but it was a well-developed walled town in ancient Georgia. It’s believed that Byzantine Emperor Justinian I ordered the town built here in the 6th century AD because the area had a favorable military-strategic and commercial-economic location.