KOLKHETI NATIONAL PARK is located in Western Georgia, in the lowlands of Kolkheti, on the coastline of Black sea, in the environs of the town of Poti, 290 km from Tbilisi. It was founded with the aim of conservation of damp landscapes which have international importance and have preserved their pristine appearance that is also related to the preservation of the natural habitat of water and migrant birds.
Conservation area is the first site of the Ramsar Convention in Georgia and the Caucasus. Nowadays the Park consists of several wetland (marshy) plots of land and water area of the Black sea. Its total area runs up to 44.3 sq.km with 1/3 of the territory being sea water. Kolkhety moist territories are relicts of the tropical wetland landscape. These kinds of landscapes several million years ago were present in much vaster territories. From plants we see here species typical for moderate and subtropical zones of wetlands. From moderate belt there are sphagnum bog-mosses (Spagnum imbricatum, palustre, acutiflium), common sundew (Drosera rotundiflora), sedge (Carex lasiocarpa) as well as plants like Pontic rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum), typical for Alpine zones. On the territory of the park there are remnants of lots of relict and/or endemic species belonging to both wetland and grove forests and coastline dune belt and underwater flora habitats. Two species - yellow hornpoppy and sea daffodil –have been listed in the Red Book. From rare and nearly extinct species should be noted Kolkheti oak (Quercus hartwissiana), wingnuts (Pterocarya pterocarp), Kolkheti mistletoe (Buxus colchica), et al.
Within the territory of Kolkheti national park is also Paliastomi lake which has coast origin and several thousand years ago was a gulf of the Black sea. It is separated from the Black sea by several-meter height dune belt. The area of the lake exceeds 18 sq.km, and depth is 3 m. In spite of small sizes, Paliastomi lake is rich with various species of fish. Its diversity is linked to multifaceted changes in the environment. During certain dry years when the lake has drastic drop of water level, sea water trickles down into it. The territory of the national park is a natural habitat of up to 200 bird species. Among them is Kolkheti pheasant, on the charming attractiveness of which several thousand years ago the civilized world learned from Argonauts. Damp territories are traditional natural habitats of hundreds of bird species on the path of migration. Millions of birds ‚rest‘ here in fall and in spring, and in winter a lot of species of birds wait for spring. In the waters of the Black sea three species of dolphins have their habitat: bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin and porpoise. Here are also Atlantic sturgeon and beluga, mackerel and pink, herring and pike, bullhead and riverside roach. Of 90 species of the fish represented here, at about a half inhabit in salt water and ¼ - in fresh water. It is possible to visit several important archeological and historical monuments on the territory of Kolkheti national park and in its vicinity. Among them are ancient capital of Lazika – Archeopolis and Christian monuments of Kolkheti – Medieval Martvili Monastery Compound, Monastery of Khobi, Church of Tsaishi and others.
Copyright © 2017. N. Elizbarashvili, B. Kupatadze
Copyright © 2017. “Dani” Publishing