THE CITY OF BATUMI is located in Western Georgia, on the coastline of Black sea, on the cape of Batumi, on the coast of Batumi gulf and adjacent hillocks. Batumi is an administrative, economic, cultural and educational center of Autonomous Republic of Ajara. Its favorable geographic location became a precondition of maritime transit development. Today it is considered to be a maritime gate of Georgia. Batumi’s climate is humid subtropical. It is the warmest place in Georgia. The average temperature in January is +70C. Summer is relatively cool (+22-+240C) that increases the city’s importance as a resort area. Snow cover is available only in certain years for several days. The Western knees of the Ajara-Imereti mountain range near Batumi are covered with Kolkheti polydominant forests, and all this overall creates inimitable sceneries. In recent years the number of Batumi recreational visitors is constantly on the rise.
Batumi was a settlement in as early as Antique era (it was first mentioned by Aristotle under the name of Athus) and had trade relationships with ancient Greek cities. In II century a Roman garrison was stationed here. In Middle Ages, on the site of today’s Batumi existed a village-like settlement surrounding The Fortress of Tamar. In XV-XVI centuries Batumi was governed by Guria sovereigns, and in XVII-XIX centuries it was a part of the Ottoman empire.
In 1878 according to the Berlin treaty Batumi was handed over to the Russian empire; until 1886 it enjoyed porto-franko status which became a reason of Batumi’s swift development. That time it was a leading city in the Caucasus, a port, a corridor for transit of oil from Baku to Europe and a district administrative center. From 1919 Batumi became the center of the Georgian Muslim autonomy within the Democratic Republic of Georgia, and from 1921 it is a center of Ajara Autonomy in Georgia.
European style of buildings is typical for Batumi chatecterized by convergence of modern and XIX century architecture. There are many historical and architectural attractions in Batumi: cathedral of the Virgin Mary (former Catholic cathedral in 1898-2902 which was built under sponsorship of brothers Zubalashvili who were doing their business in Baku. In Soviet era the Bolsheviks shut down the church. In 1989 the Orthodox congregation of the church restarted its operation); Batumi Boulevard (in 1881 a famous gardener Ressler and after him D’Alphonse and Yason Gordeziani step-by-step created a coastline park. In 1934 was erected a symbol of the park – a Collonnade. Until 2004 the length of the Boulvarde
was 2 km. Today its length is raised up to 15 km); building of Shota Rustaveli University (built in 1903 as a gymnasium. Several years ago was rehabilitated); hotel Intourist Palace (a specimen of Stalin architecture, was built near coastline park in 1939 on design of Professor Shchusev); Batumi Ilia Chavchavadze State Theater (was built in 1952 on design of architect Teplitski); 6 May Park and Lake Nurigheli (constructed in 1881. In recent years was fundamentally refurbished: roads and paths were made, park benches put up, new attractions installed, illumination sorted out, dolphinarium, aquarium and zoo corner restored); Jewish sinagogue (was built by Semeon Vulkovicz in 1904); a mosque Orta Jame (was built in 1886 with financing of Aslan-beg Khimshiashvili).
Copyright © 2017. N. Elizbarashvili, B. Kupatadze
Copyright © 2017. “Dani” Publishing