Title: City tour “New and Old Batumi”
Duration: 2– 3 hours walk
Description: From the Batumi Sea Port the path leads you to the Lighthouse which is one of the few surviving old buildings of the port. Built in 1882, it stands at the edge of the cape. Near the lighthouse you can see a kinetic statue entitled “Ali and Nino”. The openwork figures of a woman and a man moving towards each other represent the idea of love. Now you are at the Square of Wonders where you can see new architectural buildings, mostly hotels, designed by Georgian and foreign architects. Among them are: Alphabet Tower, ‘Technological University’, Radisson Blue Hotel, Kempinski, and Batumi Porta. These buildings were designed for creating a new modern image of Batumi.
The walking path leads you to Batumi Boulevard, which was built in 1885. Situated in the historic part of the city, Boulevard is one of the most remarkable sites in Batumi. It stretches along the seashore in a broad line. You will walk along the central entrance and musical fountains located there. Then you can walk through the Colonnade built in 1934 towards Ninoshvili Street. Right at the boulevard exit there is a statue of the first gardener and designer of the boulevard, Michael d’Alfons.
There is the Intourist Building at the corner of Ninoshvili and Dumbadze street. It was constructed according to the design of celebrated Russian architect, Alexei Shchusev, in 1936. On your way to Dumbadze street you will walk along the Dwelling House designed in Pseudo-Renaissance and Baroque styles built at the beginning of the 20th century, continuing your way to European Square where the Statue of Medea is erected. This statue was built as a reminder that you are in the country of the legendary Colchis to which the famous Greek myth of Argonauts is connected.
You are now on Memed Abashidze street which was the former main avenue of old Batumi (called Maria Avenue) where the main public and residential houses were located. A residential house of a well-known Georgian merchant and Batumi City Councilor, Sabaev, is located at the crossroads of Abashidze and K. Gamskhurdia streets. This pompous house characterized by Renaissance-Baroque style, along with other large impressive buildings, defines the urban character of this part of the city.
The section of old Batumi between the Sea coast and K. Gamsakhurdia street includes regulated quarters and a network of mutually crossing streets. At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, the commercial part of the city was connected to the port as all streets led to the sea. There used to be banks, offices, trade lines and the hotels. This dense urbanization was distinguished with stylistic diversity. There are buildings decorated with the elements of the classicist, baroque, oriental and modern styles. These moderate size buildings create an atmosphere of comfort and harmony.
You can start the walking tour in old Batumi from Z. Gamsakhurdia street. At the crossing of Z. Gamsakhurdia and M. Kostava streets there is the Former Bank Building. The building was constructed in the beginning of the 20th century. Designed in Art Nouveau style and dominating the historic part of the city, the building is characterized by numerous architectural elements and rich plastic decoration.
At the crossroad of A.Gamsakhurdia and Farnavaz Mephe street there is St Nicholas’ Church. The Church is one of the earliest church buildings in Batumi. This large domed church was built in 1865-1871 during the Ottoman domination by the local Greeks. It reveals close links with Byzantine architecture.
From Z. Gamsakhurdia street you turn to Vakhtang Gorgasali street where Akinian’s House is situated. Built during 1905-1906, it is the two-storey residential house of merchant Serop Akinian. The statues of boys with pipes located in oval open spaces of a curvilinear pediment add unique charm to the house and coziness to the entire street.
The entrance to the Piazza is next to Akinian’s house. The Piazza 41.649498, 41.641103 – designed as a medieval Italian square in 2008-2010 – is one of the most prominent attractions of old town. There are many hotels, restaurants and bars in the area.
You can continue your way to G. Mazniashvili street. At the crossroads of Mazniashvili and Parnavaz Mephe street stands Biniat-Ogli’s House. Built in the beginning of the 20th century, this house belonged to a tobacco manufacturer, Lazare Biniat-Ogli. This is one of the best Art Nouveau houses in Georgia.
From the Parnavaz Mephe street you continue your way to K. Gamsakhurdia street. Two directions can be followed from this point: to the north, at the crossroads of Jordania and K. Gamskhrdia streets lies the Surb-Prchk (the Saviour) Armenian Church. Presumably, the church was built at the end of the 19th century with the donation of the Armenian manufacturer and oil tycoon, A. Mantashev.
After visiting the Armenian Church you can come back to the crossroads of K. Gamsakhurdia and Vakhtag Gorgasali streets, continuing west to Dimitri Tavdadebuli street. At the crossroads of D. Tavdadebuli and V. Gorgasali streets you will catch a glimpse of Arts teaching University building that was constructed in the 1930s. The tropical institute used to be there. On Dimistri Tavdadebuli street to south-west direction there is the Batumi Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin. Built during 1898-1902 with a donation from the well-known Georgian oil industrialist and philanthropist, Stephane Zubalashvili, Batumi Cathedral was originally constructed for the local catholic community. Designed in pseudo-Gothic style, this is one of the most remarkable buildings in the city.
From the Cathedral you can come back to old Batumi via Zubalashvili street where there is “Orta Jame” Mosque. Ajara mufti main mosque was built in 1866. The two-storey building’s simple façade decoration contains elements of Islamic architecture. Survived in its original appearance, wood decoration is based on the traditions of Georgian vernacular architecture and wooden mosques.
From the mosque you can get to the coast and back to the port or take the trip to Batumi Panorama via cable way.
Route II: Port – Gonio-Apsaros Fortress
Duration: 2- 3 hours (by vehicle)
Description: If you wish to visit the Roman-Early Byzantine Fortress of Gonio-Apsaros you must drive from the Batumi Sea Port Southwards via Gogebashvili and Rustaveli Streets. On the way you will pass Square of Wonders where modern architectural buildings are situated: Alphabet Tower, “Technological University”, Radisson Blue Hotel, Kempinski and Batumi Porta. At the beginning of Rustaveli street there is a Theatre building constructed in 1940s. Designed in Classicist style, this massive, pompous building is a highlight of this part of the city.
While travelling along Rustaveli street you will pass two residential houses built at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. One of them is T.Triandafilidis’ house on the Rustaveli street #36. This remarkable work of Batumi urban heritage belonged to a famous doctor. Another house situated at the corner of Rustaveli and 26 May street is constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This Pseudo-Baroque style building belonged to a major oil tycoon, A.Rothschild. Pompous building is an architectural dominant of one of the central areas in Batumi.
Then the way leads you to the May 6 Park. This city park was established on the north and north-east banks of Lake Nuri. On the other side you will pass Batumi State University. Initially, it used to be a boys Gymnasium. This monumental classicist building faces the sea. As you continue, you pass the hotel Hilton, Dolphinarium and Batumi State Maritime Academy constructed in the 1950s.
Now you turn to Khimshiashvili street where there is a McDonald’s. This unusual, glass and steel structure in Futuristic style was built in 2012, as well as the Public Service Hall which was constructed during 2010-2011. Near the Public Service Hall is a statue called Rotation. You will drive across the Ardagan Lake with dancing fountains, other contemporary buildings and new boulevard.
In thirty minutes driving distance is the Gonio-Apsaros Museum-Reserve. Apsaros was the largest Roman Fort on the east coast of the Black Sea in the first century AD. It was one of the principal forts of the Pontic Limes, defender of the Caucasian frontier. Apsaros retained importance during the time of Emperor Justinian and Ottoman domination.
On the way back from Gonio-Apsaros, if you turn right to Vazha-Pshavela street from Rustaveli street, you will see Ter-Oganezov’s House. It was built at the turn of 19-20th cc. On the same street you will also see the Synagogue constructed in the 1910s. The building is characterized by its main façade decorated with Jewish symbols and also with Gothic-Islamic style elements.
Then you continue on your way to Vazha-Pshavela street till Parnavaz Mephe street, and turn left to Luka Asatiani street where Batumi City Hall is located. It was built in 1902. The dimensions, façade composition and Classicist-Renaissance style decoration of the building emphasizes its dominant role in the area.
From the City hall you can drive to the port through Gorgiladze and Tavdadebuli streets.
Port – Batumi Fortress – Botanical Garden – Petra Fortress
Duration: 2.50-4 hours (by vehicle)
Description: In order to visit Batumi Botanical Garden and Early Byzantine famous fortress of Petra you must drive from the Batumi Sea Port Northwards through Gogebashvili and Baku streets. On the way you will see the Catholic Church of the Holy Spirit constructed in 2000. The artistic solution of the building is based on the interpretation of Gothic and Modern forms.
On the way you will also catch a glimpse of Batumi State Music Centre, which was established in 2004. It hosts various events such as opera performances, classical music concerts, festivals, ballet performances, etc. The building as it stands now features a mixture of Soviet and modern styles is a result of the reconstruction work conducted in 2011.
Soon after the Batumi Music Center you cannot miss the Batumi Fortress which lies at the mouth of the River Korolistskali. The ancient Greek name of the river is Bathys from which the name of Batumi derives. The fortress is identified with fort Losorium, constructed by Emperor Justinian in historic Lazica. Archaeological research confirmed that the hill which preserves the ruins of the fortress was the site of the oldest settlement discovered on the territory of Batumi.
Batumi Botanical garden is situated in fifteen minutes drive from the Port. It was founded in 1912. Nine phytogeographical departments of the Garden include rich collections of different species of plants worldwide.
Petra-Tsikhisdziri Archaeological Site is situated in 30 minutes drive from the Port. Petra was a city-fortress of historic Lazica and an Episcopal See of the Constantinople Patriarchy built on the order of Emperor Justinian. Due to its strategic location Petra gained particular importance in the Early Byzantine period.
Contemporary Art Centre – 5 minutes walk from the Port
Ajara Art Museum – 12 minutes walk, 6 minutes drive from the Port
Ajara Khariton Akhvlediani State Museum – 15 minutes walk, 8 minutes drive, from the Port
Batumi Archaeological Museum – 25 minutes walk, 10 minutes drive from the Port
Nobel Brothers Batumi Technological Museum – 10 minutes drive from the Port