Travel information, Geography, History
Adjara – one of the oldest and most exquisite parts in the western Georgia, extreme south- western part and theBlack Sea coast. It has borders with the region of Guria to the north, Samtskhe-Javakheti to the east and Turkey to the south. Most of Adjara’s territory either consists of hills or mountains.
The main city and the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara is a Batumi city. Batumi is also a port city on the Black Sea coast.
The Adjarians (Ajars) are an ethnographic group of the Georgian people who speak a group of local dialects known collectively as Adjarian.
Adjara is well known for its humid climate (especially along the coastal regions) and prolonged rainy weather,although there is plentiful sunshine during the Spring and Summer months. September and October are usually the wettest months.
Average summer temperatures are between 22–24 degrees Celsius in the lowland areas and 17–21 degrees Celsius in the highlands. The highest areas of Adjara have lower temperatures. Average winter temperatures are between 4–6 degrees Celsius along the coast while the interior areas and mountains average around -3–2 degrees Celsius. Some of the highest mountains of Adjara have average winter temperatures of -8–(-7) degrees Celsius.
Ajara is one of the most beautiful parts of Georgia with extraordinary nature, the historic Black Sea and mild warm sun as well as warm and friendly people, rich folklore traditions and cultural heritage. The diverse nature of Ajara includes picturesque mountainous landscapes, seascapes, parks and reserves. A distinctive and delicious cuisine and original traditions equally attract Georgian and foreign visitors alike.
Adjara is a modern sea resort. Batumi is one of Georgia’s most beautiful cities. The old part of the city, which is more than 150 years old, has been completely renovated. The spirit of the bygone centuries has been preserved: the facades of the houses are decorated with fantastical creatures, mermaids, and figures of Atlas and Telamon. The Old Town is known for its combination of elements of Turkish, Russian, English, and French colonial architecture. The Old Town is particularly beautiful in the evening when the buildings, lit up by colored lights, acquire the magnificent appearance of palaces. The old town is the tourist center with numerous hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, and boutiques. The new part of Batumi is also dynamically developing: new hotels, entertainment and shopping centers, swimming pools, and yachting clubs are being built.
The Batumi Botanical Gardens are located 8 km to the north of the city on Green Cape. They descend in tiers from the top of the mountain to the sea, which are broken down according to the geographical origin of the plants: at the top are species from the Himalayas, then come samples from North and South America, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries, and at the bottom is Mediterranean flora. More than 2,000 species of plants are gathered in the gardens enormous grounds. Most of them are subtropical species. The gardens are particularly beautiful in the spring, summer, and early fall, when the exotic plants bloom in turn, their fragrance pervading the whole of Green Cape.
Gonio Fortress is located 12 km to the south of Batumi. The surviving fortress walls and towers were built by the ancient Romans in the 2nd century BC, although archeologists uncovered an extremely old stratum on the fortress grounds that dates back to the 16th century BC. One of the sights worth seeing here is the tomb of Apostle Matthew located at the fortress. Legend has it that he came here after Christ’s death, preached here for a long time, and then died here. According to legend, Apostle Andrew the First-Called also lived for some time in the fortress.
The richness of natural resources is also evident by the great number of protected areas. Mtirala National Park,Kobuleti Protected Areas, Kintrishi Reserve andMachakhela National Park are the best places for Eco-tourism lovers.
- Mtirala National Park – Mtirala National Park is a rich and diverse park, with an abundance of flora and fauna. The villages surrounding the Park have many examples of traditional, ancient wooden houses while the park itself offers world-famous bird watching and ecotourism activities. The first walking trails starts at the Visitor Centre and stretches along the left bank of the Chakvistavi River. On the way you will see many varied representatives of the local flora and fauna, such as the Georgia’s Red List species. These include Georgian walnut, Colchic hazelnut, Ungerni’s and Pontic rhododendrons. Other rarer, but still sighted examples of fauna include brown bear, marten, the red fox and golden eagles.
- Kobuleti Protected Areas – Kobuleti is well known for its many species of migrating waterfowl and its rich abundance of plant species. The region has a very interesting culture and history as one of the ancient trading routes passed right through Kobuleti, which in turn became a cultural and trading center for the area. The surrounding mountain settlements create a perfect environment for amazing bird watching.
- Kintrishi Protected Areas – The Kintrishi Protected Areas incorporate the Kintrishi Nature Reserve, established in 1959 and Kintrishi Protected Landscape, established in 2007. Located between the Black Sea and the mountains of Adjara-Imereti, it has a unique microclimate as the mountains hold up the warm, humid sea air to create a very high humidity climate, with a relatively warm and narrow temperature range throughout the year. The spectacular Kintrishi Nature Reserve contains many deep gorges, formed by the Kintrishi River – the main water artery of the reserve –, which starts at the top of Mount Khino and flows into the Black Sea near the resort of Kobuleti.
- Kobuleti – Kobuleti stands out as one of the very best areas for its microclimate. Famous for its warm, humid sea air, Kobuleti has become an important tourist center and health resort on the Georgian Black Sea region, attracting many tourists thanks to its glorious long and well equipped beach.
- Tsikhisdziri – Tsikhisdziri is also well known for its heady mix of warm humid air from the sea and cooler, sweeter air from the surrounding high mountains. There are many guesthouses, restaurants, café-bars, and villas in beautiful gardens and parks on the green slopes of Tsikhisdziri. The beaches are extremely comfortable and allow you to enjoy the many excellent water facilities.
- Chakvi – The resort of Chakvi is the homeland of Georgian tea. It was here that Chinese scientist Lao Jiao first grew and cultivated tea in Georgia. Why not sample some of the sweet tasting tea for yourself while staying at hotels, summer cottages, and guesthouses situated all along the seaside.
- Mtsvane Kontskhi – Mtsvane Kontskhi (Green Cape) is one of the most beautiful seaside resorts in Georgia. In 1903, the Doctors Society opened a railway station here in order to access the world-famous Batumi Botanical Gardens. The area is also well known for its attractions under the sea as it is a popular dive spot with many visitors who stay and enjoy the area’s health-restoring sanatoriums, hotels, restaurants, and café-bars.
- Makhinjauri – Makhinjauri has been a true spa resort since 1904 and it’s easy to see why so many people visit this place. Just 5km north of Batumi it is situated right on the edge of the mountains and it quickly grows from sea level to over 1,300m and creates a distinct, humid, subtropical environment. Powerful natural hot springs provide deep cleansing and relaxing sulphur baths, useful for easing your joints, soothing the entire nervous system, and aiding many, many other ailments of modern day life.
- Gonio, Kvariati, Sarpi – The resort of Gonio, Kvariati and Sarpi are situated 13-18km south of Batumi and Sarpi is actually situated on the Georgia-Turkey border. The warm sea temperature (over 25 degrees C in July) combines beautifully with the humid sea and mountain air. Sarpi, Gonio and Kvariati are favorites for youngsters from all over Georgia and other countries. It’s a real playtime atmosphere. Play on the beach all day then party in the bars and clubs till morning. If you can keep up with the pace, there’s no better place to spend the summer.
- Mountain Resorts – One of the many prominent resorts in the Adjara Mountains is Beshumi, 1900m above sea level. While traveling towards Beshumi visitors are amazed at the incredible scenery as they pass through Acharistskali Valley where clean and pure mountain rivers create incredible waterfalls and unforgettable landscapes. Arriving at the height of Beshumi one of the first things you notice is its clean, fresh air, laced with the scent of thousands of coniferous trees from the surrounding forests. This truly is a magical place.
- Gonio Fortress – The Gonio-Apsaros fortress is located 12km to the south of Batumi, on the left bank of the River Chorokhi. It is a real paradise for lovers of historical and cultural antiquities as this was one of the most important citadels for the Roman and Byzantine Empires. The Gonio-Apsaros fortress was vital to protect the entrance of the Black Sea, having a strategically important role.
- Skhalta Monastery – The highlands of Adjara are rich in fascinating and beautiful sights and the churches and fortresses of Skhalta, Khikhani, and Khino are of particular interest. Skhalta Church is a XIII century monument to Georgian architecture in Khulo. The interior of this remarkable church retains some of its original XIII century paintings and during liturgy; prayers are accompanied by the sound of the river Skhalta.
- Petra Fortress – The ruins of ancient historical city-fortress Petra are located in the village of Tsikhisdziri and dates back to VI Century A.D. The Byzantine Emperor Justinian built a city here because of its strategic location, which enabled it to become a strong military base and powerful trading center with Europe and the Byzantine provinces–Armenia and Persia.
- Arched Stone Bridges in Adjara – There are quite a few ancient arched stone bridges in Adjara, and each and every one is an important part of the history of the region. Their beauty and fragility makes them as significant as the mighty fortifications, monuments, and castles that are also spread around this historical area and are a must-see of any visit.