Real Treasure of Georgian Nature
28 July, 2011
Real Treasure of Georgian Nature

Magic Garden, Sea, Sun, Beaches, Diving and Ajarian Cuisine

According to the Georgian Department of Tourism, the number of tourists visiting Ajara increased by 84% in a year. To be specific, in January-May period of 2011 Ajara received over 103 thousand guests, whereas in the same period of the previous two years the number of tourists was only around 56 thousand (2010) and 10.5 thousand (2009) respectively. Naturally, similar rising trend is expected to continue this season too. The sun, sea

and beaches – everything seems to be at hand in Ajara. However, there is more to it. Many unknown treasures of Ajara need to be discovered by tourists so that they fully feel all the rich facets of this fabulous coastal region.

A tourist visiting Ajara should certainly see the mountain resort Beshumi with sites of ancient artifacts. The Basin of Chorokhi River that today flows between Turkey and Georgia used to be one of the major centers of metallurgy in the Bronze Age. No wonder that the whole Ajara region is dotted with sites of Bronze and Iron Age artifacts. You will notice it if you visit Gonio fortress situated in Gonio settlement, near Batumi town. By the way, those tourists who head from Batumi to Kobuleti or other way round have a great opportunity to relish several interesting sites right through the windowless buses. Such buses are a popular means of transportation in Ajara. They add exotics to the atmosphere of the local travelling.

The name of Batumi originates from Greek. In ancient times, the town was called Batius Liman, i.e. “deep bay”. Scientists believe it was here where two ancient cultures – Kolkhian and Antic - used to merge. Batumi is a small, white 150-year old town, built of mostly two-three storeyed buildings. Magnetic smell of coffee starts to fill its streets from the early morning. By the way, old-style tin coffee heaters are still made in Batumi handicraft shops and tourists have an opportunity to purchase these souvenirs as a great memorabilia of the Batumi leisure times.

The most enchanting however is flowering of Batumi magnolia trees. This small white town boasts a myriad of magnolia trees. Their flowering season fills the town with a strong magic aroma.

The Batumi Botany Garden is located on the so called Green Cape (“Mtsvane Kontskhi”), 9 km away from Batumi. The garden provides a fertile environment to many plants coming from different climates and landscapes. Oddly enough, canary palms can be found growing next to Japanese Sakura. Botany Garden accommodates 1200 varieties of roses. What is more, the Botany Garden overlooks the Sea and therefore makes for a place of unique vistas. Alternatively, tourists may choose to observe the Green Cape from sea on a boat. The Botany Garden stays green and flowery the year round. Yet, the time of exceptional beauty starts here from late spring and ends in autumn.

In many hill places such as mount Chirukhi, Jinali, Goderdzi pass, mount Gomi, mount Sasadilo, Sarichai and Koslitavi visitors can rest in summer wooden houses. If you want to grasp the Ajara culture and tradition then you should visit one of its mountainous regions as listed above.

Ajara gastronomic diversity is also astounding. Pakhlava, burme, borano, chirbuli, sinori, Acharian khachapuri – if you want to taste any of these Ajarian dishes, you need to go to the Mountainous Ajara.

Maia Diasamidze, Head of Georgian Department of Tourism: “Opportunities for tourists visiting Ajara are restricted to the beaches. In the last years, infrastructure in Ajara has been undergoing a swift renewal. Thanks to it, today tourists can choose a diversity of sightseeing. For instance, touristic routes in Ajara hills are enriched with chances to taste local cuisine and generally experience local hospitality. The length of the Ajara coast is 57 km. This perimeter features beautiful seaside resorts and other leisure places: Pichvnari, Kobuleti, Bobokvati, Chakvi, Tsikhisdziri, Mtsvane Kontskhi, Makhinjauri, Gonio, Kvariati, Sarpi and of course Batumi.”

Any tour in Ajara includes visits to Batumi aquarium and dolphinarium. When you enter the aquarium, you would immediately feel as if you are in the depths of the sea or ocean inhabited by billions of sea creatures. The aquarium accommodates Black Sea shark, sea stars and many others, a total of 60 sea and ocean creatures. As for the dolphinarium, we heard an interesting story about it from the locals. A few years ago, after the old dolphinarium was dismantled to give way to a modern one, rumors spread across the town that dolphins for the new facility came from the Black Sea despite the international ban on catching Black Sea dolphins. Later, it was revealed that in reality the new tenants of the facility came from Japan! No wonder then that their transportation took 14 hours. During the transportation, the seven dolphins were placed in special containers. Their safety on plane was insured by means of artificial micro-climate.

Summon desire, courage, add equipment and you can instantly find yourself hovering over the bottom of the sea and watching magic scenes of the undersea. Watching, photographing and hunting for sea creatures in their natural environment generate unique feelings and emotions. Undersea caves, ancient town remains and sunken ships attract many adventurists. By the way, the Black Sea is seen as one of the most interesting areas after the Mediterranean Sea in terms of marine archaeology. For instance, near Bobokvati (the village located in Kobuleti municipality of Ajara) archaeologists found remains of the ancient town that existed in VII-VI centuries BC. In 90s of the last century, fisherman’s net caught intact amphora in the Batumi-Tsikhisdziri section. Specialists assumed that the earthenware belonged to the goods transported by an antic ship nearby.

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