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General Information about Ajara

One of the most beautiful regions in Georgia, Ajara is situated in southwest Georgia on the Black Sea coastline. Turkey borders Ajara to the south.

Batumi—the “Pearl of the Black Sea” as it is often called—is located in Ajara. European architects undertook numerous projects in Batumi at the beginning of the 20th cent. Today, Batumi is still a place of numerous architectural innovations.

Ajara’s visitors especially admire the region’s pristine and unaltered nature. The region is particularly intriguing for eco tourists.

1. Beaches in Ajara
Ajara is home to the picturesque beaches of Batumi, Kvariati, Sarpi, Gonio, Tsikhisdziri, Mtsvane Kontskhi (the Green Cape) and Kobuleti. During the summertime, the beaches are often crowded with tourists enjoying their holidays. The beaches in Ajara offer well developed infrastructure and feature fresh and healthy air.

2. Old Batumi
One of the oldest cities in Georgia, Batumi was founded before the Common Era. The initial settlement, Batus, is mentioned in texts that date back to the 4th century BCE. Batumi’s interesting historical past has considerably influenced the architectural diversity of city (a number of projects were completed by European architects during the Porto Franco period). Historical part of old Batumi is stretched between Batumi seaport and Boulevard and features distinctive facades and balconies.

3. Batumi Boulevard
The famous Prussian gardener and landscape architect Ressler initially began the construction of Batumi Boulevard in 1881. Two years after the project began, Ressler passed away and Michael D’alfons, a French architect, completed the boulevard. Recently, a Spanish architect designed and constructed a new, modern addition for the boulevard. As a result, the boulevard’s area has increased to a 7 km stretch. The coastal line of the boulevard has been beatified with bungalows, café-lounges, restaurants, children’s attractions, benches, sculptures and dancing fountains—making it one of the city’s most attractive tourist destinations.

4. Batumi Botanical Garden
Boasting one of the widest varieties of flora in the world, Batumi Botanical Garden was established in 1912 by the prominent botanist and geographer Andrey Krasnov. The garden is 111 hectares and contains flora from nine phyto-geographic areas: East Asia, North America, New Zealand, South America, the Himalayas, Mexico, Australia, the Mediterranean, and the Caucasian humid subtropics. Visitors can go through the botanical garden by foot or by carts, which can be rented from the garden’s administration.

5. Dolphinarium
Located within May 6 Park, the Batumi Dolphinarium is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in Batumi. The dolphin show is offered in three languages. With its construction beginning in 1881, May 6 Park is one of Georgia’s oldest public parks. In addition to the Dolphinarium, May 6 Park has an aquarium, zoo and amusement rides for children. The park also sells tickets for a relaxing boat tour on Nurigeli Lake.

6. Piazza Batumi
Piazza Batumi is one of the most beautiful squares in Georgia. There are several hotels and café restaurants located on Piazza Batumi. In just a few short years, the square has become a popular international entertainment venue. In recent years, it has hosted the concerts of famous Georgian and foreign performers, including Placido Domingo, Chris Botti, Sting, Macy Grey, Michel Legrand and Tamar Gverdtsiteli.

7. Entertaining Center and Batumi Cable Car Argo
Entertaining Center Argo is located on 250 meters high from the sea level. The complex offers spectacular views of the town, the Black Sea and the surrounding mountains. The center comprises restaurants, cafes, retail shops, open air halls, podium and roof terraces as well.
Entertaining center also includes the cable car as the main connecting line with the town. Visitors use the telfer to reach the Argo.

8. Gonio-Apsaros Fortress
Gonio-Apsaros Fortress is located 12 km south to Batumi, on the left bank of the River Chorokhi. One of the Georgia’s most ancient settlements was located around this fortress. Due to its strategic location, Gonio Fortress became a supporting citadel first for the Romans and later to the Byzantians and Ottomans along the eastern Black Sea coastline. Respectively, the fortress has several layers: the Roman layer (3rd-4th cc BCE), the Byzantine layer (6th-7th cc CE) and the Ottoman layer (16th c CE). The history of Gonio-Apsaros fortress has ties to the myth of Jason and the Argonauts. According to the legend, King Aeetes buried his son Apsaros, who was killed by Jason as he fled, in the territory of Gonio. In addition, according to some sources, Mathias, one of 12 disciples of Jesus Christ, is believed to be buried there. There is also a museum inside the fortress.

9. Makhuntseti Waterfall
Makhuntseti waterfall is located in Keda Municipality, on 335 meters above the sea level. Near the waterfall several picnic sites are available for visitors. While visiting the waterfall it is also possible to see nearby tourist attractions and interesting places: ancient arch stone bridge “Makhuntseti Bridge”, Ajarian Wine house and private wine cellars scattered around Keda Municipality.

10. Skhalta Monastery
Skhalta Monastery is located in Khulo Municipality, the highest mountainous part of Ajara. The main building of the complex is Skhalta Virgin Church. It is a single-nave hall-like church. Judging from its artistic and stylistic peculiarities, it is speculated that Skhalta Monastery was built during the mid-13th cent. The churches distinguished frescoes were painted during the 14th and 15th centuries.

Technical information about Ajara
Ajara operates as an autonomous republic in Georgia and has its own flag and coat of arms.
Administrative center: Batumi
Administrative units: Kobuleti, Khelvachauri, Keda, Shuakhevi and Khulo
Urban population: 48%
Area: 2,900 km2 (4,2% of the country’s total area)
Total length of the border: 270 km, coastal border-57 km
Population: approx. 400,000 (82% Georgians)