Though Georgians are plenty proud of their entire country, there’s a special place in their hearts for the Black Sea region of Adjara. Sitting right next door to Turkey, the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, as the area is officially known, is a land of pristine beaches, high mountains and amazing food. Although Adjara is on the coast of the so-called Black Sea the waters in the area are azure blue, and very very warm. Swimming season in Adjara lasts from May well into October, sometimes longer, while July and August are tourist season. The capital of Adjara is Batumi. With laid back streets lined with palm trees and gorgeous 19th century architecture, it feels more like the Caribbean than Eastern Europe. Boasting cinemas, theatres and museums, an Opera House and Circus, as well as the longest Boulevard in Europe (all of which has free wi-fi access). Adjara is a 19th century resort brought firmly into the modern age, CNN has described the last few years in Batumi as a “miracle”, with big international names like Sheraton and Hayatt helping the economic transformation of the city. Nightclubs, bars, beautiful gardens and amusement parks, tiny boutique shops and cafés mean that there’s always a good time to be had in Batumi. Batumi has always been a highly diverse place. One hundred years ago the town hosted one of the worlds first oil pipelines, owned by the Nobel brothers, and since then it has attracted people from all over Georgia, as well as Jews, Armenians, Russians, Greeks and Turks.
Being right next to Turkey, some Adjarians are Muslims, and Batumi features a charming Ottoman era mosque right in the middle of the old town. The subtropical Adjaran mountains are hypnotically beautiful. Orange, tangerine and lemon groves, beautiful orchards, forests, mountain streams and waterfalls make the entire region truly breathtaking. The mountains, which reach over 3000 meters, are home to dozens of mineral water springs, charming wooden villages and medieval bridges. Fifteen percent of Adjara is made up of protected areas, in three separate reserves. The protected ecosystems include zones of temperate rainforest, coastal wetlands and peat bogs. Adjara is a multi-national region, as evidenced by
the abundance of different places of worship. Orthodox, Catholic and Armenian churches stand cheek by jowl in Batumi, along with a Synagogue and a mosque. For so long a major trading hub, Adjara has ancient populations of Pontic Greeks, as well as Armenians, Russians, Ukrainians, Azerbaijanis, Jews and Turks. No matter who your hosts are, though, guests are treated with immense hospitality by the locals, who preserve ancient songs and traditional dances that haven’t changed in centuries.