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Must See Historical Places to visit in Batumi - Argo Cable Car

Must See Historical Places to Visit in Batumi

27 May, 2024

Must See Historical Places to visit in Batumi

If you decide to travel to Adjara, you have to check out the historical places to visit in Batumi. A city as old as Batumi has quite a diverse and rich history. Therefore, the sights of the city have also been affected by this. Over the centuries, Batumi was under the influence of various great empires. It became a tourist city during the Soviet Union.

History has equally left its mark on every part of the city. Below you will find those 10 places you need to see when you visit Batumi.

Old Batumi

Old Batumi is the historical centre of the city. It will best show the authenticity of the city to its visitors. The most active phase of the city’s development took place in the last few decades. Despite that, the pre-existing buildings and historical landmarks aren’t less important or beautiful.

You will find buildings of many architectural styles in old Batumi, which adds a special flare to the city. Old buildings are mostly low here - two to three stories high. Their appearance has been well preserved and they clearly allow you to imagine what Batumi would’ve looked liked 50 or even 100 years ago. New buildings are multi-storied and more modern. You will often see buildings that have towers or domes on the top floor. You will frequently come across buildings built during the Soviet Union as well. The former railway station is quite outstanding and you have a chance to see it in old Batumi.

Along with the architecture, we should note how green this part of the city is. The harmony of nature and buildings gives the city a much more beautiful appearance.

Gonio Fortress

Gonio Fortress

The historical fortress of the 1st century AD is located in Gonio, Khelvachauri Municipality. Many legends and myths are connected to this place. According to one of them, King Ayet buried his son, Apsaroz here, who was killed by the fugitive Jason. People also say that one of Christ’s apostles - Matthias - may also be buried here. According to the locals, one of the tributaries of river Chorokhi flowed next to the fortress and the river had a navigable value.

The structure of the fortress is complex and has a lot of towers and add-ons. Since the 1st century the building has gone through a number of restorations, which is indicated by the presence of different layers in the walls of the fence. The inner layers are made of straight, large stones and the top layers are made of uneven cobblestones. The evidence of Byzantine and Genoese restoration works and buildings of the 1-3 century have been found.

You can also visit the museum-reserve in Gonio Fortress, which has been operating since 2010. You can see a plethora of ancient exhibits and relax in the nature there.

Statue of Medea

The statue of Medea is located in Batumi, on Europe Square. It was opened in 2007 and since then has attracted a lot of tourists. The statue of a beautiful woman is dedicated to one of the heroes of Greek mythology, Medea, who was a healer and a pharmacist of her time. She is the youngest daughter of the king of Kolkheti, Ayet.

According to the legend, Medea fell in love with Jason, the leader of the Argonauts, and helped him steal the Golden Fleece from Kolkheti. The golden fleece was associated with prosperity for the locals, and stealing it equalled receiving the royal throne for Jason.

The statue is adorned with gold details and Medea is holding a golden ram in her hands. Surrounded by the architecture of the 19-20th century, visitors to the square will not be left indifferent by this outstanding statue.

Cable Car and Entertainment Centre “Argo”

Cable Car “Argo” has been open for more than a decade and is still a popular place for both tourists and locals. The upper station of the cable car is located at 256 meters above sea level, where you can enjoy a beautiful view overlooking Batumi. The journey takes 15 minutes, which allows you to perceive the beauty of Batumi's landscapes in a more relaxed fashion.

You will find a viewing deck at the top of the cable car 'Argo'. From there, a beautiful landscape of the city, the sea and the port unfolds. It is worth noting, that there are several binoculars mounted on the deck 256 meters above sea level, and you can take a look at the desired place in more detail.

The fact that the upper station of the cable car takes on a shape of a deck is not a coincidence. It looks similar to the aforementioned 'Argonauts' ship and allows visitors to imagine themselves as part of their mission. Such connection with mythology gives the place a fairytale-like charm and attracts more tourists.

Upper station of “Argo”

It is worth noting, that this place has a historical significance as well. The upper station of “Argo” is located on Mount Anuria, where Anaria fort used to be. It had a dual purpose:

  • protecting the city from the land
  • Movement observation post at sea.

The fort is especially famous as the site of the Anaria Fort battle. The battle took place in 1918, when the Georgian army was still in the process of formation, and due to disorganization, the Ottomans managed to take this place. Approximately 100 soldiers heroically defended the fort, but all of them died in the battle.

Batumi Mosque

The local mosque was deservedly included in the list of historical places to visit in Batumi. In a predominantly Christian country, the mosque is a clear example of multiculturalism and several traditions living in perfect harmony. The mosque is located on Kutaisi Street and was built in 1866, during the Ottoman rule. This can partially be explained by how close the old Ottoman border was to Adjara.

The mosque attracts people with its tall minaret, even from afar. The minaret is white in color and the dome is golden. There are alternating rectangular and round windows on the facade of the mosque. Crescent moons can be seen above the round windows, which is one of the main symbols of Islam. It should also be noted that the interior was painted by Lazi masters and their work creates a wonderful spectacle in a single large space.

From opening to 1935 the mosque actively functioned as a place people prayed at. In 1935 it was converted into a military warehouse and remained like that until 1946, when it got its original use back.

Batumi Synagogue

Batumi Synagogue

The mosques isn’t the only place that speaks of the cultural diversity of Batumi. You can also visit the local synagogue. It was built in 1904 at the request of local Jews. They appealed to the ruler of Russia at the time, Nicholas II, and requested permission to build a synagogue. Permission was soon granted and architect Semyon Vulkovich built it.

In Soviet Union rule, the original use of the synagogue was taken away and it was utilized for many different purposes. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the local Jewish community got it back and it is still used as a place for prayers.

It doesn't matter if you are a Jew or not. If you are interested in places to visit in Batumi, we really recommend visiting the synagogue. You will get to know the local history and different cultures better this way.

Batumi Lighthouse

Batumi Lighthouse

Have you ever seen a port city without a lighthouse? Probably not. Batumi is no exception. The lighthouse was built in 1863 and was originally a mere cast-iron column with a diopter lamp. Over time, there was a need to update the building. Therefore, its reconstruction began.

In 1882, French constructors remodeled the lighthouse. The cast-iron column was turned into a straight stone column, and on top of it a tower was added for installing the lighting device. Since then, local meteorological and rescue stations functioned in the one-story wings of the lighthouse.

The lighthouse is a face of a coastal city and it is not only functional, but also serves as a tourist attraction. It is quite close to the city center and other must-see places. So, if you decide to visit this historical building, you will definitely not be disappointed.

Batumi Cathedral

Batumi Cathedral

After seeing the mosque and the synagogue, you must see the Christian temple as well. Batumi Cathedral of the mother of God is one of the most outstanding places in the list of historical places to visit in Batumi. It does not look like an ordinary Orthodox church, because it is built in a neo-Gothic style. The different design reminds you of famous European cathedrals rather than a traditional Orthodox church.

The church was built in 1897 by the Zubalashvili brothers. It has a distinctive architecture and design, which creates an interesting experience for tourists. During the Soviet Union rule, just like other shrines, the Cathedral of the Mother of God lost its original purpose. Sometimes it was used as an archive, sometimes as a high-voltage laboratory. However, in the end, it was returned to the Georgian Orthodox Church.

In 1989, the Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia, Ilia II, blessed the temple. A christening ceremony was also held, where 5,000 people got christened. The cathedral fulfills its functional purpose to this day and is the main cathedral of the Eparchy of Lazeti.

“Petra” Fortress

“Petra” Fortress

Another wonderful place to visit in Adjara is the 'Petra' Fortress. It is located near Batumi, in Tsikhisdziri, and has a centuries-old history. Upon arrival, you feel like you are on the set of a movie. The mystical atmosphere and the feeling of fantasy are defined by the location of the ruins of the fortress.

'Petra' Fortress was located on a rocky hill by the sea. Although a road passes very close to it now, centuries ago it was considered an impenetrable fortress. As a result of the archaeological excavations, it was established that there were buildings of various purposes on the site, including: a palace, a bathhouse and even a cathedral dating back to the VI-VII centuries. For Western Georgia, the prison had a significant political role.

According to the legend, a small fortress was in the place of the “Petra” fortress, trases of which no longer exist. In the 6th century, due to the favorable geographical and political location, the fortress was built by order of Emperor Justinian. 'Petra' is the Byzantine name of the fortress, and in Georgian it was called the 'Kajeti' fortress. According to experts, this place is the fortress mentioned in 'the Knight in the Panther’s Skin'.

Since the 20th century, many archaeological excavations have been carried out on the territory of the fortress. A museum-reserve was established in 1989 to display the discovered exhibits. A number of samples from different eras are presented in the museum. Among them are: mosaic fragments, ceramic items, numismatic samples, etc. After visiting the museum, you can relax in the territory of the nature reserve and enjoy the beautiful views from the hill.

Cafe “Octopus”

Cafe “Octopus”

Cafe 'Octopus' also known as 'Fantasy' is one of the most interesting architectural works that you will see in Batumi. The building is not only a cafe, but also a sculpture. 'Octopus' is located in Batumi Boulevard and was built in 1975. It was very popular from the day it was opened and even had Turkish coffee and ice cream on the menu.

The structure has an iron frame and is decorated with different colored mosaics and smalt. According to Giorgi Chakhava, one of the architects, the inspiration behind the design was the individualism of different parts of Georgia. Other marine creatures placed on the octopus are also decorated with mosaics. Among them are the dolphins, the symbol of Batumi.

Since year 2000, everyone's favorite 'Octopus' has been closed, and this, to some extent, caused damage to the appearance of the building. According to the public opinion, the octopus was so damaged that restoring it was completely impossible. The matter was complicated by the fact that 'Hilton' had decided to redevelop the surrounding area. Many thought that this meant dismantling the octopus forever.

Cafe “Octopus”

Despite everything, the restorative work for the octopus began in 2018 and it was officially opened a year later. In 2020, the Adjara Cultural Heritage Protection Agency officially approved 'Octopus' as a cultural heritage monument. You have to see this strange and colorful sculpture. The cute octopus and his little friends will leave an unforgettable impression on you and, especially, your children.