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Dubai in Georgian: how Batumi has changed over several decades

The content of the article:

  • A bit of history 
  • Places of Batumi that have appeared in movies
  • Saakashvili's breakthrough
  • The city of dreams in Adjara: prospects for the development of Batumi in 2024

The summer capital of Georgia is exactly what the locals call the city of Batumi, located on the eastern shore of the Black Sea. Its history goes back centuries. Known in ancient times, the peninsula on which the city is located was an important strategic object, representing a kind of "gateway to the sea". And today, despite the political and cultural changes experienced, the city has become a conductor of globalization.

As part of the Soviet Union, Batumi became a city that "lit up" in popular films of that time. Especially famous were "Love and Doves" by V.Menshov (cafe Fantasia, dolphinarium and Botanical Garden) and "Twelve Chairs" by L. Gaidai (meeting of Bender and Kislarsky in a restaurant by the sea). At that time, many famous cinematographers visited the city. And every film shot here, regardless of its popularity and scale, carries a piece of this extraordinary city. 

Batumi remains an important cultural center of the country today, where international film festivals are held, theatrical and musical productions are created, to which a large number of art lovers come. And in general, the city conquers with its "architectural madness": on the one hand — small squat houses of different eras, and on the other — space skyscrapers. During the reign of President Mikheil Saakashvili, the city was significantly transformed. The President has conceived a fundamentally new look for the city. And, focusing on the architectural sights of Europe, he tried to recreate his "Piazza", "Gaudi" and his "Las Vegas" with a huge number of casinos. Needless to say, Misha (as the locals still call the former president) made a great contribution to the Europeanization of the city of Batumi. Interestingly, the Georgians reacted calmly to all the innovations and transformations. Perhaps because the original appearance of some buildings has been preserved to this day. Perhaps because the city has undergone many changes over the centuries, and such "follies" do not surprise it. And perhaps because today, thanks to such an architectural flavor, Batumi attracts an increasing number of curious tourists. In general, Batumi is truly amazing, it is not for nothing that it is compared with the same miracle of the Arab world — Dubai.

There are many places in Batumi that you want to visit again and again:

The seaside promenade, about 10 km long, with sculptures and fountains along its perimeter;
The central square of Batumi Piazza, where you can see the town with Prague Towers, expensive boutiques and hotels are located on its territory, as well as the famous Mimino restaurant, owned by Kikabidze himself;
The astronomical clock is another attraction that amazes even seasoned tourists. There are only a few such watches in the world. And they are unusual in that, in addition to time, they show the lunar phases, the sides of the horizon and even the signs of the zodiac; 
The Theater square with the main fountain of the city is one of the most beautiful and visited places in Batumi. The fountain undoubtedly resembles a replica of the world famous fountain in Bologna. But this is Batumi, which makes it more interesting to consider the gilded statue of Neptune standing on a pedestal surrounded by beautiful mermaids;
The Old City conquers with its "Park of Wonders", where the Batumi Lighthouse, the Ferris wheel and the Alphabet Tower are located; 
The moving sculpture "Ali and Nino". Its creation was based on an ancient legend about the love of two young people of different nationalities: Georgian Nino and Azerbaijani Ali. In 10 minutes, their iron images merge and diverge, as if showing the whole tragedy of their feelings;
The beautiful beach of Batumi is not sandy, pebbly, but accessible to everyone, as it is free. And the city is within walking distance, so there is no need to worry about how to get to the hotel in the evening. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available for rent all over the beach at an affordable price.

Definitely, there are no people indifferent to the Black Sea city of Adjara. Its international recognition is also growing, which affects the flow of tourists and a twofold increase in income in this area. The city also attracts Western investors who want to relocate their business in Georgia. In this regard, the authorities have launched the City of Dreams program since 2023: at the first stage of the implementation of this program, 582 families were provided with social housing, and the government allocates GEL 17 million for the construction of the second stage. In addition to the "City of Dreams", the State Target program "Batumi without emergency houses" was launched in 2023, which will continue its purpose in 2024. The goal of this program is to solve the housing problems of more than 3,000 families. Also, a large amount of funds (GEL 8.1 million) is allocated for the launch of new programs in the field of healthcare: infertility treatment, oncosurgery and cardiac surgery, which will be funded by the state. The educational infrastructure is also expanding: New schools and kindergartens in the region are being built and renovated. It is planned to open 5 specialized art schools. GEL 4.1 million will be allocated for this in 2024.

A student dormitory designed for 1,000 people will be built in Batumi. And thanks to the rural entrepreneurship development program, more than 13 successful projects have been funded. The gasification of mountainous Adjara, in turn, opens up natural gas access to more than 10,000 homes. Funds are also allocated for the restoration of monuments of historical and cultural heritage, as well as important infrastructure projects are being implemented: the construction of the embankment, asphalt pavement in 17 directions.

Adjarabet Arena is a special pride for all Batumians, which corresponds to the category IV of the UEFA standard and is recognized as one of the best in the world. The construction of the stadium cost Georgia 141 million lari (about 44 million dollars). And now the state is faced with the task of building a 14-kilometer asphalt road to bypass Batumi, since currently the only road passes through a tourist residential area, which hinders the movement of international transport. With the opening of the Batumi bypass road, the resort area of Adjara will be significantly unloaded, which will also affect the increase in the flow of tourists.

However, the stadium and the construction of the motorway are not the most expensive projects in Batumi. In 2022, a project with the status of "special importance" was launched. This is the construction of an archipelago of artificial islands off the coast of Batumi, which will be like the Dubai Palm Islands. The Ambassador Batumi Island company received about 90 hectares of marine water area on the outskirts of Batumi, near the railway station, for the construction of this facility. The volume of investments is about $ 100 million. According to this project, about a hundred villas and a hotel with 500 rooms, various shopping malls, educational institutions, yacht clubs and another stunning promenade will be built on the islands.

The fact that, frankly speaking, reveals the soul of the Georgian people even more, the government allocates GEL 18.1 million for social assistance: free canteens for those in need and overnight accommodation for the homeless. Additionally, 478 thousand lari will be allocated for the care of stray animals.

What a cherry on the cake! Let's reveal one more news: a request has been submitted to the architecture of the Batumi City Hall from Turkish businessman Emin Uchar for the construction of a multifunctional complex in the Kakhaberi district. It is assumed that the complex will consist of seven high—rise buildings with a maximum number of floors - up to 50, including residential, commercial, hotel, entertainment and green areas. Thus, Batumi will have huge achievements in 2024, which will naturally attract even more people who want to visit and get to know this “crazy” city.


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