After a long time, I take my annual leave and go to Batum, my first destination in Georgia. At 23.30, I take the Metro bus and start off from Samsun. We are at the border at 7.30 in the morning. The bus crosses to the Georgian side of the border in only 15 minutes without being held on in the Turkish side of the border. After crossing to the Georgian side, you pass through a X-Ray machine with your luggage, get your passport stamped and wait for the bus to cross the border. Your waiting time depends on the density at the border. About 30 minutes later comes the bus and I put my luggage into the trunk back. But there are noone in the bus. Everyone must be booked their tickets only for the border. It should be cheaper. :)
Relatives are there to welcome some of the passengers who got off at the border. And some of them take the minibuses waiting at the border and travel to Batum or other cities. You can also come to the border and keep going to Batum by minibus or taxi. Minibuses cost 2 Laris. If you take a taxi, the driver adjusts the fee as 50 Laris, since you are a foreigner. You have to bargain. :)[/vc_column_text]
The bus driver takes it easy since there are noone inthe bus besides me. We take a break at the gas station. He fills the tank up. After all, the oil is almost free. He offers me a coffee and asks if I m in a hurry or not. After travelling for 20-25 minutes, I ask him where to get off and he drops me off in a central location close to my hotel.
It is my first time in Batum and I am searching for Hostel Cash that I reserved on Booking.com. I ask a few people in the streets and find the hostel. It is in a central location and pretty cheap. I recommend it to the travelers with back-packs. I take a tour of Batum streets after I leave my things. By the way, the time in Batum is one hour ahead of ours. If you want to change your money, the rate is around 2.50 at the border. If you want to have some money when you get off the bus, you may change about 10 dollars. In the Batum city center, the rate is higher. It is about 2.55.
After leaving my luggage at the hostel, I go out to explore the streets of Batum. Since I did not change my money at the border, I change some of them first and begin to tour in order to visit the places which I planned before.
Places to visit in Batum:
- Batum Boulevard
- Alphabet Tower
- Museum of Art
- Batum Botanical Park
- Piazza Square
- Middle Mosque
- Batum Orthodox Church
- Ali and Nido Sculptures
- Batum Lighthouse
- Batum cityscape with Telpher
My first destinations are Batum Boulevard and the coast. After that, I visit Museum of Art, Middle Mosque and Cathedral. Time goes by quickly.
It is the heart of Batum. To see all the beauties and the hustle of the city center, you have to walk along the 7 km long, palmy boulevard which is in parallel with the beach. There are cafes, fountains and parks. This beautiful boulevard started to be built by Ressler, German botanic expert and landscape architect, in 1881. Then it was completed by French architect Michael D’alfons.
Museum of Art
I decided to visit this museum after seeing it on the drive. There are really beautiful pieces of art. If you have a little bit of interest, I recommend you to visit it. Furthermore, the entrance is free.
It is the most touristic place of the city. You can have a rest in the places around the pool in the square in the hot summer times. There is a woman scuplture which is strong, beautiful and looks down on everyone. Yes, I m referring to the Medea scuplture. This sculture was built for 1,5 million Laris. She holds a golden sheep skin in her hand. In mythology, Medea is one of the biggest sorcerer, an expert of producing medicine and poison in ancient world. She has been worshipped as Earth and Moon goddess.
This tower may be one of the symbols of Batum. It was built between 2010 and 2012 and is 130 meters high. You can see 4 meters long 33 letters easily on top of the tower.
Sculpture of Love (Ali and Nino)
The sculpture on the beach was built by Georgian sculptor Tamara Kvesitadze in 2007. This 7 meter high sculpture explains the love between Azerbaijani man Ali and Georgian girl Nino. Every evening at 7 o’clock, it begins to move. It takes 10 minutes for 2 metal sculptures to merge. In the darkness, colorful spotlights are directed towards these sculptures and thus can this work of art shine out.
Middle Mosque which was built in the Ottoman era towards the end of 19. century, is the only Muslim temple in Batum. It is decorated by colorful motives. There are Turkish restaurants on the both sides of the street.
Batum Orthodox Church
The church which was built betweetn 1898 and 1902, catches attention with its Gothic architecture. If you are lucky, you may see a wedding. I return to the hostel to have a little rest. I have a headache, because I could not sleep much in the bus. Sleeping for a few hours will be fine. After sleeping, I go out to see Batum in the evening.
My first destination is the Telpher. You climb up to 2650 meters high with cabins for 8 people. There is an observation deck that allows you to view Batum. Batum is under your feet. On one hand, there are high-rise hotels, casinos and on the other hand there are ruined houses of poor people. After spending some time in the observation deck, I climb down by telpher.
Under the telpher, there is a restaurant which is open round-the-clock. If you get hungry in the middle of the night, you may remember this. There is a menu in English in the restaurant. You can give your order easily. And I order Khinkali, Georgian patty. There are many options such as with meat, vegetables or potato. If you want to taste different Khinkalis, you can order mixed one. After eating many different Georgian patties, I pay the bill. The price looks reasonable. It is 20 Laris. I recommend you to tip, because as I see in many places in Batum, they add %10 to the bill, if you don’t tip.
After eating, I begin to tour the coast. You can see a clock tower near the coast, similar to the one in İzmir. After the clock tower, I head off to another tower which is Astrological Clock Tower.
Astrological Clock Tower
There is an astrological clock tower in Batum, similar to the one in Prag. It is located in the old Georgian Central Bank building on the Memed Abashidzade Avenue. It is famous for its showing of Zodiac star clusters and planets and for its reflecting of all features of the month. It s also famous for its various melodies.
2 streets away from Astrological Clock Tower, there are Piazza Square and Piazza Hotel. You can see the gold-colored tower in the square from distance easily. A puppet comes out of the clock hourly and it plays music. There are a nice restaurant and a bar under the tower. I drink my beer and spend some time in the bar named Woman Pubs. The prices are cheaper compared to Turkey. 400 ml2 of beer costs 7 Laris.
Batum Botanical Garden
I could not visit the botanical garden because of time lag. It is 10 km away from the city. If you have an opportunity, I recommend you to visit there. It is one of the biggest botanical gardens in the world. It began to be built in 1880s by planting the plants, especially from Southern France. In this botanical garden, there are more than 5000 plant types from different climates, 2000 of them are trees.
I return to the hotel, exhausted from the way and the day. Tomorrow at 08:00 o’clock, I will visit Kutaisi, the old Georgian capital city.