Why Georgia’s Black Sea Coast Is the Ultimate Summer Getaway
Move over French Riviera, we’re heading to the beach in Georgia this summer.
In the Caucasus mountain range on the Eurasian continent between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, Georgia shares borders with Azerbaijan, Turkey, Armenia, and Russia. Its intense and varied history includes influences from both Eastern Europe and Western Asia, which is evident in its cities, architecture, religion, art, and music. In spite of these outside influences and multiple invasions over the millennia, Georgia remains fiercely unique and unlike any other country in Europe or Asia. West Georgia’s four Black Sea regions include Ajara, Guria, Samegrelo and the breakaway region, Abkhazia, which is now controlled by Russia. While Tbilisi and the Caucasus Mountains seem to take precedence on the world tourism stage, the Black Sea area of Georgia has a charm all its own and is ready for the spotlight.
Guria’s subtropical climate and rolling hills make it ideal for tea growing. Though Georgia cannot claim a long past of tea production, the industry was established in the nineteenth century when Prince Mika Eristavi smuggled tea seeds out of China. The Russians had a voracious thirst for tea and Georgia supplied it throughout the Empire and the Soviet Union. The tea industry suffered post-Soviet collapse, but recent investments are funding the restoration of the plantations with wonderful results.
Ancient Colchis was well known in the classical world, by Greeks and Romans alike. History buffs will very much enjoy visiting the Roman Fortress at Gonio, 15 km from Batumi. Its construction dates back to the late Roman period and is a testament to the ingenuity and eternal nature of Roman construction. The fortress was built as a military outpost for defensive purposes and it is now a State museum that allegedly contains the grave of Saint Matthew.