Batumi is one of the oldest cities in Georgia founded as early as BC. Its initial form – Batus – had already been mentioned in the 4th century BC. The name must have derived from the Greek word meaning ‘deep’. Aristotle (4th c BC) Pliny (2nd c AD) and others called the place “Pontus Bathea”. In antique times the local population used to have active trade relations with the neighboring as well as distant countries. During the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (2nd c AD) there used to be a Roman military camp on the territory of present Batumi.
Batumi has always been distinguished by favorable natural and strategic location. From 18th century Batumi was under the Ottoman rule. After the Turkish-Russian war of 1877-1878 and the consideration the Berlin Treaty Batumi became the inseparable constituent part of Georgia. In 1878-1886 Batumi Port was announced as “Porto Franco” that fostered the further development of the city. After the construction of Baku – Batumi railway system (1883), reconstruction of the Batumi port and connection to Baku via pipelines (1897-1907) Batumi became an important sea terminal along the Black Sea littoral. The Caspian Sea oil products were transferred from this location to other countries. In 1918 and 1920 the city was governed by the Ottomans and the British respectively.
Interesting historical past has considerably preconditioned architectural diversity of Batumi (a number of interesting projects were accomplished by European architects during the Porto Franco period). During the soviet and post-soviet times it was also turned into a popular seaport and tourist city.
Batumi is distinguished by a seacoast humid subtropical climate. Winters are cold, without snow and summers are warm to hot. The average annual temperature is 15 C, 7 C in January and 23 C in August. Annual precipitation is 2.560 mm. Relative humidity is 81%. There are frequent showers. It rarely snows but melts very soon. The average annual water temperature is 17 C at the shore. Cool breezes blowing from the sea moderate the temperature in the summer. A small natural lake is located in Batumi in the 6 May Park. Various types of subtropical plants are spread throughout in Batumi and its vicinities. There are many cultivated parks, tea plantations and citrus plantations. Indigenous Colchis natural trees and shrubs have still been preserved in select areas around the region.
Most Georgians do not use central heating so although the day temperature can be warm, bring warm clothes for sleeping at night.
Local cuisine is distinguished by its diversity and cooking technology, table-laying and relevant rituals. It has always been complemented with fruit, viticulture and bee keeping products as well as local fish. There are almost 150 types of dishes registered in the region. The cuisine has numerous Asian influences. Dairy products are prevalent in the highlands. The most popular local dishes are: borano (cheese melted in butter), chirbuli (breakfast with eggs and walnut) and sinori (a dish with cottage curds and dough plates). Batumi is unimaginable without Ajarian khachapuri distinguished first of all by its shape. It resembles a boat while an egg yolk inside represents the sun. Varieties of local sweet pastry are also famous, especially baklava and shakarlama (sugar pastry).