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Batumi - A view from our expert author
© Artur Synenko, Shutterstock
Georgia’s liveliest town, this port and seaside resort is the country’s most up-and-coming development.
Batumi, with its sheltered natural harbour, existed as a Greek trading colony by the start of the 2nd century BC at the latest. Under Turkish rule it was never anything more than a tiny fishing village, but once the Russians arrived in 1878 it began a very rapid development. Now it’s a city of around 130,000 people, and handles a great deal of trade with Turkey, both by land and sea. Its name is probably derived from the Greek words bathys limen (deep harbour).
Attracted by favourable incentives and low land prices, a building boom has been under way in the city since 2009, particularly along Ninoshvili, Rustaveli and around Evropus Moedani (Europe Square). A brand new Sheraton hotel now dominates the city skyline and there are even plans for the American mogul Donald Trump to co-finance, with the Silk Road Group, the building of a Georgian ‘Trump Tower’ development here (or in Tbilisi, or in both cities) in the near future. It would seem that if President Saakishvili’s vision of Georgia becoming the Switzerland of the Caucasus with ‘elements of Singapore’ is successful then Batumi is earmarked to become the Black Sea region’s Dubai (perhaps with a dash of Atlantic City).