Afternoon free walking tour in Batumi

Upon arriving to Batumi from Kutaisi I dropped my bag off to the accommodation for next two nights. It was a rush so I e-mailed to the Batumi tour that I'd like to join their 17.00 tour but might run few minutes late.

Batumi walking tour times and starting point

Batumi Free Tours runs two tours in Batumi daily. At 17.00 in English and at 18.00 in Russian.

This is accurate as of 30th of May 2020. You can see up-to-date info on their website at batumifreetours.com.

They responded to my e-mail fast that it's not an issue. Great!

On the way I grabbed a coffee from first store by the road and hurried to the starting point by Argo cable car station.

Upon arriving to Batumi from Kutaisi I dropped my bag off to the accommodation for next two nights. It was a rush so I e-mailed to the Batumi tour that I'd like to join their 17.00 tour but might run few minutes late.

They responded fast that it's not an issue. Great! On the way I grabbed a coffee from first store by the road and hurried to the starting point.

Let's get started!

Each visitor was asked to say where they're from. There were a few people from Kutaisi tour's group too so we greeted each other.

Then guide asked us to gather and took a group photo for socials. At the end of tour they asked us to tag and share.

 

Safety brief

Tour started with a safety brief.

Do make eye contact with drivers before crossing busy streets.

Do not make eye contact with children on street. They are often looking for people to extort candy or money from - and the nicest way possible. They can cling to legs and be loud, maybe even cry until heart softens. I experienced it on next day when they tried to approach me. I ignored eye contact and they left me alone. Phew.

Do not look to dogs eyes. This is making a promise to them and they'll follow you in hopes of getting fed. This explained a lot.

One dog joined our group for a few minutes. Seeing that no attention is given, this pooch left us and moved on to other dog things in Batumi.

Batumi and Adjara facts learned

  • Batumi is second largest city in Georgia. The largest in Tbilisi and third largest about half way between is Kutaisi.
  • Batumi has been under Ottoman rule and re-captured by Georgian armies several times through history. But city status was gained in 1878 under Russian rule. Afer the end of World War 1, Batumi officially became part of Georgia in 1920.
  • In 2010 it was estimated that 123 500 people live in the city. Currently Batumi has a population of 155 000 people and city is growing fast.
  • In Adjara region where Batumi is, about 30% people are muslim.

Turkish district

Minutes after starting the tour we walked through Turkish district and guide stopped us by only mosque in Batumi, telling us why there are grape wines at the door.

The area itself felt... certainly more Turkish and different from Georgian cities. People were little bit more... curiously aggressive and social than I remember from Kutaisi.

The moment I stopped to photograph street, local restaurant workers approached me and I was just steps away from our group.  I managed to get a photo with less people at third try.

There were also kiwis growing on trees by a hotel. (!!!)

Batumi streets have signs pointing to tourist attractions so getting lost in the city center is quite difficult. But hah, not impossible!

Stop at Batumi Piazza square

Piazza square in Batumi is one of the city's landmarks. Why?

The square itself is nice enough, very Italian. Several restaurants around it.

Star here the central mozaic which is is considered the largest figurative marble mozaic in Europe. 106 square meters and 88 million pieces! It was really impressive!

The decorations under arches caught my eye too.

The guide mentioned Estonia and one name which I had to ask over. She said that an Estonian vitrage and stained glass artist Dolores Hoffmann has decorated some of the windows around Batumi Piazza.

More about Dolores and her work can be seen on her website https://www.glassart.ee/en/

One of the oldest churches in Batumi - Saint Nicholas Church

Guide had warned us that we'll go to a tour around religions and we did. After mosque we stopped at Greek church, one of oldest in Batumi.

Batumi is city of contrasts. On the background is Alphabet Tower with round top. These contrasts made Batumi even more fascinating.

Snacks

Passing a local bakery I just needed to have something and one hot dog was lucky winner. Instead of entering next church we soon stopped at, I wandered about a bit. I was glad to see real kvass on sale. Have you had kvass?

batumi-hot-dogs

Astronomical clock

Astronomical clock was a tourist attraction that almost everyone from our group took photos of.

Marketing masterclass

Why be original when you can be clear? Appreciate that sign and clarity of message.

Passing Batumi Dancing fountains

That park near boulevard sums up rainy evening in Batumi. Palm trees. Bamboo is growing just around corner. Air was incredibly fresh.

It was a few hours until fountains start dancing.

A few statues stood out for both color and boldness. That's Batumi, you'll never know what is to discover around the corner.

batumi-statues

It started raining

By that points raindrops were dancing on the ground faster every minute. We hurried through the rest of the sights. Guide gave us main points at each and we almost ran to the next spot. Ferriss wheel was on next day's to-do list with getting better photo of Ali & Nino.

batumi-ali-nino

By that point everybody had left or were leaving from rain. Boulevard was almost empty. Our guide led us to Alphabet tower and read us Georgian alphabet as fast as possible.

It was hurried thankyou-bye. We thanked the guide and tipped.

Then sky cleared and streetlights came on. I walked about a bit until it started raining again and I found a good burger place with a surprise.

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