Batumi – Lying on the Black Sea Coast, close to the Turkish border Batumi is the largest city in the region and Georgia’s main port. The name is derived from the Greek “bathys limen” meaning “deep harbour”. Its graceful white architecture and subtropical vegetation make it unique among Georgian cities and a magnet for foreign visitors and Georgians alike.
The city is also famous for its Botanical Gardens founded in 1912 and stretching over 120 hectares. The gardens are divided into nine geographical zones harbouring over 5000 different plant species brought here from all over the world.
Gonio Fortress (1st century AD) was once a large Roman-Byzantine military settlement and an important strategic point along the Black Sea coast. It was occupied intermittently by Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans. More importantly it is connected with the myth of the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece. This is why the famous German archaeologist Schliemann was so fascinated by the fortress and wanted to begin excavations of the area in the 1850s, but was refused permission by the government of the Russian Tsar.