Welcome to Batumi
For travellers arriving from Turkey, Batumi makes a good introduction to Georgia, with its relaxed atmosphere, plentiful accommodation, good restaurants and nightlife.
Batumi developed in the late 19th century as the western terminus of a railway from Baku that then carried one-fifth of the world’s oil production. A pipeline and refinery built by Ludwig Nobel, brother of Swedish dynamite inventor Alfred, soon followed. Batumi gained free-port status and became a fashionable resort at the southern tip of the Russian empire. In Soviet times the border with Turkey was closed, making Batumi a bit of a backwater, but it has since bounced back as a hub of commerce as well as tourism.
One of the first decisions of the post-Abashidze administration in 2004 was to make Batumi an attractive place to visit, a project that has notably succeeded. The seaside Boulevard park and the Old Town inland from it have been tastefully renovated, new architecture including a small forest of eye-catching tower buildings has sprung up, and Batumi has developed into one of the Black Sea's top resort magnets, with a great party scene in summer.