Garden and Garrison: Batumi Botanical Gardens and Gonio Fortress
- Batumi Botanical Gardens: Breathe in the beauty on a guided downhill walk through this 281-acre natural showplace by the sea, with a plant collection on par with the world's finest.
- Gonio-Apsaros Fortress: Tour the mighty walls and towers of a site dating back to the 3rd century BC. Part Roman, part Byzantine, part Ottoman, this spot is central to the Argonauts legend and is believed to be where the apostle Matthew is buried.
- Sightseeing: View and learn about landmarks like the Sculpture of Love (Ali & Nino), the Alphabet Tower that celebrates Georgia’s one-of-a-kind language, Church of the Virgin Mary, Nuri Geli Lake, and Shota Rustaveli State University.
About this Batumi tour
Batumi flourishes on the site of a Greco-Roman colony dating back some 3,000 years. Its surrounding cloak of lush forest and flora dates back far further. And inside the reinvigorated city, exciting new buildings seem to come to life almost daily. This is a town rich in ancient, natural, and modern history – and you're going to see some of each on this tour.
Heading out of the city, you'll pass the Church of the Virgin, where 5,000 were baptized in a single day in 1989 when the church was formally reborn after years of disuse. And a seaside park where the 475-foot helical Alphabet Tower stands and the metallic Ali and Nino figures slowly shift their positions until they become one.
Just outside of town, you'll visit some of the best parts of South America, New Zealand, Australia, East Asia, the Himalayas, and the Trans-Caucasian subtropics – alive and growing within sprawling Batumi Botanical Garden. Its high seaside setting couldn't be more spectacular, and this massive collection – with roots dating back to the 19th century – rivals that of any the world's great gardens.
A scenic drive past seaside Nuri Geli Lake leads us to Gonio-Apsaros Fortress, a monumental stronghold steeped in both history and legend. Its strategic coastal position made it of great value to the Romans, Byzantines, and Turks who each occupied and modified it over the centuries. Closely tied to the Jason and the Argonauts legend, Gonio is also believed to be the Apostle Matthew's resting place. An important trove of gold and jewels found there – known as the Gonio hoard – rests at the Ajara State Museum.
All domination, all the time
Gonio Fortress is one of the best known, but Georgia is littered with ancient towered fortifications. That's probably got something to do with having been invaded and occupied by a who's who of the world's biggest dominating empires – Greeks, Romans, Mongols, Persians, Ottomans, Russians. Standing at the crossroads of civilization on a strategic land bridge between Europe and Asia is clearly no picnic. Yet, through it all, Georgia's managed to preserve its cultural identity and traditions for over 9,000 years.
Arriving by cruise ship? Please proceed pier side, to the port entrance, and look for our GoBe Representative with the displayed logo sign.
Most shops are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 8 p.m., but some stay open until 9 p.m. The local currency is the Georgia lari and it is divided into 100 tetri. Euros and dollars are accepted at most establishments.
Plan to walk 1-2 miles. Pathways are paved/gravel; wheelchair ramps available. Tour is wheelchair accessible, providing you can get on/off the coach. Difficulty walking? This tour may be too challenging to enjoy and maintain the pace of the group.
Cultural, Scenic, Family Friendly
English, Russian, German, Italian
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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