Batumi, Georgia

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Drama Theatre Square, Copyright Depols, Source http://www.flickr.com/photos/10095955@N06/6412139609/in/photostream/

Batumi is the majority setting of the last chapter of Part III of my alternative history. In June of 1931, the still fairly newlywed Imperial couple finally gets to take a honeymoon, and they choose Batumi for its beautiful warm climate. Also along on the trip is the new Tsesarevich, Yaroslav, called Yarik. The honeymoon couldn’t immediately follow the December 1929 Imperial wedding because of the upcoming Christmas season, the new Tsaritsa’s pregnancy, and the coronation.

Arkadiya, the Tsaritsa, loves Batumi so much, she begs to have a summer home there, and Aleksey agrees to ask some of the palace architects to design a palace there. Even if this new Russia has become a constitutional monarchy, the enlightened new ruling couple have earned the right to enjoy some luxuries.

Batumi street

Batumi is a popular resort town on the Black Sea, and the capital of the autonomous Adjara Province. The earliest evidence of settlement dates from the 8th or 7th century BCE, and it’s believed the Greeks had a colony there. Batumi was also the site of a Roman military fort during Hadrian’s reign (117–138 CE). After antiquity, the city wasn’t mentioned in the records again until the 15th century.

Port of Batumi, as painted in 1881 by Lev Feliksovich Lagorio

Batumi was fought over by the Ottomans and its own Georgians for awhile, until it finally fell under Ottoman rule for the long haul on 13 December 1614. The city was renamed Batoum and made the centre of a sanjak (administrative division). During the Russo–Turkish War of 1828–29, the Ottomans held onto their conquest, and repelled the Russian forces. The Ottomans also initially repelled their enemies during the Russo–Turkish War of 1877–78, but they were finally defeated, and the Treaty of San Stefano and the final act of the Congress of Berlin in 1878 gave Batumi and several other places in Georgia to the Russian Empire. However, Batumi was ordered to have a free port, and a naval station, arsenal, and fortifications were forbidden. This lasted only till 1886.

Building resembling a lighthouse, Copyright Keizers

Batumi received city status on 28 April 1888. During this period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the city finally began expanding and modernising, with a railroad, oil pipeline, and new industries. The population massively increased in response. The Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party was also highly active during this era, with many strikes and protests led by Ioseb Dzhugashvili (who wasn’t yet styling himself as Stalin).

White Restaurant, Copyright Keizers

During World War I, the Russian Civil War, and the early Soviet period, Batumi passed in and out of Ottoman, British, and Russian hands, as well as enjoying being ruled by its own people for the first time in a very long time. Sadly, Georgia’s hard-won independence came to a premature end in 1921. Under the Soviet heel, nationalism, religion, and everything else relating to Georgian peoplehood were outlawed. The Great Terror of 1936–38 was particularly brutal.

Batumi_skyline_from_port

Batumi skyline from the port, Copyright Peter in s

Today, the city is once again free and under Georgian rule. The modern cityscape boasts a number of novelty buildings, such as the White Restaurant, which looks like an upside-down White House; a Sheraton Hotel made to look like the Great Lighthouse of Alexandria; and buildings made to look like the Acropolis and a lighthouse. Other attractions include historic houses of worship, a dolphinarium, an aquarium, the Adjara State Museum, an archaeological museum, and a botanical garden.

Batumi_2014_at_night

Batumi by night, Copyright Irma Laghadze ირმა ლაღაძე, Source Batumi_2014_at night

Since Batumi has a subtropical climate, some of its primary agricultural products include tea and citrus fruits. However, most of the city’s economy comes from tourism.

Russian Orthodox church in Batumi, Copyright Geagea, Source Notre Dame Architecture Library

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9 comments on “Batumi, Georgia

  1. Tarkabarka says:

    I would love to visit Georgia. I have friends who have been there, plus I love their stories…

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary
    MopDog

    Like

  2. Looks like a beautiful city. The White Restaurant is delightfully absurd 🙂
    Tasha
    Tasha’s Thinkings (72) | Wittegen Press (74) | FB3X (AC) (75)

    Like

  3. Wow. Gorgeous pictures and very unique architecture.
    Mary at Play off the Page

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  4. What an interesting place! Very unique, with the mountains/hills, the water, and the palm trees. Thanks for sharing this!
    Andrea Lundgren
    Into the Writerlea Blog

    Like

  5. jazzfeathers says:

    Looks like a very nice place. I loved the photos.
    Have you ever been there?

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter – Jazz Age Jazz

    Like

    • Carrie-Anne says:

      I wish! I’ve been on three trips to Israel so far, and was physically in Austria (never got off the plane), but I haven’t been to any other countries to date. Someday I do hope to change that, since I’m a Sagittarius, the Traveller of the Zodiac.

      Like

  6. Liz A. says:

    Looks like an interesting place to visit.

    Like

  7. Beautiful painting and the place … amazing. I go to the Black Sea when I go to Romania, and this very much reminds me of various places there. Just gorgeous.

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  8. […] Aleksey II (54 views) Batumi, Georgia (23 views) The Cathedral of the Dormition and the Chrysler Imperial Touring (34 views) The Dowager […]

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