Museum Of Historical-Ethnography Of Matchakhela, Adjara

Posted on August 18, 2017. Filed under: Adjara, Around Georgia |

By Tika Bujiashvili

Machakhela Gorge is located to the south from Batumi close to the confluence of Machakhela and Chorokhi rivers. There are also lots of cultural and historical monuments, as well as national parks in Machakhela Gorge, which have already become tourists attraction places.

In ancient times, Machakhela gorge was rich with blacksmiths and forges where both weapons and household and agricultural implements were made. You can see a monument to a gun named ‘Machakhela’.  The monument of Gun was built in Matchakhela gorge in 2007. Matchakhela Gun monument is a symbol of the tradition of making guns and pistols, which made Machakhela masters famous in the 18th century.


In the village Zeda Chkhutuneti there is a rich Machakhela ethnographic museum, which I would say experiences lack of the visitors, though it really keeps the history of the region. The building was once a mosque.




The collections of the museum cover the history of village Akhasheni. There are archaeological materials, numismatic, different things of Adjarian life and ethnography, paintings and craft works of local artists, different documental materials and photos.




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Kemal Turmanidze’s Ethnographic Museum BORJGHALO

Posted on December 15, 2016. Filed under: Adjara, Around Georgia, culture |

By Tika Bujiashvili

On December 15, 2016 a presentation of Ethnographic Museum Borghalo was held at Folklore State centre of Georgia. Tourist companies were invited at the presentation to introduce the museum to foreign tourists. The museum was introduced with photos. All the videos, taken about the museum, also were shown to the guests. Mr.Giorgi Gabunia, a deputy director of Folklore State centre of Georgia, and Tsisana Marindashvili, a head of Fine And Applied Art,  made a speech and talked about Mr. Kemal’s achivements. Jemal Chkuaseli, the art director of the ensemble Erisioni, said that he is a prominent master of special woodcarving techniques and guardian of the distinctive traditions of Georgian heritage.

As the director of the museum Mr. Kemal Turmanidze said, the museum doesn’t have an analogue in Georgia. There are fifty two mannequins and all of them except 10 are made by him. All maquettes of the buildings are done also by him. It took 30 years to do everything though as Mr Kemal says there is still much to do. Next year he is going to have wine and food tasting at the museum. He is also going to build a bridge in front of the 9 m height man-made waterfall, were tourist will be able to take spectacular photos with the background of museum. The bridge will be analogue of of Queen Tamar’s.
Kemal Turmanidze is a Georgian public master, Laureate of Tedo Sakhokia Aword and winner of other prizes. In 2012 Mr.Kemal Turmanidze received the Companion of  the Order of Honour for his works. Altogether, 52 articles were published about his activities.
In the end Kemal Turmanidze thanked tourist companies for showing their interests and invited them to his museum.

See Mr. Kemal’s speech here: (The video is in Georgian with cc. It is a content not a synchrony).

More details about the museum see here:

Photos are available here:

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Petra Fortress, Adjara

Posted on July 23, 2016. Filed under: Adjara, Around Georgia |

By Tika Bujiashvili

Petra Fortress is situated in Tsikhisdziri, 7 km away from Kobuleti to Batumi. The fortress used to be a historical town of Egrisi Kingdom. But, today there are only some remains there. Due to its advantageous military and strategic as well as trade and economic location Emperor Justinian of Byzantine decided to build a town on that land of Lazika in the 6th century (535). A narrow road connected western Georgia to Byzantine and further Iran and Armenia was cut along the shore. Petra controlled all marine navigation from Byzantine to East. Byzantine and Iran were interested in owing Petra since their political and economic expansion was directly depended on the regional control. That was the real reason of the Byzantine-Persian War in the 6th century. Petra kept its importance even later. It was considered as undefeatable fortress. Its acropolis was situated on a cliff hill along the shore. Its landside was protected with strong fence as rocky relief (the relief originated its Greek name “Petra” – rock, stone).

The word “Petra” in Greek means “rock.” In the Georgian historical sources it was still known as “Kadzhi fortress”. Byzantine historian Procopius of Caesarea wrote: “next to Pontius is Lasike, where the city of Petra is situated. The city was built by Emperor Justinian in my time. ”

The Length of the fortress remains is 200 m, width – 100 m. Fortress is situated on two hills. Citadel occupies 2 hectares. Wall passes through mountainous terrain.  Fortress had tight doors, which were closed for two deadbolts. At present, 7 meter – double wall and several massive towers are saved.
Petra fortress has undergone many wars. In 540-550 years, under the walls of it two outposts of civilization fought – the Persian and the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian and the king Khosrow. Researchers also believe that not once mentioned “Kadzhi Fortress” by Shota Rustaveli in his immortal poem “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin” – is the fortress of Petra – Tsikhisdziri.

It is believed that in the 11th–14th centuries, a small church of St. John Baptist was built on the ground of the fortress, which was destroyed in the time of Russo-Turkish war, in the years 1877–1878. Today there are just ruins.

Archaeological excavations have not been done here since 1988. Archeologists started working here in July this year. During the last excavations remains of a three-aisled basilica and Turkish baths are found, which is also thought to be exploded during the Russo-Turkish war.

Later, early in the XIXc a Lemonarium was built on Petra fortress, which also caused collapsing the walls. Further more, It is said that stones of the fortress were used to build the Lemonarium…

At the same time rehabilitation works of eastern walls of Petra fortress are being done. Cultural Heritage Preservation Agency of Ajara is going to build paths, exhibition buildings, banners and other visual materials.

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Gonio Apsaros Fortress, Adjara

Posted on July 16, 2016. Filed under: Adjara, Around Georgia |

By Tika Bujiashvili

Adjara is rich with sightseeing. When you are in Batumi, you mustn’t miss the chance to visit Gonio fortress. There is just 15 km from Batumi to Gonio. You can even take a mini-bus to get there.

The Gonio fortress or the Gonio-Apsaros fortress is the oldest fortress of Georgia. It is an impressive piece of Roman-Byzantine military architecture, which covers 47,000 sq. m. within a rectangle of high stone walls with 18 towers (though it was said there were 22). Built by the Romans in the 1st century AD, it was occupied by the Byzantines in the 6th century and by the Ottomans in the 16th century.

There is a legend that the name of Apsaros originates from the ancient Greek myth about Argonauts. According to the legend this was the place where Apsyrtus, King Ayet’s son, killed by Jason, was buried.

Many legends and myths are connected with the Gonio-Apsaros Fortress. The Fortress territory has a tomb which up to date is considered to be the Apostle Mathew’s tomb – one of twelfth Jesus Christ’s disciples whom Savior accepted to his circle instead of Judas Iscariot. According to one of the versions, Apostle Mathew after Christ’s death came to the Gonio Fortress and stayed there to preach. The Apostle Mathew’s tomb is found in the territory of the Roman Praetorium (from Latin “general’s tent”). Since the Gonio-Apsaros Fortress built in the beginning of our era as a base citadel of Roman troops, then a residence of a Roman general, a garrison commander was called as a Praetorium. The Praetorium only survived as huge stone pedestals in a form of crosses presumably standing over the Apostle Mathew’s tomb.

The Gonio fortress is a monument which layout and architecture have left almost unchanged over all centuries of its existence.  In spite of the fact that a mosque was built opposite to the Saint Mathew’s tomb, and the existed Roman therms were rebuilt into the oriental bath-houses, the general architecture of the Fortress remained the same as it was two thousand years ago under the Romans.

The Gonio-Apsaros fortress had its importance. It was the territory where the eastern border of the Roman Empire ran, it made the Gonio Fortress not only a strategically important point but also an economic and cultural center of Eastern Rome, which fact was confirmed by the ruins of a hippodrome and Roman theatre found by archeologists, presumably operating in the I-III centuries AD. This territory is considered to be a place where the first Georgian associations were founded and during the Byzantine period the Fortress territory was a stronghold for Genoese merchants.

Today the archaeological excavations are still underway, and the scientists make a lot of new discoveries.

A Museum-Reserve was opened in 2008 within the grounds of the fortress, which covers the area of Gonio-Apsaros fortress and the adjacent territories.


Dear reader! Unfortunately because of 3GB limit I can’t upload more photos at the moment, but made a video instead. Soon I will upload photos at usual format.

Regards Tika

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Sarichairi, Khikhadziri, Adjara

Posted on May 15, 2016. Filed under: Adjara, Around Georgia |

By Tika Bujiashvili

Mountainous Ajara is an interesting rout for tourists, but not very popular today because of unmarked paths. Consequently, you can’t find them on the tourist map. Chirukhi, Sarichairi, Tkhilvana, Shuamta, Beshumi are the names of iailebi in highland of Ajara. “Iailebi” are summer pastures. People living in Zemo Ajara, mostly old women, leave their houses for three months and take their cattle to Iailebi. They are also called memteurebi.

You can go to Sarichairi through the village Khikhadziri. The view is really spectacular. On the way you will see wooden houses.

People are very hospitable here. If you stop your car, you will be offered traditional dishes or cold drinks.

In Sarichairi, Khikadziri summer pastures place, there is a small lake –Black Lake, which has another name-Kara Goli.

The length of the lake is 150m and width-50m. The lake is bigger in spring time than in summer time. Locals say that it has an ’eye’ or a secret exit. There is a legend about the lake, which was written by a scientist and a traveller T. Sakhokia. The legend says that, Queen Tamar had an African American captive. The captive ran. The followers caught him, but at the lake he ran again and jumped in it. He was never found. After this fact the lake was called Black Lake-‘Kara Goli’. Kara means black, Goli-lake

Near Black Lake there is another small natural lake, which is also very beautiful.

So, if you decide to visit Mountainous part of Ajara, don’t miss the chance to visit the place.  Back from Sarichairi, you can visit Khikhani Fortress. You can set up your tents or spend a night at the guest house “Khikhani” in the village Khikhadziri where you will be met by a hospitable family and taste local delicious dishes too.

See KhikhanCastle here:

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Skhalta Cathedral Church

Posted on October 2, 2015. Filed under: Adjara, Around Georgia |

Written by Tika Bujiashvili

The Adjarian highlands are rich in interesting and attractive sights. One of them is Skalta cathedral church in village Khinchauli, Khulo region. The route begins in small town Khulo, from where it goes in the direction of Batumi by Batumi-Akhaltsikhe highway. In about 8km you have to turn to the south in the Skhaltistskali Valley and in 10 km you come to Skhalta Monastery. (The route follows asphalted road).

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The written sources on Skhalta are scarce, not inscriptions on temple’s frescoes tell us anything about the building of the church.  A legend attributes the construction of the church to Queen Tamar.  Modern studies date the church to the middle of the 13th century. At that time, the Skhalta valley was in possession of the noble family of Abuseridze. The distinguished frescoes of the church were painted during the 14th and 15th centuries.

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Z. Chichinadze in his book describes what local people said about the building of Skalta church. “Once Queen Tamar passed the gorge and saw a Pear tree which had a wonderful shade. So the queen decided to have a rest under the tree. At night she dreamt of the tree. In the morning she ordered to build a church there. Soon the building of the church started. The pear tree was going to be cut down, but in vain. The cut three was growing during the night. One worker advised not to pull axes from cutting branches and the method worked. On that place, where the pear tree’s branches were (two poles), there is an income door of the church. And the place Skalta was named after the three. When people asked where the church was building, the answer was near the Pear tree – Mskhali in Georgian. So the place today is called (M)Skhalta.

There is another legend: When the Ottoman invaded the east of Adjara, Queen Tamar fled to the Khikhani castle. From there she went to Skhalta church to pray through the secret underground tunnel. When the enemy found the way and decided to seize her, Queen Tamar didn’t surrender and drank poison.

The complex consists of church, a small church, wine cellar and tombs. A wine cellar, which is near the road, away from the church, is a large rectangular building. Since middle ages, near a small church, there is a cemetery. The size and variety of the tombs proves that population of Skhalta was quiet numerous.

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Skhalta is the only medieval church in Adjara that survived both the Ottoman and Soviet periods to become functional again in 1990 when it was consecrated as a male monastery of the Nativity of Mary. It currently serves as a seat of the Georgian Orthodox bishop of Skhalta. The interior of this beautiful church retains fragments of an original painting. During services the prayers are constantly accompanied by the sounds of the River Skhalta.

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On The Way To Mountainous Adjara

Posted on September 10, 2015. Filed under: Adjara, Around Georgia | Tags: |

Written by Tika Bujiashvili

If you feel lonely but wish to take an entertaining route, go up to the mountain and look down the earth, from there, where the birds fly, watch the sunrise or sunset on the sea at one time, don’t waste your time, pack your rucksack, put on your comfortable boots, take a bottle of water and go, go far away to mountainous Adjara.

You won’t regret. There are quite a few impressive and unforgettable sightseeing. Pictorial beauty of nature, the bright sun, mountain fresh air, amazing waterfalls, unique flora and fauna, a centuries-old lifestyle and existence, which is valued according to tradition, the stone arch bridges with unusual architecture, an incomparable emotion and impression after visiting middle-aged architectural monuments. What more do you need?!

You can take shorter but rural road from Akhaltsikhe to Batumi, cross the Goderdzi Pass and feel spectacular views of the nature. Don’t forget to greet locals when you meet them. You will soon be astonished to see unusual hospitality of the villagers. Don’t miss the chance if they invite you in their homes and taste their traditional cousin.


On Goderdzi pass you will see the sign. Go to Beshumi at first and then the road takes you to Green Lake. Don’t complain, the road is the most terrible ever! Leave your cars and just take a walk. If it is getting dark, set up your tent near the lake and the amazing view will greet you as you opened your eyes in the morning.

See the blog above:Green Lake

After that the rout is to Khulo. St. Apostle Andrew the First called’s church has recently been built in Khulo. Building of the church began in 2008.

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Take one of the longest cable car in Khulo. It stretches 1700 meter across and a ride takes 10 minutes.  The cable car is used for daily means of transportation by the locals to Tago village.


From Khulo take your way to Khikani castle. Although ruined roads, the castle worth visiting. It takes you about 4-5 hours to go up and down Khikhani castle. Up on the castle one moment the sky is clear, in a few minutes it is foggy. Have a sit and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the nature.

See the blog above: Khikhani Fortress

Adjarians have a hero Selim Khimshiashvili, who fought to liberate Adjara from the Ottoman. Selim fled Akhaltsikhe to the mountains of Adjara and entrenched himself in the castle of Khikhani, which fell, on 31 May 1815, after a two-month siege. He was beheaded on 3 June 1815. In today’s Adjara, Selim is remembered as a national hero. His native village Nigazeuli hosts his museum.

By the middle ages, Adjara formed a part of a strong feudal kingdom and many roads and stone bridges were built during this period. The beauty of Ajara’s medieval stone bridges makes them as significant as the mighty fortresses, monuments, and churches that are also spread around this historical region, making them a “must-see” during any visit. They are:

Dandalo Bridge is in Keda District. It is near the Batumi-Khulo highway. The bridge was built of volcanic stone and lime in the 9-10th century.


Furtio Arch Bridge in Shuakhevi District of Ajara is situated in the village of Furtio at the beginning of Acharistskali Valley. It was built in the XI-XII century.  The bridge used to connect the Skhaltistskali and Acharistskali valleys and was a part of the shortest route from Ardagan and Akhaltsikhe to the Black Sea coastline.


Makhuntseti Waterfall is located in Makhuntseti community. Because it is spring and the snow is melting off the mountains, the waterfall is exceptionally large.


And in the end you feel very tired? So relax at the sea side watch the sunset in the evening and the sun rise in the morning.


And if you still want to visit some place, choose Mtirala national park. I will warn you about the terrible road. There is a hotel and a restaurant there, a camping place, a small lake and a waterfall.

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So, spend unforgettable days in Adjara.

P.S. Unfortunatelly, wordpress doesn’t allow me to upload any more photos explaining lack of space. But I really wanted to explain everything in details with photos… 😦

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Khikhani Fortress. Mountainous Adjara

Posted on September 8, 2015. Filed under: Adjara, Around Georgia |

By Tinatin Bujiashvili

If you are ready to take an entertaining route, go up the mountain, at the altitude of 2635 meters and look down the earth, from there, where the birds fly, then the tour to Khikhani Fortress will be unforgettable for you and will leave the extraordinary impressions.

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On your way to KhiKhani castle if you meet adjarians and tell about your rout, they will say:  ”Oh, You haven’t visited Khikhani yet?  It means you know nothing about the country yet.”

The fortress , which dates to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, is located on the left bank of the River Chorokhi near the village of Khikhadziri in Khulo district of Adjara, 125km from Batumi and just 4 kilometers from the border with Turkey. It is still difficult to climb the fortress to this day which makes it more interesting and attractive to adventurous visitors.  No cars go to Khikhani fortress as there is only a path and sometimes wooden ladders are made to go up.

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It is believed that the site was originally occupied by a church (the Church of St. George) built in 1230 A.D. and the castle was later built around but today there is only one foundation left.


Khikhani was a residence town of (11-12th cc) Abuselidze Family. The monument is situated at the Skalta-Khikhani River and on the branch of Ariani mountain. The Complex includes: fence, towers and ruins of other buildings. The fortress has two main towers, the walls are 7-8 m high. The towers are rectangular that underlines the high level of architecture at that time.

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Khikhani fortress  is one of the most important monuments in Adjara. It was built at a strategic location and used to be a shelter to Georgian Royals when Tbilisi and Gori fortress were occupied. Sometimes Khikhani castle was called Tamar fortress. It used to have secret underground passages.

Although in ruins today, visitors can see the remains of the rectangular towers, walls, a bakery, wine storage area, a water well and a church.

Recently 43 clay pots have been discovered by archaeologists at Khikhani fortress. The newly-discovered wine cellar dates back to the 11-13th centuries. Unfortunately, when we visited the place, they had already been taken. Only a little piece was left there.


It is interesting to note that the fortress never lost its function for 700 years. Khikhani retained its economic and military-strategic importance up to the beginning of XX century.

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P.S. The fortress  has a big history. You will hear many interesting stories if you ask locals, though today if someone shows interest to visit the site, the photos and the information might be a little help. Other things explore yourselves…


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Mountainous Adjara-Green Lake

Posted on August 27, 2015. Filed under: Adjara, Around Georgia |

By Tinatin Bujiashvili

Pictorial beauty of nature, the bright sun, the mountain fresh air, amazing waterfalls, unique flora and fauna, a centuries-old lifestyle and existence, which is valued according to tradition, the stone arch bridges with unusual architecture, an incomparable emotion and impression after visiting middle-aged architectural monuments-It is Mountainous Adjara, which is located in the southwestern corner of Georgia.

You can take shorter but rural road from Akhaltsikhe to Batumi, cross the Goderdzi Pass and walk to Green Lake through adjarian villages.

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The beautiful Goderdzi Pass crosses Arsiani ridge at the Height of 2025 m above sea level fascinating visitors by its silent charm.

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In mountainous Adjara inhabitants are busy with seasonal farming, which is connected with cattle breeding. It has been practiced in the mountains since Paleolithic times. The mountain farmers call themselves “Memtevri” and their cattle and milk products are an important part of the local economy. The “Memtevri” take their livestock to the mountains for 3 months of the year until the onset of winter. This practice is called “iailebi”.

The “Memtevri” share their houses with their cattle. Made of logs, the traditional two storey “Memtevri” house comprised an upper floor for living accommodation and a room for processing and keeping of milk products that had holes in the walls for air circulation. The lower floor was used for livestock.

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The “Memtevri” make butter, round and plaited cheese, curds, and sour cream from the milk their cows produce. Don’t leave adjarian villages without tasting Kaimaghi and Khuruti. In addition to raising livestock, they also grow vegetables (onion, garlic, potatoes).

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On the way to Green lake you may meet adjarian children driving “araba” (Turkish word, which means a car).

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After walking 6.2 km from the pass you reach Green lake. It is 2058 m above sea level and situated between mountains. This beautiful lake is surrounded by spruce and beech trees. The clear and transparent water is slightly mineralized.

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P.S. Some photos are of a poor quality as my camera had some problems. 😦

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The Holy Trinity Monastery In Adjara

Posted on August 20, 2015. Filed under: Adjara, Around Georgia |

By Tinatin Bujiashvili

The Holy Trinity Church was built on the range of Adjara and Guria range on the hill of western brunch o the Black Sea Lowland at an altitude of 400 m. height. The monastery has wonderful view: to the west-the Black sea, to the south-west the river Chorokhi and kakhabery valley, to the north-west-Chakvi and Kobuleti ridges, to the east- Akhalsheni and Chelta. You can find some records about the church in the book “Archeological journey in Guria and Adjara” by Davit Bakradze, where he writes: “On the hill near Batumi there is a church of the Holy Trinity with fallen dome. There were some marble gravestones. On one of them there was an inscription: ”Almighty God’s saving Mary”.

French Orientalist Jean Moore (1884) writes: “5 miles from Batumi there are ruins of Holy Trinity church. There was found a large marble stone with the inscription: “Almighty God save the sole of Tamar”.

Holy Trinity church was destroyed by Ottomans during the Russo-Turkish war (1877-1879).

Today The Holy Trinity Monastery is still under construction and will be opened soon. It is being built by Honorable patriot Shalva Breus.

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