Batumi is the second-largest city in Georgia. Located on the coast of the Black Sea, it is lined with palm trees and surrounded by mountains. Batumi is the region's tourist and gambling capital. It presents an eclectic mix of architecture, ranging from charming 19th century classical edifices to ultra-modern skyscrapers housing hotels and casinos. A regional party hub, Batumi has a vibrant night life, hosting increasingly big name international DJs and pop concerts. The Black Sea city welcomes visitors from across different regions - as of 2015, most tourists fly in from locations as diverse as Russia, Israel, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Lithuania and others.
Batumi is one of the oldest cities in Georgia founded as early as BC. Its initial form – Batus – had already been mentioned in the 4th century BC. The name must have derived from the Greek word meaning ‘deep’. Aristotle (4th c BC) Pliny (2nd c AD) and others called the place “Pontus Bathea”. In antique times the local population used to have active trade relations with the neighboring as well as distant countries. During the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (2nd c AD) there used to be a Roman military camp on the territory of present Batumi. Batumi has always been distinguished by a favorable natural and strategic location. From the 18th century Batumi was under Ottoman rule. After the Turkish-Russian war of 1877-1878 and the resulting Berlin Treaty, Batumi became a part of Georgia. In 1878-1886, Batumi Port was announced as “Porto Franco”, something that fostered the further development of the city. After the construction of the Baku – Batumi railway system in 1883, the reconstruction of the Batumi port and connection to Baku via pipelines in 1897-1907, Batumi became an important sea terminal along the Black Sea coast. In 1918 and 1920 the city was governed by the Ottomans and the British respectively.