Batumi is a seaside city on the eastern Black Sea, 15 km far from Turkish border. It is located in a fertile and flat land northeast of Çoruh River’s estuary. It serves as one of the most important ports in Russian Federation. Because it rains throughout the year and northern winds are blocked by Caucasian mountains, it has a humid and hot climate. This enables citrus fruits and subtropical plants to grow: there are plenty of palm, eucalyptus, bamboo and daphne trees in seaside regions.
In the ancient era, Batumi was founded as a harbor city within the borders or Persian Empire. After the Pontus rule, it was conquered by Romans in 63, B.C. Romans used the region as a logistics center for their eastern expeditions.
In sixth century, Batumi was taken by Byzantine along with the entire region, and then was left to Kingdom of Lazica. Following the Muslims’ conquer in ninth century; it was taken by the United Kingdom of Georgia in tenth century. Queen Tamara’s era was considered the brightest times for the city. Beginning from thirteenth century, the city was plundered by Mongols, Arabs and Georgians. At the end of fifteenth century, it was conquered by Ottomans. Though the city was lost for a while under the Ottoman ruling, it was taken back again. At the time of Suleiman the Magnificent, it was assigned as aSanjak (subdivision) of Trabzon, and from 1568 to 1574, a sanjak of Erzurum. At the end of the century, it became an independent province.
There were 13 zeamets (fiefs) and 172 timars in Batumi at the beginning of seventeenth century. The Islamization of the region, which began with the conquer of Ottomans, continued until the end of seventeenth century. Batumi, which had a big and strengthened fortress during the Ottoman period, was an important port for the slave trade that was conducted through Caucasia. At the beginning of eighteenth century, an average of 200 to 300 janissarieswere protecting the fortress and also five boats were assigned to guard the coasts of Batumi and Gönye, and also to guard the ships of Abkhazia and Megrel.
In 1850s The Russian Maritime and Commerce Company opened an agency in Batumi and thus the city became the terminal port of the Crimea-Anatolia-Caucasia trade line. Batumi was improved by Emin Muhlis Pasha, governor of Trabzon at the time of Sultan Abdulaziz, and a mosque named “Aziziye” was built there. The city was left to Russia according to the Berlin Treaty in 1878 as a free port, but it kept this status until 1886. The development of Batumi began with the construction of Batumi-Tbilisi-Baku railway in 1883. Following the construction of Baku-Batumi pipeline in 1900, the city became the most important oil port of Russia at the Black Sea coast. Consequently, the population gradually increased from 45.000 in 1926 to 101.000 in 1989 and 136.000 in 1989.
According to the Brest-Litovsk Treaty signed with Russian Bolshevik government on 3 March 1918, Batumi was left to Ottomans, along with Artvin and Ardahan provinces and then it was assigned as an independent sanjak in April 1918. However, it was taken by British on 24 December 1918 when Ottomans had to leave the province according to the Moudros Armistice, signed on 30 October 1918. Following two years of occupation, the British evacuated Batumi when they withdraw Caucasia in July 1920. Then, the Georgian government took over the city. The Turkish parliament did not recognize this status and sent a garrison, and assigned as a sanjak again. Batumi was represented by five deputies in the first Turkish Grand National Assembly. But the city was left to Georgia according to the Moscow Treaty signed with Federative Socialist Republic of Russian Councils on 16 March 1921. After the Turkish garrisons evacuated the city on 28 March 1921, it became the capital of Autonomous Republic of Adjara, founded within the Republic of Georgia.
Today Batumi is the most important city of Caucasia as it has a high-capacity port, large industrial facilities, educational and cultural institutions, and a strategic location. In addition to the seaway, it has also airline, road and railway transportation. There are petro chemistry and machinery factories. The main points of interests are the botanic garden which contains rich variety of plants due to the proper climate, two museums where ethnographic, folkloric and historical objects are displayed and the Ottoman’s Aziziye Mosque, of which the minaret was destroyed.