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Poti and the National Park of Kolkheti

Poti is a coastal city famous for its Port of merchandise. It is also the starting point of the European road E-70 connecting Georgia with La Coruña. Although it has quite a past, it is not a very touristic city. However, more and more people decide to visit it, attracted by the Kolkheti National Park, which is located on the outskirts.

It is well connected and it has a few hotels and restaurants. Around 45,000 people live here and its inhabitants have the reputation of being entrepreneurs, like the rest of the Mingrelians. Their proximity to the sea endowed them with that instinct for that very distinctive trade of the Mediterranean people.

History

Poti was founded by the Greeks. It is the mythical Phasis, where, according to the geographer Strabo, about 60 different languages ​​were spoken in the first century. It is so old that it is mentioned in writings from the 8th century B.C.

In fact, it is believed that Jason and the Argonauts came to this city from Greece in search of the Golden Fleece and that they ascended the Rioni River, flowing to the north of the town, reaching the palace of King Eetes.

It was always linked to trade and transport of goods and its activity has changed little all this time. Poti was in the spotlight of the Ottoman Empire, which made it an important center for slave trading. In the 19th century, it was liberated from the rule of the Turks and it passed into the hands of the Russians.

Were two Georgians in the crew of Christopher Columbus?

We do not know whether believe it or not, but it is worth to tell this story in a few lines. In Poti, they told us that there are Georgians who believe that there were two Mingrelians in Christopher Columbus’s expedition.

Apparently, they belonged to the Molashkhia family, one of the oldest lineages of Samegrelo. They fled from their town after having some conflict with a feudal lord and they took refuge in the Basque Provinces. Then, they enrolled to join the crew of the Genoese. The person who told us about this said that in the work of Bartolome de las Casas, ‘The History of the Indies’, Chao Georgio Molaschchia appears as a member of the crew. What do you think?

What to See in Poti?

Poti Cathedral

It dates from 1906-1907 and it was inspired by the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul. During the Soviet era, it was transformed into a theatre but now it is back to carrying out its religious activities.

Kolkheti National Park

Phone: +995 5 77 10 18 37

E-mail: khatkhatsarava@gmail.com / khatuna78@mail.ru   

This is the most important wetland in Georgia for bird watching. It is halfway between the north and south of the migratory routes and you can see large birds such as pelicans and swans. It has 45,000 hectares with a large lake, bogs, swamp forests, dunes, and beaches.

The best season to visit is in spring and in late autumn, which is the time of migration. The information point of the park is located on 222 Guria Street, on the outskirts of Poti South (marshrutkas 20 and 21 pass by there and you can take them near the bazaar). They organize boat trips in the area. They rent out fishing rods and tents.

Transportation

Seaway

The UKRFERRY shipping company connects Poti once a week with the Ukrainian port of Kerch.

Railway

Poti-Tbilisi. There is a daily train in the morning and another in the afternoon.

Minibusses

  • Poti-Tbilisi. They leave the bus station every two hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (in summer they usually extend the schedule).
  • Poti-Zugdidi. They leave the bus station practically every hour.
  • Poti-Kutaisi. They leave the bus station practically every 40 minutes.
  • Poti-Batumi. They leave the Bazar’s Plaza (Chotne Dadiani) every hour from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Accommodation

Cheap Lodging

Paliastomi Hotel

Address: 168 Brodeli Street (Maltakva district)

Phone: +995 5 55 15 97 75

E-mail: bartianatia@rambler.ru

It is located on the southern outskirts of Poti, 100 meters (328 feet) from the last stop of the marshrutkas 20 and 21. They offer rooms of different types and prices (20-70 GEL). It’s cheap and it’s close to the beach and on the shores of Paliastomi Lake. The negative point is the mosquitoes!

Medium Price Lodging 

Fazis Hotel

Address: 10 Rekvava Street

Phone: +995 598 28 99 79

Good location, modern but simple design and good prices. Rooms with private bathroom, clean and comfortable. Triple: 150 GEL. Quadruple: 150 GEL.

Anchor Hotel

Address: 90 Gegidze Street

Phone: +995 (0) 493 22 60 00

It is in the port area. It has 24 rooms divided into singles, doubles, and suites (100-120-200 GEL). It also has a restaurant with a menu of meats and some fish dishes typical of the Black Sea (25-30 GEL).

Prime Hotel

Address: 53 Akaki Street

Phone: +995 493 22 22 35 / +995 592 92 92 02

E-mail: primepoti@hotelsprime.ge

This is an urban hotel in downtown of the city. Rooms with bathroom, satellite TV, parking and air conditioning. Good prices. They only have seven rooms and it is usually full so it is better to make a reservation in advance. The marshrutkas 20 and 21 passes right in front of the hotel. For more information: www.hotelsprime.ge