Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti

The region of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti is located in the central and North-Western part of Georgia. The area covers 7,4 thousand sq. km. the region includes two historical and geographic provinces – Samegrelo and part of Svaneti – Zemo (upper) Svaneti

Bordering each other and completely different with respect of landscape during centuries these two provinces constituted one kingdom though both had covered diverse paths of historical development. Since 20-ies of the VIII c. BC in the written annals of history, under the moniker of Colkhis, Egrisi, Lasika and Odishi, Samegrelo has cave forth as a rich and strong kingdom. Looking at Svaneti, it should be pointed out that earlier it was deemed to be part of Colchis, later on – part of Egrisi, in XI-XV cc. It was one of the Saeristavo (territorial unit in medieval Georgia) of the feudal state of Georgia.

The region resort potential is represented by climatic resorts (mountainous, sea cliamte), seaside resorts (sea water, sand, duration of sun light) and hidro-mineral resources resorts (thermal and mineral springs). Natural conditions of the region – Black sea coastline, hillocky and mountainous landscapes, high peaks and glaciers embrace many places where along with enjoing full-scale holiday it is possible to visit lots of sights created by nature or human beings.

 

Resort of Anaklia

Location: Zugdidi municipality

Distance: 33 km from Zugdidi, 375 km from Tbilisi

Sea level: 3 m

Landscape: plain

Climate: maritime, humid subtropical, winter mild, without snow, mean temperature in January 5,4 degrees centigrade, summer very warm, mean temperature in August 22,9 degrees centigrade

Average annual precipitation: 1400-1680 mm

Average comparative annual humidity: 70%

Duration of annual sunny light: h.2200

Natural treatment factors: maritime climate, sea water, beach sand

Types of therapy: thalassotherapy, sand baths

Diseases for treatment: respiratory organs, bronchitis, functional disorders, nervous systems, endocrine obesity and diabetes mellitus

 

Anaklia

The crown jewel of the Georgian Black Sea coast – Anaklia is today a developing resort. Anaklia was a village of fishermen and a harbor. At the beginning of AD there was a settlement of the Greeks who called it the name of the Greek mythological hero – Heraklia. In the course of centuries Heraklia turned into Anaklia

Anaklia had close trade ties with neighboring countries, ships from Trabzon and Constantinople brought salt, dishware, iron and weapons while from Georgia they took maze, box tree, honey, silk, buffalo hide, marten and beaver furs. Trade of humans was also under way – Abkhazian and Megrelian nobles sold their subjects to the Ottomans. According to the legend, the name of this place – `Anaklia` is linked to the trade of captives: as it happened, a child was taken from mother and sold. A woman stood on the seaside and frenetically wailed. Having heard her moans people allegedly said: `Ana rkians` (Mother yells). Anarkia later was renamed `Anaklia`.

A lot was done during recent years to develop resort area of Anaklia. The government offered investors beneficial terms and conditions for development of the seaside. After that hotels, restaurants, aqua-park, casino, amphitheater and other items of sea resort infrastructure appeared in Anaklia. Foundation was laid to the construction of several high-ranking hotels. The seaside is adorned with boulevard linking two villages – Anaklia and Ganmukhuri.

 

Resort of Lebarde

Location:  bifurcation of Southern slope of Samegrelo range

Distance: 340 km from Tbilisi

Sea level: 1600 m

Landscape: plain

Climate: middle mountain climate, winter cold, mean temperature in January -4 degrees centigrade, summer moderately warm, mean temperature in August 15,4 degrees centigrade

Average annual precipitation: 2000-2050mm

Average comparative annual humidity: 75%

Duration of annual sunny light: 2150-2000h.

Natural treatment factors: middle mountain climate and carbonic acid and iron containing mineral waters with general mineralization 0,4-0,6 g/dm3

Types of therapy: mineral water drinking

Diseases for treatment: diseases of alimentary tract, gall-bladder and urinary system, secondary anemia, respiratory diseases.

 

Lebarde

Lebarde is a climatic and spa resort located in the very heart of Western Georgia, in Martvili municipality. Plunged in the centennial conifer forest rich with iron, mineral water springs have therapeutic features good for healing diseases of respiratory and alimentary tract systems. There are several springs with Narzan-type waters coming were discovered by shepherds.

In the 40-ies of the XX century, in spite of the fact that road leading to the resort snaked across steep gorge and was dangerous,. In 1948-50-ies when automobile road was constructed, health-care centers and resort-houses were built in the resort. In 1980-ies resort infrastructure got dismantled.

4 km away from Lebarde, river Lebarde and river Tekhuri merge. Tekhuri river rises on the elevation of 2400 m, on the Western slope of Egrisi range, near Tekhurishdudi peak. Rich fish fauna of Tekhuri is also worth mentioning. There are lots of species of fish of commercial importance, like barbell, European chub, gudgeon.. There are trout in rivers as well but trout fishing is banned by Georgian legislation.

 

Resort of Lugela

Location:  Chkhorotsku munisipality

Distance: 55 km from Martvili, 335 km from Tbilisi

Sea level: 260m

Landscape: plain

Climate: humidi subtropical, winter warm with little snow, mean temperature in January 3,5 degrees centigrade, summer warm, mean temperature in August 23 degrees centigrade

Average annual precipitation: 1400-1600mm

Average comparative annual humidity: 74%

Duration of annual sunny light: 1700-1800h.

Natural treatment factors: mineral water lugelas springs

Types of therapy: mineral water drinking

Diseases for treatment: respiratory organs and lymphatic gland functional, skin and gynecological diseases

 

Lugela

Lugela is a mineral water where consistency of chloride and calcium reaches 9,5%. Water is transparent, odorless, has a bit hot taste; due to high mineralization It is preserved for a long time while bottling does not need input of carbon dioxide, it do not freeze up to-25 degrees. If drinking other mineral waters is recommended 6-8 times per day, Lugela should be taken only 3 times per day with prescription of a doctor. It should not be surprising that a lot of legends are spoken about such unique contents water, like Lugela being able to resuscitate deceased person or turn sparrow into an eagle..

Scientific study of Lugela waters in the 20ies of the XX century. Unique therapeutic qualities of this water were acknouleged there and then, and it was proved that its use in medicine was possible instead of 10% calcium-chloride solution. In 1947 bottling of water started for pharmacies, besides, after the Second World War country was short of medications. Later on this water was also used on cosmetology. Therapeutic dental cream Lugela is produced from this water.

Lugela gorge from the North is bordered by Migartia limestone massif rich with various relief cave of Potoltsvena (leaf fall) (length 2,5 km, depth 340 m), Khaverdovana abyss (length 1,5 km, depth 400 m), Zesinakhe cave (length 1,5 km, depth 300 m), Mukhuri cave (length 960 m). the territory of the village of Mukhuri is crossed by Shurubumi (Breathholding) canyon rich with the most beautiful cascades of waterfalls. The local population used Shurubumi cave for curing asthma, and in Kalichoni and Letsurtsume klastokarst caves dwellings of primitive hominids were discovered.

 

Resort of Menji

Location:  central part of Kolkheti lowland

Distance: 5 km from Senaki, 50 km from Zugdidi, 295 km from Tbilisi

Sea level: 29 m

Landscape: plain

Climate: humid subtropical, winter mild, mean temperature in January 5,2 degrees centigrade, summer very warm, mean temperature in August 23 degrees centigrade

Average annual precipitation: 1480mm

Average comparative annual humidity: 73%

Duration of annual sunny light: 2160-2200h.

Natural treatment factors: sulfide, silicon, chloride-sodium mineral waters with general mineralization of 5,2-7,4 g/dm3

Types of therapy: mineral water baths

Diseases for treatment: musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, pheripheral nervous system and gynecological diseases

 

Menji

`Menji` is a Megrelian word and means `sour water`. Earlier, famous venues in Samegrelo known for their therapeutic waters were called menji Skuri, menji Lugela, menji Lebarde… that is why resort in Senaki municipality widely known for its curing mineral water was given the name of Menji. However, due to the miraculous qualities, the local residents gave the resort a second name as well – `Grave of Crutches`

Since the 30-ies of the XX century therapeutic potential of the resort has been developed. Famous Latvian scientist, Robert Kupzis, who made great construction in the scientific research of mineral waters in Georgia, studied waters therapeutic qualities and called Menji `Georgias Matsesta`. In 1938 Menji was pronounced the resort of republican importance and necessary infrastructure was constructed on its territory. As early as 1940 Menji hosted ten thousand visitors. Specialists assume that as a result of drilling, it is possible to get water of high temperature, though this opportunity has not been fulfilled yet.

 

Resort of Mestia

Location:  Mestia cavity

Distance:  145 km from Zugdidi, 465 km from Tbilisi

Sea level: 1500-1550 m

Landscape: mountainous

Climate: middle mountain climate, winter cold with a lot of snow, mean temperature in January 6 degrees centigrade, summer short, cool, mean temperature in August 16 degrees centigrade

Average annual precipitation: 960 mm

Average comparative annual humidity: 75%

Duration of annual sunny light: 2000h.

Natural treatment factors: middle mountain climate of low mountains, monoxide, hydro-carbonate-and chloride hidrocarbonate, calcium-sodium waters with overall mineralization 0,7 g/dm3

Types of therapy: application drinking of mineral water, passive climate water

Diseases for treatment: bronchial asthma, bronchitis

Located on the elevation of 1500 m above sea level, surrounded by mountains. Mestia is administrative and tourist center of Zemo Svaneti. It is linked with center of the region, Zugdidi, by 138 km road snaking in the gorges between slopes of Svaneti segment of Kavkasioni mountain range. This road has vital importance for this highland region. Cold and snowy winter is habitual in Svaneti.

The highest human settlement in Svaneti and the whole of Europe – Ushguli – is located on the elevation of 2060-2200 m above sea level. The community of Ushguli consists of four villages: Zhibiani, Chvibiani, Mukmeli and Chzhashi. Nowadays the hamlet of Chazhashi is included in the list of UNESCOs World Heritage Sites and declared a museum, since unique archuitectural and ethnological heritage – more than 30 traditional Svaneti towers- survive on its territory. To the south from the hamlet a fotress of XII-XIICC.. is standing and overlooking all four villages of Ushguli, in the upper, Northern part of Ushguli is St. Mary (in the Svan language, `Lamaria`) church wherefrom a road to the mountain Shkhara leads.

There are many peaks in Svaneti segment of Kavkasioni mountains with perpetual snow in summer and winter. Among them three peaks are prominent:Shkhara (the highest peak in Georgia with the height of 5203 m above sea level), Tetnuldi (4858 m above sea level) and Ushba. Double-fased Ushba (the height of the Southern peak is 4700 m, of Northern peak – 1690 m) is not the highest among them. However, it was assigned the highest category of complexity, after up to twenty failed climbs, the Nortern oeak was climbed first in 1888 by the British, while the southern peak was ascended by the joint expedition of German, Swiss and Austrian mountaineers. After that until 1934 there were up to 60 attempts to ascered Ushba with only 4 successful ones.

Several years ago it was decided that everlasting snow cover is precious recreational resource and should be used for the development of winter sports. 7 km away from Mestia, in Hatsvali, three skiing tracks for sporting events were built including one having the length of 2950 m.

 

Resort of Paliastomi lake

Location:  Black Sea side, Western part of Kolkheti lowland

Distance: 70 km from Zugdidi, 320 km from Tbilisi

Sea level: 1-2 m

Landscape: plain

Climate: humid subtropical, winter mild, without snow, mean temperature in January 5,7 degrees centigrade, summer very warm, mean temperature in August 23,5 degrees centigrade

Average annual precipitation: 1780-1850 mm

Average comparative annual humidity: 78%

Duration of annual sunny light: 2100-2180 h.

Natural treatment factors: maritime mild humid climate, sea and beach

Types of therapy: thalassotherapy, sand baths

Diseases for treatment: functional disorders of musculoskeletal system, nervous system, respiratory organs and respiratory tracts

 

Paliastomi lake

About 10 million years ago, in Kainozoic age, on the whole continent of Eurasia, a non-stop zone of tropical and subtropical landscape was spread. Vegetation distributed in the Kolkheti lowland is the remnant of this very landscape. Kolkheti National Park was established in 1999 engulfing part of two historical provinces of Georgia – Samegrelo and Guria.

The main object of the park is Lake Paliastomi having important recreational function for the region. Maximum depth of the lake is no more than 3 m while its floor is covered with peat. Up to the 20-ies of XX century a lake 3 meters below sea level was a fresh water lake. It was home to more than forty species of fish. In 1924 Lake Paliastomi was connected with Black Sea by a channel. In course of time as a result of surf, the channel was widened and lake water became salty. Because of this many poplations of fish disppeared. In spite of this, even toady the lake is habitat of such rare species of the Georgian fish fauna as pile perch and black cat-fish. There are a lot of pickerel, bream, common carp, European chub and others. Any person can go fishing on the lake with a special permit of Park Administration.

Paliastomi is a natural habitat for lots of birds. Wild swans, brown ducks, various species of wild ducks – mallards, cormorants, cranes, herons, purple swamphen, marshland whitethroat eagle made here their nests…. Bird migration line crosses the lake, therefore with approaching winter the environs of the lake are filled with flocks of birds creating unique conditions for birdwatching lovers. Areas surrounding the lake are favorite places for birds hunters.

In the South-Western part of the park, in 4 km from downtown Poti, between the Sea and the Lake, on the small peninsula is located a climate resort of Maltakva. Having mild humid seaside climate and magnetite containing beach sand, as well as low floor seaside, Maltakva is used for prevention of diverse diseases.

 

Resort of Skuri

Location:  foot-hill of Egrisi

Distance: 14 km from Tsalenjikha, 36 km from Zugdidi, 355 km from Tbilisi

Sea level: 450-500 m

Landscape: plateau

Climate: low mountain zone of subtropical belt, winter mild, with no snow, summer very warm

Average annual precipitation: 1800-200mm

Average comparative annual humidity: 74%

Duration of annual sunny light: 1943-2316h.

Natural treatment factors: low mountain climate and chloride-sulpur-calcium-sodium mineral waters with general mineralization – 1,7 g/dm3

Types of therapy: mineral water baths and application/drinking

Diseases for treatment: peripheral nervous system disorders chronic diseases, urinary systems

 

Tsalenjikha munisipalty is situated on the border os Samegrelo and Zemo Svaneti, in the gorge of rivers Enguri and Chanistskali. The moniker `Tsalenjikha` derives from the name of ancient Colchis tribe – Chans (in local Megrelian language Chanis jikha, Chanis dikha` means fortress of Chans, Land of Chans). The territory of municipality appears to be inhabited from times immemorial. In Middle Ages here was located the residents of Samegrelo rulers, the Dadiani Family, their palace.

From recreational resources, resort area of Skuri situated 15 km away from Tsalejikha, in the gorge of river Abanosgeli is important. Historically, this place appears t be a well-known passage. When enemies approached Tsalenjikha, population found refuge in the fortress of Skuri. There are several ruins of fortified structures in the territory of the gorge – fortress and lookout tower surviving up to the present.

Skuri mineral waters were discovered by shepherds in 70-80ies of the XIX century. Therapeutic properties of the water still became known to the people later on and Skuri was turned into a famous spa resort. In the course of the years thousands of people underwear rehabilitation treatment here. Water was bottled in the factory producing 5 million bottles of mineral water `Skuri` per year. Nowadays resort infrastructure here is dismantled.

 

Resort of Tsaishi

Location:  Zugdidi municipality

Distance: 15 km from Zugdidi, 310 km from Tbilisi

Sea level: 120-150 m

Landscape: plain

Climate: subtropical, winter mild, without snow, mean temperature in January 4.9 degrees centigrade, summer very warm, mean temperature in August 22,725 degrees centigrade

Average annual precipitation: 1616-1720mm

Average comparative annual humidity: 76%

Duration of annual sunny light: 2340-2400h.

Natural treatment factors: two-types of mineral water – sulfide, chloride, sodium water with free hydrogen sulfide with general mineralization of 1,6-2 g/dm3

Types of therapy: mineral water baths

Diseases for treatment: musculoskeletal function disorders, peripheral nervous system, skin and gynecological diseases.

Tsaishi is famous with hyper-thermal mineral waters therapeutic qualities of which were described as far back as by Vakhushti Bagrationi. He mentions Tsaihi as the place of wonderful location and time-hored therapeutic water springs. On the place of one of the springs, in the depth of 5-6 meters, a water pool was discovered which was used in the age before Christ and was constructed with cut stone.

Today 18 Tsaishi mineral springs have been studied. Tsaishi hypo-thermal mineral water has unique contents. It contains big amount of silicon acid. For such mineral water anti-toxic, anti-septic properties are typical, it arranges metabolism process, improves the state of bone and cartilage and also skin tissues. On the water outlets area there are 25-m high, 500-year old nettle trees. However, special popularity Tsaishi gained in 1956, after discovery of hyper-thermal (82,5 degrees) water. Part of hot water is used today for heating of greenhouses and apartments, but most of it is lost in the ground.